Does The Bible Teach That The Earth Is Flat?

Does The Bible Teach That The Earth Is Flat? March 14, 2016

Does the Bible teach that the earth is flat? Where did this idea come from?

The Earth’s Shape

The Prophet Isaiah writes from God’s vantage point that “It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to dwell in; who brings princes to nothing, and makes the rulers of the earth as emptiness” (Isaiah 40:22-23). This is an accurate description of the spherical shape of the earth and even the heavens being stretched out which is what the universe is presently doing. Also, the heavens do appear as a curtain over the earth and so the language is very descriptive of what the earth and the heavens (or universe) are alike as it is declared that God Himself is the One Who “stretches out the heavens like a tent” (Psalm 104:2) and it is “It is he who made the earth by his power, who established the world by his wisdom, and by his understanding stretched out the heavens” (Jer 10:12). There is not even a hint that the Bible teaches that the earth is flat but some believers take text out of context to create false pretexts.

Figures of Speech

People use language that is symbolic all the time or use figures of speech. For example, people say “What a beautiful sunrise this morning” or “What a gorgeous sunset tonight” but the sun doesn’t set or rise. The earth is rotating around the sun and the earth is rotating as well, bringing the cycle of seasons and of day and night. No one in their right mind really thinks that the earth is at the center of the universe and that the sun is rotating around it, so we can see that even human language uses figures of speech to make a point. When I went to college, my fellow students would say during finals week, “This week just kills me” but no one expects them to die that week, so we know that language has meaning and sometimes the meaning is given in a figure of speech so as to make a point or to emphasize a point. Knowing this, when the Apostle John wrote that he “saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth, that no wind might blow on earth or sea or against any tree” (Rev 7:1) we should realize that he’s not describing the earth as being a flat plain but is writing about the four corners of the earth; East, West, North, and South. This is the very same description John later writes in Revelation 20:8 where he writes that the enemy “will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea.” These are particular people groups that lay in different parts of the globe and so there is no reason to deduce that John believes the earth is flat. That would be like laying out a world map on a flat surface and determining that this must mean the world is flat.


The Earth’s Position

If you could look at the earth from outer space, it looks like it’s hanging on nothing at all or suspended but how did Job know this when he wrote “He stretches out the north over the void and hangs the earth on nothing” (Job 26:7)? The Book of Job may be the oldest book in the Bible but it was already common knowledge that the heavens were stretched out and there was a void, directly to the north, where there is a great void of stars even today. In space, as Job wrote, the earth hangs on nothing, it would appear, but again, there isn’t even a hint that the earth that “hangs on nothing” is a flat surface. Jesus even gives us solid evidence that there are both day and night at the same time, indicating that the earth must be spherical. It is given in the Gospel of Luke where He says, “I tell you, in that night there will be two in one bed. One will be taken and the other left. There will be two women grinding together. One will be taken and the other left” (Luke 17:34-35). If someone’s in bed in one place on the earth then its day on the opposite side of the earth which is why “There will be two women grinding together. One will be taken and the other left.”


How sad that all humanity doesn’t declare what is true, which was written by Isaiah the Prophet in 37:16; “O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, enthroned above the cherubim, you are the God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth.” Hear the words of the Creator; “Thus says God, the LORD, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people on it and spirit to those who walk in it” (Isaiah 42:5), showing that He is also the Creator of life. Come to Him today by repentance and faith or you won’t see the earth anymore, including the new heavens and the new earth (Rev 21:1) but instead of a place of no return (Rev 20:12-15).

Article by Jack Wellman

Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.

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  • pud

    “Come to Him today by repentance and faith or you won’t see the earth anymore, including the new heavens and the new earth (Rev 21:1) but instead of a place of no return”

    Ah..the obligatory “believe or die” crap

    No one can make themselves “believe” anything. We are convinced by evidence and rational argument but we cannot simply will ourselves to “believe” anything let alone the absurdities of the christian cult