A Biblical and Theological Case for a Geocentric Flat Earth. By Joe Harper.
Updated: Feb 4
“How abundantly have all the philosophers, in this respect, betrayed their stupidity and folly! For, to spare others, chargeable with greater absurdities, Plato himself, the most religious and judicious of them all, loses himself in his round globe. And what would not befall others, when their principal men, whose place it was to enlighten the rest, stumble upon such gross errors!”
(John Calvin: Institutes of the Christian Religion, 1:5:11)[i]
13 He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.
(Pro. 18:13 KJV).
The doctrine of a geocentric flat earth is a view that generates extreme controversy in our day and age. The belief in a Flat Earth is considered the ultimate stereotype for close mindedness and antiquated thinking. If someone says that they believe something that is considered stupid, they are often met with the response “that’s like believing the world is flat!” This type of response by people in our society is no accident. From our earliest years as children, we are conditioned to believe that we live on a globe shaped planet orbiting the sun. When children step into the elementary school classroom there is a globe sitting on the teacher’s desk. All throughout the schooling of children they are taught that science has proved without question that the world is a globe and that our world is orbiting the sun. When people watch the news which constantly runs stories about the work of the space agencies, they are bombarded with the globe narrative and Heliocentrism. Hollywood is perhaps the greatest contributor to the conditioning of society into believing that we live on a globe. Hollywood bombards us with science fiction which ingrains into our brains that we are living on a planet in an infinitely vast universe filled with millions of stars and other planets.
The greatest reason why belief in a flat earth is so controversial is because it requires the belief that we are being lied to by almost all of the major institutions in our society. These institutions include the world governments, academia, the space agencies, the mainstream media, and Hollywood. Belief in a flat earth is considered nothing more than a grandiose conspiracy theory. However, belief in “conspiracies” and lies from the non-Christian and even the professing Christian world is completely consistent with a biblical worldview. The Bible teaches that Satan is the “god of this world” (2 Cor. 4:4). Satan has influence over all of the individuals in the world that are not apart of the kingdom of God. The Bible describes that everyone is either a child of God (John 1:12) or a child of the devil. (1 John 3:10). Those who are not servants of Christ walk according to the course of this world and according to the prince of the power of the air (Eph. 2:2) which is none other than the devil. In other words, the Bible says that Satan is in control of a world system which deceives humanity from believing the truth found in the word of God. This world system is filled with lies and conspiracies which will deceive even Christians if they do not take everything to the word of God.
The truth of the matter is that belief in a Heliocentric Globe model of Cosmology has no bearing in the word of God. A great number of Christians have never had their belief in Heliocentrism challenged by Scripture at all. Furthermore, many Christians do not realize how they have been deceived by the world system that is controlled by Satan and that they unknowingly are bringing their false presuppositions into what Scripture teaches on Cosmology. As Christians we are to become fools in the eyes of the world and cast off the wisdom of the world (1 Cor 3:18-19). We are also to take care that we are not spoiled by philosophy, the traditions of men, or the rudiments of this world (Col. 2:8). We are to reject science falsely so called (1 Tim. 6:20). Instead, we are to have a Berean spirit (Act. 17:11) and should take all things to the word of God and to examine whether they are true or not. In all matters of debate Scripture should be examined first and appealed to last. Scripture is the final authority in all controversies and all matters of belief (Isa. 8:20).
This article will be making a biblical and theological case for the belief in a Geocentric Flat Earth. This view will be shown to be the correct view instead of the two alternatives which are Geocentric Round Earth and Heliocentric Round Earth. I will not be concentrating on the empirical and scientific evidence for a Flat Earth in this article but will instead concentrate on these arguments in future writings. Although this will lead many to immediately dismiss what I have to say I hope that anyone who takes the authority of God’s word seriously will consider my arguments from Scripture and with a Berean spirit will consider whether they are so or not.
Overview of Geocentric Flat Earth Cosmology
The geocentric flat earth (G.F.E.) position on Cosmology teaches that we are living on a flat circular expanse. This expanse is covered by a solid firmament which encloses the world that God has made. G.F.E teaches that there are waters both above and below this solid firmament. Inside the firmament God has placed the heavens which include the sun, moon and stars. The world that we live in is the center of the creation and is not a planet in an infinite universe. The world on which we live does not move but instead the heavenly bodies move above us in the courses set by God. G.F.E. has a different understanding of the sun, moon and stars than the Heliocentric model. The Scripture say in Genesis that the sun is called the greater light and the moon is the lesser light. G.F.E. teaches that the sun and moon are actually much closer to us than is taught by contemporary science. G.F.E also believes that the moon as a lesser light emits its own light and does not reflect light from other heavenly bodies. Stars according to G.F.E. are not massive bodies larger than the earth but are in reality much smaller than we have been taught. This model may seem strange to those who are not accustomed to it but as will be shown this is the teaching of Scripture. This was the ancient Hebrew understanding of the world for thousands of years from the time of the creation of the world right up to the Christian era. The ancient Israelites alongside most of the ancient civilizations believed we are living on a flat earth.
1. The Earth is a Flat Circle
Two Scriptures teach that the Earth is a circle. These two verses are Isaiah 40:22 and Proverbs 8:27. These verses are listed below using the KJV and the RSV.
22 It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in. (Isa. 40:22 KJV)
22 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.
(Isa. 40:22 RSV)
26 While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world.
27 When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth:
28 When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep:
(Pro. 8:26-28 KJV)
26 before he had made the earth with its fields, or the first of the dust of the world.
27 When he established the heavens, I was there, when he drew a circle on the face of the deep,
28 when he made firm the skies above. (Prov. 8:26-28 RSV)
Both of these verses speak of the earth as a circle that is below the heavens. Isaiah 40:22 speaks of the Lord sitting above the circle of the Earth looking down upon man which are as small as grasshoppers. The RSV translates the verse as saying that God is sitting above the circle of the earth which captures the full meaning of the text. Proverbs 8:27 says the circle of the earth is placed upon the face of the deep. The KJV translates the word as compass which reinforces the idea of a flat circle. The use of the word circle here has actually been used by many to support the idea that the world is a globe. However, an examination of the original Hebrew shows that these verses are not describing a ball but a flat circle similar to a compass or a frisbee. The Hebrew word for circle that is used in Isaiah 40:22 is chuwg which is H2329 in the Strong’s concordance. According to the Strong’s Concordance chuwg can be translated as circle, circuit or compass. The Hebrew word Chug is contrasted with the duwr which is H1754 in Strong’s Concordance. This word duwr means ball or circle. The word duwr is used in Isaiah 22:18 where it shows its meaning as a ball.
18 He will surely violently turn and toss thee like a ball into a large country: there shalt thou die, and there the chariots of thy glory shall be the shame of thy lord's house. (Isa. 22:18 KJV)
The difference between the word circle and ball is an important distinction. The Hebrew language has words that are able to convey both a flat circle and three-dimensional ball. Once it is realized that that the word circle is used in Isaiah 40:22 and Proverbs 8:27 then the meaning of these verses comes into full view. Isaiah 40:22 in particular becomes a strong proof text for a flat earth. God is described as sitting in heaven above the flat circle of the earth where he sees man which are as small as grasshoppers. This imagery makes sense when the earth is a flat circle but does not work as well if it was speaking about a globe. Isaiah 40:22 says that heavens are stretched out like a curtain above the earth. This once again makes much more sense on a flat circle than a globe.
2. The Earth is Enclosed by a Solid Firmament.
The firmament is described in the creation account in Genesis chapter one. The firmament describes a solid boundary that has water above it and the heavenly bodies of the sun, moon and stars within it. This is seen in Genesis 1:6-7 and Genesis 1:14-17.
6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. (Gen. 1:6-7 KJV).
14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:
15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.
16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.
17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth.
(Gen. 1:14-17 KJV).
The question that arises from these verses is what is the firmament and also what are the waters that are above the firmament? Many globe theorists have stated that the firmament is simply the sky and that the waters above the heavens are simply clouds or water vapor. A close examination of Genesis one shows this is not the case. If one reads Genesis 1:14-17 carefully, they will see that the sun, moon and stars are placed in the firmament. This is significant when compared with Genesis 1:6-7 which describes the waters above the firmament. How can the sun, moon and stars be in the firmament while there are clouds or water vapor above the firmament? There are certainly not clouds or water vapor above the sun, moon and stars. This eliminates the possibility of the waters above the firmament referring to clouds or water vapor. The Bible instead states that there is a solid firmament with the heavens inside it and also waters above it.
A proper understanding of the Hebrew word for firmament makes the meaning of the firmament in Genesis clear. The root Hebrew word for firmament is raqa. This word is H7554 in the Strong’s Concordance. The word is defined as to beat, stamp, beat out or spread out. The definition in Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance is below.
râqaʻ, raw-kah'; a primitive root; to pound the earth (as a sign of passion); by analogy to expand (by hammering); by implication, to overlay (with thin sheets of metal): beat, make broad, spread abroad (forth, over, out, into plates), stamp, stretch.
The meaning of the word raqa is that it conveys the idea of something solid or hard being stamped or spread out. For example, metal that is heated and hammered out will eventually be spread out. The meaning of this word raqa is seen in Job 37:18.
18 Hast thou with him spread out the sky, which is strong, and as a molten looking glass?
(Job 37:18 KJV).
In this verse of the book of Job, Elihu is making an observation about the sky which is strong and as a molten looking glass. The word for spread out is the Hebrew word raqa which is also translated firmament in the book of Genesis. Job 37:18 supports the idea that there is a solid firmament above the sky. This belief in a solid firmament was the ancient Hebrew belief. The first century Jewish Historian Josephus shows his belief in a solid firmament in his writing on the creation account in his works.
“After this, on the second day, he placed the heaven over the whole world, and separated it from the other parts, and he determined it should stand by itself. He also placed a crystalline [firmament] round it, and put it together in a manner agreeable to the earth, and fitted it for giving moisture and rain, and for affording the advantage of dews”[ii]
Josephus’ belief in a solid firmament was typical of the ancient Hebrew beliefs on the heavens. This belief was also common in the ancient Church. One example of this view in the early Church is Augustine of Hippo. This is seen in Augustine’s commentary on Genesis.
“Does this make it clear that we should not understand that light was corporeal lest it seem that God-I mean God the Trinity-made it by the interposition of some creature? But because this firmament of the heaven is corporeal, we should believe that it has received beauty and form through the incorporeal creature.”[iii]
Augustine states that he believes the firmament is corporeal. The word corporeal means material or solid. In other words Augustine believed in a solid firmament above the heavens. While this view is widely rejected today it has been the common belief for most of the history of God’s people.
3. The Earth Does Not Move.
The Bible says in five different places that the Earth does not move. These verses are 1 Chronicles 16:30, Psalm 93:1, Psalm 96:10, Psalm 104:5 and Isaiah 45:18.
30 Fear before him, all the earth: the world also shall be stable, that it be not moved.
(1 Chron. 16:30 KJV).
1 The Lord reigneth, he is clothed with majesty; the Lord is clothed with strength, wherewith he hath girded himself: the world also is stablished, that it cannot be moved. (Psa. 93:1 KJV)
10 Say among the heathen that the Lord reigneth: the world also shall be established that it shall not be moved: he shall judge the people righteously. (Psa. 96:10 KJV)
5 Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever.
(Psa. 104:5 KJV)
18 For thus saith the Lord that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the Lord; and there is none else. (Isa. 45:18 KJV)
These Scriptures lay out the clear truth that the earth does not move at all. This contradicts the Heliocentric model that teaches that the earth is orbiting the sun. These verses alongside the verses that describe the explicit movement of the heavens such as the sun and moon have led the Christian Church for most of its history to believe in either a Geocentric Flat Earth or Geocentric Round Earth. Heliocentrism has for most of Christian history has been understood as contradicting the clear teaching of Scripture.
4. The Sun and Moon Move and Stand Still in the Bible.
The Bible explicitly teaches that the sun and moon move in a circuit laid out by God. Just as the Bible says that the earth does not move it also teaches that the sun and moon do that very thing. There are countless references to the movement of the sun and moon in the Scriptures. While many of these verses merely describe the rising or setting of the moon others speak clearly of the sun and moon moving in a circuit. Two of these verses are Psalm 19:4-6 and Ecclesiastes 1:5.
4 Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun,
5 Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race.
6 His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof. (Psa. 19:4-6 KJV)
5 The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose.
(Eccl. 1:5 KJV).
Both of these verses describe the sun moving in its circuit. Psalm 19 says that the sun comes out of its chamber to run a race. The Psalm is saying that the sun has a circular path which it moves on. This is reinforced by Ecclesiastes 1:5 which describes the sun rising and setting and then rushing back to where it began. These verses have been dismissed by globe theorists by saying that they are speaking in phenomenological language. In other words, these verses are only describing what is occurring from a human perspective but are not describing their literal motions. The crux of the argument for those advocating phenomenological language is that the Bible does not describe the literal motions of the heavens and taking these verses literally is actually literalism. This is simply a way to explain away the teaching of the Bible on Cosmology. Taking these verses literally eliminates the possibility of believing that the earth is moving around the sun instead of the sun moving in its orbit. The Bible also says that God has stopped the Sun and Moon in their movements. There are two miracles where God stopped the sun. The first miracle is recorded in Joshua 10:12-13. God stopped the sun when Joshua led the Israelites to victory over the Amorites at Gibeon.
12 Then spake Joshua to the Lord in the day when the Lord delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon.
13 And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day. (Josh. 10:12-13 KJV).
This miracle is also referred to in Habakkuk 3:11.
11 The sun and moon stood still in their habitation: at the light of thine arrows they went, and at the shining of thy glittering spear. (Hab. 3:11 KJV).
The second miracle is in the book of Isaiah when God stopped the sun and moved it backwards during the reign of King Hezekiah. This is seen in Isaiah 38:8.
8 Behold, I will bring again the shadow of the degrees, which is gone down in the sun dial of Ahaz, ten degrees backward. So the sun returned ten degrees, by which degrees it was gone down. (Isa. 38:8 KJV).
The Bible records that God stopped the sun and that the sun stood still in the midst of heaven. The key question is whether these verses are describing what the sun literally did or what it did from a human vantage point? If one takes theses verse to mean the sun literally stood still in heaven then the Heliocentric model of the universe is shown to be impossible.
5. The Bible Assumes a Flat Earth.
Multiple passages in the Bible only make sense with the understanding that the world is flat. The implications of these verses when considered support G.F.E cosmology. Some examples are the Tower of Babel, the visions of Daniel two and Daniel four, the temptation of Jesus by Satan, the return of Christ. The tower of Babel is recorded in Genesis eleven. Here mankind has united in rebellion against God in the plains of Shinar and are attempting to build a tower that reaches to heaven itself. This is seen in Genesis 11:4-6.
4 And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.
5 And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded.
6 And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. (Gen. 11:4-6 KJV)
The amazing thing about this text is that God says that nothing will be impossible for man when he is united together which leads the Lord to confound the tongues of the peoples. God is saying that mankind had the ability to accomplish what they are trying to do. Man had the ability to build a tower that reached unto heaven. Now this makes sense with G.F.E Cosmology but seems to be impossible under the Heliocentric model. We of course do not know how tall the Tower of Babel actually was but if the earth is spinning as is taught by Heliocentric advocates, then the Tower of Babel would have also been spinning like a giant baseball bat.
Two other examples are the visions that Nebuchadnezzar received in Daniel two and Daniel four. In these visions Nebuchadnezzar saw a mountain that filled the whole earth and a tree that filled the whole earth.
35 Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth. (Dan. 2:35 KJV).
10 Thus were the visions of mine head in my bed; I saw, and behold a tree in the midst of the earth, and the height thereof was great.
11 The tree grew, and was strong, and the height thereof reached unto heaven, and the sight thereof to the end of all the earth. (Dan. 4:10-11)
Now the mountain and tree in these visions fill the entire earth and can be seen by all that are on the earth. This is very plausible if the earth is a flat circular expanse but make little sense with the globe model. Now these are of course prophetic visions which means that the case for a flat earth cannot rest on these verses alone but regardless these verses align with the other Scriptural evidence that has been given.
The temptation of Jesus in Matthew four and the biblical testimony of the return of Christ gives further evidence that the world is indeed flat. Matthew four records that Satan tempted Christ to sin after Christ had been fasting for forty days and forty nights. Satan in this passage takes Christ up to a high mountain and shows him all the kingdoms of the world.
8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them. (Matt. 4:8 KJV)
The idea that Christ could see all the kingdoms of the world from a high mountain supports the idea that the world is flat. Now it must be admitted that there is a supernatural component to this passage of Scripture as no man could see all the kingdoms from that mountain due to the limits of normal human vision. Regardless this verse agrees with the rest of Scripture in pointing to a flat earth. The return of Christ also supports the biblical flat earth view. The Bible says that when Christ descends to the Earth from heaven that every eye will be able to see him.
7 Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.
(Rev. 1:7 KJV).
The Scriptures testify that everyone on the earth will be able to look up at see Christ coming down from heaven. This idea would support the idea that the earth is flat with heaven directly above it. These passages that assume that the flatness of the earth do not prove the flat earth view by themselves but instead agree with the rest of the Scripture’s teaching on Cosmology. The Scriptures have one author which is God and are therefore perfectly connected. Scripture therefore gives one consistent teaching on Cosmology and the world.
The Theological Significance of a Geocentric Flat Earth
The doctrine of a geocentric flat earth has massive implications for the entire world. If the earth is flat and at the center of the creation just below the heavens then this proves without question that we have been created by the God of the Bible. This is the reason why there has been such a massive cover up to deceive the world about the true nature of the world. If the Bible perfectly describes the earth, then it supports the doctrine of general revelation which says that the heavens and the earth testify to man the glory of the God of the Bible. This is seen is Psalm 19:1 and Romans 1:20.
1 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.
(Psa. 19:1 KJV).
20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse. (Rom. 1:20 KJV).
The doctrine of a geocentric flat earth reinforces the doctrine of general revelation. It declares that God has created both the world and man. G.F.E. shows that the Bible perfectly teaches the truth of our world. The doctrine of G.F.E therefore also reinforces the doctrine of the special revelation. The Bible’s perfect description of the world proves the doctrine of the inerrancy of the Scriptures. This proves what is said in 2 Timothy 3:16.
16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. (2 Tim. 3:16).
The Bible gives a perfect account of Cosmology. G.F.E. therefore reinforces the truths that the Bible is the very word of God and that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior. Therefore, the doctrine of G.F.E will be of great benefit for the Church as it performs its mission to fulfill the great commission. Truth is always superior to error and always enhances the witness of the Church. Although many individuals in the Church will most likely continue to scoff at G.F.E. due to the controversy surrounding this truth it is my prayer that the Lord will open the eyes of many of his servants to see the Biblical truth of G.F.E.
[i] John, Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, translated by Henry Beveridge. (Peabody, M.A., Hendrickson Publishers Marketing, LLC, 2012), p. 22-23 [ii] Josephus, Works of Josephus, translated by William Whiston, (Peabody, M.A., Hendrickson Publishers Marketing, LLC, 1987), p. 29
[iii] Augustine of Hippo, The Literal Meaning of Genesis, (Washington D.C., The Catholic University of America Press, 1991), p. 166