Historical Quotes on the Biblical Flat Earth. Reformed Truther Ministries.
Updated: Sep 30
"Jews speculated as to what material the firmament was made of: clay or copper or iron (3 Apoc. Bar. 3.7). They differentiated between the firmament and the empty space or air between it and the earth (Gen. Rab. 4.3.a; 2 Apoc. Bar. 21.4). They tried to figure out how thick it was by employing biblical interpretation (Gen. Rab. 4.5.2). Most tellingly they even tried to calculate scientifically the thickness of the firmament (Pesab. 49a). "Christians speculated as to whether it was made of earth, air, fire, or water (the basic elements of Greek science). Origen called the firmament "without doubt firm and solid" (First Homily on Genesis, FC 71). Ambrose, commenting on Gen 1:6, said, 'the specific solidity of this exterior firmament is meant' (Hexameron, FC 42.60). Augustine said the word firmament was used 'to indicate not that it is motionless but that it is solid and that it constitutes an impassable boundary between the waters above and the waters below' (The Literal Meaning of Genesis, ACW 41.1.61)."
(P.H. Seely: Westminster Theological Journal Article. The Firmament and The Waters Above- p. 236)
"And God said: 'Let there be a firmament in the midst of the water and let it divide water from water.' And it was so done. And God made the firmament."12 Although God had already previously made heaven, now he makes the firmament. For he made heaven first, about which he says, "heaven is my throne."13 But after that he makes the firmament, that is, the corporeal heaven. For every corporeal object is, without doubt, firm and solid; and it is this which "divides the water which is above heaven from the water which is below heaven.”
(Origen Homily on Genesis P. 49)
"But the earth is not supported upon itself, but is set upon the realm of the waters, while this again is kept in its place, being bound fast at the center of the universe."
(Athanasius Against the Heathen, Book I, Part I)
“But because this firmament of the heaven is corporeal, we should believe that it has received beauty and form through the incorporeal creature.”
(Augustine The Literal Meaning of Genesis Chapter 8 P. 165-166)
“With this reasoning some of our scholars attack the position of those who refuse to believe that there are waters above the heavens while maintaining that the star whose path is in the height of the heavens is cold. Thus they would compel the disbeliever to admit that water is there not in a vaporous state but in the form of ice. But whatever the nature of that water and whatever the manner of its being there, we must not doubt that it does exist in that place. The authority of Scripture in this matter is greater than all human ingenuity.”
(Saint Augustine, The Literal Meaning of Genesis, Vol. 1., Book 2, Section 9)
"There is talk of a new astrologer who wants to prove that the earth moves and goes around instead of the sky, the sun, the moon, just as if somebody were moving in a carriage or ship might hold that he was sitting still and at rest while the earth and the trees walked and moved. But that is how things are nowadays: when a man wishes to be clever he must needs invent something special, and the way he does it must needs be the best! The fool wants to turn the whole art of astronomy upside-down. However, as Holy Scripture tells us, so did Joshua bid the sun to stand still and not the earth."
(Martin Luther Luther's Tablebook "Tischreden", or record of dinner-table conversations)
"We Christians must be different from the philosophers [i.e. scientists] in the way we think about the causes of these things. And if some are beyond our comprehension (like those before us concerning the waters above the heavens), we must believe them and admit our lack of knowledge rather than either wickedly deny them or presumptuously interpret them in conformity with our understanding."
(Martin Luther, Luther’s Works. Vol 1. Lectures on Genesis, ed. Jaroslav Pelikan (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1958)
“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)