Does the Bible Imply That the Earth is Flat? 

Ezekiel 7:2 and Revelation 7:1 reference “the four corners of the earth.” Similarly, Isaiah 11:12 references “the four quarters of the earth.” The Oxford English Dictionary defines “corner” to mean “An extremity or end of the earth; a region, quarter; a direction or quarter from which the wind blows.” The word “corner” comes from a Latin root “cornu,” meaning “horn,” as seen in words such as “cornet,” “corn,” and “cornucopia.” So, the four corners of the earth can be interpreted as referring to the four cardinal directions–north, south, east and west. In addition, the “four corners of the earth” can also be interpreted as four “horns” of the earth. One obvious example of such a “horn” is Cape Horn, the southernmost tip of South America. So, the usage of the phrase “four corners of the earth” does not necessarily signify a flat, rectangular earth.

Also, in general, one must be aware of the poetic language and symbolism often used in the Bible, especially in the poetic books like Psalm, and the prophetic books like Revelation. Incidentally, to me, one of the stronger verses arguing for a flat earth is Job 38:13, which says, “that it might take the earth by the edges.” My only explanation here is the use of poetic language; i.e., a circular view of the earth from heaven cannot be argued here, since a circle has no edges.

On the other hand, there are many verses in the Bible that do indeed agree with what we know about science, so far. In fact, these even make the words of the Bible more powerful, when we realize that the Biblical writers stated scientific truths thousands of years before astronomy, geology, or archaeology confirmed them. Please consider the following:

– The Bible does, in fact, teach the concept of a round or spherical earth. Isaiah 40:22 says, “He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in.” The fact that this verse speaks of the “circle of the earth” can mean one of three things: 1) The earth is not a flat square but a flat circle. If that is true then what of the four corners of the earth? A flat circle has no corners. 2) The earth is shaped in a way that is spherical but has a square cross-section somewhere, at the equator, for example. 3) The earth is spherical in shape. This last option is further strengthened by observing the reference to the inhabitants as grasshoppers, implying a perspective from on high, particularly, the outermost heaven. This verse serves only to strengthen my faith, as it reveals God’s omniscience, in His knowledge that the earth was round, a fact that was not discovered by man for thousands of years.

– Proverbs 8:27 says, “When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth…” The word “compass” can mean a circular enclosure or a spherical envelope. Since the verse speaks of an extended area, the spherical enclosure for “compass” is a better interpretation than a circular enclosure.

– Luke 17:31-36 says, “In that day, he which shall be upon the house top, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not turn back …. I tell you, in that night, there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left…. Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.” In regard to the shape of the earth, these verses speak of day (verse 31) and night (verse 34) as occurring simultaneously. The activities are listed in the context of that global event, the rapture, which Paul describes as occurring in the “twinkling of an eye” (I Corinthians 15:52). The simplest explanation for this simultaneous daylight and night is that the earth is spherical in shape.

– Acts 1:8 says, “Jesus gives His commission to His disciples to be witnesses “unto the uttermost part of the earth.” Note here that the word “part” is singular. A flat earth with four corners would be indicated by the plural “uttermost parts.” However, a spherical earth would have only one uttermost part, its opposite side. So, the Bible does not necessarily teach that the earth is flat.

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