am deeply concerned about the erosion of our education system under the current
liberal Federal and State administrations, and the liberal teaches unions;
and, the teaching of revisionist history by those teachers, instructors and
professors who believe in an Evolutionary Worldview and use it as the basis for
their instruction in the subjects that they teach.
our presentations, the two most often asked questions
are, What about Carbon 14? and Did people really believe in a flat earth?
have addressed the flaws of Carbon 14 in another Bible Lab available on our web
site Articles page. In this Bible Lab I will address the fallacy of the
supposed belief in a flat earth.
even pagan man, has always been able to reason that the earth was a sphere! The
Hebrews knew it because God told them six times in the Old Testament that the
earth was a sphere. (Gen. 1:2, Job 22:14, Job 26:10, Job 38:14, Prov. 8:27
and Is. 40:22) These verses were sufficient to convince Old Testament
pagans were also able to reason that the earth was a sphere. Too many people
seem to think that ancient man was illiterate, ignorant or stupid. I would
remind everyone; however, that ancient man was able to do works of engineering
that we have not been able to duplicate in modern times.
First, men were quite
capable of reasoning that the earth was round. The shadow of the earth upon the
moon was quite sufficient to prove the point. Only a sphere will cast a round
shadow regardless of orientation. If the earth were a flat circular shaped
object, like a pie pan, it would cast an elliptical shadow on the moon at
were quite aware that as one traveled from near the equator of the earth toward
the North Pole that the North Star would appear higher and higher in the night
sky. In addition, the rotation of the earth was quite obvious, as all stars
made a circular path around the North Star during the night. The angle that the
North Star makes with the horizon is roughly equal to the latitude of
observation. The farther north one travels the more noticeable this phenomena
Third, as one travels north
and south over great distances, different stars become visible. This fact made
it obvious that the traveler was traveling along an arc. These things were
clearly known in ancient times. In general, almost everyone living after The
Flood of Noah knew that the earth was a sphere.
is the weaker argument made by analogy. The lunar phases can only occur if the
moon is a sphere. This would lead to a conclusion that, by analogy, the earth
is also a sphere.
let us switch from Bible verses, to the reason and logic of the mathematical
proofs for a round earth. Eratosthenes of Cyrene (c. 276 BC - c. 195 BC) was a
Greek mathematician, elegiac poet, athlete, geographer, astronomer and music
theorist. He was well educated in the schools of Athens and Alexandria. He became the third curator of the Library at
Alexandria, the most famous library of the ancient world. He coined the word
geography and started the scientific discipline of geography. He would
develop a system of dividing the world into latitudes and longitudes. He
was the first person to accurately determine the size of the earth; the
distance to the sun; and, the tilt of the earths axis. He even understood
the concept of the need for a leap day. He was a friend of Archimedes.
Eratosthenes and Aristotle taught that the earth was a sphere.
240 BC, he made measurements of the shadow of objects at the summer solstice
near Aswan, on the Tropic of Cancer, and due north at Alexandria. The
difference is seven degrees 12 minutes. This means that the distance from
Aswan to Alexandria is 3600divided by 7012 or 1/50ththe circumference of the earth. He estimated
that the distance from Alexandria to Aswan was 500 miles (800 km). His
calculation of the circumference of the earth was 24,662 miles (39,690 km). His
calculation was correct to within less than a 2% error factor of the actual
astronomy developed in Europe during the Renaissance (14th to the 17th century)
the major figures would include Johannes Kepler (Germany, December 27, 1571 -
November 15, 1630), Nicolaus Copernicus (Poland, 19 February 1473 - 24 May
1543) and Galileo Galilei (Italy, 15 February 1564 - 8 January 1642), although
there were many other prominent astronomers during the time period.
well known problem between Galileo and the Roman Catholic Church, which had
adopted the Greek worldview of Aristotle and Ptolemy, was not over whether or
not the earth or the sun was the center of the solar system. That story is
more myth than reality. The actual problem that sent Galileo into house
arrest was a personal problem between him and his old friend Pope Urban VIII
over a fictional character in Galileos book, Dialogue Concerning the Two
Chief World Systems, in which a fictional character seemed to put the Pope
into public ridicule. During the Renaissance, no one argued over whether or not
the earth was a sphere. Every scientist in Europe knew that the earth was a
idea that there was a time when Europeans believed universally in a Flat
Earth is pure revisionist history. True, there were some ancient cultures
and certain early Greek philosophers (all evolutionists) that promoted the
concept of belief in a flat earth, however, these ideas were being disproven by
the time of the Classical Greek and Hellenistic Periods. The works of
Pythagoras of Samos (c. 570 - c. 495 BC), his followers and the works of
Aristotle (384 BC - 322 BC) had started to
persuade the world that teaching about a flat earth was scientifically wrong. The
distortion of history that many people in the last 2,000 years believed in a
flat earth may be traced directly to the teachings of atheistic/agnostic
anti-God, anti-Bible and anti-Christian authors.
a case in point, consider the utterly false story, so often found in
Western history books that Christopher Columbus was told not to sail west
because he and his crew would fall off the edge of the world and be destroyed.
sole argument at the time of the sailing of Columbus was not over whether the
earth was a sphere or flat; the argument was over the size of the sphere
and whether the ships of the time could carry enough water and supplies for a
voyage of that distance (thinking that the entire distance from Europe to India
would be over water). Columbus, like all educated people of his time, knew that
the world was round. (Zvi Dor-Ner, Columbus
and the Age of Discovery. New York: William Morrow, 1991, p. 72.)
underestimated the circumference of the earth. The distance from
Europe to China is about 10,500 miles. It was only providential that for
Columbus, the Americas stood in his way.
opinion in Columbuss day was that the earth was a sphere of about 24,000 miles
in circumference. Therefore, since China was some 8,000 miles to the east, the
conventional wisdom held it impractical to sail west for 16,000 miles to reach
the Orient. That is why Columbus had such a hard time finding backers for his
calculated the earths circumference at about 18,000 miles, and he also
believed Ptolemys too large estimate of the eastward extent of Asia. Combining
these two errors, he came to the conclusion Japan lay about 3,000 miles to the
west of the Canary Islands. (Sam Dargan, Will the Real Christopher Columbus
Please Stand Up, World, October 7, 1989,
Make no mistake: I hold Columbus in very high regard. Columbus
was a Christian missionary. His stated purpose in sailing west was to take the
Gospel to an unsaved world. Where he went wrong was in arguing that it would be
shorter to sail from Europe west to get to get to India. The truth is that he
was wrong. Anyone looking at a modern globe will see that it is closer to sail
Indeed, although wrong about the measurements, he was the finest
sailor of his time. Bartolome de Las Casas (1484 - 1566), wrote in his Historia de Las
that Christopher Columbus surpassed all of his contemporaries in the art of
then invented the flat earth concept which has been incorporated into so many
of our modern day American history textbooks?
the last 20 centuries there have been men who taught that the earth was flat;
notably Lactantius (AD 245 - 325) and Cosmas Indicopleustes (AD Sixth Century).
These men were, however, discredited by their peers.
scholar Jeffrey Russell stated that Cosmas: had no followers whatever;
his works were ignored or dismissed with derision throughout the Middle Ages.
[Emphasis added] (Jeffrey Burton Russell, Inventing the Flat Earth: Columbus
and Modern Historians, New York: Prager, 1991)
shortly after Cosmas was The Venerable Bede (672 / 673 - 26 May 735). He was a
monk living in Jarrow, England. He is known as the Father of English
History. He maintained that the earth is a globe that can be called a
perfect sphere because the surface irregularities of mountains and valleys are
so small in comparison to its vast size. (Russell, Inventing the Flat Earth,
truth is that before the voyages of Columbus, De Gama and Ferdinand Magellan
few mariners sailed much beyond the horizon for some very practical reasons.
to the invention of the precision marine chronometer by John Harrison (1693
1776) no one could accurately calculate longitude. To calculate longitude,
you have to know the exact time difference between a specific point, i.e.,
Greenwich, England, and your location. Before the marine chronometer was
invented, sailing beyond the horizon was dependent upon the navigation skills
of the pilot (captain), unreliable measuring devices and a clear sky. Any
sailor may reliably judge latitude by the length of the day; or height of the
sun at noon; or specific stars above a horizon - but - longitude is quite a
story which has become so much a part of American history textbooks; the story
that Columbus was warned that he would fall off the
edge of the earth if he sailed west: well, that story is the invention of a
struggling American author of fiction - Washington Irving (1783-1859).
Yes, the story of the flat earth and Columbus first voyage is the work of the
author of The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. [The Sketch Book]
(1820), which included his best known fictional folk stories of The Legend
of Sleepy Hollow (The Headless Horseman) and Rip Van Winkle.
it may seem hard to believe, but in the early years of the United States there
were few national heroes. When the American Colonies broke off their ties to
England, they also broke off their ties to the English heroes of centuries
past. One of the persons who helped to fill that void was Christopher
for example, the large number of State and Federal Capital cities named after
Columbus - Columbia, South Carolina; Columbus, Ohio; and the Federal District
of Columbia. There are large numbers of objects named after Columbus: Space
Shuttle Columbia, Columbia University and the Columbia River. Last, but not
least, Hail, Columbia was the unofficial national anthem of the United States
until its replacement in 1931 by the officially mandated Star-Spangled
Irving (April 3, 1783 November 28, 1859) was born in New York City. In 1815,
he moved to Europe. He lived in France and Spain until 1832. While in Spain, he
translated a collection of manuscripts concerning the life work of Columbus. In
1828, he published a largely fictional work in three volumes entitledThe
Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus.
described himself as apt to indulge in the imagination. In fact, he had a bad
habit of fictionalizing history. His History of New York from the Beginning
of the World to the End of the Dutch Dynasty (1809) was published under his
pseudonym, Diederich Knickerbocker. He perpetuated a prolonged hoax in order
to persuade the reading public that Knickerbocher was a real person. (Russell,
Inventing the Flat Earth, p. 52)
the 1848 edition of the History of New York, Irving admitted that he
had embellished the few facts he could collect with fragments of [his] own
brain. [Emphasis added] (Russell, Inventing the Flat Earth, p. 52)
Concerning Irvings account of Columbus, Russell wrote:
It is fabrication, and it is largely upon this fabric that the idea of a
medieval flat earth was established. (Russell, Inventing the Flat Earth, p.
The obvious problem being that readers of The Life and Voyages
of Christopher Columbus could not possibly tell what was fact and what was
fiction. For example, Irvings description of the Council of Salamanca was a
complete total fabrication.
Eliot Morison described Irvings work as misleading and mischievous nonsense,
one of the most popular Columbian myths. (Samuel Eliot Morison, Admiral
of the Ocean Sea: A Life of Christopher Columbus, Boston: Little, Brown and
Co., 1942, p. 89.)
1834, Antoine-Jean Letronne (1787-1848), produced a more scholarly work
attempting to tie the belief in a flat earth with the early church fathers, Revue
des Deux Mondes. He was educated in the teachings of Mentelle and Voltaire.
In 1798, he wrote a book claiming that Jesus Christ was an imposter. In Revue
he wrote that the flat earth was the majority view of the early Christian
writers. His statements were utterly untrue, but liberal scholars have
quoted him for over two centuries. In combination, the works of Irving and
Letronne made the flat earth myth into a generally received well-known fact.
more men further served to popularize this myth. In 1874, John W. Draper wrote
an anti-church diatribe entitled History of the Conflict Between Religion
and Science. In 1865, Andrew D. White became cofounder of the first
explicitly secular university in the U. S., Cornell University. In 1897, he
wrote A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom.
In these two books, they were knowingly attempting to discredit Christians
and creationists in the battle over origins.
B. Russell wrote Inventing the Flat Earth: Columbus and Modern Historians,
1991. He was no creationist, but he thoroughly documents how the invention
of the flat earth was a direct attack against God, the history of the Christian
Church and truth in general. His conclusion was that Secular Humanist
authors were attempting to promote the idea that Christians were without
intellect versus their (evolutionists) enlightened rationalism.
while there were those instances throughout history when groups or individual
people believed in a flat earth, it was never the general position of
Christians nor that of the Christian Church universal.
Any attempt to condemn Christians as flat
earthers is simply slander, gossip and libel. The often forgotten
heritage of the Christian Church universal is that of great intellectual
achievements; whether from saving the Bible and other ancient writings, or to
the founding of scientific disciplines and the greatest of scientific