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Some people say that the Bible teaches that the Earth is flat. Is that true?

From Issue: Discovery 2/1/2019

Dear Digger Doug,

Some people say that the Bible teaches that the Earth is flat. Is that true?

 

Dear reader,

You have asked a very good question. The Bible does not teach that the Earth is flat. Some people claim it does because there are verses in the Bible that talk about such ideas as “the four corners of the Earth” (Isaiah 11:12). Since the Bible says the Earth has “corners,” they claim the Bible is teaching that it must be flat. The fact is, however, these verses are found in biblical poetry. Poetry often uses figures of speech that are not supposed to be taken literally. In a similar way, we use this type of figurative speech in poetry today. For instance, if a person says he is “walking down the road of life,” does that mean he is really walking? Not at all. He could be driving or taking a bus. The term “walking” is a figure of speech. Again, a poet might say she is “knocking on the door of a new job.” Does that mean she is really standing at a door and knocking? No. It just means she thinks she is about to get a new job. If someone is “climbing the ladder of success,” does that mean that they should be careful to hang on so they don’t fall to the ground? Nope. That person is simply becoming more successful. If we say that people came to the Olympics “from the four corners of the globe,” would that mean we are saying the world is flat? No. It simply means that people are coming from many different parts of the world. The Bible does not teach that the Earth is flat.


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