24 January 2017

The Bible and the Cosmos (2): The Shape of the Landmass called Earth

So what shape is the landmass of earth?

Most biblical texts suggest that the ancient Hebrews believed in a square or rectangular shape for the landmass or earth.

Isaiah prophesied about the coming of the Messiah and the gathering of the faithful from their dispersion:

"And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth." Isaiah 11:11-12

Such a view conforms well with the use of four directions NSEW.

But the same books also describes the earth as a circle:

"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:" Isaiah 40:22

A circle, of course, differs from a sphere. This passage reflects a "common sense" view that the earth from the surface appears to be a flat, circular land mass. This perspective fits, too, with the translation of firmament or heaven as  dome  in some modern versions of the Bible.

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