Flat Earth Hippodrome
Is the Flat-Earth Messiah Living on the Dome?
Second Edition (23 November 2017)
Q. The earth is not a sphere, it is stationary, obviously not FLAT Because it has a "terrain"?? It is not a "pizza", with edges, where we can "fall off", this counter argument is very weak. We are living in a closed system (Otherwise the entire circulation of chemicals would not work, I believe we live in a giant "greenhouse" that is enclosed in a solid firmament! There is no possibility of getting "out of here". Yeshua ascended into the LITERAL Shamayim, because there was something to which He could ASCEND TO. And remember that He will return IN THE SAME MANNER. The aspect of direction/movement is SUCH an important aspect, that is NOT trivial, but crucial! He just didn't ascended and after 200km "POOF" He bodily disappeared! He was RAISED BODILY, so that HE COULD ASCEND BODILY to a PHYSICAL PLACE, called SHAMAYIM, and He will DESCEND from that very same place physically when the time has come!
A. The word 'terrain' simply describes a piece of ground or earth (from terra, Lat. 'earth') or its physical character (e.g. 'rocky terrain'). I have never come across it in any English translation of the Bible so I am not quite sure what it may have to do the 'Flat Earth' question. If you do not believe in a globe-earth and don't accept the earth is pizza-shaped then I am assuming you are referring to the suggestion by some flat-earthers that the surface is concave, though quite how that would prevent all the oceans accumulating in the north polar area beats me. Either way, there isn't a shred of evidence for it. So I will assume, for the sake of covering all angles, that you are perhaps suggesting the earth is a globe after all but surrounded by a fixed spherical double-dome or canopy. I'll assume all three ideas for the sake of making a thorough reply.
There are variations in Flat Earth hypotheses, to be sure, but the most common one is a flat disk with an ice wall around it, so to refer to it as a 'pizza' or a 'biscuit' is not unreasonable. It's by far the overwhelming majority position of flat-earthers. Most flat-earthers would accept the analogy, except perhaps those who believe the disk extends to infinity...which creates a problem for the 200 km-high dome which obviously would only be able to cover a tiny part of it, so you would bump into it eventually at ground level. Which ever position you subscribe to, the attitude of flat-earthers to any scientific proof is much the same as cosmologists towards their theories of the cosmos. The difference, though, is that cosmology is philosophy, not science, and cannot be tested - flat-earthism is totally testable but flat-earthers choose, in the main, to ignore most of the evidence because it does not fit their pre-conceived world-view. They are a bit like the Jehovah's Witnesses of the astronomical world in that respect.
Whether Christians and Messianics like it or not, science informs our understanding of Scripture, and has always done so historically, when it speaks of the physical creation. As believers who accept the authority of Scripture, we accept the 'big picture' of origins - the special creation account of Genesis. But we must also realise that the Bible is not a scientific text book. Where it does unambiguously pronounce on scientific matter, then we must accept what it says, obviously. But what we cannot do is approach it as though it were a 21st century piece of literature. It has to be viewed in the context of its time and literary genres. This is explained in my article, Problems of Perception. Where detail is absent in the physical realm we must turn to science to fill in the gaps where it can. Yahweh endowed us with a capacity for scientific enquiry and placed within us the urge to explore our world so it is perfectly right that we do.
So flat-earthers, stationary-earthers and solid-domers, need to be reminded - often - that the fact of a spherical, moving earth in a vast universe is not built upon one or two pieces of scientific information but upon millions acquired from centuries of rigorous enquiry. I spent a whole year just studying one aspect of one enzyme - phenylalanine ammonia lyase! A tremendous amount of painstaking experimentation has established, beyond any reasonable doubt, the nature of our physical world, and often at great personal cost to the scientists who opposed the prevailing wisdom (like Gailleo). Though, as I and others have established , flat-earthism was never really a part of Christian belief at any time (see the introduction to the Flat Earth website), the lie is still being pushed that it was the default belief system. It wasn't, However, a stationary earth was most definitely a part of the prevailing wisdom of the age, and lasted for a good 1,700 years until careful scientific research proved incontrovertibly otherwise. Part of the problem, also discussed elswhere but also later in this response, was that Christians did not properly understand the use of Hebrew metaphor. Scholarship in biblical studies has advanced side-by-side with science and only a fool would ignore either.
The flat-earth hypothesis is easily refutable. It's ludicrously easy, actually. If you go to our Flat Earth webpage, you will find over 60 experiments you can do to establish the fact. Hundreds could be listed but I have not had time to add any more. There are also some good websites, even if most are run by atheists who are not always very graceful to crackpots, which enable you to do the same testing. But flat-earthers, almost to a man, refuse to do them. And yet, ironically, since they are as passionately against scientism (politicised science) as we are, they have their feet almost as immersed in scientism as the proponents of scientism they deride. This is one reason I have little respect for the claims of flat-earthers. They are, for the most part, neither scientifically literate nor honest.
In my experience with flat-earthers, they aren't really interested in doing proper, empirical Science, and consistently ignore the experiments which absolutely refute their claims. These are first-order experiements and cannot be by-passed. The little Science that flat-earthers do do (hardly any are scientists) typically ignore any evidence they do not like. They are expert data cherry-pickers, not at all unlike many Christians and Messianics who cherry-pick the Scriptures in order to defend pre-conceived doctrines.
I speak as a life-long professional scientist - Biochemist, Systems Analyst and amateur Astronomer - acquainted with scientific methodology and committed to rigour. Science is hard work and most flat-earthers are, like the contemporary culture that has birthed them, generally-speaking lazy. An examination of flat-earth claims isn't, moreover, as I have said, something philosophical like Origins (which can't be tested using the Scientific Method since it belongs to the past and is no longer observable) but is tangible and present. The evidence is all around flat-earthers but they choose to be blind. But then I suspect that their main reason for rejecting a round earth, as is typically the case for believers, is professedly a theological one and not scientific. They suffer from cognitive-dissonance and through no fault of anyone but themselves.
'Conspiracy' is a not, moreover, valid scientific grounds for critiquing experiments that anyone can reproduce. It may be part of the emotionalist pseudo-methodology of our age (a contradiction in terms) but they are like that. You could never 'conceal' or 'hide' so much scientific evidence but you can put on blinkers and refuse to see it. And that's what the flat-earth community does, for whatever reason.
That the earth is not stationary is easily disproved. See, Is the Earth Literally Fixed and Stationary? which deals with the theological evidence, in this case, the faulty exegesis of flat-earth Christians/Messianics. 'Stationary' and 'fixed' in the theological sense does not mean 'not moving' but 'permanent'. Nearly all bone fide Bible scholars know this but the amateurs refuse to accept it.
I have noticed, amongst flat-earthers, a complete absense of understanding of the idea of a MERISM which is employed extensively in the Scriptures. A merism is a figure of speech by which a single thing is referred to by a conventional phrase that enumerates several of its parts or lists several synonyms for the same thing. For instance, in the English language, the phrase "lock, stock, and barrel" originally referred to the most conspicuous parts of a gun and has now come to refer to the whole of anything that has constituent parts. A similar merism exists in Hebrew where in the opening verse of the Tanakh (Old Testament) we find one used nearly 200 times in the Bible:
"In the beginning Elohim (God) created the heavens (shammayim) and the earth" (Gen.1:1, NIV).
This is not a description of only two entities - 'heavens' and 'earth' - any more than 'lock, stock and barrel' is a full description of an 18th century rifle. The expression, "the heavens and the earth" describes two extremities of physical creation, like 'alpha' and 'omega' or 'alef' and 'taw' which obviously do not refer to just two letters but everything inbetween them too (Rev.1:8; 21:6; 22:13). Likewise, 'heavens and earth' describe the whole universe and everything between and within them. 'Heavens and the earth' no more describes total physical reality than 'lock, stock and barrel' give a complete description of a whole gun. Likewise, when the Psalmist says of Yahweh, "You know my sitting down and my rising up" (Ps.139:2, NKJV), he is not merely saying that the Creator only knows when he sits down and stands up, but is using a merism to say that Yahweh knows all his actions.
To reduce physical existence to a 'flat earth' and 'dome' ('heavens') is to likewise fundamentally misunderstand a Hebrew literary device. There aren't just 'two objects', a pizza-type disk (or even a sphere) with a solid dome, even assuming either of those were a correct interpretation of Scripture (which they aren't). This is a merism describing something much more vast in size than a terrestrial stadium with a 200 km-high roof (or however high or low you may believe it to be).
It is no accident that shammayim is a plural word. It does not represent a single object like a 'dome'. For one, Paul says there are three shammayim (1 Cor.12:2) and if there is any truth to some of the pseudepigraphical and apocryphal works, then there may be as many as seven. I presume you would have us believe that there is some 'place' on the dome to which Yah'shua (Jesus) ascended. Since in the actual Ascension He disappeared into a cloud there is no way anyone can know where He went after that, or how, or whether He even changed direction following an initial vertical ascent from Jerusalem, it is impossible to say which part of the alleged dome He went to. Preumably, as a resurrected physical being, He went somewhere where there is physical dimension, though this can't be proven because we know nothing about the resurrected state yet. It need not be 'physical' in the way we understand physicality to be in this mortal sphere. From the spherical-earth, non-dome, perspective, that could be virtually anywhere in the Universe.
We're not told more and we don't actually need to know. Mormons claim He lives on a planet called Kolob but that's their own fantasy (along with their early belief that the moon was inhabited by men dressed like 19th century Methodists...they even believed the sun was inhabited). Man's fantasy knows no bounds. Why, even the Moslems believe the sun disappears into a puddle every evening, though they have never launched a scientific expedition to find the puddle. Deep down they know it is ridiculous and only religious fanaticism keeps the myth alive.
As the Creator, Yah'shua (Jesus) could move at whatever speed He wanted to (and so travel vast distances), or even dematerialise and rematerialise somewhere in the Cosmos without us observing it. If he could walk through solid walls and doors, as He did on earth, then He most certainly could vanish and reappear anywhere in Creation, as He often does when visiting mortals even today. The mode of departure, after disappearing in the clouds, was purposefully concealed from us. I see no evidence that the shammayim (heavens) are necessarily solid...which they would have to be to fit your version of the Flat Earth model. This could pose major transportation problems between them.
Solid-domers claim (in the main) that the 'dome' is only 200 kilometers away....I presume you mean from the North Pole. Well, I have some potentially good news. According to a recent article (Flat-Earther Plans Homemade, Manned Rocket Launch This Coming Saturday), Flat-Earther 'Mad' Mike Hughes, is planning to launch a home-made steam-driven rocket with him in it in three days' time to have a look at the 'dome', an improvement on various flat-earther attempts made using balloons. So we shall see what he 'discovers'...assuming he makes it back alive or even gets off the ground. However, it would have been a lot simpler if he had planned to depart from New Zealand, Cape Town (in South Africa) or Tierra del Fuego (in South America) for then he wouldn't have so far to go nearly as far, provided he launches at an angle to as to make the shortest distance approach to the dome. (Admittedly there's the problem of ditching in the Southern Ocean but with so many UN ships supposedly patrolling there, one would surely lend a hand). By my calculations, according to Flat Earth predictions, he could have as little as 50 kilometers to go. Even better, he could fly over the alleged mysterious UN fleet of several tens of thousands of ships guarding the approaches to the hypothetical Ice Wall and see if the ice wall actually exists. In fact, he could photograph the ice wall, dome and ships for us all to see.
Of course, if flat-earthers seriously believed what they claim, and as there are now so many of them in this age of scientism and emotional hysteria, they could pitch in economically and make several trips in rockets and so end all the speculation, unless they think UN planes will be waiting for them up (in one of the 24/7 patrols) there to shoot them down. Even better, I am sure someone could slip a ship or a submarine between the UN blockade (goodness knows whose paying for all this, incidentally, and how so many tens of thousands of sailors could keep the secret of their mission, since the founding of the UN in 1945 over 70 years ago, for so long) and mount an expedition to the Ice Wall - Flat-Earthers's claim that the alleged ships are about 10 miles apart). That close up, the dome should be but a stone's throw away.
Better still, with 15+ space missions being launched every year (hyper-expensive over-kill, don't you think, if it's all a fake?), we can follow the progress of these. Space.com gives daily reports for those interested. Or they can wait for the next moon mission, due in a year or two, and see for themselves. The Orion Exploration Mission 1 (EM-1) is scheduled next year (2018) which is going into high lunar orbit. With the much improved photographic tech since the primitive cameras of the 1970's I can predict that there is going to be a lot of egg on the faces of flat-earthers, and that those who continue to deny the overwelming evidence will simply go into greater delusion and the die-hards among them may even eventually become insane.
I know my saying this upsets a lot of flat-earthers. I have been accused to being insensitive and disrespectful. I am sorry, but there are no 'safe spaces' in science. You have to accept the rough-and-tumble of the evidence. The other day I was going through some of my university Biochemistry practical books and had to chuckle when my tutor tore a strip off me for not being scientifically rigorous enough in one or two write-ups of my laboratory work. They showed me no mercy! And they were right and we students took it in our stride. But what they did do was point out where I was wrong and showed me how to do it correctly. That is the only way good science can be done. If I had insisted, for example, that a slime-mold I was observing in an experiment was extra-terrestrial, or a Rosthschild conspiracy, without offering a shred of evidence, I would have deserved being laughed out of the laboratory. So I make no apology for poking fun at flat-earthers to goad them into reality. They need tough-love, rigorous science, not mollycoddling. And they can start by studiyng the history of science so that they can properly appreciate why a spherical earth moving in a vast universe is established fact. They could, for example, read James Evans' excellent book, A History and Practice of Ancient Astronomy. Then flat-earthers would realise, to their shame, that they have regressed scientifically to the dark-ages. Aristotle knew more science than modern flat-earthers. This short extract from his work, On the Heavens (II,14) really makes my point:
"If the Earth were not spherical, eclipses of the Moon would not exhibit segments of the shape which they do. As it is, in its monthly phases the Moon takes on all varieties of shapes - straight-edged, gibbous and concave - but in eclipses the boundary is always convex. Thus, if the eclipses are due to the interposition of the Earth, the shape must be caused by its circumference, and the Earth must be spherical.
"Observation of the stars also shows not only that the Earth is spherical but that it is of no great size, since a small change of position on our part southward or northward visibly alters the circle of the horizon, so that the stars overhead change their position considerably, and we do not see the same stars as we move to the North or to the South. Certain stars are seen in Egypt and the neighbourhood of Cyprus, which are invisible in more northerly lands, and stars which are continuously visible in the northern countries are observed to set in the others. This proves that both the Earth is spherical and that its periphery is not large, for otherwise such a small change of position could not have had such an immediate effect."
That was 2½ thousand years ago, the logic still holds and vast amounts of scientific work has validated it. Sorting out the 'heavens above' proved more challenging so for a very long time the Greeks, and their scientific successors, assumed that the spherical earth was locked inside shere - the Celestial Sphere - though they regarded it for the most part as being considerably further away than the modern flat-earther's mere 200 km. "The heaven is spherical and moves spherically" was the axiom of ancient Greek 'scientific faith' and though wrong was considerably more advanced than flat-earth domism since it accounted for the observabvle movements of heavenly bodies better. We can summarise the Greek view thus:
Flat-earthers make quite an ado about the impossibility of a rotating earth because, they say, we would all be flung off into space. But what about the alleged dome? Is it stationary or rotating? What about all the angels living there? Wouldn't they be squished flat or thrown off and down to earth like the 'falling stars' they are so fond of?
Are the heavenly objects (stars and planets) actually moving or (as some flat-earthers believe) is it just a light show, a dome-shaped TV screen - an illusion?
- 1. The Earth is a sphere (true),
- 2. which lies at the centre of the heaven (false),
- 3. and which is of negligible size in relation to the heaven (true).
- 4. The heaven, too, is spherical (false)
- 5. and rotates daily about an axis that passes through the Earth (false).
The Greeks had the sense to not only realise that the earth was negligible in size in relation to the earth but understood the heavenly bodies were solid and moving in some way - they just didn't know in what way. I'll not even bother to disprove the nonsense that it's all a giant light show - the fact that the planets can be observed in their light and dark phases like the moon (and earth, for that matter), shows they are not mere 'light projections' - they're not 'embedded' in any imaginary solid 'dome'.
Phases of Venus (2004)
Not only is Venus clearly lit by the sun but it is not at a constant distance from us, something impossible in a fixed dome scenario.
Flat-earthism has no (not can it have any) explanation for the retrograde loop motions of the planets (which only the rotating sphertical earth model can explain) any more than the earliest Greek astronmers did who formulated various complicated epicyclical theories to explain this 'strange' behaviour.
The retrograde motion of Mars in the heavenly sphere (2005)
The point is this: only the current scientific view of the universe can explain all of the data, and since flat-earthers refuses to consider all the data, and not just cherry-picked samples (usually of the optical variety...they have a poor understanding of optics) which they twist to fit into their model, their views can never be considered truly scientific and must be assigned the status of religious. For this reason, flat-earthism has more in common with astrology than it does with maths, physics and astronomy. Accordingly, it is really just another form of pseudo-scientific quackery.
In the meantime, Christian/Messianic flat-earthers must remain on the extreme fringes of credibility for their unwillingness to do systematic science, and must answer one day for the bad name they continue to give to Messiah and His Besorah (Gospel). They may, in many cases, be sincere but they are not scientifically honest. Because the scientific evidence is overwhelmingly against them, there can be no compromising with them - they are living a fantasy every bit as great as that of evolutionists. They have fallen for a massive spiritual delusion and so far have succumbed to a very successful demonic Psyop. The Universe is far bigger than the stationary flat-earther greenhouse and as such gives Yahweh far greater glory, far more than their imaginary illuminated Hippodrome in the middle of nowhere. Why? Because the atom is proportionally smaller than man as the universe is proportionally greater than man, proving by scale that man is the pinnacle of Elohim's (God's) creation, as Scripture testifies. In reducing the scale of the universe flat-earthers are proclaiming, without probably realising it, that man is just one level beneath being God Himself. And that is totally unacceptable.
I am, of course, as a believer, prepared to show grace to those flat-earthers who are willing to consider all the scientific evidence. But until they do, I am forced to regard them as a spurious alternative to literal and spiritual emet (truth). Respect must be earned - it is not a right. We live in an age, unlike that of Aristotle, where science has mushroomed and gone global, where every schoolchild learns about it. And whilst there is obviously still far more to learn about our physical cosmos, we cannot afford to take a step back into darkness and overturn that which can be, and has been, clearly established beyond a shadow of a doubt. Flat-earthism is a symptom of our morally-depraved age's loss of emet (truth) and we cannot afford to even so much as glance at it. I address it simply to defend the Besorah (Gospel) and true Science, not because I find anything remotely believable or attractive about it. It's B-rated science-fiction and unbiblical, pure and simple.
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This page was created on 22 November 2017
Last updated on 23 November 2017
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