Re: joshua

From: Michael Roberts (
Date: Wed Dec 11 2002 - 14:33:00 EST

  • Next message: "Re: Joshua's Long Day"

    I looked up your fine article and cant understand the reference to Luke 17,
    34-6. Is that a typo asit has no reference to the earth flat or otherwise.
    I suspect that Paul and Luke were most probably not flat-earthers , they had
    too much greek education. The rest I suspect were flat earthers.

    The interesting person is what Jesus thought. I dont think itmatters which
    he held as he came to show us the way to heaven not how the heavens go.

    We are back to a carol by Luther which George M put on the list last year.

             "Ach Herr, du Schoepfer aller Ding,
             wie bist du worden so gering,
             dass du da liegst auf duerrem Gras,
             davon ein Rind und Esel ass?"

             "Ah Lord, the maker of us all
             how hast thou grown so poor and small,
             that there thou liest on withered grass,
             the supper of the ox and ass?'

    What does it mean for Jesus to take our flesh?


    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Robert Schneider" <>
    To: "Michael Roberts" <>; <>;
    <>; "Jonathan Clarke" <>
    Sent: Wednesday, December 11, 2002 7:29 AM
    Subject: Re: joshua

    > Michael Roberts writes:
    > >
    > > Was Jesus a flat-earther?
    > > This is a serious question and what does it mean if we answer Yes?
    > > What about NT writers? How many of them were flat earthers?
    > > Or even OT writers?
    > >
    > As I argued in my PSCF article, "Does the Bible Teach a Spherical Earth?"
    > (Sept. 2001, p. 159-169),,
    > claims that Isa.40:22a and Job 26:7,10 establish that the Bible teaches
    > the earth is spherical are groundless. The Hebr. "chugh," which Morris
    > other YEC's wrongly assert "literally means 'a sphere'," literally means
    > circle drawn with a compass" (as William Blake understood), and never
    > or implies, "a sphere." There is no other place in the OT texts, in my
    > view, upon which one can validly claim that the biblical writer understood
    > that the earth is spherical. The term "flat earth" has such a negative
    > resonance that I would avoid using it to describe what the OT writers
    > understood the earth to be. The Hebr. "eretz" means "the earth" as
    > distinguished from "the heavens"; "the dry land" as opposed to "the deep";
    > "the ground upon which people stand"; and other meanings. It would be
    > better to say that the biblical writers understood the earth to be a
    > circular mass resting upon the deep and overarched by the firmament. This
    > cosmological model, which they shared with other near-eastern peoples,
    > a lot of sense for their day, but it is not ours. Like all cosmological
    > models it was provisionally true, and we should honor it as such, neither
    > explain it away with wrong-headed interpretations such as Morris' nor
    > dismiss it as "pre-scientific" or worse. However the OT writers
    > conceptualized the world, their focus was upon the Creator that brought it
    > into being. They were proclaiming theological, not scientific truth.
    > For the same reason, I would not use the "flat-earther" designation in the
    > case of Jesus. A quick perusal of my concordance shows that in several
    > instances the evangelists report Jesus as referring to "heaven and earth"
    > the way reminiscent of the OT (i.e., as a merism meaning "the entire
    > creation"), and distinguishing "heaven" from "earth" as in "may your will
    > done on earth as it is in heaven." Nowhere, pace our YEC colleagues on
    > list and elsewhere, do I find Jesus pronouncing on scientific matters. I
    > would infer that Jesus shared the common cosmological conception of his
    > contemporaries.
    > So also the other writers: despite the fact that the notion of a spherical
    > earth has become established in Greek cosmology by the first century AD, I
    > find no allusion to it in the other NT writings; the OT cosmology appears
    > be preserved in 2 Peter 3:5-6 (a very late document in the canon), and
    > are references to "the ends of the earth" (Acts. 1:8), and "the four
    > of the earth" (Rev. 7:1)--not to be taken literally, I think, yet not
    > suggestive of a spherical earth. The three-storey cosmology of the
    > above, the earth beneath, and the waters under the earth of Exod. 20:4
    > appears (Rev. 5:3). Whether Christians should continue to hold to the OT
    > cosmological model or accept the Greek model of a spherical cosmos only
    > becomes an issue three centuries later, as Augustine in _De genesi ad
    > litteram_ attests.
    > Back to Jesus. What does it mean if we answer "Yes" that Jesus did not
    > believe the earth was spherical? Does it make Jesus a "liar," as a
    > fundamentalist student of mine once said in response to my comments? No,
    > explained to him, it illustrates what the Church understands the
    > of Christ to entail. We believe with the author of Hebrews, that Christ
    > in every respect like us, even to being tempted, except that he did not
    > As the Calcedonian formulary affirms, Jesus shared our human nature
    > completely. That means he was not the Gnostic God walking around in a
    > it affirms that in emptying himself of divine power (Phil. 2:5-11), Christ
    > as the human Jesus not the divine Logos knew as his fellow-countrymen
    > He shared our human limitations and that means that his human knowledge
    > no greater than those he read the Scriptures with, and that is where he
    > his cosmology.
    > A "Yes" answer certainly does not mean that, therefore, the Bible is not
    > "true."
    > Now, Michael, you raise an interesting question in regard to the "Sun,
    > thou still" episode in Joshua: are we to interpret this event through the
    > lens of our present knowledge about the earth and the sun, and their
    > relationship? But, I'll leave that one to someone else, at least for now.
    > Peace on earth!
    > Bob Schneider

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