You can find many skeptics and atheists claiming that the Bible depicts Earth as being flat. They are usually citing Revelations 7:1, which says, “Then I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth.” They also frequently point to Psalms 75:3, in which our God holds “the pillars” of the earth. In fact, these people have used a lot of Scriptural references to prove that the Bible says the earth is flat. These chapters and verses include Deuteronomy 13:7, Psalms 48:10, Proverbs 30:4, and even Job 28:24. Critics have pointed out that the Bible mentions the “ends” of the earth, meaning that the earth is not an oblate spheroid, as science suggests. Does this mean that the Bible goes against science? Is it really true that the Bible teaches us that the earth is flat?
Giving the Right Answer
Christians should always have an answer to anyone who asks you to justify the hope you have (1 Peter 3:15). It is very important that we read the Bible to understand it, and there are crucial pointers that we must remember when reading or understanding the Bible. However, we must consider factors like grammar, history, original language, culture, the analogy of faith, and context. So what does the Bible say about earth, specifically regarding its shape?
In Revelation 7:1, which mentions the “four corners of the earth”, the Apostle John is actually using idiomatic language. The true meaning of the “four corners of the earth” is every distant location. It is common for Bible authors to use different figures of speech. For example, when we speak of athletes coming from the four corners of the world to join the Olympics, it means that athletes are coming from all over the world, not a comment on the planet’s shape. It is also important to note that the Book of Revelation uses a lot of symbolic language and non-literal descriptions. This rule can also be applied in verses where the “ends of the earth” are referenced, such as Deuteronomy 13:7, Psalms 48:10, Proverbs 30:4, and Job 28:24.
Meanwhile, in Psalms 75:3, the word “pillars” is mentioned. The Bible is composed of different forms of literature, and the Book of Psalms is considered to be poetry by many readers. When the Bible refers to earth’s “pillars,” it is talking about a metaphorical description, not a literal pillar. It means that God guarantees the stability of the earth, since He was the one who constructed it. The point is not that the earth is flat, but that it belongs to the Creator.
The Bible contains truth, since it is inspired by God, so it is wrong to say that the Bible and Science are insoluble. Science undergoes paradigm shifts when a fundamental change in approach or assumption occurs, but the Bible is absolute. Always remember that heaven and earth will pass away, but the Words of our Lord will never fade (Matthew 24:35).
Earth is created for the glory of God. God says in Isaiah 43:6-7 (NLT):
“I will say to the north and south, ‘Bring my sons and daughters back to Israelfrom the distant corners of the earth.
Bring all who claim me as their God, for I have made them for my glory. It was I who created them.’
Remember that all things were made for the glory of God, including planet earth. Earth was supposed to be beautiful, until those first human beings made a sinful choice. Because of the Fall, all of creation has been groaning in the pains of childbirth, right up to the present times (Romans 8:22). As Christians, we need to be good stewards of God’s creation, including our planet. Let us learn to love the earth by multiplying the good news and spreading the Gospel of Christ. By multiplying Christians, we are also multiplying those people who are going to treasure this planet and other living creatures. This is because Christians acknowledge that by Christ, all things were created, in heaven and on earth, both visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together (Colossians 1:16-17). Christians must learn how to love and cherish God’s gifts, and earth is one of God’s greatest gifts to us.