…it’s a sphere.
Or, if we’re being precise, Earth is an oblate spheroid.
I’m saying this because I’m pretty sick and tired of hearing Christians cite Isaiah 40:22 as “proof” that the Bible contains advanced scientific knowledge that was unknown to the people of the time.
Here’s what the verse actually says:
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. (KJV)
The word is “circle.” It’s the same in every translation. Extra-biblical evidence suggests that the people in that region and of that time believed Earth was a flat circular plate, covered by a dome (or “firmament”). This verse is consistent with that belief.
If god were really interested in showing that the people to whom he purportedly “revealed his truth” possessed advanced knowledge of the universe, he could have easily used the word “sphere” or “ball.” For chrissake, the same fucking book has a perfectly acceptable word for this shape (Isaiah 22:18), and yet the word used to describe the shape of the earth is “circle.”
And if god really wanted to impress unbelievers and skeptics like me, he’d have led Isaiah to write, “he that sitteth upon the oblate spheroid of the earth.” That would have been much more convincing.
Instead we get verses like this:
The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose. (Ecclesiastes 1:5 KJV)
Apparently, the Hebrew sky god wants us to know that the sun revolves around the earth. And then rushes back to where it started at the end of the day. Somebody should inform those misguided Galileans.
And then there’s this jewel:
And he made a molten sea, ten cubits from the one brim to the other: it was round all about, and his height was five cubits: and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about. (1 Kings 7:23 KJV)
Anyone who took high school Geometry, follow along.
A thirty-cubit circumference divided by a ten-cubit diameter. That would make π equal to 3.
The Hebrew sky god would like you to know that π is exactly 3. So you can throw away your geometry textbook.
What’s embarrassing is that the Egyptians, at the time this was written, had already calculated π to several digits for at least the last hundred years.
I can hear internet apologists right now saying, “Come on, Marc. That’s pretty close. What’s a difference of a few fractions of a cubit, anyway?”
A cubit referred to several different measurements, but they were all pretty close to half a meter. Even using the most generous measurement of a cubit, the Arabic nil cubit of about 30 cm, the dimensions were still off by almost a half meter.
And I won’t even go into what’s wrong with the creation account. Or Noah’s flood.
The bible doesn’t contain any ahead-of-its time wisdom or advanced knowledge of any kind. Instead, it’s completely wrong in the details, and so vague in the generalities that it’s completely useless.
So if you’re one of these Christians who thinks you can prove the divine nature of the bible by finding science in it, I’ll warn you. You’re in for a very long and ultimately fruitless search.