Thursday, October 28, 2010

Journey to the center of the flat earth

According to Edski:

Discussion of the location of hell is not a hot topic these days. Most educated Christians have abandoned offering even the slightest defense of hell's classic locale (beneath the earth) even though the truth of such a belief appears to have been assumed by most people in the past, from Old Testament times (Sheol) to Inter-Testamental times, to New Testament times (Hades, Tartarus).

So it appears that after more than two thousand years, a majority of religious believers have chosen to reinterpret the Bible, in effect, to correct its authors, as well as theologians and evangelists of the past, without of course rewriting the Bible, except in their own minds.


Beginning with some "King James Only" inerrantists, but reaching backwards in time to famed Commentators on the Bible, including Wesley and Calvin

John Gill 1697 – 1771
Though they dig into hell, thence shall mine hand take them, . . .the utmost recesses of the earth, the very centre of it. [John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible, Amos 9:2]

John Calvin 1509–1564
Hence he says, If they dig for themselves passages to hell, that is, to the center of the earth. [Commentary on the Prophet Amos, Amos 9:2]

Let’s briefly examine two of Edski’s examples. Compare his half-quotes with full quotes and see what is missing:


shaul, is here put for the center; thence shall my hand draw them forth; and then, If they ascend to heaven, thence I will draw them down, saith the Lord; If they hide themselves in deserts, if they flee to the top of Carmel, I will trace them out: in short, they shall find no corner either in heaven, or on the earth, or in the sea, where they can be hid from my sight. There is no need here to understand by heavens high citadels, as the Chaldean paraphraser explains it: it is a frigid paraphrase. But the Prophet speaks in an hyperbolical language of the center of the earth, of the heavens, and of the deep of the sea; as though he had said, “Should all the elements open themselves for hiding-places, yet the Israelites shall in vain try to escape, for I will follow them when sunk in the depth of the sea, I will draw them down from heaven itself; there shall, in a word, be no hiding-place for them either above or below.”

Notice Calvin says that Amos is using hyperbolic imagery. So Calvin doesn’t literally situate hell under the earth.

Was Edski simply lying about Calvin’s statement, or is Edski really that illiterate?

Moving along:


That is, they that endeavour to make their escape from their enemies, though they seek for places of the greatest secrecy and privacy; not hell, the place of the damned; nor the grave, the repository of the dead; neither of which they chose to he in, but rather sought to escape them; but the deepest and darkest caverns, the utmost recesses of the earth, the very centre of it; which, could they get into, would not secure them from the power and providence of God, and from their enemies in pursuit of them, by his permission

Notice that Gill specifically denies the subterranean setting of hell. He sets up a contrast between hell, on the one hand, and their actual escape-route–which he identifies as the “caverns” or “recesses” in the “center” of the earth.

Observe the syntax: “not hell…but caverns, utmost recesses,” &c.

Once again, is Edski simply lying about Gill, or is he really that illiterate?

On a final point: does the “center of the earth” suggest a flat earth or a spherical earth? Remember, this doesn’t refer to the surface of the earth (e.g. the center of a disk). Rather, this allegedly has reference to the nether regions of the earth. So if we’re going to play along with the image of a subterranean center, then doesn’t that suggest an inner core within a spherical object?

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