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Devotionals by Paul Taylor

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Did the Ancients Believe the Earth Was Flat?

Isaiah 40:22a

“It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth,”


It is often supposed that ancient people believed the Earth was flat. This conjecture – which we can show to be false – is used to criticize the truth of the Bible, or to suggest that the Bible teaches a flat Earth. 


We can, however, challenge the assumption that ancient people believed in a flat earth. They did not. For example, in the third century BC, a man named Eratosthenes actually calculated the circumference of the Earth. It was already known that the Sun was directly overhead at noon at the Midsummer Solstice in the Egyptian city Syene. So Eratosthenes traveled north to Alexandra – a distance of 5,000 stadia, which had been repeatedly measured by frequent surveys. He measured the angle of the Sun’s rays in Alexandria to be 7°. This is about a fiftieth of a whole circle (360°), so he calculated the circumference of the Earth to be 250,000 stadia, which is 40,000 km or 25,000 miles. This is remarkably close to modern calculations. But the only reason he could do the calculation was because he knew the Earth to be spherical and lived in a society that believed the Earth to be spherical; otherwise, his famous calculation would not have occurred to him.


So when Isaiah says, “It is [God] who sits above the circle of the earth”, the Hebrew word translated “circle” is best translated as sphere. The Bible, as always, has the right of it.


Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for showing us again that Your word is always true. Amen.


Ref: Encyclopaedia Britannica, < >, accessed 7/31/2018. Image: CC BY-SA 4.0. 



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About Creation Moments

Founded in 1963, Creation Moments remains committed to building up the Church and enlightening the world to the wonder of God's creation. For nearly three decades, this ministry's radio broadcast has proclaimed the truth of biblical creation throughout the world and has provided irrefutable evidence that the Bible can be trusted from the very first verse to the last. In addition to its radio outreach, Creation Moments offers hundreds of free resources on the Bible and science at its website:

About Paul Taylor

Paul Taylor, the on-air voice of Creation Moments, was born in Ashton-under-Lyne near Manchester in the North of England. After obtaining a degree in Chemistry and a teaching certificate from the University of Nottingham, he began an 18-year-long career as a high school science teacher. Outside of work, he was involved in his church, preaching, teaching and leading worship, as well as writing worship songs. In 2005, he joined Answers in Genesis and worked in their UK office for six years. He then moved to the United States in 2011 to work for Creation Today, in Pensacola, Florida. Today, he is Director of the Mount St. Helens Creation Center in Silverlake, Washington. From this base, he continues to travel around the United States, speaking on creation, Genesis and apologetics. Paul now writes scripts for the Creation Moments radio program and is host of the broadcast as well. Paul is available to speak at churches, conferences and events. For more information, contact Creation Moments at 1-800-422-4253.

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