Does the Bible teach that the earth is flat?

Question: The Earth also MUST be flat according to the bible. The essential flatness of the earth's surface is required by verses like Daniel 4:10-11. In Daniel, the king "saw a tree of great height at the centre of the earth...reaching with its top to the sky and visible to the earth's farthest bounds." If the earth were flat, a sufficiently tall tree would be visible to "the earth's farthest bounds," but this is impossible on a spherical earth. Likewise, in describing the temptation of Jesus by Satan, Matthew 4:8 says, "Once again, the devil took him to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in their glory." Obviously, this would be possible only if the earth were flat. The same is true of Revelation 1:7: "Behold, he is coming with the clouds! Every eye shall see him..."

Response: In Daniel 4:10-11, we have Daniel in the midst of a dream. And for that matter, it's a dream that uses symbolism. There is no more of a need to conclude that Daniel 4:10-11 is claiming that the earth is flat than there is to conclude that Daniel 4:10-11 is claiming that there really is a tree that is several miles tall. It's a vision, a dream, and one that uses symbols. It is not the basis for drawing conclusions about physical science.

As for the temptation of Jesus by Satan: Just for the sake of argument, consider such a meeting, if only for a moment: The Son of God meets Satan. Is there anything about this meeting that wouldn't involve the supernatural? Is this really the best context from which to speculate about the Bible's view of the natural world?

Even a mortal person, bound by the laws of nature, can produce a flat two-dimensional map of the world on a letter-size piece of paper. Surely a supernatural being who is trying to tempt the Son of God could also find a way to present the kingdoms of the world.

And, as for the every-eye-shall-see-him verse, how does that "teach" a "flat earth?" The earth is indeed spherical in shape but even so, people all over the world see the sun every day. People in China might not be able to view the sun at the exact same moment as someone in England, but the people in China and England are indeed viewing the very same sun.

In fact, in this age of television and the Internet, people all over the world can witness the same events, simultaneously.

Please also see Does Matthew 4:8 teach a flat earth?

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