Rev. David Rives and the Flat Earth

This is a most unusual video from the brilliant and articulate leader of David Rives Ministries. It has a long title: The Lunar Eclipse — Testament to the Spherical Earth, Detriment to the Flat Earth.

It’s difficult to believe, but despite all the scriptural passages to the contrary, which we quoted in The Earth Is Flat!, the rev isn’t a flat-Earther! But as you might expect, he’s confused in other ways.

He quotes Aristotle, who correctly referred to the Earth’s shadow on the Moon as demonstrating that the Earth is a sphere. But he fails to mention that after Aristotle (who died in 322 BC), Eratosthenes accurately calculated the Earth’s circumference, and he died around 195 BC. The work of both men was widely known long before the New Testament was written.

Like the Old Testament, the New Testament is also a flat-Earth book. Somehow the rev fails to mention the numerous scriptural passages (which can be seen in our earlier post) stating quite clearly that the Earth is flat — including these in the New Testament:

Matthew 4:8
Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; [That mountain must be on a flat earth.]

Luke 4:5
And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. [See previous comment.]

Romans 10:18
But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world. [A sphere has no "ends."]

Revelation 7:1
And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth. [No comment.]

For the benefit of his drooling fans, the rev says it’s not true that Columbus set out to disprove the flat Earth. He’s correct that neither Columbus nor anyone else in his time thought the world was flat, but it shouldn’t be necessary to make a point of it — except, perhaps, when addressing a creationist audience, whose knowledge of all things is zero.

While the rev ignores the bible’s numerous flat-Earth passages, he quote-mines the Isaiah reference to “the circle of the earth,” which is always spun incorrectly by creationists, who are desperate to find something accurate on the subject in the bible. That’s the best they’ve got, but alas for the rev and his creationist followers, as we explained in our earlier post, the correct translation of the word Isaiah used is “disk.”

He’s a sly one, that rev! But he’s a cutie, there’s no doubt about it. His boyish charm won’t save him, however. If he’s not a flat-Earther, then he’s not the bible-boy he pretends to be. Instead, he’s a hypocrite, who will dwell eternally in the Lake of Fire!

The video is a full two minutes long — and there’s no commercial at the end. You don’t want to miss this one, so go ahead and click on it. Afterwards, feel free to use the comments as an Intellectual Free Fire Zone.

Copyright © 2014. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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16 responses to “Rev. David Rives and the Flat Earth

  1. Nowhere in the bible is their any indication that its authors knew the Earth was a sphere. All of the science done in the ancient world that determined that the Earth was a sphere and what its circumference was was the work of what the Rev would describe as “pagans” Few people in antiquity were as clueless about the true nature of the Cosmos as the ancient Hebrews and Christians. Basically it was all irrelevant to them. They focused all of their attention on their god and had no interest in the natural world.

  2. Stephen Kennedy says: “Nowhere in the bible is their any indication that its authors knew the Earth was a sphere.”

    Correct. That’s why the rev, instead of his usual “bible, bible, bible” routine, suddenly starts quoting Aristotle. What I can’t figure out is why he bothered with this topic at all.

  3. Charles Deetz ;)

    Science requires, dear Rev, that all of the facts point out the same truth. Since you rely on the bible for science, all your circles are going to be a little smaller than the correct size.

    And you are also stuck supporting evolution dear Rev, when 10,000 kinds (plus or minus some factor just like the Bible’s pi) had 44 centuries to evolve all the millions of kinds we have today.

  4. I have been following David MacMillan’s posts on the Panda’s Thumb. He’s a former YEC who came out 100% for evolution, bypassing OEC and ID in the process. He gave a simple answer to a question that confused me for years – why are todays YECs every bit the “accommodationist” that they accuse OECs, IDers and theistic evolutionists of being? Specifically, in how they accommodate a spherical earth and heliocentrism? David’s answer was that those issues are not part of “historical science.” That especially made sense in light of my recent surprise that Ken Ham pulled the “historical” vs “regular” science nonsense (where’s the cutoff? 2000 years ago? 100 years ago? 5 minutes ago?). Previously I had thought that tactic was exclusive to ID, to placate the big tent and weasel our of stating their own “what happened when” (which they do on rare occasions, usually conceding the whole timeline, and sometimes even common descent).

    Keep in mind that a hard-line Biblical Literalist, regardless of which interpretation he finds “feels good,” be it geocentric YEC, heliocentric day- age, etc. etc., will also be an Omphalist. Meaning that he won’t care whether any independent evidence supports his conclusion. He believes because God told him. End of story. That may describe most creationists in Darwin’s time, and even decades later. But in the 20th century creationism “evolved” into full-blown pseudoscience, with one “lineage” culminating into the “central pseudoscience” of ID (which “explains” everything, thus explains nothing). Sure, most of todays evolution-deniers on the street who parrot the “‘weakness’ of evolution” nonsense don’t realize they’re playing a “heads I win, tails you lose” game. But at least some of the anti-evolution activists who exploit them do.

  5. SC is a bit baffled: “What I can’t figure out is why he bothered with this topic at all.”
    Aristoteles, with Plato, is sometimes considered a proto-christian.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aristotle#Influence_on_Western_Christian_theologians

    “These thinkers blended Aristotelian philosophy with Christianity.
    We mainly have to thank Thomas of Aquino for this. If you are interested in a modern example consult the blog of Edward Feser.
    So the line of thinking of the Good Reverend goes probably somewhat like this:

    - The Bible is always right.
    - The Bible says the Earth was a sphere.
    - Aristoteles already knew that the Earth was a sphere too.
    - Aristoteles had a huge impact on christian thinking and hence is a credible source.
    - Aristoteles confirms scientifically that the Bible is right again.

    I am not sure if the targeted audience buys this, mainly because of lack of logical skills. Remember: I have always said that the Good Reverend is a genius. So we should not by any means assume the Good Reverend is uncapable of sophisticated thinking; that only applies to his audience. I’m afraid my hero has fallen into the trap of assuming that his audience can handle more than anything that surpasses the level of a not too smart 10 years old kid.

  6. Even if they make the case the Bible has a spherical Earth, what do they do about the sky rolling up like a piece of sheet metal in Revelation?

  7. LinuxgaI, In Revelation they also have the stars falling from the heavens and landing on the Earth. Since the Sun, a typical star, is 330,000 times as massive as the Earth, the authors of the New Testament clearly had no idea what a star was which is really strange when you consider that they were supposedly inspired by an all knowing deity.

    Frank j, I think that the reason that YECs like Ken Ham compromise on what the bible says about the shape of the Earth and geocentrism is fairly simple. For some reason they believe that claiming that the Earth is flat and the Sun orbits the Earth would make them look ridiculous, but somehow do not see that their claim that the Universe is only 6,000 years old and humans lived with dinosaurs does not make them appear equally as ridiculous.

  8. Richard Bond

    I quoted Matthew 4:8 and Luke 4:5 against a couple of Jehovah’s [sic] Witnesses recently. One responded by pointing out that television allows us to see all around the Earth. I was so flabbergasted that I wasted my reply by deriding the idea of Jesus with television, instead of asking why, in that case, he needed a mountain.

  9. Richard Bond relates how doorstep JW’s left him

    so flabbergasted that I wasted my reply by deriding the idea of Jesus with television, instead of asking why, in that case, he needed a mountain.

    Ancient Judea was a notorious black-spot for poor reception: Jesus needed a mountain for his TV aerial.

  10. Obviously, the mountain was on the Moon.

    But, more seriously, in the story of Joseph in Egypt, there was a drought, and people came from all the nations of the world to get grain from the supplies that Joseph had stored up. Everyone recognizes that this does not include people from Tasmania and the Andes. So, too, in the story of Solomon, where he receives recognition world-wide.

  11. Stephen Kennedy: “For some reason they believe that claiming that the Earth is flat and the Sun orbits the Earth would make them look ridiculous…

    Yes, but few of those people could explain why, they just trust the pictures. MacMillan also pointed out the irony is that it’s easier to falsify a young earth than geocentrism. Actually 20-30% of people do think the sun revolves around the earth. But that’s more due to extreme science literacy, and probably correlates only slightly with evolution denial, and probably negatively with anti-evolution activism (meaning fewer % geocentrists among activists like Ham, Rives, Discoveroids, than among nonscientists who have no problem with evolution). After all, the activists give a lot more thought to the science than a random person-on-the-street. If only to learn how to better misrepresent it.

  12. @Stephen Kennedy
    compromise on what the bible says about the shape of the Earth and geocentrism
    I suggest that nobody worries (anymore) about such matters. While it is troublesome to think about being physically related to monkeys.
    (Especially so because it is so evidently true.) Even though Darwin made a point of not writing about that relationship, from the beginning that became the image of evolution. For how many people does “evolution” mean “humans descended from monkeys”? On the “sophisticated” end of the spectrum, the “Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism” pivots on the issue that “humans have monkey brains”.

  13. Alan Feuerbacher

    For more than 20 years I’ve pointed out that the claims of Jehovah’s Witnesses about the Bible teaching a spherical earth — identical to Rives’ take — are wrong, because they ignore the fact that the Hebrew word for “circle” in Isaiah 40:22 literally means “circle”, and that if the author of Isaiah meant “sphere”, there’s a perfectly adequate Hebrew word meaning “ball”. Apologists generally try to confuse things by saying “circle” -> “round” and the earth is round, so voila! The Bible is scientifically correct! I often make fun of them by challenging them to justify the Bible’s statements about a pizza-pie shaped earth. They never respond.

    A small number of 19th-century Bible commentators claimed that the Hebrew word for “circle” could also mean “ball”, but the fact that they always refer to Isaiah 40:22 as an example is just self-referential and therefore valueless. There are no examples of the Hebrew “circle” meaning other than “circle”, not in the Old Testament or in any other ancient Hebrew literature.

    It’s kind of entertaining watching Bible apologists squirm about this when challenged.

  14. The Hebrew word translated as “circle” in Isaiah is “chug”.

    BDB (that is, Brown, Driver and Briggs, Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament) gives two other instances of the word, in Job 22:14 and Proverbs 8:27, one use of a related verb in Job 26:10, and refer to a similar noun meaning “compass” in Isaiah 44:13.

    The Septuagint uses the Greek word “guros” in Isaiah 40:22, which Lidell and Scott says means “ring” or “circle”. (The ordinary Greek word for “circle” is “kuklos”.)

    The Vulgate uses the word “gyrus”, which the Oxford Latin Dictionary says means “circle” (four different senses).

    Luther used the word “creis” (in modern German spelling, “Kreis”), that is, “circle”.

  15. I agree circle is a 2-d shape, the apparent shape of the earth by casual observation. I mean lets face it, they didn’t know the earth was a sphere in orbit around the sun along with the other planets.
    If the Rev. wants to have that liberal of an interpretation one could easily see Genesis is as advocating abiogensis from clay templates for the chiral molecules necessary for living systems (Adam after all means “earth”) along with a sophomoric pre-scientific evolutionary progression. Everything in Genesis is there to have a satisfactory existence as a theistic evolutionist.

  16. @AF: “A small number of 19th-century Bible commentators claimed that the Hebrew word for “circle” could also mean “ball”, ”
    The idea is older. The Statenvertaling is from the 17th Century

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statenvertaling

    and this is what we read:

    http://www.online-bijbel.nl/bijbelboek/Jesaja/40/

    “Hij is het, Die daar zit boven den kloot der aarde”
    “Kloot” is Dutch for ball. These days it is mainly used for the ball in a scrotum.