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Did Christianity used to teach the earth was the center of the universe and flat?

26 Answers

  • 9 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Not really. The Church has almost always back responsible science.

    + Heliocentric Cosmology +

    Nicolaus Copernicus (1473–1543), a Catholic clergyman and scientist theorized a comprehensive heliocentric cosmology, which placed the Sun at the fixed center of the universe instead of the Earth (which, by the way, was wrong). This theory was widely accepted as a legitimate theory in the scientific world of the time. Tools like telescopes had not yet been invented to help prove the theory.

    Galileo (1564–1642) improved the telescope and was able to record astronomical observations that supported but did not prove Copernicus. In 1611, he made a triumphant visit to Rome, where Pope Paul V assured him of his support and good will.

    Galileo felt that he had to convince the world that heliocentricism was true without further evidence. If he had just stated that Copernicanism was a hypothesis, one superior to the Ptolemiaic (geocentric) system, until further proof could be found (as the scientific method requires) then he would not have gotten into trouble.

    Instead Galileo said that the scientific community and the Church either had to accept Copernicanism as a fact (even though it had not been proved) and reinterpret Scripture accordingly; or they had to condemn it. He allowed no middle room. It was Galileo's pride and arrogance that got him into trouble, not his science.

    By the way, the heliocentric theory that claimed the sun was the fixed center of the universe instead of the Earth, was also incorrect. The sun is the center of the solar system but not the universe and the sun itself moves, it is not fixed.

    The Church quickly got over Galileo's excesses. Pope Benedict XIV granted an imprimatur (an official approval) to the first edition of the Complete Works of Galileo in 1741.

    “[Galileo] declared explicitly that the two truths, of faith and of science, can never contradict each other, 'Sacred Scripture and the natural world proceeding equally from the divine Word, the first as dictated by the Holy Spirit, the second as a very faithful executor of the commands of God', as he wrote in his letter to Father Benedetto Castelli on 21 December 1613. The Second Vatican Council says the same thing, even adopting similar language in its teaching: 'Methodical research, in all realms of knowledge, if it respects... moral norms, will never be genuinely opposed to faith: the reality of the world and of faith have their origin in the same God' (Gaudium et Spes, 36). Galileo sensed in his scientific research the presence of the Creator who, stirring in the depths of his spirit, stimulated him, anticipating and assisting his intuitions”: John Paul II, Address to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences (10 November 1979): Insegnamenti, II, 2 (1979), 1111-1112. From the Vatican website:

    For more information, see:



    + Galileo, Science, and the Church (1992) by Jerome J. Langford

    + The Devil’s Delusion: Atheism and its Scientific Pretensions (2009) by David Berlinski

    + Seven Lies About Catholic History (2010) by Diane Moczar

    + The Flat Earth Myth +

    The myth of that the Catholic Church taught that the earth was flat and this hindered Science is well established but false.

    Enemies of the Church who wish to ridicule her other teachings often quote this myth.

    This myth is not even very old. Washington Irving (1783-1859) wrote novels of historical fiction but claimed they were real history. In 1828, Irving wronte a "history was of Christopher Columbus who as a "simple mariner" appeared before a group of Catholic inquisitors and theologians, all of whom believed, according to Irving, that the earth was flat "like a plate." It is true that there was a meeting at Salamanca in 1491, but Irving's version of it was completely fictional.

    The truth is that practically no one during the Middle Ages believed the world was flat.

    Here are a couple of articles on the subject:

    • The Flat Earth Myth: The real myth is the idea that anyone ever believed in a flat earth by Thomas E. Woods, Jr.

    • The Myth of the Flat Earth: Summary by Jeffrey Burton Russell for the American Scientific Affiliation Conference, August 4, 1997 at Westmont College

    And Mr Russell's book: Inventing the Flat Earth: Columbus and Modern Historians by Jeffrey Burton Russell

    With love in Christ.

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  • 9 years ago

    These concepts are not taught in the Bible. Though there was a period when the Catholic church made the mistake of adopting the pagan Aristotle view rather than rely on the scriptures (as well as ignoring the Christian Copernican view).

    Most claims that the Bible teaches these things are based on irrationally reading these concepts into verse without giving any consideration of the obvious context.

    For example, the Psalmist's uses the same word translated as "fixed" when referring to the earth, to also refer to himself. No rational person would assume that the Psalmist was rooted the the ground where he was standing. A more rational interpretation would be that the earth is 'established'.

    The word translated as "circle" in Isaiah can mean almost any round object except a flat circle. It encompasses the idea of a container. It is used in Hebrew literature of bows, and bowls, and spherical objects (though it would be going too far to assume that it necessarily claims the earth to be a sphere).

    Some people derive the idea that the earth is flat from Biblical visions and prophesies - things which are intentionally designed to be symbolic representations of spiritual truths. Again, one has to be irrationally biased against the scriptures to interpret these as scientific claims.

    Consider the vision of Matthew 4:8 to Jesus from satan. No Jew would have been stupid enough to think they could have seen all the way to Rome from any mountain in Israel - no matter how high. So to infer from this that the Bible claims the earth to be flat is a nonsense.

    Neither does the Bible claim the earth to be the center of the universe - though humanity is considered to be the center of God's attention.

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  • Walter
    Lv 4
    9 years ago

    I think we misinterpreted what was actually said. In other words I don't think God ever said that the earth was flat. It's obviously that the earth isn't flat. Therefore he never said it because he can't lie. A lot of people try to interpret what was actually said and fail miserably.

    @SF000Lover: Isaiah 11:12- FOUR CORNERS OF THE EARTH. This is talking about North, south, east and west. You and science misinterpreted what it really meant.

    Revelations 7:1- angels standing on four corners of the earth. In other words there will be angels standing in the North, south, east, and west

    Job 38:13- ends of the earth. I think this is referring to outer space. Earths atmosphere is pretty much the end of it. Travel any further and you're not on earth anymore.

    I think the centre of the earth is where life began. Where God created the first human being Adam. Or maybe the king was referring to the centre of there area that he was looking at.

    Matthew 4:8. "Obviously, this would be impossible unless the earth is flat." Okay we're talking about a former angel and the son of God. How can this be impossible for them?

    Revelation 1:7. "Obviously, this would be impossible unless the earth were flat." Not necessarily. I think this implies that God is massive. Then again it said every eye shall see him. It didn't say every eye shall see him at the same time. This could mean that everyone will get a chance to see him but probably individually. Like one continent at a time.

    @Vegeta: We don't teach that because we don't know how old the earth is. The bible doesn't state it's age therefore we have no reason to teach something that might not be true.

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  • Meghan
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Last picture I saw the earth was round although the force of the rotation of the earth technically makes it an oval. The earth isn't even the center of out solar system so I would say its doubtful that it is the center of the universe. If anything the sun is. And no I will not persecute you for these questions.

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  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    Some Christians preached that the earth was the center of the solar system but actually any learned christian would have known that it wasn't flat---the ancient Greeks knew full well that the earth was a sphere, long before Jesus ever walked the earth.

    Perhaps the illiterate Christians of medieval times believed in a flat earth, but these people were incredibly ignorant of the world. If they even left their village, they wouldn't know how to get back.

    As for the Bible, this was written by 14th century BC Bronze Age goat herders---I doubt they knew much about anything of the natural world except their little patch of desert.

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  • 9 years ago

    Not flat. More than 200 years before Christianity existed it was known to be round and no matter what the peasants imagined, educated peole knew it was round.

    It is true that before about 700 AD two theologians claimed the Earth was flat on Scriptural grounds but the majority of the church ignored them.

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  • 9 years ago

    Well, If God created Earth and men in his own image, then Earth and its devout inhabitants must be the center of everything,

    Source(s): Christian argument during Galileo and Copernicus era.
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  • 9 years ago

    it was never a christian teaching that the earth was flat. I'm sure, however, that there were christians who thought it was. same with the center of the universe.

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  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    Wait...the Earth isn't flat...and it's not the center of the universe...yeah right. Next you're gonna be telling me that unicorns don't exist. Nice try!

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  • 9 years ago

    Yes on both counts and here is why and how they came to these stupid conclusions and tried to pass it off as Science.

    Galileo Galilei, was jailed for showing the earth revolves around the sun and that other planets had moons that revolved around those planets. The bible taught the church who in turn taught christians that everything must revolve around the earth and that the world was flat because of the following statements.

    Chronicles 16:30: -- He has fixed the earth firm, immovable.

    Psalm 93:1: -- Thou hast fixed the earth immovable and firm

    Psalm 96:10: -- Thou has fixed the earth firm, immovable

    Psalm 104:5: -- Thou didst fix the earth on its foundation so that it never can be shaken.

    Isaiah 45:18: -- who made the earth and fashioned it, and himself fixed it fast

    Samuel 2:8, 10 -- The foundations of the earth are the LORD's; upon them he has set the world...the LORD will judge the ends of the earth.

    The above is what gods word told the christians that the world was fixed and since the sky appeared to move the only conclusion is if the earth is fixed and everything else is moving then we are the center of the universe.

    Science -- earth's rotation is 1000+ miles per hour and is rotating around the sun at just over 67,000 miles per hour. Approximately

    Science -- earth quakes the earth can be shaken!! the earth is not fixed and not immovable!!!! ;-)


    Right here some christians try to say that earth is not flat but a circle is flat and they had games at this time that involved balls. If the bible is the word of god then you would think god would be intelligent enough to express this in the bible but god does not, little god doesn’t even know the shape of his own creation...LOL

    Isaiah 11:12 -- He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers.

    He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in

    Science -- a circle is flat of course and the context of canopy and tent only re-inforce the fact that the idiot believe the world to be flat.

    Isaiah 11:12 -- FOUR CORNERS OF THE EARTH.

    Science -- must be a rectangle or square to have four corners i.e. Flat Earth

    Revelation 7:1 -- angels standing on FOUR CORNERS OF THE EARTH (KJV)

    Science -- must be a rectangle or square to have four corners i.e. Flat Earth

    Job 38:13 -- ENDS OF THE EARTH

    Science -- the earth is implied to be flat i.e. it had ends but sphere can have no ends

    Jeremiah 16:19 -- ENDS OF THE EARTH

    Science -- the earth is implied to be flat i.e. it had ends but sphere can have no ends

    Daniel 4:11 -- ENDS OF ALL THE EARTH:

    Science -- the earth is implied to be flat i.e. it had ends but sphere can have no ends

    Daniel 4:10-11 -- 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."

    Science -- this is impossible on a spherical earth, yet again they imply a flat earth

    Matthew 4:8 -- Once again, the devil took him to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in their glory.

    Science -- Obviously, this would be impossible unless the earth were flat.

    Revelation 1:7: -- Behold, he is coming with the clouds! Every eye shall see him

    Science -- Obviously, this would be impossible unless the earth were flat.

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