Flat Earth Myth - Part 2


A Sphere or a Flat Disk ?

In regards to the images on the right it has been argued that Jesus was not sitting on a spherical globe, but rather a flat round disk.

Eliza's  Objection:

Honestly, John, this image looks a WHOLE LOT like the still, flat-earth images, and not anything like the racing whirling sphere (which we all know illustrated in stop-motion). This picture looks like a nice circular flat plate. A still one, at that.

So I don't think it will support the common ball-earth theory. There is Catholic art to support ball-earth. But this image belongs to the flat-earth side, IMO.

DTBride Responds:

A Sphere Not a flat Disk

Jesus is dressed in purple garments. Purple dye was very expensive in ancient times.  Only royalty were allowed to wear it.  Thus, the artist was clearly stating that his was an image of Christ, the King of the World, which was represented by Planet Earth.  A person cannot sit on the edge of a disk as it is balanced in an upright position.  The only way to sit on it would be to lay the disk flat on the ground.  However in that case, Jesus’ head would be at best only waist high next to those who are clearly standing on their feet. Yet, Jesus is at eye level with those standing. Therefore, Jesus, King of World, must be sitting on a sphere, and not a flat disk. 

Second Objection:
It is a flat disk that is suspended up in the air upon which Jesus sits making them all at eye level.

DTBride Responds:

However, if the “disk” was floating Jesus would have seated himself in the center with his legs over the edge. However, in the upper image, if it were a “disk”, Jesus is seated on the very edge and about to fall off.  And besides, if it were a flat disk Jesus' body would be at a 90 degree angle or less at the hips and his knees would in that case have to be much closer to his chest.  Therefore, it is a sphere and not a disk.

Just as science develops so does artistic technique. You cannot expect someone from the 6th century to use modern technique to show spherical shape.

And if you look closely, both of the two different images located in two different cities shows gradations of blue from the center to the edge, thus showing a somewhat 3D effect.  The complaint that the artist did not make use of modern NASA type images is not realistic.  This image was created more than 900 years before Nicolaus Copernicus was even born.  Only by his theories and discoveries did we eventually come to learn the earth was whirling around is axis and “racing” around the sun.   The point here is that the earth was spherical, not whether or not it was “whirling” or “racing.”

Second, there was no real debate about whether the Earth was flat.  All the reasonably educated people in the sixth century, just as today, knew the earth had a globular or spherical shape, more or less.  So, the artist could assume the people would have known the image under Jesus was spherical, not flat.  See Easy Proof below.  If the artists in the sixth century, according to the above objector’s ill reasoned opinion, and these artists were wanting to represent the earth as flat, they would have more likely used a rectangle not circle. 

Isaiah 11:12
“He will … gather the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.”

It was, and still is, common jargon to speak of the earth this way, as having four corners, because on the earth we describe the earth as having four directions, North, East, South , and West.  In Jewish thought and language the earth and the altar represent each other.  Everything is described in its relationship with God.  The Altar is a microcosm of the earth. Therefore, it was common to speak of each as having “four corners” because the Altar was described as having “four corners.”   Scott Hahn, Ph.D., explains this well.

Exodus 38:1-2
“He made the altar of … and … He made horns for it on its four corners”

Therefore, the image under Christ is not a circle (or a rectangle) but a sphere.  The artist knew people would understand it as such.  Unlike some uneducated people today who enjoy endless debates on meaningless issues, it was common knowledge among the reasonably educated people of the sixth century that the earth has, more or less, a spherical shape.

Proof :  Earth Spherical Not Flat

There are several ways to prove that the earth, more or less, has a globular or spherical shape.  You can look at pictures or even videos from orbiting satellites.  However, there is a much easier method to prove that the earth is not flat.  And this method was well known for centuries before Christopher Columbus.

Easy Proof:

The easiest way to prove that the earth has a spherical shape (more or less) is to use the flattest thing on earth.  Water.

All you need is a descent size boat, a twenty foot high landmark, and a good size lake.  Water always seeks its own level.  Therefore, it lays as flat as possible.  On a calm day even the oceans waves are less than six feet high.  Embark on the boat away from the landmark that is taller than the waves.  A twenty foot high building well exceeds the height of waves on your average day.  On the boat stand on a deck that is ten feet above the water.  You will notice the landmark sink below horizon because the earth is NOT flat. The earth has a more or less spherical shape.  It you sail at night use a light emitting from the top floor of the building, or make use of a lighthouse. This experiment will prove beyond any shadow of a doubt that the earth is spherical because an unobstructed light can be seen for miles away in the darkness.  Many people have been on cruises and seen this for themselves. 

And perhaps an even easier way to prove the earth’s shape is to do the following. Observe a night view across a big lake from the second floor of a building.  You would easily see light coming from the other side of the lake from a similar second story building which also had its lights on.  For example, look from Chicago across Lake Michigan to the Michigan state side at night.  The fact is, all you see is darkness because the curvature of the earth obstructs the light.  Therefore, the earth is not flat.

The ancient mariners knew their life was on the line and they were no fools.  They knew this too.

The flattest thing on earth proved the earth was round - water.  From the Middle Ages onward the sailors new that the view from the "crow's nest" on the ship's mast provided the best vantage point for distant objects because they knew the earth was spherical in shape.


The above picture is from a AD 1550 edition of a reproduction of the work
On the Sphere of the World,
which was originally written about AD. 1230.  It was one of the most influential works of pre-Copernican astronomy in Europe.


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Spherical  Evidence

The graphic below is located in the
Basilica Patriarchale di S. Lorenzo Fuori le Mura 
(Patriarchal Basilica of St. Lawrence Outside the Walls of Rome).


A sixth century mosaic showing Jesus Christ, King of the World, sitting on a spherical globe.

Basilica of San Vitale is a church in Ravenna, Italy.  It features an image of Christ sitting on a blue
 spherical globe representing earth.
As King of the world, Jesus is robed in majestic purple.  His right hand is offering the martyr's crown to Saint Vitale.  The mosaics in this church were begun in AD 525 and were completed by AD 547.

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