"...but try the spirits whether they are of God..." (1 Jno. 4:1)


Volume One, Number One Winter 1991


The Circle of The Earth

Jerry D. McDonald

"It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers..." (Isaiah 40:22). This passage shows very plainly that this Bible writer knew that the earth was round instead of flat which was the general consensus of the time. And until recent times this is what the Godly have understood about this verse. However. in our age of doubt and skepticism, people wishing to destroy the credibility, of the Bible use this verse to show that the Bible writers were ignorant of science and that they thought the earth was flat. With this interpretation, men such as Farrell Till and Adrian Swindler contend that the Bible writers could not have been inspired by God because God would not have made such mistakes.

Farrell Till, in the winter issue of The Skeptical Review (p.4) says

"Even if they could successfully do this (prove that Isaiah's reference to circle was meant literally jam) they would then have to prove that Isaiah meant circle in the sense of a sphere...., the inerrancy advocates would have to prove that the passage referred to a spherical circle rather than a discoid circle. I seriously doubt that they can ever do that, but until they do, they have no argument."

The funny thing about this statement is that it implies that no one has ever made an argument to prove that Isaiah meant a spherical circle. However, in the summer issue of this same publication, this writer, in responding to Adrian Swindler, made the following argument in favor of this contention.

"The final passage was Isaiah 40:22: 'It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth...' The word for circle in this passage is the Hebrew word Khoog, which, when in its masculine form as it is here means 'a circle, a sphere,' (The Analytical Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon, p.249, p.5)"

Did Mr. Till overlook this argument? If he wanted an answer to it, why did he not go back one issue of his own publication and see what it said?

What I would like to do is to give Mr. Till the opportunity to respond to this article and answer the argument made on the word Khoog. Let him show that it is not referring to a spherical circle.

In Adrian Swindler's response to this argument, he cut down the King James Version. He quoted Lacantius to show that he believed that Isaiah 40:22 said the earth was flat. He quoted the NAB, the GNB, and Man and the Cosmos to show that this passage said the earth was flat. But he never did deal with the meaning of the word Khoog, which means, "a circle, a sphere" (The Analytical Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon, p.249). Let us hope that Mr. Till can do a better job in responding to this than Mr. Swindler did. In any case, he now has the opportunity to respond.


CHALLENGE is published quarterly by Challenge Publications.
Jerry D. McDonald, Editor; Michael P. Hughes, Associate Editor.


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