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Does the Bible Support a Flat Earth? (part 4 of 8)

For millennia, mankind believed the earth was flat. Does the Bible support that view? Ben Spackman says yes.  We’ll talk about a biblical world view, and how we’ve come around to believe the earth is round, rather than flat.

Ben:  One of the examples I use that people generally agree with is–I did this at the FAIR Conference a couple of years ago. I said, “Okay, how many of you believe that the earth rotates around the sun?” Of course, every hand went up. I said, “Okay, I want you to understand very clearly that you believe and accept something fundamental about the universe that is contrary to scripture, flatly contrary to scripture, and is a philosophy of men invented through human reason and observation. Do any of you have a problem with that? It was a conference, so I didn’t expect anyone to say anything.

GT: Because in the Bible, clearly the sun rotated around the earth is what you’re saying.

Ben: Right. The sun and moon and stars were embedded in the solid dome overhead. They were certainly not spheres rotating. I mean even…

GT:  How would Joseph Fielding Smith have answered that?

Ben: He would have said that’s absolutely false.

GT:  What’s false?

Ben: That the Israelites ever believed that cosmology.

GT:  They didn’t believe in the firmament. They didn’t believe in the flat earth.  They did believe that the sun rotated.

Ben: They understood that the earth and planets rotate around the sun and anything else is just the false traditions of the apostate church.

GT:  That seems like a very difficult position and I know he’s dead, so he can’t defend himself. But it seems very difficult to defend that point of view.

Ben: Well, he was arguing from a very absolutist standpoint, where prophets simply can’t do that, because if they are, they are not reliable as prophets. In some ways, he very much thought like a protestant, but in a Mormon context. In some ways, well, I don’t want to go there too much. He’s a very easy punching bag because he is dead, and because he left such a big paper trail and because he had views that were so, so far in certain directions, so absolute. And he’s not the only one to have held them, but he was certainly the most influential and the loudest and the longest to hold them. And because he did leave this paper trail, the worst thing for a historian is to have nothing to analyze, right?

Check out our conversation…

Is it true that the Bible supports a flat earth?
Is it true that the Bible supports a flat earth?

 

Here are our previous conversations with Ben!

244: Did Man Evolve From Apes?

243: Did Joseph Fielding Smith Win the Evolution Battle?

242: Evolution & Bible: Irreconcilable Differences?

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Myth of the Lambing Season (Part 5 of 5)

We’re finishing our conversation with Dr. Jeff Chadwick, a New Testament scholar at BYU.  We’ll talk about what he calls, the myth of the lambing season.  How cold is it in Israel in December?

Jeff:  The average day in Jerusalem in December and January is partly cloudy with green grass and jacket temperatures, nothing like the winters of Utah and Idaho. That brings up another thing and this is what I call the myth of the lambing season.

GT: Oh really?

Jeff:  Yeah, because, you know, the idea that Jesus was born in the Spring, was not unique to Latter-day Saints in the 1800’s. Others were suggesting this as well. Protestant writers in America familiar with freezing North American winters, because they were usually from New England or somewhere like that, couldn’t imagine how shepherds could be in the fields abiding by their flocks in December, “Aww, just much too cold. No shepherd could be out with his flocks in December,” they ruled. So, it must be in the springtime because spring is when the lambs are born and since Jesus was the lamb of God, that’s when he would have been born, too, is in the spring. This, of course, plays in really well with the tradition among the Latter-day Saints that Jesus was born in April. The problem is it’s an entire falsity. The reason why is that shepherds did and still do go out with their flocks all Winter long.

I have stood in the fields outside of Bethlehem on several Christmas Eves because I get to be there from time to time and the shepherds are out there with their sheep and little lambs have been born already in December. They don’t wait. Now here in our climate, just because of the way that the lambs and the sheep bear, they’ll wait until it’s a little warmer and they’ll lamb in March and April. But that’s not the way that it works in the holy land because the climate doesn’t require it. Biology works partially because of its climate.

We’ll also talk about what projects he is working on.  Check out our conversation…

Would shepherds really be in their fields in December?  Isn't it too cold for that?
Would shepherds really be in their fields in December? Isn’t it too cold for that?

Check out our other conversations with Dr. Chadwick!

234: Is Christmas a Celebration of Sun? (Chadwick)

233: How Jesus’s Death Relates to his Birth Date (Chadwick)

231: Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, & Birth of Christ (Chadwick)

229: Was Jesus Born in December? (Chadwick)

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How Rare a Mistake: Did Vincenzo Join Wrong Church?

In the 1980s the LDS Church produced a movie, “How Rare a Possession.”  An Italian man finds a book with no cover, only to learn decades later that it was the Book of Mormon.  It is probably a case of mistaken identity.  Did Vincenzo join wrong church?  We’ll learn more about this story in our final segment with Dr. Daniel Stone, check out our conversation…

GT: Here’s the part that John Hamer told me that nobody knows. Apparently the Bickertonites had a mission in Italy because the Mormon Church did not publish the Book of Mormon in Italian.

Daniel: No, as far as I know, they didn’t.

GT: Yeah, and so it was actually a Bickertonite Book of Mormon that he found that he searching for it, and so he joined the wrong church.

Daniel: Oh, that’s hilarious. You know what? I can’t say for sure. John would know more than me, but yes, as far as I know the Bickertonites were the first church to publish the Book of Mormon in Italian, and if that is the book that that Italian man picked up the join the LDS church, that is the epitome of irony.

GT: Just like William Bickerton, he joined with the Brighamites.

Daniel: That’s right. If that’s really true, then go John Hamer! If he actually looked like check the dates and to make sure because I’m not sure when. I know the LDS church now has their own Book of Mormon in Italian, but yeah, I believe the Bickertonites were the first one and if that was before then. Oh my gosh. Yeah. That is ironic. My goodness.

Here is the short part of the video describing Vincenzo’s experience.

I’d like to thank Daniel for talking with us.  Don’t forget to buy his book!  Wikipedia has some interesting background, including his correspondence with Heber J. Grant!  And if you missed any part of our interview, please check them out!

 

The Bickertonites were the first church to publish the Book of Mormon in Italian. "How Rare a Posession" tells the story of a man who joined the LDS, rather than the Bickertonite Church!
The Bickertonites were the first church to publish the Book of Mormon in Italian. “How Rare a Posession” tells the story of a man who joined the LDS, rather than the Bickertonite Church!

 

205: My Cousin Vinny: Alice Cooper’s Mormon Roots (Stone)

204: Writing History Without Getting in Trouble (Stone)

203: Reuniting the Bickerton Break (Stone)

202: Ousting a Prophet (Stone)

201: False Prophecies Are Possible! (Stone)

200: Civil War Prophecy Leads to Black Ordination (Stone)

199: Biblical Support to Ordain Women (Stone)

198: Bickerton Becomes Prophet (Stone)

197: Sidney’s Church Falls Apart (Stone)

196: Rigdon/Spalding Manuscript Theory (Stone)