I have always maintained that those who held flat-earth views in antiquity were the same sort of folk who read (and believe) the tabloids and believe things like alien-abduction.

Still, it was apparently common, though not universal, for the early church fathers to claim the earth was flat, well, shaped like the Temple, or tabernacle. They also rejected antipodes and antipodeans. It seems to me that young earth proponents need also to hold to these literalist biblical views, including the stationarity of earth.

BioLogos has this excellent article series:




Written by Pablo de Felipe and Robert D. Keay

Pablo de Felipe obtained a PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Spain). He worked as a Research Fellow at the University of St Andrews (Scotland) before joining the Spanish Medicines Agency. He is in charge of the Centre for Science & Faith, part of SEUT Faculty of Theology (Madrid, Spain).

Robert Keay earned the PhD in New Testament at the University of St Andrews (Scotland), where he also served as a Teaching Fellow in New Testament. He then moved to Northern Ireland where he taught for several years as a Lecturer in New Testament and Hellenistic Greek at Queen’s University, Belfast (N. Ireland). He has recently entered the ministry as Pastor of First Baptist Church, Wolfeboro, New Hampshire.

I’ll close by quoting from the end of their articles:

“The Ancient and Medieval debates over cosmology may seem irrelevant and at times bizarre to us now. However, this superficial response fails to recognize that they have much to teach us about the significant role of biblical hermeneutics in these matters, how Christians have approached specific scientific topics deemed to be important in the history of science, and how Christians sought to relate the Bible with these topics. Much more work is needed in the primary sources for understanding the relations between science and faith in the Ancient and Medieval Church, and it is encouraging to see more publications of scholarly works focusing on the Eastern contribution to these questions. We now offer a provisional categorization that reveals four main strands of thinking. But it should be understood that these categories are more theoretical than actual, for authors can be found in more than one category.


These theoretical categories, along with their exemplars, can provide models and lessons for understanding the later debates surrounding the movement of the earth, the age of the earth, the origin and diversity of species through Darwinian evolution, and the ‘Big Bang’ theory. To focus on first millennium discussions might help diffuse some of the heat and emotion surrounding the contemporary debates and also clarify the proper role of the Bible in such discussions, while also revealing strengths and exposing weaknesses of particular approaches to scientific questions. Throughout our discussion, we would do well to follow the advice of Philoponus:

. . . let the truer position prevail: let nothing come before the truth.[6]

. . . someone honoring what is true, wherever it may be found, honors Christ, the Truth.[7]