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Why We Study History, Part Two

Updated on March 18, 2019
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Dr. David Thiessen is an educator, writer, pastor, and speaker. He has authored several books on a variety of topics including Archaeology

Honest study is important

To many history is a boring subject filled with supposedly useless facts and dates and they get turned off the subject very quickly. Now not everyone can be a historian and not everyone will like history but one should not dismiss the information one can glean from historical studies.

In fact as we study history we learn a lot of information that the unbeliever doesn’t want a believer to know. Our being knowledgeable in all subjects ruins their arguments against the Bible and Christians. They think that believers are very ignorant people and with the shining example of certain public figures, they have a lot of evidence in their favor.

But as one studies one learns all sorts of interesting little tidbits. Take for example Sir Thomas Heath’s work Aristarchus of Samos: The Ancient Copernicus. This book is all about ancient Greek astronomers and what they thought. On the back we read the following:

This classic work of Sir Thomas Heath, a leading historian of Greek science, traces Greek astronomer’s anticipation by two millennia of Copernicus’ theory of the earth’s revolution around the sun.

The definition of astronomy is:

the scientific study of stars, planets, and other objects in outer space (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/astronomy)

Over the years believers have had to endure the taunts of the unbeliever over who believed in a flat earth and other accusations. This book is about ancient scientists who devoted much of their time to studying the earth, the sun, the moon and the stars in the sky.

He (Anaxagoras) neglected his possessions, which were considerable, in order to devote himself to science. (pg.78)

In this book we find these ancient Greeks who are labeled as scientists and held in that regard by modern scientists. They did after all observed the world around them, constructed theories and hypothesis (just like modern scientists) and then made more observations in hopes of proving their theories true.

There is no escaping the fact that the men mentioned in this book were scientists and they participated in conducting real science. I should also mention that for the men I have read so far none were believers in God or the OT. If they believed in anything it was a false religion which means they were free to say anything they wanted to about the universe and the earth.

Origin of flat earth theories

Now a few more quotes from the book:

1. In their fundamental conceptions Homer and Hesiod agree. The earth is a flat circular disc…(pg. 7).

2. We must reject, so far as Thales is concerned, the traditions that Thales, the Stoics and their schools, made the earth spherical…or we have seen that Thales made the earth a circular or cylindrical disc…When the sun began to shine, the earth was flattened out…(pg. 19)

3. According to Anaximander, the earth has the shape of a cylinder…(25)

4. For Anaximenes…the earth is still flat like a table…(pg.40)

5. For the Ionians, with their flat earth, there was necessarily one horizon…(pg. 57)

6. According to Anaxagoras- The earth is flat in form…(pg. 80)

Do you see the trend here? It wasn’t the ‘goat herders’ who wrote the OT who held and preached the view that the earth was flat but actually it was the secular scientist who concocted and promoted the idea.

History helps the believer

This is what history does for the believer. It helps us find the truth and who is responsible for creating these wild tales of the earth and universe. It also helps prove the words of the Bible which tell us that the unbeliever cannot grasp what the Bible is teaching. This is why the unbeliever is confused by passages which talk about the ‘earth’s foundations and it shall not be moved.’

The Bible isn’t saying the sun revolves around the earth and that the earth doesn’t move but that how God set things up at creation will not be altered by other forces. The earth will remain in its orbit and so on. We can have peace that some asteroid, some phenomenon of space will not hit the earth and move it from its life supporting trajectory.

We also know that God did not create a flat earth. We have too many sailors who would be able to contradict these ancient secular scientists.. It wasn’t the common people who believed that the world was flat it was those who did the studying of the earth and lacked proper information.

On another note, history also informs us of two things

1. Darwin, his grandfather and Wm. Wallace, were not original thinkers and did not originate the theory of evolution. Anaximander, who lived approx. between 611 BC and 547 BC, originated his own theory:

Anaximander’s remarkable theory of evolution does not concern us here (pg. 39)

Though he was probably not earlier than the 6th century BC Chinese thinker Kou-Hsiang who also proposed an evolutionary theory (http://www.ldolphin.org/cooper/ch1.html).

2. Evidence for Noah’s flood was found and attributed to an evolutionary idea. Xenophanes, who lived in about 570 BC and died about 478 BC said the following:

The world was evolved from a mixture of earth and water, and the earth will gradually be dissolved again by moisture; this he infers from the fact that shells are found far inland and on the mountains…(pg. 53)

If believers read the right books, they will find a wealth of information out there that would support their faith in Jesus and the Bible, as long as they apply the information correctly.

A few final words

History is just one subject where the right books can be found. I look forward to reading the rest of this book hoping that more such nuggets will be found throughout the rest of the pages.


© 2019 David Thiessen

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