By Pastor Troy Keaton
If the title of this article startles you, perhaps it should. However, the question over the shape of the earth seems to have been answered long ago. Even the Bible affirmed this in Isaiah 40:22: “It is He who sits above the CIRCLE of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.”
Recently, this subject made major news when NBA All-Star, Kyrie Irving, made a claim on a podcast that the earth was indeed flat. This created quite a news story with people asking him during the all-star weekend if he actually denied such obvious reality.
Irving said: “This is not even a conspiracy theory. The Earth is flat. It’s right in front of our faces. I’m telling you, it’s right in front of our faces. They lie to us.” He later reiterated those beliefs to ESPN’s Arash Markazi when he said, “I think people should do their own research. Hopefully, they’ll either back my belief, or they’ll throw it in the water. But I think it’s interesting for people to find out on their own.” He went on to say, “I know the science, and I don’t mind going against the grain in terms of my thoughts.”
I know the earth is round, but I fully understand how Irving can make such a claim. I am even surprised that people are shocked to hear him say so. You might be thinking, under what premise can someone legitimately deny such a proven scientific reality? It’s very simple: in a worldview that denies absolute truth and where truth is relative, the earth can be flat. This is relativism, and it is the prominent worldview in our society today. Relativism says, according to a Stanford University study in 2015, “There can be no framework-independent vantage point from which the matter of whether the thing in question is so can be established. Relativism has been, in its various guises, both one of the most popular and most reviled philosophical doctrines of our time. It is seen as a harbinger of tolerance.”
This is a world where one can believe anything as truth and be celebrated as “diverse.” Irving believes the world is flat, so why are we giving him grief? After all, there is supposedly no absolute truth. What happened to the “harbinger of tolerance?” Fortunately for Irving, his teammate, Lebron James, still embraces relativism. James said, “If he decides he wants to say the earth is flat, so be it. He’s an interesting guy, and he believes it.”
In a world where facts are fluid, truth is transient through time, and morality moves with prevailing cultural shifts, maybe the earth is flat. If a man can be a woman and a woman can be a man without any scientific evidence, maybe the earth is flat. If a beating heart, a brain, fingers, toes, arms, legs, feelings, and sensations are not a human being, maybe the earth is flat.
You see, the problem is not that there is debate over the shape of the earth. The problem is that we no longer know the foundations of truth morally, scientifically, or eternally. We have created our own reality along with the “science” and “morals” to back it up. In that world, Irving’s claim is totally legitimate. For that matter, perhaps the world is square.
This madness comes subtly over time. When we question the Creator, it won’t be long until we are questioning the creation. Our country long ago abandoned the source of truth, and now we are a ship without a sail on the sea of reality.
The pathway back to real truth is to embrace the one who said, “I am the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE” (see John 14:6). The one who was “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made” (see John 1:1-3). Trust me, Jesus Christ knows the shape of the earth, and not even an all-star NBA player can change that truth!
Troy Keaton has pastored for more than 20 years. In 2006, Troy planted EastLake Community Church in Moneta, Virginia and now leads a growing multi-site congregation of several hundred that has also planted several other churches. Troy and his wife, Janel, have two daughters, a son-in-law, two sons, and a grandson. They reside in Hardy, VA. You may contact Troy at firstname.lastname@example.org.