As you may know, I’ve produced a few videos showing the Biblical worldview of the Earth as flat, circular, set on pillars and under a dome, within which the sun, moon and stars were placed on Day 4 of Creation. This indisputable fact is best illustrated by the following graphic from Logos Bible Software:
Around this time last year (2015), while searching to confirm that the above graphic was indeed from Logos, I stumbled upon some writings and a video by Dr. Michael Heiser. This was at a time when I was receiving a ton of flack for even suggesting that the Bible was a “Flat Earth book.” Much to my surprise, I saw that someone of Heiser’s academic stature fully agreed with everything I had been saying. So, I included some clips of a lecture he gave on the subject in one of my presentations to prove the point. Shortly after that, I was publicly threatened by the good doctor. He accused me of being unprincipled, dishonest and worse. Funny, how academics can cite the work of other academics all day long, but when a so-called “village idiot” does the same, they blow a fuse.
Well, after I posted my latest video last night (6/8/16), which included the same clips in question, many began sending me the link to Dr. Michael Heiser’s rant/blog against me (Note: although he didn’t mention my name, he did threaten me directly in a comment on a post by Doug Hamp that he was going to write what he did before he did so. Therefore it is quite obvious that some of his statements were aimed at me). Here’s the link if you have not read it:
If you’ve actually seen my video, you will immediately recognize that he obviously did not, because it really does appear like he was giving a knee-jerk response – likely based on gossip and half-truths sent to him by others. Perhaps for good reason. For instance, a YouTube user named TigerDan925 posted a video totally taking my video out of context and absolutely misrepresenting both myself as well as my use of Dr. Heiser’s work in that video.
Notice the title of TigerDan925’s video reads, “Calling out Rob Skiba. Doctor Confirms flat earth? Er. No.” and in the description he says…
Dr Michael Heiser has never said the earth is flat. See for yourself. The flat earth community will cease on anything to give credence to the flat earth theory. There’s a big difference between showing what ancient hebrews believed and flat earth.
Thankfully, as you can see, he got over 600 thumbs-down ratings and reading through the comments for that video, I was pleased to see that many very quickly caught on to the fact that he was falsely accusing me and totally misrepresenting everything about my video – the title of which is in the screenshot above from the beginning of his video, clearly stating that the video in question was labeled “The Bible is a Flat Earth book (confirmed by a doctor and the village idiot).” The whole point of that video was to show what the Bible says about the subject. Some of the users who commented on his page called TigerDan out on his error, leaving comments like:
Tiger, I dont think Rob ever said Heiser was a flat earther. He said Heiser admits the Bible supports a flat earth and that’s why the ancient Hebrews believed accordingly. My goodness
I just watched all 37 minutes and 45 seconds of Rob Skiba’s video. It seems to me TigerDan… that you are “misunderstanding all you see”. Rob Skiba’s video containing an excerpt of a lecture by Michael Heiser is about posing the challenge of… IF YOU TAKE THE BIBLE LITERALLY… YOU HAVE TO COME TO THE CONCLUSION, THAT THE EARTH IS ON PILLARS, IT’S DOMED, GOD IS ABOVE THE DOME, THE SUN AND MOON ARE INSIDE THE DOME AND THE STARS CLOSE (not sure if they’re inside or not, but I think they are). That’s what Rob’s video is about. Why are you going on about this??? You are misunderstanding what was presented in that video. Come on man!….
But this is how slander, gossip and bearing false witness often leads to other problems. So, is that what happened with Dr. Heiser? Judging from his opening statements, it certainly sounds like it:
So “those who follow” his work were sending him “items.” Did he actually view those items? I can only guess, but I’m inclined to think not. Furthermore, some of his claims and questions against the Flat Earth model have long been addressed by many in that research community, indicating the man has not spent any real amount of time looking into any of it. At any rate, please note that Dr. Heiser only affirms the whole reason I cited his work in the first place by the following statements from his blog:
“I and other OT scholars (e.g., John Walton; see below) have written articles about the pre-modern cosmology of the biblical writers — about how the biblical text describes a round, flat earth, complete with a covering dome, to which were affixed the stars (which in turn were thought to be divine beings, or under the power of divine beings).”
Yep. And that’s exactly what I was saying! When people thought I was crazy, I showed that other generally well respected Biblical scholars who were being brutally honest with the text (something MANY Christians – and Creationists in particular – are not being) were saying exactly the same thing I was. He goes on…
“My position is straightforward. The biblical writers do indeed describe a flat round earth (with other features the flat earthers skip; see below). They wrote about the world this way because they lived at a time before knowledge of the natural world was sufficient to demonstrate otherwise. But I don’t believe the earth is really flat “because the Bible tells me so.” The knowledge the biblical writers had of their physical surroundings isn’t a truth proposition for biblical theology. Anyone who uses my work to prop up this idea without providing a disclaimer that I reject modern flat earth thinking is unprincipled and deliberately dishonest.”
No one was being “unprincipled and deliberately dishonest.” His whole view (including his personal denial of the cosmology put forth by the Biblical writers – which he so eloquently demonstrated in his presentation) was totally, completely, fairly and accurately included in the clips of his speech that I used. My only point was to show that the authors of Scripture believed the world was flat – not that Heiser, myself or anyone else living today does. In each case where his work was cited, it was in the context of proving that the Biblical authors did believe it was.
Toward the end of his rant, Heiser then posts a link to the exact source video I showed. SMH. Uh gee, I wish Ida thunka dat.
Of course, even highly credentialed academics apparently fall prey to “condemnation before investigation is the height of ignorance” every now and then too (perhaps more often than any of them would be willing to admit). But if he had actually taken the time to see how he was accurately represented in my work, he never would have lashed out as he did. By the way… you don’t need to include a disclaimer, when the source used states all that needed to be said in the first place.
All that aside, and skimming past all the derogatory slurs and hate displayed in the comments section of that blog, this user’s comment really caught my attention and it sums up my problem with Dr. Heisers take and the whole issue in general:
Indeed. If we go the route Dr. Heiser takes, we effectively nullify Divine inspiration and might as well toss out any notion of Biblical inerrancy too. What we end up with is a hodge-podge of writings left to us (apparently) by ignorant sheep herders and fishermen, that we can pick and choose passages from as we wish, forcing whatever beliefs we want onto or out of them. As the Francis Schaeffer quote states, the Bible becomes totally useless as a valid source of revelation. If it’s all just metaphor, symbolism and poetry as many a ball Earth advocate would have us believe, then why even read the thing? What possible value is there in a document that is so obviously prone to error and “idioms” that could lead to any number of outlandish theories concerning our existence in time and space and our purpose here now and in the future? If our origins are incorrect, how can we trust anything concerning our final destination? If the Beginning is all jacked up, how can we trust any prophecy concerning the End – especially since Isaiah said the End was declared from the Beginning (Isaiah 46:10)? When Isaiah, Yeshua, Peter and John told us that all of the stars are going to fall to the Earth in the Last Days, were they full of it? Were they speaking in cryptic language, spewing idioms and “poetry” we have no frame of reference to understand? Who determines what is literal and what is poetic? Science? Dr. Heiser and others would seem to indicate that to be the case. I think Sylvain Durand leaves a very valid set of observations concerning this issue in the above comment (which, at least as of this date, was never answered by Heiser).
In conclusion, it should be painfully obvious to anyone who actually saw my video(s) that I never even so much as insinuated that Dr. Michael Heiser believes the Earth is flat. Rather, only that he confirms the fact that the Holy Spirit inspired authors of Scripture clearly did. But thanks to gossip, slander and busy-bodies who love to bear false witness, misunderstandings abound on social media. This does not help anyone in their quest to understand what it is that the Bible is trying to tell us, and how we are to believe it, and such activity only serves to cause more division and strife among the brethren.
- Rob Skiba