How Creationism Works

Types of Creationism: Flat-Earth and Geocentric

Artist concept of flat Earth as described in flat-Earth creationism
Artist concept of flat Earth as described in flat-Earth creationism

At the strictly literal end of the spectrum, the flat-earth creationists and the modern geocentrists reject practically all of modern science. In addition to a reading of Genesis as a factual account of the origins of the world, flat-Earthers and geocentrists also retain some of the ancient Hebrew conceptions regarding the structure of the Earth and the solar system, citing particular Biblical passages as the source of their beliefs.

Flat-Earth Creationism

Flat-Earth creationism states that the Earth is flat, immobile and the center of the universe. It is covered by a solid, dome-like sky, most likely referring to the second day of creation, when "God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament ... And God called the firmament Heaven" (Genesis 1:7-1:8). The stars, sun and moon are embedded in this rigid dome.

Addressing the topic of Christopher Columbus's apparent trip around a spherical Earth, The Flat Earth Society's mission statement says, "Using an elaborate setup involving hundreds of mirrors and a few burlap sacks, [Christopher Columbus] was able to create an illusion so convincing that it was actually believed he had sailed around the entire planet and landed in the West Indies. As we now know, he did not." When confronted with scientific and technological evidence of a spherical Earth and a non-rigid sky in such forms as global circumnavigation, humans walking on the moon and satellite photos from space, Charles Johnson of the Flat Earth Society explains in this Flat Earth Society flyer:

... technology is not in any way related to the web of idiotic scientific theory. ALL inventors have been anti-science. The Wright brothers said: "Science theory held us up for years. When we threw out all science, started from experiment and experience, then we invented the airplane." By the way, airplanes all fly level on this Plane earth.

Modern Geocentrism

Modern geocentrists believe the Earth is spherical, not flat; but they reject almost everything else in modern astronomy, viewing the Earth as the center of the universe and immobile. According to geocentrists, the sun rotates around the Earth in 24-hour periods, and all other planets rotate around the sun. More mainstream geocentrists point to the theory of general relativity in physics to back up their Biblical belief, noting, in essence, that all positions are the result of frame of reference, and no frame of reference can be disputed. Radical geocentrists refer only to the Bible and reject all of modern astronomy, physics and cosmology. Like flat-Earthers, many geocentrists believe the sky is a solid dome surrounding the Earth.

In the next section, we'll examine young-Earth creationism, which accepts most of modern astronomy but rejects much of modern biology. Young-Earth creation is the primary source of the "creation science" movement that pushes for the teaching of creationism alongside evolution in U.S. public-school science classes.