Sunday, February 17, 2013

Apocalypse by Camille Flammarion

Apocalypse is a  book filled with rich, gorgeous paintings from the last 1000 years of Christian art depicting different scenes from Revelation.  It is filled with the works of medieval artists, a good dose of Albrecht Durer, Peter Bruegel, Heironymous Bosch and William Blake as well as Gustave Dore who illustrated a 19th century edition of Dante’s Inferno and many others, both known and unknown.

Then there are the words that accompany the paintings.

I can’t say they grace the page.  Darken would be a better description.

The words are from Camille Flammarion’s Le Fin du Monde which is his dissertation on how Christians from the time of Jesus Christ, and including Jesus Christ, got their facts wrong and this, ladies and gentlemen, proves hands down that atheists got it right and Christians are deluded fools.

Flammarion starts with Jesus’ words in Matthew 16:24 where Jesus states: 

I tell you that some of you will not taste death until you see the Son of Man coming in His Kingdom.


I tell you the truth, this generation shall not pass away until all these things have happened. (Matthew 24:34)

According to Flammarion, that generation came and went and Jesus didn’t come again so Christians, starting with St. Paul (who Flammarion asserts is the “real” founder of Christianity) had to “reinterpret” scripture and thus set a new date.

The entire book is devoted to naming various religious leaders, popes, apostles, evangelists, and cults that have predicted the date of the end of time for the last two thousand years.  Each and every one of them got it wrong. Case closed. Flammarion ends the book with his coup de grace:

This theological aspect of the last day of the earth has given way to the scientific study of the duration of our solar system....which makes man the centre and end of creation, has gradually transformed and eventually disappeared, for we know that our humble planet is but an island in the infinite, that human history has thus far been founded on pure illusions, and that the dignity of man lies in his intellectual and moral worth.  (pg. 246)

Flammarion’s sole premise is this:  Because Christians are wrong, atheists are right.

My question to the publishers  is this:  Why devote a book filled with fantastic Christian art while listing (carefully selected) people through out the years who practiced the un Biblical teaching of predicting the day and hour when Christ would return?  Why didn’t the publishers (and Flammarion) explain all the reasons atheism is right accompanied by art created by atheists? 

Let me explain what I mean when I say that Flammarion carefully selected his “witnesses” or should I say straw men?

Flammarion quotes part of Christ’s words but stops short.  In the same sermon Jesus goes on to say:

No one knows the date of hour, not even the angels in heaven nor the Son but only the Father.  (Matthew 24:36)

And in Acts 1:7:

 And He said to them:  It is not for you to know the date or the times or dates the Father has set by His own authority.

There are other passages as well but this is enough to show that anyone professing to be a Christian but thinks he knows the date and time of the end of the world (can we say Harold Camping?) are not following the teachings of Christ.

I’m not impressed that Popes and other religious leaders have tried to do so.  They weren’t basing their predictions on Scripture.  Many of these so called religious leaders in the Middle Ages were despots in disguise who used fear and intimidation as a means to maintain control and power.  It’s no surprise that Dante depicted more than a few of them suffering in his “Inferno.” 

Jesus spoke of false teachers and prophets as well: 

Then many false prophets will arise up and deceive many. (Matthew 24:11)

Finally this is my response to Camille Flammarion (were he alive) and to the publishers of Apocalypse:

They will say, "Where is this 'coming' he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation."

For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God,

By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed.

By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the Day of Judgment and destruction of ungodly men.

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare

Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives

as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat.

But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness. 2 Peter 3:4-14)

That’s a lot of scripture but at least it’s all in context which is more than Flammarian was willing to do.

Camille Flammarion was a French 19th century astronomer. He was the author of many popular books on astronomy, including The Atmosphere (1871), Popular Astronomy (1879), and Astronomy for Amateurs (1904). Flammarion contributed to the study of multiple stars and made careful observations of the solar system. He believed that Mars was inhabited and that there was vegetation on the moon. He also made many balloon ascents, studying the upper regions of the atmosphere. (From the web site, How Stuff Works)

It’s interesting to note that Flammarion was highly interested in the occult and attended séances.  One quote seems to imply that he may have believed in reincarnation.  Strange contradictions in a man professing to rely solely on man’s intellect. I’ve included a web site that has a biography of him that was written in 1894.

In conclusion, Apocalypse is a great book as far as its collection of Apocryphal art.  I would have preferred different written content.

Biography of Camille Flammarion

Other links on End Times:

The Book of Daniel by Clarence Larkin

The Book of Revelation: Four Views

The Second Coming by John MacArthur

The False Prophet by Ellis Skofield

The Harbinger by Johnathon Cahn

The Apocalypse Code by Hank Hanegraaff


  1. Though I am not a believer, this does indeed seem like a strange way to refute Christianity. Flammarion's contradictions in his belief system also would lead one to question his credibility.

    The artwork here does sound fascinating.

    1. And I admit I wrote this review in the heat of the moment. I was angry at the bait and switch tactics of the publishers. The art in this book is so good and yet the content to be filled with such flimsy straw men...argghh!
      Thanks for your comment. I appreciate your willingness to listen to all viewpoints. Have a good day!

  2. I have to say I am a respectful agnostic who is extremely uncomfortable with some atheism. I know a militant atheist who used to claim he was a fundamentalist Christian, now he is a fundamentalist atheist and even more opinionated and aggressive in his views, thinking he has the right to force his opinion on everyone. Interesting post. I find the art and writing of William Blake fascinating and he has contributed to that text but I don’t think it is a book for me.
    Arabella @

    1. Arabella: I love the art of William Blake as well as his poetry. I have on my Amazon wishlist the complete art of William Blake. It's pricey so I'll have to wait until I have a little money to burn before I get it. I'm fascinated with Medieval art and especially art depicting the apocalypse. I just didn't understand why the publishers chose to bait and switch. Use wonderful medieval art to expound on why they think it's untrue.
      I appreciate your comments, thanks! Have a great day.

  3. I think you have got Camille Flammarion all wrong. In fact, I'm sure of it. He was most definitely NOT an atheist, and if the quotes in this book would seem to indicate that, then whoever put this book together has cherry-picked Flammarion's writings in order to give a false impression. I have been reading his book "Dieu sans la nature" (God in Nature) and it is the most detailed, exhaustive rebuttal of atheism that I have ever read anywhere. Flammarion thought that the materialist atheists of his time were willful idiots, to put it mildly, and in the book he demolishes all of their arguments one by one. I have found the book online in Portuguese and in the original French, but I have not seen it in English yet anywhere.

  4. Jose: Thanks so much for commenting. I am interested to hear this about Flammarion. I wouldn't be surprised if whoever printed this book took his words out of context. I would love to read his "Dieu sans la nature." Although I am only just now teaching myself a little Portuguese by reading the New Testament in that language. I figured since I already know Spanish, Portuguese wouldn't be very difficult. Luckily, I also read French. Could you send me the link to this book?

  5. I got here searching for the book „Apocalypse” or at least a review and I read te-he comments, too. Thamk you! I dont know if you read or not the book „Dieu sans la nature”, here is a link to it...
    The full text version have the posibility to translate directly on the page... I also recomand this to you:
    I wish you a good day. Gabriel

    1. Thanks, Gabriel. I will look up your links.


I welcome comments from anyone with a mutual interest in the subjects I written about.