THE BIBLE AND GEOCENTRICITY
“The heliocentric theory, by putting the sun at the center of the universe, . . . made man appear to be just one of a possible host of wanderers drifting through a cold sky. It seemed less likely that he was born to live gloriously and to attain paradise upon his death. Less likely too, was it that he was the object of God’s ministrations.” – Morris Kline
“We know that the difference between a heliocentric theory and a geocentric theory is one of relative motion only, and that such a difference has no physical significance.”
– Sir Fred Hoyle
Four hundred years ago there raged a debate among the learned men of Europe about whether or not the earth orbits the sun. Until then, it was commonly accepted that the sun, moon, stars and the planets were embedded in crystalline spheres centered on the earth. In the debate, the Biblicists held that the sun goes around the earth once a day as well as once a year; whereas, the secularists maintained that the earth daily rotates on an axis and orbits the sun once a year. This latter idea, called heliocentrism, held the sun to be at the center of the universe. The modem view is that there is no center to the universe.
When geocentrism (the idea that the earth is stationary at the center of the universe) was finally defeated, as the most popular belief, humanists heralded the victory as signifying the death of the Bible and, consequently, the death of Christianity as a reasonable faith. Many who contributed to the defeat of the Bible’s authority on nature are names now famous. Most notable are Copernicus, Kepler, and Galileo. However, the victory was not total, for there have been supporters of geocentrism until this very day. Among the most famous and capable of the early geocentric defenders are Tyche Brahe and three generations of the Parisian astronomers, Cassini.
In the last half of the twentieth century, geocentrism resurfaced in a new, technical form called geocentricity. Among its advocates and supporters one finds several with earned PhDs in astronomy, mathematics or physics. Two worldwide organizations serve the geocentric community. One is the Association for Biblical Astronomy (A.B.A., formerly called the Tychonian Society), and the other is the Cercle Scientifique et Historique (CESHE) which maintains offices in Belgium and France. Differences in whether or not the earth rotates and the size of the universe are what distinguish the two groups. CESHE is devoutly Roman Catholic and was organized to promote the works of Fr. Fernand Crombette, and believes in a small universe with rotating earth; A.B.A., which holds the Holy Bible as its final authority, and take the opposite position.
Now the typical reader may be puzzled by such a resurgence of an old, “long-dead” idea. After all, what are the issues? Someone once said. “Accommodation is the theory which states that God goes along with the commonly accepted story even though He really doesn’t believe it.” At issue is the inerrancy and preservation of the Scripture, especially in the light of the pronouncements of science. At stake is the authority of the Bible in all realms, starting in the realm of science.
“I have written to him the great things of my law, but they were counted as a strange thing” (Hosea 8:12)
The question of the motion of the earth was the first, and still the only, point on which science and the Bible came into conflict. Without the church’s surrender to the Copernican notion that the earth rotates on its axis and orbits the sun, there would have been no theory of evolution, and without evolution, there would have been no Marxism or Communism. The Copernican Revolution removed the authority of the Bible from the realm of science. “The Bible tells us how to go to heaven, not how the heavens go,” said Galilee. “The Bible is not a textbook on science,” said Augustine of Hippo, as if it meant that on those matters where Scripture touches on scientific issues, the Bible is not to be believed.
Without the Copernican Revolution, we would not have textual criticism of the Bible in its present form. A man comes to Christ believing that the Bible he holds in his hand, the book that saved him, is the very word of God, consisting one hundred percent of the words of God, nothing more and nothing less. Soon, someone will try to talk the young Christian out of this simple faith in the Bible and try to subordinate that faith to human authority; the authority of scholar and Bible critic, “You can’t understand the Bible unless you know the original,” they claim, even though they have never seen an “original manuscript” in their lives. They do not believe that the Lord God can and does preserve His word, consisting only of His words, which God has magnified above all His name (Psalm 138:2). A Christian who exchanges his faith in the Bible for faith in man’s scholarship, soon finds himself in a famine, (Amos 8:11-12) hungering for the words of God and running from coast to coast looking not for the inerrant, preserved word of God, but for the best translation, the best version, the version “closest” to the non-existent “original manuscripts.” These can never satisfy for they are the words of man, not of God. In the twenty-first century, this is the fruit of the Copernican Revolution.
Though the old geocentric model is judged guilty of egotistical chauvinism for its thinking that man is at the center of God’s creation and placed there to glorify God, the modem view is worse. Today the center of man’s universe is the mind and imaginations of man, which the Lord said is only evil continually (Genesis 6:5). Once God was the measure of all things, now man is the measure of all things.
“The evidence for heliocentrism is even weaker than the evidence for evolution. ”
-Dr. Jim Paulson, Univ. of Wisconsin-Oshkosh
“…(N)o physicist I know says that the earth in any absolute sense travels around the sun. ”
-Dr. Arnold Sikkema, University of Florida
“The philosophical consequences of the geocentric/heliocentric controversy are plain enough that if the earth is not fixed on center stage of the universe, then life on earth and man himself are essentially meaningless.”
-R. G. Elmendorf
“Ever since heliocentrism was adopted as a fact by the scientific community, attempts have been made to prove it. Some of them should have worked. Remarkable, not only has not one of them produced the proof; but the results of all of them are consistent with the hypothesis that the earth is at rest.” -Gordon Bane
“The question of the earth’s motion was the single point in which orthodoxy came into real contact with science. Many students of physics were suspected of magic, many of atheism: but, stupid as the mistake may have been, if was bon afide the magic or the atheism, not the physics, which was assailed. In the astronomical case it was the very doctrine, as doctrine, independently of consequences, which was the corpus delicti: and this because it contradicted the Bible. And so it did; for the stability of the earth is as clearly assumed from one end of the Old Testament to the other the solidity of iron. Those who take the Bible to be totidem verbis, dictated by the God of Truth can refuse to believe it; and they make strange reasons. They undertake, a priori, to settle Divine intentions. The Holy Spirit did not mean to teach natural philosophy: this they know beforehand; or else they infer it from finding out that the earth does move, and the Bible says it does not. Of course, ignorance apart, every word is truth, or the writer did not mean truth. But this puts the whole book on its trial: for we can never find out what the writer meant, unless we otherwise find out what is true. Those who like may, of course, declare for an inspiration over which they are to be viceroys; but common sense will either accept the verbal meaning or deny verbal inspiration.” – August De Morgan
(An agnostic man and one of the foremost mathematicians of the Nineteenth Century.)
So, is geocentricity an anti-scientific myth? Is it actually a throwback to the flat earth? Is it the case, as one creationist group claims, that geocentrists are heretics teaching an end-time heresy? Or is there something to geocentricity, after all? And what does it have to do with Mach’s Principle, which makes geocentricity as plausible as any other center? Such questions constitute the substance of a wonderful book, “A Geocentricity Primer” written by Geradus D. Bouw, Ph.D., (www.geocentricity.com). But until all the issues are aired out in the open, geocentrists will just have to stick to Acts 24:14:
“But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets.”
Christianity without geocentricity is just plain “silly”.
– Dr. Dan Hardin, Editor