Another Article Against Geocentrism

Discussion in 'Natural Revelation and God's Creation' started by Afterthought, Sep 19, 2016.

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  1. Afterthought

    Afterthought Puritan Board Junior

  2. Justified

    Justified Puritan Board Sophomore

    While I do not really have a dog in the fight, given that science by and large operates on a relativistic physic, it may well be the case-- with respect to absolute space-- that the earth is the center of the universe. I am not sure one could know without some sort of special revelation from without whether in fact the earth is so located. Thus, answering this question on a scientific basis seems to me null.

    As far as the biblical data goes, I don't know and am not really too concerned.
     
  3. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    The author claims,

    An universe commensurate with divine attributes would be invisible, infinite, and incomprehensible. Or, in reverse, it would mean that God, like the universe, is continually in space, time, and motion, and is subject to decay. And the claim to unchanging scientific law would remove the possibility of "the occasional miracle." This is not a sound theological basis on which to approach science.
     
  4. Afterthought

    Afterthought Puritan Board Junior

    If the earth is at the center, then our physics says that the center of the universe must move (or wobble), since the earth moves. But yes, the absolute location of an object does not seem to be within the purview of physics.

    One difficulty I've had in understanding the kinds of geocentrism is: what exactly is being defended?

    Is it that the earth is at the geographical center of the universe?

    Is it that the earth is at the center of mass of the universe?

    Is it that the earth is at the coordinate center of the universe (i.e., one can pick a reference frame in which it is)?

    Is it that the earth does not move in an absolute sense?

    Is it that the earth does not move around the sun (rather, the sun moves around the earth) in an absolute sense?

    Is it that the earth does not move around the sun (rather, the sun moves around the earth) in a relative sense?

    Is it that the earth does not rotate on its axis?

    Is the claim about reference frames?

    Is the claim about kinematics or dynamics?


    The propositions are related, but some of them are more problematic from the perspective of modern physics (and biblical exegesis) than others. Even with a relativistic physics, there are still absolute quantities and (in all likelihood, since a special and controversial cosmology that our universe does not seem to possess is required for the case to be otherwise) absolute motions.


    A good observation. This tends to be standard "creation science" stuff, which seems to be necessary for their distinction between operational (always trustworthy) and historical (not so trustworthy) science.
     
  5. Justified

    Justified Puritan Board Sophomore

    Good questions. That is why I do not really worry myself with this particular question. I do not think people are idiots for holding the position, as some do; but rather I just do not worry about it. Still perhaps an interesting question to explore.
     
  6. lynnie

    lynnie Puritan Board Senior

    I watched Robert Sungenis' lengthy DVD about the earth being at the center of the universe. It is packed full of scientific quotes from famous men that the evidence shows this, but since that is philosophically impossible and egotistical, we must look for alternate explanations for the evidence. Some of the alternatives seem pretty wild.

    This is one use of the term geocentricity- our earth, or solar system, or even our galaxy being at the center of the universe. The facts seem indisputable.

    The second use of the term- and I think more common- is that the earth is at the center of the solar system and the visible heavens and sun rotate around it daily. The scientific evidence for this is sound as well....including questions about how the stars could rotate so fast. However, a heliocentric model also works, so unless you could go outside the solar system and look back, people can argue either way. Every great astronomer admits both models work.

    The geocentric model requires belief in the firmament, or aether, a dense substance in which visible heavenly bodies exist. Experiments based on this concept prove the model. Like radar, the speed of waves of the electromagnetic spectrum will be added or subtracted to an object moving away from you or towards you. By measuring these speeds you can tell for example how a submarine is moving underwater, or a bug if you are a bat. That the evidence showed the earth motionless was a dilemma for decades until Einstein postulated relativity. So now light speeds do not get added or subtracted to the speed of earth's rotation moving towards stars or away from stars.....and voila, the earth moves.

    Essentially, the geocentricity debate is a debate about the theory of relativity. That theory must exist for modern theories of the solar system to exist. Without it, and with visible light measurements behaving like radar waves (ie, add and subtract velocities), the models crash and the earth is at the center of the universe.

    It is a fascinating subject to spend a summer vacation on.
     
  7. chuckd

    chuckd Puritan Board Sophomore

    You and another person are the only things that exist in the universe. You both wake up in a space suit and observe the other spinning head over foot. Who is fixed and who is spinning?

    Geocentrism and heliocentrism are models. It just so happens that geocentrism is the Biblical model which makes the earth fixed and everything else in motion. Newton's law of gravitation still works.
     
  8. Taylor Sexton

    Taylor Sexton Puritan Board Junior

    It is?
     
  9. chuckd

    chuckd Puritan Board Sophomore

    I think so. The sun, moon, and stars move, the earth is fixed. This is what the Bible says. (Josh. 10:12-13, Ps. 19:6, 93:1, 96:10, Ecc. 1:5, etc.)
     
  10. johnny

    johnny Puritan Board Sophomore

    I believe so as well. The scriptural record points that way, (although some try to prove otherwise)

    I also knew a man (now deceased) who worked for creation ministries and when I once praised CMI for its great work he gently reminded me saying "they don't have it all correct, they are not geocentric."
     
  11. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable

    I think verbal plenary inspiration of Scripture and the account of Joshua and the sun literally in our space-time existence standing still trumps the notions in the article. Seems the folks are ignoring the cosmology of Scripture in favor of using just science as an interpretive grid of Scripture. I find nothing in Scripture denying the sun is in motion relative to the earth. This may sound odd for someone with an engineering doctorate, but some may not be aware that science does allow for geocentric functions, as in navigation and even orbital dynamics. I know this simply because I was once led a team of engineers modeling the low-earth orbit Iridium satellite system while working at Motorola here in Arizona.
     
  12. Afterthought

    Afterthought Puritan Board Junior

    1) The one who measures an acceleration in one's frame of reference is the one who is spinning.
    2) There are other objects in our universe. The difficulty is that a frame with the earth at rest is not universal, i.e., you can tell which objects are moving relative to others by comparing what is seen in each reference frame.

    I could ask one at the University. But the difficulty is....

    ....from the perspective of CMI, the question is not whether one can construct a geocentric mathematical model that works, neither is it about choosing a convenient reference frame. These are granted. The question is about dynamics, not kinematics. They claim to have falsified absolute geocentric dynamics, and so shown absolute geocentrism to be false.


    This does seem to be the case. Perhaps a careful response (rather than their answer of phenomenological language) might be: The sun really moves relative to the earth, so that alleviates a little bit of difficulty with the Scriptures' cosmology; but when looking from a different reference point, which is basically every reference point that is not on the earth, the earth moves relative to the sun.
     
  13. Taylor Sexton

    Taylor Sexton Puritan Board Junior

    That's an extremely literalistic interpretation of those passages, it seems to me. I am not arguing against geocentrism, but I think it is very shaky to argue it from the language of the passages you cited.

    First of all, speaking of the sun rising and setting is language that heliocentric weather forecasters use everyday on TV. That is simply a common way of saying that the observer's particular side of the earth has rotated to face away from the sun. I thought that was a commonly understood turn of phrase rather than a scientific assertion.

    Secondly, and similar to the first point, I don't think saying the world is established and that it shall not be moved is making a scientific assertion. To say that they are is taking on a level of literalistic hermeneutic that is typically only seen in extreme fundementalist groups, and may not be a fair handling of Scripture.

    Again, I am not arguing against the geocentric theory. Personally, I couldn't care less about what is at the center of our universe. However, what I am trying to say is that it seems to me that using passages that talk about the sun and moon standing still or riding and setting (which, again, are universal turns of phrase even among heliocentric people fir ease of speaking) and the earth being established of fixed is using Scripture for something for which it was not intended or to answer questions it is not posing.
     
  14. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    What if it were shown that the Bible systematically adopts a geocentric perspective? Would that be something to care about? God created the heaven and the earth on day one. The sun was made on day four. There will be new heavens and a new earth, but there will be no need for the light of the sun. From beginning to end the Bible rejects the natural man's deification of the sun as the source of light and life. God sets the sun it in its place. God moves it in its course. God can stop it in its course when it serves His purpose. The Bible systematically presents the same picture of the sun in relation to the earth, and never suggests anything different. History, prophecy, law, poetry, all provide the same uniform view of the matter. Even the poetic descriptions only make sense on the understanding that the sun moves. There is never a hint that this is merely phenomenological language. It is reality as God has revealed it. That being the case, whence arises the suggestion that it is something other than literal? The suggestion comes from naturalistic science . A changing science at that. A science which self-consciously proclaims its findings in terms of hypothesis and probability. A science which already accepts that alternate models might be just as valid. A science which itself is geocentric, since all its preliminary findings are based on observations of and from the earth. What then? Are we seriously being asked to exchange the reliability of the consistent worldview of the Bible in order to conform to the unreliable and ever-changing probabilities of this so-called "science?"
     
  15. Taylor Sexton

    Taylor Sexton Puritan Board Junior

    The problem is that I don't see Scripture as teaching one thing or the other. All evidence that has been presented to me from Scripture that people say supports the geocentric theory doesn't have to be interpreted that way (in spite of the dogmatism of some). That is all I am saying.

    That there will be a new heavens and new earth is perfectly clear. That I care about. Whether the earth or the sun is the axis of the revolution of the solar system or universe it apparently does not. All the passages I have seen presented can be taken either way with ease.
     
  16. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    I think you may have facilitated that ease, and you have probably done so on the assumption that there is an "universe" in which the earth rotates around the sun as matter of "scientific fact;" but it would be worthwhile to re-investigate (1) the Bible on its own terms, and (2) what science now hypothesises regarding a "multiverse" and its implications.
     
  17. Taylor Sexton

    Taylor Sexton Puritan Board Junior

    Reading those passages as teaching a geocentric model has two issues:

    1) It's not a literal reading, but a literalistic reading. Nobody would ever interpret the weatherman speaking of the sunrise in this fashion to be affirm a geocentric model. I think something has to be said for the vantage point of us on earth, and how it has universally affected idiom.

    2) These passages do not seem to have been written for the purpose of teaching the movement of planetary or solar bodies in space. To read it in such a fashion, in my opinion, is to read into the text questions it does not seek to answer.

    Again, I am not arguing for or against the model. I really don't care either way. All I am saying is that Scripture just simply isn't clear, and to be dogmatic about it is, in my opinion, rather silly.
     
  18. Taylor Sexton

    Taylor Sexton Puritan Board Junior

    I am looking at the Bible on its own terms now. And it seems that the passages can be taken either way.
     
  19. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    Is it literal or literalistic to interpret Genesis One as teaching there was alternating light and darkness on the earth for three days without the existence of the sun, and that the sun itself was set in the heavens, like the moon, as a light-bearer and time-administrator for the benefit of the earth?
     
  20. Taylor Sexton

    Taylor Sexton Puritan Board Junior

    Genesis 1 is a notoriously difficult passage to interpret, even by Bible-believing, conservative, inerrantist, godly (and thoroughly Reformed) people. I am in no position or of the desire (or time) to get into a debate. For the final time, all I am saying is that 1) Scripture is not clear on this issue, and it seems, as Calvin would say, that the Spirit has not seen it fit to reveal this to us, and 2) all the Scripture presented to me supposedly proving the geocentric model is hardly as conclusive as those who affirm the position claim they are. The foundation is shaky at very best, in my humble opinion, especially given the nature of concepts expressed through language. (Again, nobody would accuse the weatherman of propagating a geocentric model when he talks about the sunrise.)

    That is it. I have no desire or interest in debate because (again) I am not arguing one way or the other. My whole point (again) is to say the issue is not clearly addressed in Scripture.
     
  21. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    I grant that may be the case according to your notoriously difficult interpretation of it.
     
  22. Taylor Sexton

    Taylor Sexton Puritan Board Junior

    I think the whole point of what I have been saying is that the method of interpretation is not as cut and clear and some dogmatic persons would have one believe. I think that I have made no attempt at a positive interpretation of any passage presented is beyond clear.
     
  23. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    Can you recognise that you have made a very clear dogmatic point of distinguishing between literal and literalistic? and then can you recognise that you have made it very clear that you are dogmatically certain that Genesis One is notoriously difficult to interpret? If you can recognise this, then you must see that dogmatism works in more than one way, and that the ease with which you can interpret passages as being unclear is owing to a dogmatism which facilitates this ease.
     
  24. Taylor Sexton

    Taylor Sexton Puritan Board Junior

    I believe what I indeed said—if I am being read carefully and fairly, that is—is that I have made no attempt to positively interpret any passage set before me, including Genesis 1. And, yes, I am dogmatic about the distinction between literal and literalistic, since to not do so would reduce language to have no meaning. Also, I am fairly certain (I do not know why you accuse me of rising to the level of dogmatism) that Genesis 1 is a difficult passage, otherwise its proper interpretation would not be disputed. That seams simple and demonstrable enough an assertion.

    I would like to stress again that I am not arguing for or against any position (although I feel that I am being treated unfairly, since I get the feeling an interpretation is being put in my mouth, when no such thing has been asserted), because whatever body is in the geographic center of the solar system or universe has absolutely no bearing on my life—physical, spiritual, doctrinal or otherwise. I merely am saying that the evidence might not be as clear cut as certain ones would believe it to be—for either position. I know that such lack of black-and-white or cut-and-dry is uncomfortable for some on this board, but I cannot help that; it is just so. I, for one, refuse to bemoan the fact that Spirit did not see fit to make such questions clearly answered in Scripture.
     
  25. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    I acknowledge that you do not argue for or against any of the positions which are under discussion; but you do so by introducing another position. It is not as easy as saying the Bible is unclear. You have exegetical and dogmatic reasons for the position you are introducing. And I would like to stress this to you so that you do not simply adopt your position because it might seem to present an option out of the exegetical and dogmatic challenges that the other positions face. You are obligated to adopt and defend your position according to the exegetical and dogmatic standards which are imposed on the others positions.
     
  26. Taylor Sexton

    Taylor Sexton Puritan Board Junior

    Yes, the position that Scripture does not appear to address the issue as clearly as some would like it. That is my position.
     
  27. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    So now I can respond concerning your position, "that the method of interpretation is not as cut and clear as some dogmatic persons would have one believe." It works both ways. I don't accept that your "notoriously difficult interpretation" is as clear as you believe it is.
     
  28. Taylor Sexton

    Taylor Sexton Puritan Board Junior

    That is precisely the point I have been trying to make this entire time...
     
  29. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable

    Brother, how would we as Calvinists respond to this same statement made in the context of an anti-Calvinist response to our soteriological views? Would we let them "off the hook," as it were, versus pressing them to examine their unexamined assumptions? I think this is perhaps related to Rev. Winzer's questions of your position.
     
  30. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    I apologise, Taylor, if I have missed your point. Thankyou for taking time to consider the issues.
     
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