Discussion in 'Natural Revelation and God's Creation' started by thbslawson, Jan 11, 2014.

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  1. thbslawson

    thbslawson Puritan Board Freshman

    I was shocked to come across someone the other day from a Reformed perspective that was a full-fledged geocentrist, believing that the earth did not, in fact, orbit the sun, but rather all things in the universe cosmologically revolved around the earth. I had heard things like this before, but assumed (or hoped) that it was more of a theological geocentric sort of thing, that earth and man was central in God's providence and plan, but not necessarily cosmologically so.

    I didn't know such wild notions existed. Saying that the earth revolves around the sun is nothing like, for instance, believing in evolution. It most certainly does not contradict scripture and can be easily observed and understood with clear empirical evidence.

    Is this kind of belief still common?
  2. Claudiu

    Claudiu Puritan Board Junior

    It would not be incorrect to say that the sun revolves around the earth and vice versa. It depends what frame of reference in terms of physics one takes (i.e. absolute space vs. relative space). The debate goes back to Newton and Leibniz. For example, if we have two people holding hands and spinning around in a circle, who is the center? Who is spinning around who? One might say it's the one doing the most moving is spinning around the one that appears stationary, and hence the less moving one is the center. They may be true, but it can just as well be the other way around. In the end, this is all to say that neither position is correct, or rather both are, the sun revolves around earth and earth revolves around the sun.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2014
  3. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Professor

    Not common but maybe correct. :)
  4. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Professor

    Which also brings about the point that if the Lord stopped the entire universe from moving the sun stopped.
  5. Afterthought

    Afterthought Puritan Board Junior

    Probably not, but if you want to see the biblically motivated reasons for why some hold to this view, there are a number of comprehensive threads on the PB to look for and a few side comments on other threads. I also recommend Wilhelmus a Brakel for the most complete systematic defense of geocentrism from the biblical text that I have yet seen (the PB threads have good exegetical discussions, but they do not always link all the ideas in Scripture on the matter together since this a forum). For a scientific treatment, there are a number of places you can easily find on the internet. Edit: The keyword to look up from a secular point of view is "Mach's principle," which is often appealed to by modern geocentrists giving a scientific defense.

    From what I understand, modern physics says that acceleration is absolute (except over tiny patches of space), not relative. Perhaps more accurately (though I'm not sure yet): the effects of acceleration are absolute.

    The example of the two people is fair enough. However, one usually tells who is revolving around who by the center of mass, which is what both revolve around. While this might keep us from telling which of those people are revolving around who, the sun is so much more massive than the earth that the center of mass is inside of the sun, causing a "wobble" as the sun revolves around it. If the center of mass was outside the sun, you would have a good point, though because of absolute acceleration, the earth's rotation would still be a problem and possibly its revolution still too (the problem of absolute acceleration is distinct from the considerations of the center of mass). I will admit that I haven't run these calculations for myself, but this is what I've heard scientists say.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2014
  6. thbslawson

    thbslawson Puritan Board Freshman

    We seem to have gotten rather technical, far more technical than I expected.

    Let me ask this simply; does the earth rotate on it's axis and does it orbit the sun?
  7. CJW

    CJW Puritan Board Freshman

    I don't think it's particularly common (as I am the only geocentrist I know of in my sphere of face to face friends and acquaintances) but it's not unheard of, and I rejoiced to learn of others here who hold that view!

    C. S. Lewis' The Discarded Image, which is not a theological book per se but rather a treatise on medieval and renaissance literature, was the work which brought about for me what can only be described as a radical paradigm shift (one of a few life and world view changes that I had as a fairly new believer). The final chapter in the book covered man's finite ability to truly "know" much about our universe outside the revelation of God, as we cannot get outside it to measure or quantify it. We cannot get outside our solar system to empirically measure what is happening, so the sun and earth may indeed be going around each other. Meditating on Joshua's long day was the final nail in the coffin of my belief in a heliocentric solar system. What is described there is simply not possible if the moon goes around the earth, and the earth goes around the sun. Of course, the Ptolymaic system may not be absolutely correct either; in Edward Hill's Defense of the King James Bible (an odd place to find such things to be sure!) he speaks of a Puritan who postulated that the sun goes around the earth with the other planets orbiting the sun. I don't have the exact reference off hand, but if you're at all interested let me know, and I'll see if I can find it :)

    Now, I am not a scientist of any kind, but there are geocentric scientists and members of this board with a far greater grasp on the scientific basis of it who can much better explain it than I have.
  8. Edward

    Edward Puritanboard Commissioner

  9. VictorBravo

    VictorBravo Administrator Staff Member

    For the purpose of predicting the positions and states of heavenly objects, the easiest way to perform calculations uses this as a basic model. In other words, if we assume rotation of earth and it orbiting around sun, the calculations predicting what we see from our vantage point (or the moon's for that matter) are fairly easy and certainly elegant.

    All of physics is based upon empirical observation. The underlying assumption is the universe is orderly. The equations scientists and theoreticians have developed demonstrate that observations of God's creation are remarkably consistent. That is an example of general revelation demonstrating that God's creation is orderly.

    Having said all that, I keep in mind the true reality behind the empirical observations: it is simply that God, through Christ, is pushing around each point of his creation according to his will and purpose. (Hebrews 1:2,3 and elsewhere). One implication of this understanding is that the "law" of gravity, for example, is a shorthand way of saying that God requires (according to his natural law) that objects of mass appear to be attracted to one another according to a consistent pattern. Unlike rebellious Man, and rebellious angels, the rest of Creation unfailingly obeys what God requires.

    Nevertheless, the ultimate mover is God, and I take his stewardship to be constantly active, ongoing, purposeful, occurring right now, and everlasting. This observation makes me a geocentrist, even though I am quite comfortable with the idea of using things like Lagrangian mechanics to predict trajectories and orbits.
  10. Claudiu

    Claudiu Puritan Board Junior

    Ditto to what brother Vic said. The only thing I would add is that the model's and theories used in science are just that, model's and theories. They are helpful in gaining understanding, or having something to work with, but we can't let them be an end in themselves when they are just a means. That is, scientists use the model's to interpret the data, but the model can sometimes change and still yield viable results (e.g. Newtonian physics vs. Einstein's theory of relativity).
  11. CharlieJ

    CharlieJ Puritan Board Junior

    Yes, the earth orbits the sun in a way that is not mathematically equivalent to Ptolemy's or Brahe's systems. This is proved through stellar parallax.

    Yes, the earth rotates on its axis. This is proved (among other ways) through Foucault's pendulum.

    And because these threads have a tendency to head this direction, GPS satellites depend on the predictions made by both general and special relativity.
  12. Loopie

    Loopie Puritan Board Freshman

    Furthermore, if the current models and theories of the earth's placement and movement within the solar system are wrong, it would be unlikely that we would be able to launch successful missions to Mars. Scientists calculate when the distance between Mars and Earth is the shortest, and there would be times when Mars is on the opposite side of the sun in its orbit (suggesting that both planets orbit the same point, namely the sun). I just do not see how we could successfully perform so many space operations with such a completely faulty understanding of the solar system.
  13. One Little Nail

    One Little Nail Puritan Board Sophomore

    I hold to Geocentrism, and am Reformed, The Sun & Moon does indeed circuit the Immovable Earth on a Daily Basis according to Scripture,
    Calvin & Luther and all The Reformers were Geocentrists.
  14. One Little Nail

    One Little Nail Puritan Board Sophomore

    The Michelson-Morley Experiment in the 19th Century proved that the Earth was stationary.

    A simple observation of starlight by timelapse photography can prove the Earth does not rotate on it's Axis.

    I was under the impression that GPS Satellites were geostationary, that is they do not move!
  15. One Little Nail

    One Little Nail Puritan Board Sophomore

    This Article at Sixty
    shows 67 verses in 35 different Books of The Bible which say it is the Sun that moves & not the Earth.

    Genesis 15:12...... "...and when the sun was going down..."

    15:17..... "...when the sun went down..."

    19:23..... "The sun was risen upon the earth."

    28:11..... "...because the sun was set...."

    32:31..... "...the sun rose...."

    Exodus 17:12..... "...until the going down of the sun...."

    22:3...... "...if the sun be risen upon him...."

    22:26.... "...the sun goeth down...."

    Leviticus 22:7...... "...And when the sun is down...."

    Numbers 2:3........ "...toward the rising of the sun...."

    Deuteronomy 11:30..... "...the way where the sun goeth down...."

    16:6....... " the going down of the sun...."

    23:11..... "...when the sun is down...."

    24:13..... "...when the sun goeth down...."

    24:15..... "...neither shall the sun go down...."

    Joshua 1:4..... "...the going down of the sun...."

    8:29... " soon as the sun was down...."

    10:12.. "...Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon...."

    10:13.. "...and the sun stood still...."

    10:27.. "...the time of the going down of the sun...."

    12:1.... "...toward the rising of the sun...."

    Judges 5:31.... " the sun when he goeth down...."

    8:13.... "...before the sun was up...."

    9:33.... " soon as the sun is up...."

    14:18.... "...before the sun went down...."

    19:14.... "...and the sun went down...."

    II Samuel 2:24.... "...the sun went down...."

    3:35.... "...till the sun be down...."

    23:4..... "...when the sun riseth...."

    I Kings 22:36.... "...the going down of the sun...."

    I Chronicles 16:30.... "...the world also shall be stable, that it be not moved...."

    II Chronicles 18:34.... "...time of the sun going down...."

    Job 9:7.... "...commandeth the sun and it riseth not...."

    Job 26:7.... "...He hangeth the earth upon nothing...."

    Psalm 19:4.... "...tabernacle for the sun...."

    19:5 ... "...cometh out to run...."

    19:6.... "...goes forth in a circle from one end of heaven to the other...."

    50:1.... "...from the rising of the sun...."

    93:1.... "...the world also is stablished that it cannot be moved...."

    104:19.. "...the sun knoweth his going down...."

    104:22.. "...the sun ariseth...."

    113:3.... "...from the rising of the sun...."

    Ecclesiastes 1:5.... "...The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down

    and hasteth to the place where he arose...."

    Isaiah 13:10.... "...sun shall be darkened in his going...."

    38:8...... " gone down on the sundial of Ahaz...."

    38:8...... " the sun returned...."

    41:25.... "...from the rising of the sun...."

    45:6...... "...from the rising of the sun...."

    59:19.... "...from the rising of the sun...."

    60:20.... "...the sun shall no more go down...."

    Jeremiah 15:9.... "...her sun is gone down while it was yet day...."

    Daniel 6:14.... "...going down of the sun...."

    Amos 8:9.... "...cause the sun to go down at noon...."

    Jonah 4:8.... "...when the sun did arise...."

    Micah 3:6.... "...and the sun shall go down...."

    Nahum 3:17.... "...when the sun ariseth...."

    Habakkuk 3:11.... "...the sun and moon stood still in their habitation...."

    Malachi 1:11.... "...from the rising of the sun...."

    Matthew 5:45.... "...for He maketh His sun to rise...."

    13:6..... "...and when the sun was up...."

    Mark 1:32.... "...when the sun did set...."

    4:6...... "...when the sun was up...."

    16:2...... " the rising of the sun...."

    Luke 4:40.... "...when the sun was setting...."

    Ephesians 4:26.... "...let not the sun go down upon your wrath...."

    James 1:11.... "...for the sun is no sooner risen...."

    That is a Total of 67 Verses in 35 Books of the Bible Which Say

    that It Is the Sun that Moves and Not the Earth!

    Some of these verses will be argued that they are spoken of as from mans observation but when we place them together
    with some irrefutable Scriptures like Psalm 19:6 which clearly state that the Sun has a circuit, Isaiah 38:8 which says the Sun returned ten degrees, Joshua 10:12-13 state Joshua commanded the Sun & Moon to stand still and they both stood still
    as they were commanded, as Scriptures which speak of the Earth being stationary like 1 Chronicles 16:30 the world also shall be stable, that it be not moved & Psalm 93:1 the world also is stablished, that it cannot be moved. if you look at the fact that the Earth was created on the First Day of Creation whereas the Sun & Moon were created on the Forth Day of Creation Genesis 1:14-19 so the Earth could not rotate around something which did no exist? and a clincher for me which was not mentioned is James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. no shadow of turning this is a direct comparison to the Sun which casts a shadow of turning due to its motion, you will see that the Testimony of The Scriptures is Geocentricism.

    I am not a pagan sun worshipper, this doctrine of a motionless sun at the centre of the heavens was contrived by sun god
    worshippers, who wished to exalt it, please do not fall for their wiles,
    you can do this by placing the sun in its God ordained position of subordinate servanthood to mankind on the Earth.
  16. Philip

    Philip Puritan Board Graduate

    Is such language being used in the modern scientific sense in Scripture, or in the ordinary sense?

    Copernicus? Galileo? Newton? Sun god worshippers? You need some evidence there.

    Now here you make a false dichotomy: theologically, we are all geocentrists. The theological center of the universe is the earth: it is unique in the heavens. No question. But in terms of scientific models, it is not the center any more than the sun is. The sun has been placed where it is in order that earth may be warmed and in order that man may have life on the earth. You are confusing cosmographic location with importance here.
  17. thbslawson

    thbslawson Puritan Board Freshman

    I think I have my answer.
  18. thbslawson

    thbslawson Puritan Board Freshman

    And by the way, the fact that GPS satellites are in geosynchronous orbit proves the rotation of the earth. A satellite cannot be in geosynchronous orbit unless the earth is spinning.
  19. Mushroom

    Mushroom Puritan Board Doctor

    It flummoxes me that such intelligent people have such difficulty wrapping their minds around this. Perhaps there's some advantage to being a relative simpleton.

    Yes, a heliocentric model is useful in using gravitational forces for space flight. One day it may be that a galaxy-centric model will be of use for intergalactic travel. But that's all they are - models. Light parallax, gravity, etc., all operate within differing paradigms according to source and force. But, as Einstein proved, motion is relative to the observer. There is a geocentric model. It's complicated when trying to map the SOLAR system, and the Milky Way, but it is where we stand as we look out into the heavens. We can make sense of order we detect in the shadows on the wall, and make predictions accordingly that will be correct, but they are still shadows on the wall.

    I'm glad I'm just dumb enough to remember that...
  20. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable

    Geocentricity has nothing to do with the earth's spinning on its axis. Just sayin'. ;)
  21. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    John Owen (Works 19:310): "the late hypothesis, fixing the sun as in the centre of the world, built on fallible phenomena, and advanced by many arbitrary presumptions, against evident testimonies of Scripture and reasons as probable as any that are produced in its confirmation."
  22. thbslawson

    thbslawson Puritan Board Freshman

    How ya figure?
  23. VictorBravo

    VictorBravo Administrator Staff Member

    Moderator's note

    I have deleted off-topic posts and a post with name-calling.

    Robert, stay on topic, refrain from personal attacks, or stay away from this thread.
  24. CharlieJ

    CharlieJ Puritan Board Junior

    Brad, what you are saying about models is true enough. According to relativity, any position can arbitrarily be chosen as a center of a frame of reference, so we could have a Saturn-centric cosmology if we wanted to. Fine. But that's not the geocentrism that geocentric proponents argue for. They assert that the Earth is the REAL center of the ONE true (non-relative) frame. That's why every geocentrist I've run across (admittedly, only a handful) also disagrees with Einstein. That's why they make bizarre claims about the Michelson-Morley experiments, interpreting them in ways that no scientists do. That's why they post lists of Bible verses that supposedly establish the REAL scientific cosmology.

    There is one more important point, though. As far as I understand (and I could be wrong here), relativity is only a quantitative description of the motion of objects. We may have logical reasons for preferring one frame of reference to another. One can equally validly mathematically represent a train moving east at 80 mph relative to a stationary observer or a observer moving west 80 mph relative to a stationary train. Would we not, though, have logical reasons for preferring one way of describing the situation?
  25. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    I have found the opposite to be the case.
  26. SRoper

    SRoper Puritan Board Graduate

    GPS satellites are not geosynchronous--they orbit the earth at high speeds. They are engineered so that their clocks run slower to take into account special and general relativity. A precise clock is essential in accurately determining position. If they didn't take relativity into account they would be too inaccurate for most uses within a matter of minutes. I suppose relativity deniers could come up with an ad-hoc alternate explanation for why this engineering change is required, but it is curious that it lines up with exactly what relativity predicts.

    Robert, what would happen if Michelson-Morley was performed on the Moon? You would predict that it would show a different result than on the Earth. I predict it would show the same result as on Earth (and thus confirm relativity). Seems simple enough to test.

    When scientists speak of the earth revolving around the sun, they are speaking of the center point of the Earth-Sun system being inside the sun. This is undeniably true. Someone referred to an analogy of two people swinging around each other. We see something like this in nature in the case of many binary star systems. In this case, one would not speak of one star revolving around the other since the center of the system is between the two stars. Both stars are revolving around each other. However, the Earth-Sun system is not like this. It is analogous to an adult man swinging his child around him. I suppose one could say the father is revolving around his son, but this would be an unnatural way to speak of the arrangement when observing it from the outside. The child would say would say that the room is spinning around, and that seems perfectly natural.
  27. Mushroom

    Mushroom Puritan Board Doctor

    Preferences derive from the intent of the one doing the preferring, brother. In the case of trains and observers, that preference may fall on which side of the example one might stand. I suppose since the majority of observers would be on the side of the stationary observer, it would be serviceable to explain it as a train moving at 80 MPH. And if one is tasked with using gravitational forces to implement interplanetary flight, or to give a simpler illustration of nearby heavenly bodies, a heliocentric model is preferable. But preferable does not mean exclusive. God created the Earth for the purpose of displaying His glory through the redemption purchased by His Son. Everything else in creation He designed to complement that purpose. So in the paradigm that matters most in all history, the Earth IS the center of creation.

    The model used in electrical sciences for many long years was proven incorrect in relatively recent times; we once thought electrons flowed from positive to negative, now we know the opposite is true, but the model still works. Workable models are useful, but they aren't indicative of monolithic truth, why adhere to them as though they do?
  28. J Miles

    J Miles Puritan Board Freshman

    "16. The greater light..

    I have said, that Moses does not here subtilely descant, as a philosopher, on the secrets of nature, as may be seen in these words.

    First, he assigns a place in the expanse of heaven to the planets and stars; but astronomers make a distinction of spheres, and, at the same time, teach that the fixed stars have their proper place in the firmament. Moses makes two great luminaries; but astronomers prove, by conclusive reasons that the star of Saturn, which on account of its great distance, appears the least of all, is greater than the moon.

    Here lies the difference; Moses wrote in a popular style things which without instruction, all ordinary persons, endued with common sense, are able to understand; but astronomers investigate with great labor whatever the sagacity of the human mind can comprehend. Nevertheless, this study is not to be reprobated, nor this science to be condemned, because some frantic persons are wont boldly to reject whatever is unknown to them.

    For astronomy is not only pleasant, but also very useful to be known: it cannot be denied that this art unfolds the admirable wisdom of God. Wherefore, as ingenious men are to be honored who have expended useful labor on this subject, so they who have leisure and capacity ought not to neglect this kind of exercise. Nor did Moses truly wish to withdraw us from this pursuit in omitting such things as are peculiar to the art; but because he was ordained a teacher as well of the unlearned and rude as of the learned, he could not otherwise fulfill his office than by descending to this grosser method of instruction.

    Had he spoken of things generally unknown, the uneducated might have pleaded in excuse that such subjects were beyond their capacity. Lastly since the Spirit of God here opens a common school for all, it is not surprising that he should chiefly choose those subjects which would be intelligible to all. If the astronomer inquires respecting the actual dimensions of the stars, he will find the moon to be less than Saturn; but this is something abstruse, for to the sight it appears differently.

    Moses, therefore, rather adapts his discourse to common usage. For since the Lord stretches forth, as it were, his hand to us in causing us to enjoy the brightness of the sun and moon, how great would be our ingratitude were we to close our eyes against our own experience? There is therefore no reason why janglers should deride the unskilfulness of Moses in making the moon the second luminary; for he does not call us up into heaven, he only proposes things which lie open before our eyes.

    Let the astronomers possess their more exalted knowledge; but, in the meantime, they who perceive by the moon the splendor of night, are convicted by its use of perverse ingratitude unless they acknowledge the beneficence of God."

    John Calvin's commentary on Genesis 1:16

    Commentary on Genesis - Volume 1 - Christian Classics Ethereal Library

    This is one of my favorite parts of this commentary. It also disproves the idea that Calvin held his particular views on astronomy solely based of the Bible.
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2014
  29. One Little Nail

    One Little Nail Puritan Board Sophomore

    Didn't their experiment split light & have it travel in 2 diferent directions by mirrors in a cube shape apparatus which then
    met back up, and because the 2 lights travelled back to this point at the same time didn't it prove that the earth didnt move, on the moon it would show a difference when the 2 light sources merged, a noticeable lag would be seen on 1 light, due to the moons movement.

    But God says that the Earth is stationary & that the Sun does the moving,so who is correct! most scientists say that God does not exist either! let God be true & man a Liar I say haha, we should believe our Creator who created the heavens &
    the earth as he would know what the true cosmology is, well you would think so.
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2014
  30. Tirian

    Tirian Puritan Board Sophomore

    Joshua prayed for the sun to be still, and God acquiesced to his petition. The sun stood still. The heliocentric system is useful and forms part of an ever growing, evolving, refining, changing body of knowledge gained through discovery and experimentation.

    We shouldn't alter the plain reading of scripture though. Nor is the door closed on their being some further discovery that alters or shifts the the heliocentric model.

    We shouldn't expect a discovery to emerge that alters scripture.
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