Friday, February 10, 2006

Geocentrism Challenge


Catholic Apologetics International is holding a "Geocentrism Challenge" wherein they're offering $1000 to anyone who can "prove" that the earth orbits the eun. They claim that their tradition and certain Bible passages require that the sun orbit the earth.

I have no interest in CAI's cash, but I am interested in the Bible verses they claim teach geocentrism. So here are their "proof" verses from the Bible (apocryphal ones excluded.) Keep in mind that poetic language is not intended to be taken literally. I can say the "sun sets", even though the earth is that which is rotating and still be correct from my vantage point.

Psa 19:5-7
Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber;
It rejoices as a strong man to run his course.
Its rising is from one end of the heavens,
And its circuit to the other end of them;
And there is nothing hidden from its heat.
The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul;
The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
This is talking about how the sun is perceived, not about spatial relationships or orbits.
Psa 104:5
He established the earth upon its foundations, So that it will not totter forever and ever.

Nothing here about Earth's location or its orbit, this whole passage is talking about God's sovereign control over all the universe. The Earth will not "totter forever" because God's plan will not allow it to do so. "There will be a new heavens and a new earth."
Psa 104:19
He made the moon for the seasons; The sun knows the place of its setting.
Poetic language again talking not about spatial relationships of extraterrestrial bodies, but God's Sovereignty.
Psa 119:90
Your faithfulness continues throughout all generations; You established the earth, and it stands.
Uh... Earth still "stands", even though it really does orbit the sun.
Ecc 1:5
Also, the sun rises and the sun sets; And hastening to its place it rises there again.
Still more poetic language that really isn't talking about what goes on in the heavens, but how it appears on Earth.
2 Kings 20:9-11
Isaiah said, "This shall be the sign to you from the LORD, that the LORD will do the thing that He has spoken: shall the shadow go forward ten steps or go back ten steps?"
So Hezekiah answered, "It is easy for the shadow to decline ten steps; no, but let the shadow turn backward ten steps."
Isaiah the prophet cried to the LORD, and He brought the shadow on the stairway back ten steps by which it had gone down on the stairway of Ahaz.
Supernatural event which needs to explanation. This does not require the sun to orbit the Earth.
2 Chron 32:24
In those days Hezekiah became mortally ill; and he prayed to the LORD, and the LORD spoke to him and gave him a sign.
Ok.... what does this have to do with anything?
Isa 38:7-8
"This shall be the sign to you from the LORD, that the LORD will do this thing that He has spoken:
"Behold, I will cause the shadow on the stairway, which has gone down with the sun on the stairway of Ahaz, to go back ten steps " So the sun's shadow went back ten steps on the stairway on which it had gone down."
Same event as reported in 2 Kings, same deal no need for sun to orbit the Earth for God to cause this occurrence.
Joshua 10:12-14
...So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped... And the sun stopped in the middle of the sky and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day...
As with the Isaiah passages, a supernatural event that doesn't require the sun to orbit the earth. It seems that perhaps CAI is looking for natural causes for supernatural events. Like with some of the "Discovery" type TV-shows, folks look for natural causes for Biblical events, for example some speculate that the crossing of the Red Sea was made possible by a tsunami. The Bible states, however, that God held back the waters of the Red Sea, it doesn't tell us about a tsunami or anything of the sort, there doesn't need to be a naturalistic explanation for supernatural events.
Judges 5:31
"Thus let all Your enemies perish, O LORD; But let those who love Him be like the rising of the sun in its might."
And the land was undisturbed for forty years.
Yes, the sun "rises" and "sets". This is how sun's movement appears because of the rotation of the earth to us. The fact that the earth orbits the sun does not negate this passage in any way.
Job 9:7
Who commands the sun not to shine,
And sets a seal upon the stars;
How does this indicate the idea that the sun orbits the earth? God's commanding of heavenly bodies not to shine does not tell us anything about the relationship of the sun or earth.
Habakkuk 3:11
Sun and moon stood in their places;
They went away at the light of Your arrows,
At the radiance of Your gleaming spear.
More poetic language. Interesting that here, though, that the author of Scripture speaks of the sun and moon standing still as a interruption of the natural course of things. One who understands the movements of the planets and stars knows that everything in the universe is in motion.
Finally...
James 1:12 - Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
Where is the sun or earth mentioned in this passage? How is this passage supposedly teaching geo-centrism?

None of these verses say what CAI wants them to say, thus it is not the Bible which directs their misguided belief but their tradition.

6 comments:

  1. A total misunderstanding of the gospel, blatant idolatry concerning Mary, a complete disregard for verified science.....its not looking too good for worshipping God in spirit and in truth in the Roman Catholic church.

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  2. Anonymous12:11 PM

    When we use the terms "the sun sets" et al, we use them because we inherited language from an older world which, ideed, *did* believe the sun moved around the earth. Verified science, as the previous commentator put it, reveals this to be a simple historical fact. Hence, the onus probandi is upon those who wish to say that when an ancient writer scribed, "The sun sets," he meant anything other than the literal import of those words.

    Here's the problem: when we allow "science" to trump scripture, anything goes. We can decend from apes (after all, the opening chapters of Genesis are very poetic). And "science" can tell us that homosexual sex is a perfectly normal and healthy expression of human sexuality--which in fact, it tries to do. If you come from a preconcieved mindset that science, is infallible, then you will, a priori, delegate the testimony of the Sacred Writ to a secondary position; either it will have to made conform to "science", or it will have to be discarded altogether.

    I'm not saying everyone does this. I am only going as far as to say, the novelty of helicentricism was part of a downhill rebellion against the plain reading of the Scriptures, leading to the creation of the god of "Liberty" which, leading its followers in a cruel liturgy of death, has reinstituted human sacrifice in the form of abortion.

    Science, even among professing Christians, has been made to trump scripture, and the world we see today is the fruit of such thinking.

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  3. "Hence, the onus probandi is upon those who wish to say that when an ancient writer scribed, "The sun sets," he meant anything other than the literal import of those words."

    Balogna. We still say "the sun sets" and mean that, from our vantage point, from our seemingly fixed location on the Earth, the sun did set. Anchient writers likewise had their vantage point, the sun, moon and stars rose and set just as they do today and thus they wrote from their specific vantage point.

    "Here's the problem: when we allow "science" to trump scripture, anything goes. We can decend from apes (after all, the opening chapters of Genesis are very poetic)."

    No one is suggesting that we let "science trump scripture" rather that we not impose upon Scripture concepts the Scripture does not actually speak to. No where in Scripture does it say, as I have documented, that the sun orbits the Earth. Geocentrism was something derived from the language of the anchients who from their vantage point described what they saw. Thus to find geocentrism from Scripture is the result of a wrong interpretation method.

    Jumping from recognizing what the world is actually like in this post-fall age to claiming that man descended from apes is a long stretch. Genesis is not "poetic" the the same sense in which the psalms are and the grammar and language therein cannot be claimed in that manner. Rather, as the consistent witness of Scripture shows, from Genesis through Revelation, the fall must have occured as written in Genesis for the rest of Scripture to be true, there can be no need for regeneration without a fall, no death without sin. But it is a wholly different thing to take that understanding and impose upon the world around us a wrong view that there are no "natural" processes at work in nature.

    "And "science" can tell us that homosexual sex is a perfectly normal and healthy expression of human sexuality--which in fact, it tries to do."

    For a long time the claim was made that homosexuality didn't exist in nature, now it is evident that it does. You may fight against any suggestion that there may be a 'gay gene' fearing that it might legitimize homosexuality, but the possibility exists. Even such problems as alcoholism have genetic markers and those with such have a propensity toward alcoholism. Why should it suprise us that the fall has so effected mankind as to cause such genetic problems? We still believe in original sin, don't we? Did not Cain kill Able? Are not those who have double Y chromosomes more likely to be psychopaths? And yet we still hold them responsible for their actions, regardless of their genetic predispositions.

    Perhaps because while you're fighting for a literal interpretation of the Scriptures we really don't accept what the Scriptures say. The fall really did occur and it affected all of man.

    The problem is that Christians tend to view science as an enemy of Christianity, rather than that which explains God's creation. It is quite possible that some form of evolution ary theory be true and yet the creation occured just as it states in Genesis within the Biblical time-frame and without resorting to theistic-evolution. God created Adam and Eve as adults, the fish, birds and other animals likewise. Thus when God created the universe he created an adult universe... and everything we see is therefore a result of that amazing creation.

    Science can not be "infallible", for by its very nature it is in essence observation, Science does not establish facts, it can only provide evidence, how that evidence is interpreted is really at the root of these questions.

    Science, even among professing Christians, has been made to trump scripture, and the world we see today is the fruit of such thinking.

    I argue the contrary, Science cannot 'trump' anything, except perhaps ignorance and claims of 'literal interpretations'. It is evident, as I've shown in my post, that those who claim 'literal' interpretations are in fact the ones adding more to the interpretation than is literally there.

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  4. In a sense, this is correct; you can make anything the centre of the universe--the sun, the earth, an empty spot in space, or this keyboard I'm typing on--and produce a mathimatical model that explains the movement of all other objects related to it.

    But I think anonymous has a point, you know, though he takes it in a differant direction; do we have any record of anyone in the era that the Old Testament was written in actually, you know, thinking the earth went around the sun? If not, scientifically speaking, it would kind of seem like an anachronism (spelled right?) to attribute heliocytrism (ditto? Probably not) to Job or David. That isn't really good exegesis of a historical document. You can say that they meant such and such a thing and were wrong about it, but really, doesn't it seem a little forced to convieniantly say, "Oh, they meant this," making it match whatever scientific theories are popular at the time, just because you want to believe a certain book is perfect?

    This is one of those things that bothers me about most Christians; they aren't willing to consider that they could be wrong about their own canon. Kind of sets oneself up as the judge, jury, and executioner as far as being able to discern was was written by a man years ago as being heaven sent. Maybe God did write a book. But I sure wouldn't think I'm big enough to pick it out. And if I did pick one out, and science found out that something in it was wrong, then I'd feel like I was doing God a disservice by claiming He wrote it, you know? God's a lot bigger than me. If I look at, say, Ruth and read it and say, "God wrote this," without having God tell me, then I'm not trusting in God; I'm just trusting a book.

    I know I'm created, and I don't claim to understand the one that created me. I'm sure I'm accountible to Him, and if I've done wrong, then it's up to him what he wants to do with me, you know? Maybe Jesus has something to do with that, and if he does, then I accept it. But I'm not going to trust myself, you know? Anyway, my two cents...

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  5. But I think anonymous has a point, you know, though he takes it in a differant direction; do we have any record of anyone in the era that the Old Testament was written in actually, you know, thinking the earth went around the sun? If not, scientifically speaking, it would kind of seem like an anachronism (spelled right?) to attribute heliocytrism (ditto? Probably not) to Job or David. That isn't really good exegesis of a historical document.

    That's MY point actually.

    This is one of those things that bothers me about most Christians; they aren't willing to consider that they could be wrong about their own canon.

    But herein lies the problem, Christians do not believe they "chose" their own Canon, rather, that God Himself provided, protected and established the Canon through time by the means of godly men. From Scripture we realize that this is how it has always been, such as when in the OT the Law is recovered and reestablished for the people. To believe in the supernatural God of the Bible is to believe in an all-powerful creator God who is not suprised by events that occur on earth, but has predestined all that should come to pass. For a Christian to doubt the suffiency and authenticity of the Scriptures is to cease to be a Christian.

    Maybe God did write a book. But I sure wouldn't think I'm big enough to pick it out. And if I did pick one out, and science found out that something in it was wrong, then I'd feel like I was doing God a disservice by claiming He wrote it, you know?

    There's a lot of "ifs" there. Again, belief in the God of the Bible requires the recognition that He is not bound by science, time or our ways of thinking. "My ways are not your ways..."

    The line of thinking you're engaged in also abandons historial evidence to the acceptance of the Canon as it stands (Protestant version especially). I highly recommend that you study the history of the Bible (and I don't mean the Gospel of Judas balogna.)

    If I look at, say, Ruth and read it and say, "God wrote this," without having God tell me, then I'm not trusting in God; I'm just trusting a book.

    God has told you, however, in the Old and New Testaments through the consensus of the church and historical evidence... God doesn't normally come down out of heaven and sprinkle fairy dust on people's heads so that they'll recognize what is Canon or not, we are rather admonished to "study to show yourself approved" and to recognize what is true and false in this age, on the basis of what was written prior. The fact that you reject this was prophesied by the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Romans.

    I know I'm created, and I don't claim to understand the one that created me. I'm sure I'm accountible to Him, and if I've done wrong, then it's up to him what he wants to do with me, you know? Maybe Jesus has something to do with that, and if he does, then I accept it. But I'm not going to trust myself, you know? Anyway, my two cents...

    God however has made Himself clear through His servants who wrote what they heard and saw by His will that we might know and believe. God is a revelatory God, and He reveals Himself firstly in His Word, Jesus Christ and secondly by the word which is written. The word testifies of Christ and that Word testifies of the Father. You claim "Maybe Jesus has something to do with that", indicating you don't know truly, or believe, that Jesus is the Incarnate Word who's sacrificial death on a cross paid ransom (to God) for sin... and yet you claim in the next sentence to "accept it", but in fact it is evident that you don't accept it, rather you reject it as we all do apart from a supernatural work in us by God to open our ears and hearts to the truth. Denying that the Scriptures are true and have bearing on one's life is to reject Christ and his propitiatory death...

    So I ask you the RC Sproul question... what do you do with Jesus? Evidently, from the eye witness accounts of His life He wasn't the "good man" that modern people tend to think of Him, rather He claimed to be the very one Son of God who came as the prophets predicted to save His people from their sins... so do you believe Him to be a liar, a fool or do you believe what He claimed to be?

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  6. jeff vincent3:20 AM

    Please, I love geocentrism. Continue on.
    For those of us who are theistic evolutionists, I think geocentrism
    is a positive boon. I love to be able to argue against YECs from the right instead of from the left.
    Long live Ptolemy and Walther!

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