Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Geocentricity


I was struck by something a little while ago, and then my sister came and spoke about it again today because she came across it in her text book. Imagine that the model of the universe you have been taught for all your life might be wrong! Its quite staggering to think about, but like Ive said before - if you stop thinking and simply accept what people tell you because they said it then you are in a dangerous position.

I was very interested to find out that there is still a school of thought that holds to Geocentricity as opposed to Heliocentricity. That is that the earth is the center of the universe and that the sun and planets revolve around it. At first I thought that those poor people were probably just still stuck in the dark ages but after hearing more about it I found it quite interesting. Its one of those things that we just accept because it comes from the scientists.

But it is interesting that neither the theory of Geocentricity nor the theory of Heliocentricity can be proved. So there's no way of really knowing whether we are going around the sun or whether the sun is going around us.

Interestingly Copernicus' idea was not based on science as much as it is on philosophy. He agreed with the philosophy of Plato and Pythagoras (yes, that name makes me fake sickness too) who believed that the sun was the culmination of everything good!

This textbook gives some very interesting quotations from the Bible to support geocentricity:

Genesis 1:1,16 - Sun, Moon and stars created after the earth
Judges 5:20 - speaks of the "stars in their courses"
Psalm 19 - speaks of the sun "running a race"
Joshua 10:13 - the sun stood still.
2 Kings 20:8-11 - The sun went backwards


Now most of those things could be just interpreted as having been said in a human perspective, but they might well be literal! Isn't it just amazing how much knowledge of space the bible characters knew without the means of knowing it! See the book of Job for some of that!
Einstein's theory of relativity insists that it is impossible to tell whether the earth, the sun, or any other body is stationary or moving - just that one is moving in relation to another.

Geocentricity says that instead of the revolving once every 24 hours, the sun travels around the earth once in that time causing day and night. (Joshua 10:15 where the sun stood still) and 2 Kings 20:8-11 (where the sun went back 10 degrees)
This theory also says that the sun travels around the earth in a spiral-type orbit so that it is closer to the northern hemisphere in June and closer to the southern hemisphere in December.

Interestingly, I would think that this theory dispels any notions of life on other planets, it also limits the size of the universe!
Another evidence which has just come to mind and is pretty strong - the star signifying the birth of Jesus
Matthew 2:9 After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was.

While there is no definite proof for either theory, I find the notion that there might be another way that the universe functions quite exciting. I also think that the evidence in the Bible lends itself more fully to a Geocentric understanding of the universe rather than a Heliocentric view. I dont think I am completely persuaded either way though.

This is not a forum and so I'm not asking for major debate, but I would be interested to hear your thoughts on this? I certainly found it to be interesting.

Source: Theocentric Christian Education South African notes for grade eight.
Picture of the earth: http://www.fpsoftlab.com/images/screenshots/earth-640x480-2.jpg

10 comments:

Stuart said...

Hmm, interesting one here. I also read some time ago that "new evidence" suggested the earth may be closer to the centre of the universe than we have been taught. I would be quite slow, however, to adopt the view that the sun revolves around the earth. Not because I'm so clever and have it all figured out: it would just take an inordinant amount of proof to persuade me. At the end of the day, I really don't care (though it is interesting); I only care that God holds all things together, whether geocentrically or heliocentrically.

Antz said...

Well said Stuart!
I agree, although I am undecided about how the universe fits together it is comforting to know that God holds all things together. That is something which continues to boggle my mind. That scientists and astrologists try to find intricate explanations for all these things when it is so clear that nothing would work (however it may work) without the divine hand of God!
Still, I find the possibilty of geocentricity very interesting to think about.

Caleb Gage said...

Well that's interesting... I didn't think anyone still held to that view...

dude said...

ummmmm.......i'll tell you what i think.........

i think...........




that it doesn't really matter. we've lived without knowing for over 4000 years(i think). but yeah, it is interesting.

Lydia said...

You make a good case, Ant, with the Einstein theory and Bible references. There is obviously a lot of evidence to support both views, and it would be fascinating to find out more about why a lot of respectable astronomers hold to either view when, as you said, the order of the planets and stars is not observable.
Since we can't all be scientists, I think that to a certain degree it's okay for us to believe the conclusions that scientists have come in their research, but I agree that we shouldn't believe just anything about the universe just because of what a scientist said. There are a lot of people out there holding to the evolution theory because they ignorantly put their faith in what these supposed knowledgable scientists say.
It is an amazing and encouraging thought that even though there is so much that we'll never know about God's creation, He knows it all!

sam said...

funny you should mention this. i was studying ( the same type of book as Gill's ) and i also found it quite interesting. both the views have good explanations as to why they believe what they believe though.

oh well, it's all in God's hands. given me some stuff to think about though, Antz. :)

Jess said...

It is an interesting concept, but I would be hesitant to accept it. It's quite strange though that this is the first time I've ever heard that people still hold to the geocentric view. You would think that if it's possible, we would hear more about it.

Antz said...

Just to correct a misconception...
(Lyds I know you understand what I mean, but in your comment you said something which I'm sure some other people might not understand.)

When I say that we must not just accept what people tell us without checking it out or at least thinking of it, I don't mean that we should only take the word of other Christians or that we should be skeptical of everything. I mean that we must at least ponder things before we take them as fact. How many things do we just accept because "the scientist said it". Obviously we can and must accept a lot of theories and laws from these people because they are usually in a position to know.
I find it sad that we have simply accepted the theory of Heliocentricity as fact when it, just like a lot of things is merely a theory. It hasn't been proven!

Just like Evolution, Dispensationalism etc etc, people have accepted them because those in a position to know have said that things work this way. But for a lot of things you really dont need to spend much time thinking about it before you see that sometimes it is complete nonsense!

Its like the Emperor's New Clothes - everyone accepted that the Emperor had a beautiful robe because they were scared of being called stupid. It was not till some young boy thought for half a second and said: "but they emperor has no clothes on" before everyone saw that what he said was true and the men who said that he had a beautiful robe on were mocked and seen as stupid!

Beth said...

Geocentricity… naah, I’m just not seeing it. Technically, scientists today don’t really believe that the sun is even in the center of our galaxy, much less the universe. I say believe, because, well, they haven’t actually left the galaxy. 

I think it’s a leap to say that the sun is going around the earth… I mean, the same people who believed that, believed that the earth was flat and only bathed twice a month, but whatever, just my opinion. :)

But seriously, it kind of makes everything else in the universe look like a car wreck waiting to happen… but hey, that could just be a theory too, so, I’d like to announce that Africa is on the top of the earth for now on. :)

All joking aside, I do agree, though, that a lot of scientific facts we believe really aren't proven and should be put to the test.

David Peyton said...

Interesting stuff there Antz! Surprisingly, I have just read of the account of the Inquisition (in "Fox's Book of Martyrs") where Galileo was forced to recant on his views that the planets revolve around the sun - because they were seen as heretical.

Isn't it a wonderful truth though that ultimately, science answers to God's Word!