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Geocentricity - Geocentrism - Geostationism
What is geocentricity?
Geocentricity is a conceptual model of the form of the universe which makes three basic assertions about the nature of the earth and its relationship to the rest of the universe. These are:
Geocentricity is the most controversial of our three main topics. Many Christians argue that there is no relevance to the Christian faith. This can be seen in articles by Christians presented here, e.g. Jordan's "The Geocentricity Question." Atheists, on the other hand are very clear in noting the stand of the Scriptures concerning the earth’s central position in creation.
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It may be difficult to consider the arguments with an open mind - in particular the arguments advanced by the secular humanists, the scripture-haters, the atheists. But unless their arguments can be answered to their satisfaction there is little chance of being able to follow the command .".. and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you" (1 Peter 2:15) and so help them to see whether their distrust of the Scriptures is well founded or not.
The current stand on the interpretation of Scripture, the complex and controversial state of hermeneutics, the state of "higher criticism" etc. depend at least as much on the Christian response to geocentricity as to the questions of evolution and the time scale.
Until Galileo popularised the idea that the sun is the centre of the universe Bible readers took it as obvious that the Scriptures were geocentric. Both Copernicus and Galileo accepted this, but believed the Scriptures to be wrong. After Newton’s brilliantly successful theory of gravity and dynamics had allowed calculation of the motions of heavenly bodies, practically the whole of the educated world rejected the idea that the earth could be central in creation. The question remained largely closed until Dr Walter van der Kamp became frustrated by frequent attacks on scriptural inerrancy and decided to examine the scientific evidence that the earth is not, indeed stationary at the centre of the universe. Perhaps to his surprise he found none. He found only flawed reasoning and experimental failure. Since he published his findings a number of other qualified scientists have come to the same conclusion.
The whole question of geocentricity is so important for the anti-scripturalist’s position that a great deal of misrepresentation abounds. A well balanced history of the Copernicus/Galileo affair can be found in Arthur Koestler’s "The Sleepwalkers" (Arhana; 1990). Anyone seriously interested in the background to the geocentricity question would do well to study this work.
A similar misrepresentation for the purpose of discrediting the Bible can be found in the question of the flat earth. A number of fairly recent anti-scripturalists, starting (as far as I can tell) with Washington Irving, promoted the idea that the Bible teaches that the earth is flat. Many anti-geocentrists have attempted to link the idea of an earth central in creation with a flat earth. It should be noted that the two questions are entirely separate. Geocentricity is a serious question which has engaged Christian Scholars for over two centuries and has had drastic consequences for the church and Biblical interpretation. It became possible to bring up this question following the introduction of hermeneutics aimed at denying the geocentric stand of the Scriptures.
Thinking and Reasoning The first article, is a response to very common Christian misapprehensions as set forth in Ron Tagliapietra's "Better Thinking and Reasoning."
The Geocentricity Question by James B Jordan , published in Contra Mundum in 1993, has found considerable support among Christian commentators, and was the inspiration for Garry North's "Geocentricity, Geostationism, the Flat Earth Temptation."
How Figurative is the Geocentricity Question? is my response to Jordan's article.
de Chardin's View is an extract from the work of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin which strikingly highlights the relevance of the Geocentricity question to the gospel.
George H. Schweitzer's View represents a contrast to that of de Chardin, and is probably close to the "majority position" .
Another Look at Galileo by Dr. John Byl is a well reasoned presentation of the geocentricity question by one of the first well qualified scientists to risk ridicule by questioning the accepted wisdom.
Geocentricity, Geostationism: The Flat Earth Temptation by Gary North has enjoyed considerable acceptance. Following its publication Dr. North invited Dr. M. M Nieto to write a definitive paper refuting geocentricity from a scientific perspective. This refutation is contained in:-
Rebuttal of North and Nieto is a response by Martin Selbrede to the above paper.
The major creationist organizations have been mainly antagonistic to geocentricity. Dr. Donald B. de Young produced the first position paper for Answers in Genesis in 1988. Dr. Gerald Aardsma produced one for Creation Research Society in 1994. More recently he has made a less antagonistic critique in "Geocentricity and Creation."
The question of Geocentricity was raised in Creation Ex Nihilo Technical Journal Vol.11 no.2 1997. My response: "The Timothy Test - A Continuing Saga" was refused publication. Others, including well known author Malcolm Bowden have found any article not antagonistic to geocentricity refused for publication by AIG.
Dr Danny Faulkner wrote a position paper for Creation Ex Nihilo Technical Journal . “Geocentrism and Creation.” This was largely a refutation of the book "Geocentricity" by Dr. Gerardus Bouw. It was for a time published on the AIG web site, but is no longer available. Dr. Bouw's response "Geocentricity: a Fable for Educated Man" was refused publication. A number of responses to Faulkner's article were submitted but also refused publication. Gerardus Bouw was eventually permitted a much shortened response in which relatively little could be answered.
The stand of the modern atheist can be seen in the writings of Ed. Babinsky. The following items come from "Cretinism or Evilutionism", his regular feature at Talk Origins, and demonstrate a point that many Christians are woefully ignorant of - serious atheists study the scriptures - often far more diligently than many professing Christians do. They do not attack the scriptures from ignorance of the Scriptures, but from ignorance of the God of the Scriptures. These articles should be compared with those featured here by Christian apologists maintaining that the Scriptures make no statements on the centrality of the earth.
Quick Links on this Page:
Another Look at Galileo / John Byl
"Geocentricity and Creation" / Aardsma
“Geocentrism and Creation” / Faulkner
The Bible's Geocentrism / Babinski
I end with my thoughts on Biblical Cosmology.
Links to web sites dealing with geocentricity: