THE POSITION OF THE EARTH TO THE WORLD

Do you affirm heliocentrism? If so, on what basis?

Keep in mind, some Christians quite a while ago claimed that scripture demands geocentricity. Most Christians no longer hold to geocentricity and think the Bible doesn’t demand such a position. That seems to be a case of adapting our understanding of certain passages based upon an overwhelming amount of scientific evidence.

The idea of placing the sun at the center of the universe was not a particularly new one. But few either saw advantage to it and many considered it physically 

The heliocentric model is a theory that places the Sun as the center of the universe, and the planets orbiting around it.

Heliocentrism

 

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Andreas Cellarius‘s illustration of the Copernican system, from the Harmonia Macrocosmica (1660).

 

Heliocentrism, or heliocentricism,[1] is the astronomical model in which the Earth and planets revolve around a relatively stationary Sun at the center of the Solar System. The word comes from the Greek (ἥλιος helios “sun” and κέντρον kentron “center”). Historically, heliocentrism was opposed to geocentrism, which placed the Earth at the center. The notion that the Earth revolves around the Sun had been proposed as early as the 3rd century BC by Aristarchus of Samos,[2] but Aristarchus’s heliocentrism attracted little attention until Copernicus revived and elaborated it.[3] Lucio Russo, however, argues that this is a misleading impression resulting from the loss of scientific works of the Hellenistic Era. Using indirect evidence he argues that a heliocentric view was expounded in Hipparchus‘s work on gravity.[4]

 

It was not until the 16th century that a fully predictive mathematical model of a heliocentric system was presented, by the Renaissance mathematician, astronomer, and Catholic cleric Nicolaus Copernicus of Poland, leading to the Copernican Revolution. In the following century, Johannes Kepler elaborated upon and expanded this model to include elliptical orbits, and supporting observations made using a telescope were presented by Galileo Galilei.

 

With the observations of William Herschel, Friedrich Bessel, and others, astronomers realized that the sun was not the center of the universe and by the 1920s Edwin Hubble had shown that it was part of a galaxy (the Milky Way) that was only one of many billions.[citation needed]

 

Copernican heliocentrism is the name given to the astronomical model developed by Nicolaus Copernicus and published in 1543.

Geocentric model

 

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Figure of the heavenly bodies — An illustration of the Ptolemaic geocentric system by Portuguese cosmographer and cartographer Bartolomeu Velho, 1568 (Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris)

 

In astronomy, the geocentric model (also known as geocentrism, or the Ptolemaic system), is a description of the cosmos where Earth is at the orbital center of all celestial bodies. This model served as the predominant cosmological system in many ancient civilizations such as ancient Greece. As such, they assumed that the Sun, Moon, stars, and naked eye planets circled Earth, including the noteworthy systems of Aristotle (see Aristotelian physics) and Ptolemy.[1]

 

Two commonly made observations supported the idea that Earth was the center of the Universe. The first observation was that the stars, the sun, and planets appear to revolve around Earth each day, making Earth the center of that system. Further, every star was on a “stellar” or “celestial” sphere, of which the earth was the center, that rotated each day, using a line through the north and south pole as an axis. The stars closest to the equator appeared to rise and fall the greatest distance, but each star circled back to its rising point each day.[2] The second common notion supporting the geocentric model was that the Earth does not seem to move from the perspective of an Earth bound observer, and that it is solid, stable, and unmoving. In other words, it is completely at rest.

 

The geocentric model was usually combined with a spherical Earth by ancient Roman and medieval philosophers. It is not the same as the older flat Earth model implied in some mythology, as was the case with the biblical and postbiblical Latin cosmology.[3][4][5] The ancient Jewish ouranography that one can find in the Bible (Old Testament) pictured a flat Earth over which was put a dome-shaped rigid canopy, named firmament (רקיע- rāqîa’).[6][7][8][9][10][11]

 

However, the ancient Greeks believed that the motions of the planets were circular and not elliptical, a view that was not challenged in Western culture until the 17th century through the synthesis of theories by Copernicus and Kepler.

 

The astronomical predictions of Ptolemy’s geocentric model were used to prepare astrological charts for over 1500 years. The geocentric model held sway into the early modern age, but from the late 16th century onward was gradually superseded by the heliocentric model of Copernicus, Galileo and Kepler. However, the transition between these two theories met much resistance, not only from Christian theologians, who were reluctant to reject a theory that was in agreement with Bible passages (e.g. “Sun, stand you still upon Gibeon”, Joshua 10:12 – King James 2000 Bible), but also from those who saw geocentrism as an accepted consensus that could not be subverted by a new, unknown theory.

The Ptolemaic model of the solar system held sway into the early modern age; from the late 16th century onward it was gradually replaced as the consensus description by the heliocentric model. Geocentrism as a separate religious belief, however, never completely died out. In the United States between 1870 and 1920, for example, various members of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod published articles disparaging Copernican astronomy, and geocentrism was widely taught within the synod during that period.[36] However, in the 1902 Concordia Theological Quarterly, Prof. A. L. Graebner claimed that the synod had no doctrinal position on geocentrism, heliocentrism, or any scientific model, unless it were to contradict Scripture. He stated that any possible declarations of geocentrists within the synod did not set the position of the church body as a whole.[37]

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About Charles e Whisnant

Youth Pastor since 1964.Pastor/Teacher 1971-74, 1980-2001, 2008-2015. Seminary, College, On line training, 50 years of study. A student of of the Bible. Expositional in my teaching. Married for 45 years. Four children and three granddaughter. Currently pastor - teacher in Minford, Ohio. No published books. No TV program. Favorite preachers Spurgeon, Calvin, MacArthur, Lloyd-Jones, Packer, Edwards, Baxter, Puritans.
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