Gerardus D. Bouw, Ph.D.
To hear tell, geocentrism, the ancient doctrine that the earth is fixed motionless at the
center of the universe, died over four centuries ago. At that time Nicolaus Copernicus (picture below), a
Polish canon who dabbled in astrology, claimed that the sun and not the earth was at the center of the
universe. His idea is known as heliocentrism. It took a hundred years for
heliocentrism to become the dominant opinion, and it did so with a complete lack of evidence in its favor.
Yet the victory of heliocentrism has been less than total. Over the years geocentrism
has had its spokesmen. Among scientists who adhered to the centrality of the earth were three generations
of Cassinis: a family of astronomers who dominated French astronomy from the late seventeenth to the early
nineteenth centuries. Astronomers, pastors, and educators in the Missouri Synod of the Lutheran Church
maintained the geocentric truths well into the twentieth century. They, with the reformers such as Luther,
saw that the embracing of heliocentrism would weaken not only science, but also the authority of the
The second of these two concerns: how the Bible's authority is weakened by heliocentrism; stems from the firm
manner in which the Bible teaches geocentricity. Geocentric verses range from those with only a positional
import, such as references to "up" and "down;" through the question of just what the earth was "orbiting" the
first three days while it awaited the creation of the sun; to overt references such as Ecclesiastes 1, verse
The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose.
Perhaps the strongest geocentric verse in the Bible is Joshua 10:13:
And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies.
Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to
go down about a whole day.
Here the Moderator of Scripture, the Holy Ghost Himself, endorses the daily movement of the sun and moon. After
all, God could just as well have written: "And the earth stopped turning, so that the sun appeared to stand
still, and the moon seemed to stay ... ." That wording would be no more "confusing" to the reader than anything
in Job chapters 38 through 41. There are those who would claim that the language used is phenomenological, that
it was not meant to convey the truth of the matter. They like to equate Joshua 10:13 with verses like Isaiah
55:12 where the trees are said to "clap their hands." The problem with that is that everyone since Adam can
understand that Isaiah 55:12 is a literary device; but there is not a clue to tell those before Copernicus that
Joshua 10:13 is not to be taken literally.
About the immobility of the earth the Bible seems clear enough. The nineteenth-century mathematician Augustus
de Morgan put it quite succinctly when he wrote that those who try to get around the Bible's
... make strange reasons. They undertake a priori, to settle Divine intentions.
The Holy Spirit did not mean to teach natural philosophy: this they know beforehand; or else they infer it
from finding that the earth does move, and the Bible says it does not. Of course,
ignorance apart, every word is truth, or the writer did not mean
truth. But this puts the whole book on its trial: for we never can find out what the writer
meant, unless we otherwise find out what is true. Those who like may, of course, declare for an
inspiration over which they are to be viceroys; but common sense will either accept the verbal
meaning or deny verbal inspiration. [De Morgan, A. 1872. A Budget of
Paradoxes, second edition; edited by D. E. Smith, 1915, (Chicago & London: The Open
Court Publishing Co.), Vol. 1, p. 36. (Emphasis added.)]
In other words, either God writes what he means and means what he writes, or else he passes off mere
appearances as truths and ends up the liar. The ultimate issue is one of final authority: is the final say
God's or man's? This is brought home again and again by humanists, such as the twentieth-century philosopher
Bertrand Russell and astronomer Ivan King, who point to the church's abandonment of geocentricity as having
"freed" man from the ancient God-centered outlook on life to the modern man-centered outlook. For complete
documentation of the Biblical significance of geocentricity see G. D. Bouw's book, Geocentricity
The Copernican Revolution, as this change of view is called, was not just a revolution in astronomy, but it
also spread into politics and theology. In particular, it set the stage for the development of Bible criticism.
After all, if God cannot be taken literally when He writes of the "rising of the sun," then how can He be taken
literally in writing of the "rising of the Son?"
The other of the two concerns over heliocentrism, as expressed by the reformers, is that the earth-centered
view is better science than is heliocentrism. Although hints of that have sporadically surfaced in physics over
the last 150 years, only in the last decade has this claim become substantial through a new discipline called
. Whereas geocentrism
was a concept which
divided the universe into independent parts, geocentricity is an integrative approach, starting from the very
smallest parts and integrating them into a unified view of the universe. For being only eleven years old,
geocentricity has been surprisingly successful.
To illustrate the difference in approach between geocentricity and heliocentrism,
consider the derivation of the equations which technicians use to orbit space ships. Now some will insist
that since satellites are sent up using heliocentrically-derived equations, that the space program is
proof of heliocentrism. This erroneously assumes that the geocentrically-derived equations would be
different from the heliocentric ones. That such is not the case has repeatedly been shown in scientific
papers since the turn of the twentieth century.References
Back in the nineteenth century, Ernst Mach (photo at
left) showed that if there were an essential
difference between geocentricity
and heliocentrism, that then all the rules of geometry would be violated. Ever since then, geocentricity
has been referred to by physicists as Mach's Principle.
These papers show that the geocentric model is entirely compatible with phenomena such as
the stationary satellite, the Foucault pendulum, the equatorial bulge, and how the distant stars can be
"moving" faster than the speed of light; The speed of light is only a speed limit for bodies moving through the
stellar universe, not for rotation. [Also see Barnes, T. G., 1983. Physics of the
Future, (El Cajon: Institute for Creation Research), p. 127.] in short, they answer every argument based on
the Coriolis and centrifugal effects. The main difference is that geocentric models must always take the
existence of the universe into account whereas heliocentric models always ignore it. Other than that, the
differences between heliocentrism and geocentricity are philosophical and theological. [See, for example, Sir
Fred Hoyle, 1975. Astronomy and Cosmology: A Modern Course, (San Francisco: W. H.
Freeman & Co.), p. 416.]
To further illustrate the difference the geocentric theory can make in viewing the universe, consider the two
rivals' views on what space looks like on very, very small scales. At a scale much smaller than nuclear
particles, modern science describes space as "foamy." The size of these foamy bubbles or "grains" of space is
very small, amounting to only about 0.000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,002 centimeter (written as
2x10-33 cm.) Each grain has a mass of about 0.00002 gram. According to the
heliocentrically-based view, the grains spontaneously appears out of nothing, exist for a brief instant
(5x10-44 second), and then vanishes into the nothingness from which it came.
Strictly speaking, this violates the first law of thermodynamics which claims that energy can neither be
created or destroyed by any natural process. [See Introduction to the Firmament.]
The geocentric theory explains the grains of space without violating any of the laws of thermodynamics. It
takes the grains at face value, presuming them to be real. The medium of the grains is tremendously dense
(4x1093 gm/cm3): so dense that one would have to
pack 1039 universes into a cube one centimeter on a side in order to match their
density. Geocentric theory has identified the grains as making up the firmament of Genesis chapter 1. It is
common among Creationists to assume that the firmament was a canopy of water in one form or another; but
whether there ever was a canopy before the flood, it cannot be equated with the firmament simply because
Genesis 1:17 tells us that God set the stars in the firmament, not
above it as would have to be the case if the canopy was meant. Since God called
the firmament "Heaven" (Genesis 1:8) it must follow that the firmament is at least the size of the
The firmament goes a long way towards explaining some of the mysteries of modern science. It readily explains
why more massive nuclear particles are smaller than less massive ones. In the every-day realm it explains why,
in general, mass depends on volume. It explains why very large objects, such as galaxies and clusters of
galaxies seem to be as much as 500 times more massive than is indicated by the amount of light they generate.
This phenomenon is called "the missing mass." [For a review see Bouw, G. D. 1977. Creation Research Society Quarterly, 14(2):108.]
In addition, the firmamental model readily accounts for such experimental results as the
Sagnac effect, the Faraday disk-generator paradox, earth's night-time electric field, and ball lightning. All
of these point to geocentricity as serious science.
Despite the testimony of all the equations, and despite the published testimonies of top scientists to the
viability of geocentricity as a model of the universe, and despite the inability of experiments to establish
its truth or falsity; some will still scoff at geocentricity. How can one ever determine which is the truth?
Only by going outside the universe and taking a look around can one ascertain the truth of the matter. Without
that ability to "look around outside," physics cannot resolve the debate. However, since God does know what is
beyond the universe, should His word not be taken as the final authority? It is the testimony of God as found
in the Bible which constitutes the foundation of modern geocentricity. May it ever be so.
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