A Biblical Geocentric challenge to Heliocentrism By Jack Kettler
The challenge to heliocentrism in this study rests on two prongs or pillars. The first pillar is lengthy and builds an important and necessary case of Biblical sufficiency. The second pillar is short and follows from the first pillar. If Biblical sufficiency is successfully defended, then the burden of proof that heliocentrism must meet is likewise upheld.
In this study, it is maintained that Biblical cosmology is geocentric. Historically until after the lifetime of John Calvin and Martin Luther, geocentrism was the norm. The challenge to heliocentrism is that its case must be made from the Bible.
The Sufficiency of Scriptures
“The self-evident testimony of the Scriptures is that they are sufficient. The Scriptures are completely adequate to meet the needs of the believer. This teaching is all over the face of the Scriptures. The believer can have confidence in the Scriptures. God’s Words are described as “pure,” “perfect,” “a light,” and “eternal.” This conclusion is one that can be drawn from or deduced from the Scriptures by good and necessary consequence.
For example, consider the testimony from the following passages:
The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever. (Psalms 12:6-7)
For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. (Psalms 119:89)
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. (Psalms 119:105)
The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. (Psalms 19:7-9)
Because the Scriptures are true, they are “righteous altogether.” Moreover, if the law of God were incomplete, the conversion of the soul would be tenuous at best. The necessary biblical conclusion is that the Scriptures are complete. And, as will be seen, Mormonism teaches that believers can become unconverted.
The Scriptures have more to say along this line of reasoning:
But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. (John 14:26)
This promise of Christ to his apostles tells us that the Holy Spirit will teach them “all things,” and bring to their remembrance all things that he said unto them. This is a promise by God to the apostles that important information (i.e., revelation) would be given to them. It is a justifiable biblical conclusion that this revelation would be complete and sufficient because Jesus said “all things.” The wording “all things” is used in a qualified sense, but admitting this in no way contradicts the conclusion that this apostolic revelation (now Scripture) would be anything less than complete and sufficient. The “all things” pertain to whatsoever God intended to reveal, including His revelation necessary for salvation.
Along this same line of thinking, consider Paul’s ministry to the church. Did Paul leave anything out of his words to the church?
Listen to the apostle:
And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shown you, and have taught you publicly, from house to house… For I have not shunned to declare to declare unto you all the counsel of God. (Acts 20:20, 27)
Paul did not believe that God’s Word was insufficient. This is proved by his use of the phrase “all the counsel of God.” Paul believed that he had this counsel for the Church. This whole “counsel of God” was the same message that Moses and the prophets spoke. See Acts 26:22 for proof of this; “Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come…” The Scripture tells us that what is written will lead us to God that we might have life. This would again be tenuous at best if parts of Scripture have been lost, corrupted, or were insufficient.
Consider the further testimony of Scripture:
But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and believing ye might have life through his name. (John 20:31)
But the word of the Lord endureth for ever, And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you. (1 Peter 1:25)
It is clear that Peter had confidence in God’s Word. The Scriptures were given so that we might obtain life, and they endure forever. The believer does not need anything more than the written Word of God. In the next verse notice how God says; “All Scripture is given that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”
The implications of this for the doctrine of the sufficiency of the Scriptures are enormous:
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
The Greek word translated “inspiration” means “God-breathed,” or that God is the source of the Scriptures. God’s inspiration of the Scriptures sets them apart from all other writings of men. They came from him. God used men to write His Word in the Bible. He did it in such a way as to make sure that what was written was exactly what He intended or designed. This means the Scriptures are divinely inspired.
What if the Scriptures were incomplete? If the Scriptures were incomplete, the “man of God” would never be able to “be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” Paul’s instruction here would not be true if portions of the Scriptures were lost or some other standard needed. That is because the Scriptures are connected to this process of the perfecting of the man of God.
In a similar fashion, the next verse clearly sets forth the sufficiency of Scripture:
Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, until heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. (Matthew 5:17)
Jesus said that the least part of the law would not pass away. One implication is that nothing would be lost. If the least is to be preserved, then surely, the weightier things will not be lost. Consequently, we can have confidence that God’s Word is complete. There are not books missing from the Bible nor do we need some kind of nebulous oral tradition interpreted exclusively by church leaders.
The next passage from Isaiah warns us about those who will go beyond Scripture:
To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. (Isaiah 8:20)
Isaiah sets God’s word forth as the standard. In preparation for the close of the apostolic era, like Isaiah, Paul sets forth the Scriptures as the objective source that must be the final court of appeal.
By apostolic command, believers are bound to the written word:
Now brothers, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, Do not go beyond what is written…. (1 Corinthians 4:6) (NIV)
In the Tyndale New Testament Commentary on First Corinthians, Leon Morris makes the following comment about the above verse:
“not beyond what is written” was a catch-cry familiar to Paul and his readers, directing attention to the need for conformity to Scripture.
Leon Morris, The Tyndale New Testament Commentary 1 Corinthians, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Inter-Varsity Press, and Eerdmans, 1983), p. 78.
The above passage in First Corinthians clearly condemns all forms of extra-biblical revelation including an oral tradition that is allegedly on par with the written Word of God. There is no need to go beyond Scripture. Why? Because it is, complete.
The biblical tests of a prophet found in Deuteronomy 12:32 – 13:4; Deuteronomy 18:20-22; and Isaiah 8:20 clearly set forth Scripture as the standard and a sufficient guide. Remember, Jesus used this standard to stop the mouths of His adversaries when He said, “Have ye never read” in Mark 2:25 regarding David’s actions. What did the Pharisees say in response to this? Nothing! Some religions actually teach that you are supposed to pray about the purported prophet and his message, then see if it rings true by getting a confirming sensation after prayer. The Old Testament believer in contrast was to compare the purported prophet and his message with what had been revealed and written by God in His Word.
In the book of Galatians, Paul continues this same pattern for testing purported revelation:
But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you that that ye have received, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:8-9)
Expectantly the reader has discerned the clear pattern in Scripture. This pattern is appealing to what has been written. As mentioned previously, when Christ said, “It is written” this denotes finality and certainty because there was nothing more authoritative than God’s Word. It should be noted that Christ’s commentary on the Scriptures is infallible; ours is not.
The Apostle Paul follows this same pattern of appealing to Scripture:
And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 3:15)
The written word is the standard and it has not changed. Consider the importance of the following verse:
…which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth. (1 Timothy 3:15) (NIV)
The church is very important. How is this so? The church today, like a pillar or foundation, defends and supports the gospel. How does the church do this? (1) By “Holding forth the word of life…” Philippians 2:16; (2) by “…rightly dividing the word of truth” 2 Timothy 2:15; (3) by “teaching all nations…” Matthew 28:19; (4) and by “guarding the good deposit” 2 Timothy 1:13-14 (NIV).
The church should do these things with all the resources in its power. These tasks would be impossible if Scripture were incomplete or corrupted. Why? Because you could not know if you were “holding forth the word of life” or the word of men. God commands us to “rightly divide the word of life.” God would not command us to rightly divide something, which we did not possess. Why? If we did not possess the Scriptures, it would be an impossibility to rightly divide them. The biblical conclusion is that Scripture has been preserved. Listen to the apostle Peter:
…by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. (1 Peter 1:23)
Can anything be clearer? Peter is not talking about anything other than the written Scriptures.
Peter goes on to say:
According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue. (2 Peter 1:3)
As Peter instructs us, there are a great number of spiritual blessings that God has given us. We can have confidence that “all things” would have to include Scripture as one of those things. There is not any limitation expressed here because the passage is dealing with what God has given us for salvation. Consequently, we have confidence in the sufficiency of Scripture.
Consider the following examples on Jesus’ view of the accuracy of the Old Testament Scriptures and their prophetic fulfillment concerning himself, Matthew 26:31; Matthew 26:54; Mark 9:12, 13; John 13:18 John 17:12. Jesus referred to Old Testament individuals in the following verses: John 8:56 (Abraham); Luke 17:26-32 (Noah and Lot); Matthew 3:3 (Isaiah); and in Luke 4:24-27 (Elijah and Elisha). The case is irrefutable: Jesus believed in the reliability of the written Word of God. Consequently, the believer can have confidence in the reliability and trustworthiness of Scripture. Reliability and sufficiency go hand in hand. An insufficient or incomplete document is not reliable.
There is no evidence that Jesus believed the Scriptures to be anything less than complete. The tremendous spiritual corruption of Israel in Christ’s day, which culminated in the destruction of the Jewish nation in 70 A. D. (Matthew 23:34-36) did not affect the Old Testament canon. The canon was intact in Christ’s day, and the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls confirms the accuracy of the Hebrew Masoretic Text used by the King James translators many centuries later. In reality, there is virtually no difference between the First Century copies of Old Testament Dead Sea copies and the Masoretic text that is one thousand years older.
The New Testament books were brought into the canon of Scripture as the church bore testimony to the fact that our present New Testament books claimed to be by their very nature the Word of God. The testimony of the Holy Spirit bore witness by and with the Scriptures in the hearts of men in this process. This was not a process where the church, as a divinely inspired entity, determined what the canon of Scripture would be. The Scriptures themselves bore this testimony of their inspiration.
Some teach that the church in and of itself made this decision. However, the Word of God does not depend upon man or the church. The Scriptures do not come from the church. They come from God. The Scriptures do not need our confirmation to be true. Their truthfulness is independent of man and even the church. There is more manuscript evidence for New Testament revelation than any other writing from antiquity. Therefore, we can have the same confidence that alleged corruption during the New Testament Church Age did not alter the New Testament canon of Scripture in any way. God is LORD of heaven and earth. He is Sovereign and “none can stay his hand…” (Daniel 4:35). Preserving His Word is a small matter for Him.
The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the infallible Word of God and a sure rule of faith. In addition, they are the final court of appeal to settle religious disputes, and the Bible includes everything we need to know to receive salvation and to live a godly life.” (1)
Scripture is the best interpreter of Scripture. And, the plain statements of Scripture is the best explanation of a text.
Hermeneutical Principles by R. C. Sproul:
“Sacra Scriptura sui interpres
Scripture is to interpret Scripture. This simply means that no part of Scripture can be interpreted in such a way to render it in conflict with what is clearly taught elsewhere in Scripture. For example, if a given verse is capable of two renditions or variant interpretations and one of those interpretations goes against the rest of Scripture while the other is in harmony with it, then the latter interpretation must be used.
Since it is assumed that God would never contradict Himself, it is thought slanderous to the Holy Spirit to choose an alternate interpretation that would unnecessarily bring the Bible in conflict with itself. The analogy of faith keeps the whole Bible in view lest we suffer from the effects of exaggerating one part of Scripture to the exclusion of others.
Interpreting the Bible Literally
The literal sense offers restraint from letting our imagination run away in fanciful interpretation and invites us to examine closely the literary forms of Scripture. The term literal comes from the Latin litera meaning “letter.” To interpret something literally is to pay attention to the litera or to the letters or words being used. To interpret the Bible literally is to interpret it as literature. That is, the natural meaning of a passage is to be interpreted according to the normal rules of grammar, speech, syntax and context.” (2)
The challenge to heliocentrism is similar to other challenges:
- The Mormon example:
When talking with Mormons, who want to convert someone, it can be said, to surrender sincerely held beliefs and adopt theirs, the case will have to come from the Bible since that is the standard.
- The Darwinian example:
Likewise, the Darwinian must prove their case from Scripture.
- The challenge to Heliocentrism:
The heliocentric case must be proved from Scripture. No outside interpretive grid can be imposed upon Scripture.
Objections to this challenge:
Some may say the Bible is not a textbook on science, and because of this, the proponent of heliocentrism must be free to bring in outside sources to interpret the Bible. The Bible may not be a textbook on science, but everything it says relevant to science is correct. The Scriptures present a geocentric cosmology, as attested to by John Calvin, Martin Luther, and many others. Heliocentrism is read into Scripture rather than exegeted from the Scripture.
Has accommodation or compromise happened before?
The accommodation to science happened and led to a reinterpretation of Scriptures when it came to Darwinism. Accommodation occurred in such areas as the gap theory, debates on the length of Biblical days, the different theories regarding the interpretation of Genesis account of creation such as the Literary Framework Interpretation, or the Revelatory Day Interpretation, etc.
Today, unless one believes in heliocentrism, they are ridiculed and blacklisted. Geocentrism, young-earth creationism take the Scriptures literally, and surrendering this approach to an extra-biblical interpretive scheme have enormous world-view consequences.
If heliocentrism cannot be proven from the Scriptures, what does that say? The ball is in the heliocentric court; their case is waiting to be proved.
The following is an exercise in questioning assumptions:
The only proof of planetary motion is one of assumptions.
A selection from The Problem of Motion by Gordon H. Clark:
“Newton, as has been said, failed to extricate science from the difficulty because he assumed that the meaning of motion was known to all. On this assumption he proceeded to discuss particular forms of motions. The futility of this procedure is clear enough to philosophers, but perhaps scientists wonder why ancient puzzles should be allowed to hinder modern science. For the reason something, as brief as possible, should be said about two important Newtonian laws, the law of inertia and the law of gravitation. The first of these asserts that a moving body continues indefinitely in a straight line unless subjected to an impressed force; and the second is an attempt to explain the curvilinear motion of the planets.
Now, the best known of all Newton’s pronouncements is the one that reveals his failure to explain planetary motion. The law of gravitation expresses with mathematical accuracy the forces necessary to change the rectilinear or inertial motion of a planet into an elliptical path. But when one asks the question, what impresses these forces? Newton replies, Hypotheses non fingo. Cajori, Newton’s recent editor, has collected some of Newton’s letters (Principia, Appendix, not 6, pp. 632-635) in which he clearly expresses the limitations of his mathematical law. Gravity, newton declares, is not a property of bodies; if it were, one body would act on another at a distance, and this is manifestly absurd; indeed, “We are ignorant of the essential properties of matter.” Mathematics only measures the quantity of the force; it says nothing about what impresses the force. Newton himself thought it possible that God impresses this force; but this theological opinion is obviously not a part of experimental science. Therefore, science has failed to show what forces the planets out of a rectilinear path.
Now, finally, what is the value of the law of inertia? This law states that a moving body continues in a straight path unless compelled to change by an impressed force. The difficulty with this law is well known. To determine a straight line a fixed point is needed. If a hawk in search of a meal flies always toward another bird, and the other bird is darting hither and yon, the hawk obviously does not fly in a straight line. And if a rocket could be fired so as always to be pointing to the moon, it would not describe a rectilinear path. The determination of a rectilinear path requires a fixed objected in absolute space. But there are no fixed objects. The “fixed” stars are not fixed. Hence, the law of inertia has no application. It is completely impossible to discover a body moving in a straight line.” (3)
As Clark has noted, “Newton himself thought it possible that God impresses this force; but this theological opinion is obviously not a part of experimental science.”
“O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen.” (1 Timothy 6:20-21)
Geocentric cosmology was clear enough to John Calvin:
“[The Christian is not to compromise so as to obscure the distinction between good and evil, and is to avoid the errors of] those dreamers who have a spirit of bitterness and contradiction, who reprove everything and prevent the order of nature. We will see some who are so deranged, not only in religion but who in all things reveal their monstrous nature, that they will say that the sun does not move, and that it is the earth which shifts and turns. When we see such minds, we must indeed confess that the devil possess them, and that God sets them before us as mirrors, in order to keep us in his fear. So it is with all who argue out of pure malice, and who happily make a show of their imprudence. When they are told: “That is hot,” they will reply: “No, it is plainly cold.” When they are shown an object that is black, they will say that it is white, or vice versa. Just like the man who said that snow is black; for although it is perceived and known by all to be white, yet he clearly wished to contradict the fact. And so it is that they are madmen who would try to change the natural order, and even to dazzle eyes and benumb their senses.” (4)
While not using the word heliocentrism, Calvin said that it is the devil who is it.
In addition, Calvin said:
“The heavens revolve daily and, immense as is their fabric, and inconceivable the rapidity of their revolutions, we experience no concussion–no disturbance in the harmony of their motion…. How could earth hang suspended in the air were it not upheld by God’s hand? By what means could it maintain itself unmoved, did not its Divine Maker fix and establish it?” (5)
Calvin’s cosmology was based upon the Bible its self, not extra-Biblical smuggled in to interpret the Bible.
The Westminster Confession of Faith 1.6 says:
“The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man’s salvation, faith, and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men.”
Therefore, the Mormon quest for godhood, Darwinism, and Heliocentrism are nothing more than “traditions of men.”
A review from a previous study. Inconvenient observations for heliocentrists:
“Redshifts would imply that we occupy a unique position in the universe, analogous, in a sense, to the ancient conception of a central Earth… This hypothesis cannot be disproved.” – Edwin Hubble in The Observational Approach to Cosmology
“If the Earth were at the center of the universe, the attraction of the surrounding mass of stars would also produce redshifts wherever we looked! This theory seems quite consistent with our astronomical observations.” – Paul Davies in Nature, an English physicist
“The new results are either telling us that all of science is wrong and we’re the center of the universe, or maybe the data is simply incorrect” – Lawrence Krauss, theoretical physicist and cosmologist, Yale University, Arizona State University, Case Western Reserve University
“When you look at CBM map, [cosmic microwave background (CMB)] you also see that the structure is…correlated with the plane of the Earth around the sun. That would say we are truly the center of the universe.” – Lawrence Krauss (2006) Lawrence Krauss is a theoretical physicist
“The relation of the two pictures [geocentricity and heliocentricity] is reduced to a mere coordinate transformation and it is the main tenet of the Einstein theory that any two ways of looking at the world which are related to each other by a coordinate transformation are entirely equivalent from a physical point of view. Today we cannot say that the Copernican theory is “right” and the Ptolemaic theory “wrong” in any meaningful physical sense.” – Sir Fred Hoyle, an English astronomer who formulated the theory of stellar nucleosynthesis
“Red shift in the spectra of quasars leads to yet another paradoxical result: namely, that the Earth is the center of the Universe.” – Y.P. Varshni in Astrophysics and Space Science
“In other words, assuming the cosmological red shift hypothesis, the quasars…are arrange on 57 spherical shells with Earth in the center. This is certainly an extraordinary result. Some of the possibilities that we shall consider to accommodate this result may be disturbing, but we must consider these possibilities dispassionately.
(1) Coincidence in distances could be possible if there were clustering. However, an examination of the coordinates of the various members of individual groups show that in most cases there is no such correlation. Hence, this explanation has to be ruled out.
(2) Quasars may be arranged like atoms in a crystal lattice, with the Earth being either at an empty lattice site or at a suitable interstitial site. Should that be the case, one would expect some pattern or regularity in the directions of quasars belonging to a certain group. No such evidence is found and this possibility must also be abandoned.
(3) The Earth is indeed the center of the Universe. The arrangement of quasars on certain spherical shells is only with respect to the Earth. These shells would disappear if viewed from another galaxy or a quasar. This means that the cosmological principle will have to go. Also, it implies that a coordinate system fixed to the Earth will be a preferred frame of reference in the Universe. Consequently, both the Special and the General Theory of Relativity must be abandoned for cosmological purposes.” – Y.P. Varshni in Astrophysics and Space Science
“A great deal of research has been carried out concerning the influence of the Earth’s movement. The results were always negative.” – Henri Poincare, French mathematician, theoretical physicist, engineer, and philosopher of science
“Briefly, everything occurs as if the Earth were at rest…” – Henrick Lorentz, Dutch physicist
“No physical experiment has ever proved that the Earth actually is in motion.” – Lincoln Barnett, editor at Life Magazine
“This hypothesis (of a central Earth) cannot be disproved, but it is unwelcome and would only be accepted as a last resort.” “We disregard this possibility. The unwelcome position of a favored location must be avoided at all costs.” “Such a favored position is intolerable.” – Edwin Hubble, American astronomer
“The pendulum has swung all the way and started to come back on the Copernican principle.” – Max Tegmark, physicist, cosmologist and a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)
“To God, only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.” (Romans 16:27) and “heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:28-29)
- Jack Kettler, The Religion that Started in a Hat, (Maitland, Florida, MCP Books.20160, pp. 45-48.
- R.C. Sproul, Knowing Scripture, Abridgement is from Chapter 3: Hermeneutics: The Science of Interpretation, (Downers Grove, Illinois, IVP 2009) pp. 41.
- Gordon Clark, The Problem of Motion, The Gordon Review Winter 1958.
- John Calvin, “Sermon on 1 Corinthians 10:19-24”, Calvini Opera Selecta, Corpus Refomatorum, Vol 49, 677, trans. by Robert White in “Calvin and Copernicus: the Problem Reconsidered,“ Calvin Theological Journal 15 (1980), p233-243, at 236-237.
- John Calvin, Commentary on the Psalms 93:1 Vol. VI, see also Commentary on Joshua 10:12, Vol. IV and Psalm 148:3, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Baker Book House Reprinted 1979).
Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. He and his wife Marea attend the Westminster, CO, RPCNA Church. Mr. Kettler is the author of the book defending the Reformed Faith against attacks, titled: The Religion That Started in a Hat. Available at: www.TheReligionThatStartedInAHat.com
For more study:
The Problem of Motion by Gordon H. Clark
Science and Truth by Gordon H. Clark
The Philosophy of Science and Belief in God by Gordon H. Clark
The Bible and the Idolatry of Science by Ronald L. Cooper http://www.trinityfoundation.org/journal.php?id=344