I am re-reading a book by one of my former seminary professors. The book is Don’t Stop Believing and it deals with how Christian belief and action go together.
In chapter one, the author makes the point that the more we learn about God’s world, the better we can understand his word. He goes on to say that many Christians living prior to Copernicus (who discovered that the earth revolves around the sun) took Psalm 93:1 as a statement that proved that the earth was the center of the universe. Psalm 93:1 reads, “Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved.” However, since Copernicus’ discovery, most Christians “read Psalm 93:1 not as a scientific description of the earth’s immovability but as a poetic promise of God’s provision for his creation…”
Interestingly, the author mentions that there are still a “few dinosaurs” (describing those who believe the earth is the center of the universe) that exist. I recently met a geocentrist and can personally vouch for the truthfulness of my former professor’s statement. My geocentrist friend even used Psalm 93:1 as his proof that he was correct. I was so surprised at what I was hearing that I did not know how to respond.
I also found it interesting that this same person was “King James only”. He pretty much thought I was an instrument of Satan sent to the church where I was a guest speaker to lead people astray.
Have you ever met a geocentrist?
Wow! I had no idea that geocentrists still exist.
Oh wow. You actually met one? I know they exist, but to actually meet someone… that’s crazy.
To take it a step further, apparently there is (or at least was) a Flat Earth Society. These people actually believe that the Earth is flat. They say that the sun and moon are lights hovering a couple hundred miles above the earth. They say gravity exists because the disc of the earth is accelerating upwards (towards what, I wonder). Ask them how planes fly from Sydney to LA, and they say it’s a conspiracy.
Their Biblical basis for this? (This is great…) Jesus ascended “up” into heaven. If the earth was a sphere, it would be “down” for some people.
It’s crazy what some people will believe.
Did he see the universe as “literally” swirling around the earth? Might he feel that God’s creation of the universe was to put the earth in place, and us on it, as the “center” of God’s creation? Just wondered.
Ranita: I wish I could say that it was a possibility that he meant that the earth was the center of creation in a figurative sense. That I could accept and agree with. However, he also pointed to Joshua 10:12-13 as evidence. There the sun and moon are said to have “stood still” and “stopped”.
You remind me of a section of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes. Watson has just met Holmes and then Watson writes:
His ignorance was as remarkable as his knowledge. Of contemporary literature, philosophy and politics he appeared to know next to nothing. Upon my quoting Thomas Carlyle, he inquired in the naivest way who he might be and what he had done. My surprise reached a climax, however, when I found incidentally that he was ignorant of the Copernican Theory and of the composition of the Solar System. That any civilized human being in this nineteenth century should not be aware that the earth travelled round the sun appeared to be to me such an extraordinary fact that I could hardly realize it.
“You appear to be astonished,” he said, smiling at my expression of surprise. “Now that I do know it I shall do my best to forget it.”
“To forget it!”
“You see,” he explained, “I consider that a man’s brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or at best is jumbled up with a lot of other things so that he has a difficulty in laying his hands upon it. Now the skilful workman is very careful indeed as to what he takes into his brain-attic. He will have nothing but the tools which may help him in doing his work, but of these he has a large assortment, and all in the most perfect order. It is a mistake to think that that little room has elastic walls and can distend to any extent. Depend upon it there comes a time when for every addition of knowledge you forget something that you knew before. It is of the highest importance, therefore, not to have useless facts elbowing out the useful ones.”
“But the Solar System!” I protested.
“What the deuce is it to me?” he interrupted impatiently; “you say that we go round the sun. If we went round the moon it would not make a pennyworth of difference to me.”
Is it okay for a “dinosaur” to exist? Certainly. But it’s his passion to errantly read inerrant Scripture that has me bothered.
KJV Only folks come in 2 forms. 1) Listeners. 2) Followers.
1) Listeners — tell them about the history of the Bible and how we ought to understand it. Sometimes they’ll say “I still prefer my KJV” and that’s okay.
2) Followers — they follow someone else who told them that the KJV is the bee’s knees and nothing else can be. They don’t follow Christ in that way. They follow a man. And that’s a dangerous place to be.
Ben, I loved this quote! Better get out some of the old Sherlock Holmes mysteries for the beach this summer. I tend to “collect” trivia. This is an interesting thought….also interesting that the author of Sherlock wanted to believe in fairies so badly, that even a poorly composed photograph seemed to convince him.
Sorry, Tim, I know….this is a rabbit trail. No need to remind me.
“He pretty much thought I was an instrument of Satan sent to the church where I was a guest speaker to lead people astray.”
Hm, are all geocentrists this judgmental and legalistic? Not sure I’d like to meet one!