What About Geocentrism?
Geocentrism is the belief that the earth is the center of not only the solar system but of the universe itself. This belief is usually based on the King James translation of some of the verses in Psalms as well as the misunderstanding of a word used in Genesis which has been mistakenly translated. We will deal with the Psalms and the extended quote at the end by Dr. Bernard Northrup deals with that one particular word.
93:1: The LORD reigns, He is clothed with majesty; the LORD is clothed with strength wherewith He has girded himself: the world also is stablished, that it cannot be moved.
96:10 – Say among the heathen that the LORD reigns: the world also shall be established that it shall not be moved.: He shall judge the people righteously.
Of course there is always Psalm 99:1 – The LORD reigns: let the people tremble: He sits between the cherubims; let the earth be moved.
In Psalms 93 and 96, the word for “world” is Strongs 8398: tedel. It is derived from 2986: yabal, meaning “to flow, something which brings forth with pomp, to bring forth or to lead forth.” Thus, the meaning of tedel is referring to the fact that the earth is inhabitable – it was brought forth that way; and that will not be changed. It is in Psalm 99:1 that we find the word “eretz,” meaning “that which is firm,” and is often used to denote land masses in the Bible.
It may then be said that to depend on the Bible for any indication that the earth is the physical center of the universe is based upon a lack of understanding of the context and the Hebrew words used. There is more regarding this later.
Still, the question remains, and it is one we have been asked a number of times: does the earth really revolve around the sun or do the sun and other astronomical bodies revolve around the earth.
Here are a few simple indications that the earth is indeed circling the sun, as are the other planets: several times each year we are hit by meteor showers. How is this possible if they are circling the earth? They would not be able to close in on the earth. If, on the other hand, we are circling the sun, it makes good sense that we occasionally pass through sections of our orbit which contain these remnants of past cometary passages.
In fact, we can see the comets actually orbiting the sun and predict their appearances based on that.
The primary proponent of the geocentric idea is Dr. Gerardus D. Bouw. He is a very personable individual. Because he is involved in mathematics, he can show you mathematically how it is possible to get a rocket to the moon or to another planet in a geocentric universe. However, that method has not been used by NASA or other agencies to get spacecraft into orbit around the earth, to land on the moon, to land on Mars, to orbit other solar system bodies, or out to Pluto to photograph it. The mathematics used by these agencies is based on the fact that the earth and the other planets in the solar system are rotating around the sun.
So we have two mathematical systems available to us to get things out there – the very complicated Bouw system or the relatively simply NASA system.
Then, of course, there are the geostationary satellites. They are designed to remain in one spot above a certain part of the earth. The way that is done is to figure their orbit rate in conjunction with the earth’s rotation rate. At about 22,000 miles out, if they were not in a maintained orbit, they would fall back to the earth. This is definite proof the earth is rotating.
Bouw’s response to this is that the 22,000 mile point is exactly where the gravity of the earth is balanced by the pull of gravity of the rest of the universe. That is why the geostationary satellites do not fall into earth. They are not moving, they are simply at a point of balance. If this were true, however, then the rest of the universe could not possibly be rotating around the earth but would be rotating in respect to its own stronger gravitational forces outside the 22,000 mile mark. This distance, even in comparison to the moon, is very, very close to earth. The moon, our closest astronomical neighbor is about 250,000 miles away. There seems to be no argument about that. So if the earth’s gravitational force is balanced by the rest of the universe at the tiny distance of 22,000 miles, why is the moon still there? Why is the rest of the solar system going around the earth? There is no way for that to be possible in the geocentric model.
In fact, geocentrism claims the entire universe swings around the earth once every 24 hours. If this were true, then even the closest astronomical objects outside our solar system would be flying apart. Geocentrists admit that the stars are outside our solar system, although they usually claim the stars are much, much closer than astronomers say they are. That leads to the problem that if the stars were really that close, they would be interacting with each other, and probably violently. We do not see that.
They attempt to overcome that problem by saying that space, in the Bible, is described as “the firmament,” which means something solid, and so the universe itself must be a solid, dense rotating body.
This, then, gives the lie to a great deal, if not just about all, of standard astronomy. This is also a reason they must deny the red shift is due to motion. While we agree the distant red shifts are not due to motion, there seems to be pretty indisputable evidence that the red and blue shifts in our local group of galaxies is due to motion both away from and toward us, respectively.
There is another relatively sticky point for geocentrism that I have not seen satisfactorily dealt with. When we have a major earthquake, it changes the earth’s rotation rate. We know this because we can see the difference in the apparent movement of the background stars. Is the entire universe reacting to the quakes on earth, or is it simply that the earth is stuttering a bit in its rotation rate so that we do not see the background stars exactly where they should be? While the changes on earth are quite minor, if the earth itself were not affected by the earthquakes, but the universe was, then the reaction of the universe to our little earthquakes must be massive.
One thing that convinced Galileo that we are in a heliocentric (sun-centered) solar system was when he saw, through the telescope, the four main moons of Jupiter rotating around Jupiter, not around the earth. They were clearly not rotating around the earth. Jupiter itself gave clear evidence that it, also was not going around the earth, but was rather going around the sun, following Kepler’s laws.
Because of the argument that the stars are actually quite close, we have been asked if parallax is a viable way to measure star distances. Parallax is a way of measurement where a closer object is measured against a background object. If you are standing in a field and there is a tree close to you and a forest of trees farther on, then if you move, the relative position of that close tree against the background trees will change. The change in the “movement” of the background trees relative to the near tree creates an angle, whose point is the near tree. That angle, coupled with knowing how far you have moved on the ground gives you the distance between the near tree and the far trees.
The same thing is done with relatively near stars. When we can see a change in the relative positions of a nearer star against the background stars, first of all we can check it for a year or more to make sure it is due to our movement and not something else. When we know it is due to our movement, and we know how much the earth has travelled, we can then determine the distance between the near star and its background. This depends on knowing the diameter of our orbit. Geocentrists, however, state this method of determining distances is entirely inaccurate as the earth does not move. Bouw has worked out a system called the “Tychonic Model,” in which, in addition to the sun and the entire universe revolving around the earth once a day, also has the sun and other stars following an annual path around the earth. This gets complicated. The annual orbit of the sun around the earth is a path whose diameter is equal to what we see as the diameter of the earth’s orbit. This results, in his model, of stars having an annual parallax movement which exactly corresponds to standard parallax measurements based on the diameter of the earth’s orbit.
Now, if their measurement of the sun’s annual change is the same as our earth’s orbital diameter, then the parallax measurements must be the same and the distances measured the same in either case. If this is true, then why do so many geocentrists claim the stars and other galaxies are actually quite close and not as far out as standard astronomy claims? Parallax works in either case, determining the same distances for the same objects.
Because we have determined the distances by parallax to some Cepheid variable stars, and know their intrinsic brightness, when we see similar Cepheid variable stars in distant galaxies, and measure their brightness, we know how far away those galaxies are.
There is so much more that can be said scientifically. Theologically, Dr. Bernard Northup, a close friend of ours for many years who is with the Lord now, wrote an excellent theological argument countering Bouw’s presentation of his model. Dr. Northrup was a recognized scholar in Hebrew and Greek and was often consulted by Bible translators around the world regarding the proper meanings which were needed in various tribal languages. He gave us a copy of that paper years ago and the following excerpts are from the paper by Dr. Northrup.
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Additional note from Barry regarding "RAQIA." -- Geocentrists require a solid firmament so that the whole universe can rotate around the earth in 24 hours. If it were not solid, this could not happen. The argument may be presented that we have an example of the planets orbiting around the sun which is not solid. However each of the planets orbits at its own individual speed. Geocentrism states that the entire universe actually is rotating around the core, the earth, once every 24 hours -- there are no individual orbiting times. For this to be possible, the earth's firmament must be surrounded by a solid covering. The core of the universe must be solid. In fact, the universe itself must be a solid for it not to disrupt at the incredible speeds required to spin around the earth once every 24 hours, despite the idea presented by a number of geocentrists that the universe is not that large at all. Even if it were no larger than our Milky Way Galaxy, the disruption caused by the speeds required would be quite evident. Disruption is not evident.