Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Geocentrism 101, Part III: Scriptural and Church Position

Acknowledgements: The material presented here is a summary of research based on the dialogues of Robert Sungenis, as well as other researchers (as noted). Robert Sungenis and Dr. Robert Bennett are writing the book, "Galileo was Wrong", due out this year (2005), which should provide far greater detail than this introduction.

Review of Part II is not required, as we are currently moving out of science and into the position of the Church and Scriptures.

In Part III the followng will be summarized:

1. The View of Scripture and the unanimous assent of the Fathers towards geocentrism (and its ramifications), based on Scripture.

2. The declarations of three Popes for geocentrism / against heliocentrism. The Popes were Pope Paul V, Urban VIII, and Alexander VII.

3. The lack of any authoritative retraction of former declarations


The Father's of the Church have interpreted the Scriptures as supporting geocentrism, and rejecting heliocentrism. Probably the main contributer to this is Joshua 10, the stopping of the sun in the sky and the stopping of the moon. This was supported with other portions of Scripture. St. Bellarmine, one of the leading officials working for Paul V in condemning Galileo, summed it up.

On 12 April 1615, he wrote in a letter to Father Foscarini:

"I say that, as you know, the Council [of Trent] prohibits expounding the Scriptures contrary to the common agreement of the holy Fathers. And if Your Reverence would read not only the Fathers but also the commentaries of modern writers on Genesis, Psalms, Ecclesiastes and Josue, you would find that all agree in explaining literally (ad litteram) that the sun is in the heavens and moves swiftly around the earth, and that the earth is far from the heavens and stands immobile in the center of the universe."

Ultimately what was defined most strongly is that:

1. The earth does not move (including diurnally, i.e., 24 hour rotation)
2. The sun does move (around the earth).

Geocentrism clearly is the only reasonable existing theory to reconcile these statements.

Looking at Joshua 10 (Douay Rheims, Challoner edition):

12. Then Josue spoke to the Lord, in the day that he delivered the Amorrhite in the sight of the children of Israel, and he said before them: Move not, O sun, toward Gabaon, nor thou, O moon, toward the valley of Ajalon.

13. And the sun and the moon stood still, till the people revenged themselves of their enemies. Is not this written in the book of the just? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down the space of one day.

14. There was not before, nor after, so long a day, the Lord obeying the voice of a man, and fighting for Israel.

One could argue that God stopped the rotation of the earth. But this would make the Holy Spirit a liar. One can think of the Holy Spirit as "dictating" the verses to the inspired writer. Why would not the Holy Spirit simply say "and God stopped the rotation of the earth to create the appearance of the sun stopping in the sky for Joshua. Oh, and by the way, God also stopped the additional velocity of the moon so that it also appeared to stay". Based on these types of arguments, and other verses, the Fathers concluded the above two points. Many modern Biblical exegetes do not agree with the Holy Spirit "dictating" the Scripture. But then again, they cannot agree that Genesis was not a Babylonian myth, and that Adam and Eve even existed, etc.

Pope Leo XIII (Providentissimus Deus, and Denzinger's 1951) had this to say:

"For all the books which the Church receives as sacred and canonical, are written wholly and entirely, with all their parts, at the dictation of the Holy Ghost; and so far is it from being possible that any error can co-exist with inspiration, that inspiration not only is essentially incompatible with error, but excludes and rejects it as absolutely and necessarily as it is impossible that God Himself, the supreme Truth, can utter that which is not true."

Sticking with the time tested and authoritative methods of Biblical exegetism, one has to conclude that the Fathers were correct in their interpretation. And as was said at Trent:

"Furthermore, in order to restrain petulant spirits, It decrees, that no one, relying on his own skill, shall,--in matters of faith, and of morals pertaining to the edification of Christian doctrine, --wresting the sacred Scripture to his own senses, presume to interpret the said sacred Scripture contrary to that sense which holy mother Church,--whose it is to judge of the true sense and interpretation of the holy Scriptures,--hath held and doth hold; or even contrary to the unanimous consent of the Fathers; even though such interpretations were never (intended) to be at any time published..."

Similarly, Vatican I states (Session 2, Profession of Faith):

"...Likewise I accept sacred scripture according to that sense which holy mother church held and holds, since it is her right to judge of the true sense and interpretation of the holy scriptures; nor will I ever receive and interpret them except according to the unanimous consent of the fathers..."

And again (Session 3, Dogmatic Constitution of the Catholic Faith, Chapter 2- On Revelation):

"...In consequence, it is not permissible for anyone to interpret holy scripture...against the unanimous consent of the fathers."

One could argue that the position of the earth in universe is not a matter of faith and morals (and many do), but texts of cosmological significance are expounded on in the Scriptures in many places. Clearly, accepting that the earth is the center of the universe, as authoritative interpretations of Scripture by the Fathers indicate it is, is a matter of faith, especially in light of intense pressure to accept the opinion of secular science to the contrary. Finally, it was clear to Urban VIII that it was a matter of faith, as astated in the condemnation [of Galileo] of 1633:

"...The proposition that the Earth is not the centre of the world and immovable but that it moves, and also with a diurnal motion, is equally absurd and false philosophically and theologically considered at least erroneous in faith..."

Also, though it is defined (Vatican I) that Papal infallibility is restricted to matters of faith and morals, the Scriptures are not:

"...Later on, this solemn definition of Catholic doctrine, which claims for these books in their entirety and with all parts a divine authority such as must enjoy immunity from any error whatsoever, was contradicted by certain Catholic writers who dared to restrict the truth of Sacred Scripture to matters of faith and morals alone, and to consider the remainder, touching matters of the physical or historical order as obiter dicta and having (according to them) no connection whatsoever with faith. Those errors found their condemnation in the encyclical Providentissimus Deus..."

(Pope Pius XII in Divino Afflante Spiritu)


(Based on and quoted from a timeline from J.S. Daly, "The Theological Status of Heliocentrism", October 1997)

24th May 1543: Nicolas Copernicus’ De Revolutionibus Orbium Caelestium is published with ecclesiastical approval ... The study ... is prefixed by a preface explaining that heliocentrism is advanced only hypothetically

8th February 1564: Galileo Galilei is born at Pisa.

1600: Giordano Bruno is tried for heresy.. Heliocentrism considered, but not part of the final charges..

1613: Galileo publishes Letter to Padre Castelli in which he discusses the scriptural and theological arguments being advanced against the heliocentric system Cardinal Sfondrato submitted this letter to the theological Consultors of the Holy Office: their report was mild.

End of March, 1615: Father Caccini, O.P. formally denounces Galileo to the Holy Office.

12th April 1615: Cardinal Bellarmine (later St. Robert) writes to Father Paolo Foscarini, a Carmelite who had presented him with a copy of his recently published study favourable to heliocentrism. Bellarmine, writing in his private capacity as theological adviser, but with intimate knowledge of the reflections of the Consultors of the Holy See and the pope behind the scenes and his own studies, provoked by the recent heliocentric movement, implicitly criticises Foscarini for not restricting himself to a hypothetical presentation. ... He acknowledges that if there were real proof in favour of heliocentrism it would be necessary to “proceed with great circumspection in explaining passages of Scripture which appear to teach the contrary”, but refuses to believe that any such proofs exist or could be found.

7th December 1615: Galileo arrives at Rome himself with his newly-perfected telescope and attracts great interest .... He is received with respect and friendship by many cardinals including St. Robert Bellarmine, and by the Pope. ...Cardinal Barberini who became a particular friend of his but was later, as Pope Urban VIII, to condemn him in 1633.

24th February 1616: The eleven theologian-qualifiers of the Holy Office meet to consider the theological qualifications proper to be attached to the following propositions:

( i ) The sun is the centre of the universe (“mundi”) and absolutely immobile in local motion.

( ii ) The earth is not the centre of the universe (“mundi”); it is not immobile but turns on itself with a diurnal movement.

All unanimously censure the first proposition as “foolish, absurd in philosophy {i.e. scientifically untenable) and formally heretical on the grounds of expressly contradicting the statements of Holy Scripture in many places according to the proper meaning of the words, the common exposition and the understanding of the Holy Fathers and learned theologians”; the second proposition they unanimously censured as likewise “absurd in philosophy” and theologically “at least erroneous in faith”.

25th February 1616: Pope Paul V is officially apprised of this theological qualification and confirms it, ordering Cardinal Bellarmine to summon Galileo and ( i ) warn him to abandon the said opinions; should he refuse to obey, ( ii ) order him to abstain from teaching, defending or treating of this doctrine and opinion in any way; and, should he not acquiesce even in this, ( iii ) to imprison him.

26th February 1616: Cardinal Bellarmine summons Galileo to his home and before witnesses transmits the Pope’s orders, commanding him in the name of the Pope and of the whole Congregation of the Holy Office to abandon the position in question and no more to hold, teach or defend it on pain of being proceeded against by the Holy Ofice. Galileo promises to obey.

3rd March 1616: Bellarmine reports Galileo’s submission to the Pope.

5th March 1616: The Congregation of the Index publishes a decree on the order of Pope Paul V condemning absolutely the study of Father Foscarini referred to above and prohibiting circulation of the writings of Copernicus and Zunica until they had been corrected; it also forbids in general all books teaching the doctrine of the immobility of the sun. It makes no specific mention of Galileo or his writings. The decree explains that the reason for the condemnation is that the doctrine of the immobility of the sun is “false and in absolute contradiction with the Holy Scripture”, but it does not use the word “heretical”. These edicts were published by the Master of the Apostolic Palace on the orders of the Pope.

Here is an excerpt from condemnation of Paul V :
"And because it has also come to attention of the aforementioned Sacred Congregation that the Pythagorean doctrine concerning the mobility of the earth and the immobility of the sun, which Nicholas Copernicus, De revolutionibus orbium coelestium . . . taught, and which is false and altogether incompatible with divine Scripture, is now spread abroad and accepted by many . . .; therefore in order that an opinion ruinous to Catholic truth not creep further in this manner, the Sacred Congregation decrees that the said Nicholas Copernicus . . . be suspended until corrected; and that all other books similarly teaching the same thing be prohibited: as accordingly it prohibits, damns, and suspends them all by the present Decree. "

March 5, 1616, Declaration of the Congregation of the Index of Forbidden Books of the Inquisition of the Roman Catholic Church.

9th or 11th March 1616: Pope Paul V receives Galileo in honourable audience.

26th May 1616: Bellarmine furnishes Galileo with a testimonial whereby to refute allegations of his adversaries that he had been obliged by the Holy Office to recant and abjure his doctrines. Bellarmine’s certificate declared that Galileo had made no abjuration and incurred no penance but that “the declaration made by the Holy Father and published by the Sacred Congregation of the Index was intimated to him, wherein it is declared that the doctrine attributed to Copernicus that the earth moves around the sun and that the sun is in the centre of the universe and does not move from east to west is contrary to the Holy Scriptures, and therefore cannot be defended or held.”

1620-21: The Sacred Congregation of the Index condemns Kepler’s Epitome Astronomiae Copernicanae, the edict being signed by Bellarmine.

17th September 1621: Bellarmine dies.

1623: Galileo’s devoted friend Cardinal Barberini is elected Pope, taking the name Urban VIII. He accepts the dedication of Galileo’s work Il Saggiatore. A curious and not necessarily reliable letter of Galileo to a friend alleges that Urban, though disfavouring heliocentrism, had told Galileo that it had not been condemned as heretical and that he himself would never so condemn it. [Since Urban VIII subsequently did so condemn it, the entire allegation may be considered as very doubtful and we are not therefore entitled to list Pope Urban VIII among those who doubted whether the 1616 condemnation had branded heliocentrism as heretical.]

1624: Galileo starts writing a work in dialogue-form in which the three fictional participants discuss the controversy between heliocentrism and geocentrism and in which heliocentrism clearly emerges triumphant, though with some lip service still being paid to the question’s not having been definitively decided.

February 1632: The above study entitled Dialogue of Galileo Galilei Concerning the Two Great Systems of the Universe, the Ptolemaic and the Copernican… is published. The work bears the ecclesiastical approval of Florence (where Galileo lived) and that of Rome. ..the approbation was granted only on condition that certain changes be made and these conditions had not been fulfilled. Pope Urban VIII appointed a Commission of theologians to examine the work and report on it. September 1632: The theological Commission makes a highly unfavourable report. The Pope refers the case to the Inquisition and Galileo is summoned to Rome for trial.

February 1633: Galileo arrives in Rome voluntarily ...

April 1633: The trial begins. Its objects were to establish the objective meaning of the Dialogue, Galileo’s beliefs on the subject of heliocentrism, and his intention in writing the Dialogue.

12th and 30th April and 10th May 1633: Galileo is examined ...

16th June 1633: Pope Urban VIII orders a new interrogation of Galileo concerning his belief since 1616 ...

21st June 1633: Galileo continues to maintain his innocence on this point.

22nd June 1633: Galileo is sentenced as vehemently suspect of heresy and required to abjure heliocentrism and be absolved of the censures and penalties he was deemed to have incurred. Galileo made the abjuration in question and was accordingly absolved. He was sentenced to perpetual imprisonment of the Inquisition, a sentence commuted on the same day so that he was allowed to reside as a private gentleman for the rest of his life though limited in his movements and communications...

Here is part of Urban VIII condemnation:
(Translation from: J.S. Daly, "The Theological Status of Heliocentrism", October 1997)

Whereas you, Galileo, son of the late Vincenzo Galilei, Florentine, aged seventy years, were in the year 1615 denounced to this Holy Office for holding as true the false doctrine taught by some that the Sun is the centre of the world and immovable and that the Earth moves, and also with a diurnal motion; for having disciples... ...and for replying to the objections from the Holy Scriptures, which from time to time were urged against it, by glossing the said Scriptures according to your own meaning: and whereas there was thereupon produced the copy of a document in the form of a letter, purporting to be written by you to one formerly your disciple, and in this divers propositions are set forth, following the position of Copernicus, which are contrary to the true sense and authority of Holy Scriptures:

The Sacred Tribunal being therefore of intention to proceed against the disorder and mischief thence resulting, which went on increasing to the prejudice of the Sacred Faith, by command of His Highness and of the Most Eminent Lords Cardinals of this supreme and universal Inquisition, the two propositions of the stability of the Sun and the motion of the Earth were by the theological Qualifiers qualified as follows:

The proposition that the Sun is the centre of the world and does not move from its place is absurd and false philosophically and formally heretical, because it is expressly contrary to the Holy Scripture.

The proposition that the Earth is not the centre of the world and immovable but that it moves, and also with a diurnal motion, is equally absurd and false philosophically and theologically considered at least erroneous in faith.

...We say, pronounce, sentence and declare that you, the said Galileo, by reason of the matters adduced in trial, and by you confessed as above, have rendered yourself in the judgement of the Holy Office vehemently suspect of heresy, namely, of having believed and held the doctrine – which is false and contrary to the sacred and divine Scriptures – that the Sun is the centre of the world and does not move from east to west and that the Earth moves and is not the centre of the world;...

30th June 1633: The Pope orders a copy of the decree including the condemnation and abjuration of Galileo to be sent to all Nuncios and all Inquisitors, to be drawn especially to the attention of mathematicians of the area for which each of them was responsible and most especially in Galileo’s city of Florence. This order was carried out and the recipients in turn acknowledged reception.

March 1664: Pope Alexander VII promulgates his Index Librorum Prohibitorum Alexandri VII Pontificis Maximi jussu editus prefaced by a papal bull in which he directs the entire Index to be deemed part of the bull itself and sharing its directly papal authority. This Index includes all previous condemnations of geocentric books in general and in particular and is confirmed and approved with apostolic authority.

The bull was Speculatores Dominus Israel. Below is a reproduction (Courtesy of Robert Sungenis) of the cover page of the bull:


“For this purpose,...[ pursues the Pontiff]...we have caused the Tridentine and Clementine Indices to be added to this general Index, and also all the relevant decrees up to the present time, that have been issued since the Index of our predecessor Clement, that nothing profitable to the faithful interested in such matters might seem omitted. Since then all these directions have been faithfully and accurately carried out, and a general Index of this kind has been composed,—to which also the rules of the Tridentine Index, with the observations and instructions added to the Clementine Index, have been prefixed; this same general Index as it is put forth, composed by our order, revised, and printed at the press of our Apostolic Camera, and which we will should be considered as though it were inserted in these presents, together with all, and singular, the things contained therein, we, having taken the advice of our Cardinals, confirm, and approve with Apostolic authority by the tenor of these presents, and: command and enjoin all persons everywhere to yield this Index a constant and complete obedience..."

(Translation from: "The Pontifical Decrees Against the Doctrine of the Earth's Movement, and the Ultramontane Defence of Them", Rev. William Roberts, 1885, London.)

1665: Pope Alexander VII publishes a new Index in which are forbidden “all books and any booklets, periodicals, compositions, consultations, letters, glosses, opuscula, speeches, replies, treatises, whether printed or in manuscript, containing and treating the following subjects or about the following subjects…the mobility of the earth and the immobility of the sun.”

his 1665 edition is considered an abridged edition of the 1664 Index.

(timeline, ibid.)

First it is clear that the Church was not against discussing heliocentrism as a theoretical issue, as evidenced here (as well as February 1632, above) :

1620: The De Revolutionibus Orbium Caelestium of Copernicus is reprinted at Rome with ecclesiastical permission and containing a monitum addressed to the reader and certain corrections to the text in order that its expressions favourable to heliocentrism should be understood only as a hypothesis proposed on account of its potential practical utility. One amendment to the text specifically observes that geocentrism and heliocentrism are equally capable of “saving the appearances”– a position accepted as correct by many scientists in the 20th century.

Galileo and others pushed the issue as absolute when in fact they had no evidence it was (and still no evidence exists, see Part I and II of this series Geocentrism 101). There has been no retraction of the decrees above. Note that when the decrees were made, specific reasons for the decrees were given. It is true that some things have changed regarding the issue, but no explanation has been given as to why the changes were made. For instance:

1742: Catholic mathematicians, Fathers le Seur and Jacquier of the Franciscan Minims publish with ecclesiastical approbation a text of Newton’s Principia with annotated explanations, prefaced by the following note: “Newton in this third book assumes the hypothesis of the earth’s movement. The author’s propositions could not be explained except on the same hypothesis. Hence we have been obliged to put on a character not our own. But we profess obedience to the decrees, made by the Supreme Pontiff against the movement of the earth.”

it included this in the introduction:

"Newton in this third book assumes the hypothesis of the earth’s movement. The author’s propositions could not be explained except on the same hypothesis. Hence we have been obliged to put on a character not our own. But we profess obedience to the decrees, made by the Supreme Pontiff against the movement of the earth.”

(Translation from: "The Pontifical Decrees Against the Doctrine of the Earth's Movement, and the Ultramontane Defence of Them", Rev. William Roberts, 1885, London.)

[Image added 7/17/2007]


Clearly this is analogous to the 1620 case above, where Corpenicus' works were permitted to be published with explanation of heliocentrism being treated as hypothetical.

16th April 1757: The scholar-pope Benedict XIV in recognition of the new status held by heliocentrism in the scholarly world since the writings of Isaac Newton suspends the decrees of the Congregation of the Index against heliocentric works.

Benedict XIV removed the phrase prohibiting books teaching immobility of then sun and mobility of the earth from his revised Index. Still, the books currently on the Index were not removed (Dorothy Stimson. The Gradual Acceptance of the Copernican theory of the Universe.). It is not clear what this means. Clearly Benedict XIV was not against some teaching of heliocentrism, but any statement beyond that is speculation.

The Catholic Encyclopedia explains it specifically this way:

On 5 March 1616, the work of Copernicus was forbidden by the Congregation of the Index ‘until corrected,’ and in 1620 these corrections were indicated. Nine sentences, by which the heliocentric system was represented as certain, had to be either omitted or changed. This done, the reading of the book was allowed. In 1758 the book of Copernicus disappeared from the revised Index of Benedict XIV.

I.e., Benedict the XIV was only completing what was started in 1616 in the case of Corpenicus.

1820: A Canon Settele applies for the Roman Imprimatur from Mgr. Anfossi to authorise publication of his openly heliocentric Elements d’Astronomie. Anfossi refuses this, but Settele appeals to Pope Pius VII who upholds the appeal and allows publication.

"...the printing and publication of works treating of the motion of the earth and the stability of the sun, in accordance with the general opinion of modern astronomers, is permitted at Rome..."


The above two cases were tantamount of the Popes saying they will allow modern scientists to express their opinions. This in no way implies that the Church has changed it's opinion.

11th September 1822: The Sacred Congregation of the Inquisition decides that the printing of books teaching the movement of the earth would thenceforth be permitted at Rome.

25th September 1822: Pope Pius VII approves this decree.

Clearly, now heliocentrism may be expressed as an opinion of modern astronomers. No rescinding of previous decrees was stated.

I will add, in 1992 John Paul II apologized for the treatment of Galileo. This was done in a private speech to a private group (the Pontifical Academy of Sciences), and had no official Church status. In no way did he officially say that the Church now recognizes heliocentrism (or acentrism) as true. He did say that [(note added 5/31/06)the theologians of] Urban VIII were wrong, but this is his personal opinion (and that of Cardinal Poupard and possibly other members of the Galileo task force). Also he did not discuss the other decrees, nor did he mention the Bull of Alexander VII. So on top of being unofficial, it is incomplete. We should not ignore the speech, but the speech needs to be considered in the context of previous Church declarations. Being private and unofficial, where it contrdicts, the previous decrees are maintained.

There are no official statements explaining why these actions were permitted, other than allowing modern scientists to express their opinions and completing the will of the 1616 Index. One can speculate that the Church reversed itself, but in order to reverse the decrees, the following would be at least expected (author's opinion):

1. A bull or encyclical authoritatively reversing decrees against movement of the earth and a fixed position of the sun.
2. Explanations (likely in the bull or encyclical) as to how to explain:

  • The interprtation of the Fathers
  • Trent and Vatican I position regarding interpretation of the Fathers.

In any case, an action at least as authoritative as the action creating the decrees would be needed.


Keep in mind that in the 18th and 19th century many people were becoming convinced that heliocentrism was true. In the 20th century, Einstein's General Relativity removed that notion. Had the Church acted authoritatively, it would have been a big mistake. It is still scientifically possible that the Church was not wrong in the first place. The Holy Spirit does protect the Church from error in certain official acts of the Popes.

It is not clear whether the statements of the Popes reached the level of infallibility. Clearly they have reached at least the level of being worthy of consideration by the faithful (and possibly much more), but given the Vatican's ambiguity towards the issue in recent centuries, there is probably little moral culpability for the average person who has been taught unimpeded from early childhood (even taught at Catholic schools) that we know that the earth goes around the sun and spins on its axis. Clearly science supports the notion that we do not know either way (see Parts I and II, Geocentricity 101).

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Wave on World Youth

I was watching the mass in Cologne last night, led by Cardinal Meisner. The German President showed up to give a speech to the assembled youth. In their exuberance for the event they interrupted his speech with a wave that kept travelling around the stadium accompanied by cheering. For what seemed to be several minutes the President could not speak. This seems like bad manners and disrespectful.

On the other hand, I listened to the speech by the President. Maybe the youth did, too. Not once did he mention Jesus Christ. Not once did he mention the Mass. He talked about networking, meeting new friends, cross-border dialogue, Catholic AND protestant dialogue, etc. He did mention the Creator once that I heard. He might as well have said the "Archtect of the Universe". His solution was not God, but government.

Basically, secularism came to speak at the Catholic Mass. It would have been politically incorrect for him to speak about a specific god. This is the same country, who as part of the European Union would not entertain John Paul II's request to at least mention Europe's Christian heritage. Though it was impressive that the President of Germany attended the event, what he said was not too impressive.

Maybe the youth had it right, after all. Maybe they were listening. Wave on World Youth.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Geocentrism 101, Part II

Geocentricity 101, Part II Basic Physics
Mark Wyatt
August 3rd, 2005

Acknowledgements: The material presented here is a summary of research firstly based on the dialogues of Robert Sungenis, as well as correspondence with him. Also, the works of other geocentric researchers (esp. Gerardus Buow, Walter Van Der Kamp) were consulted. The details were discussed, debated, etc. with scientists in various forums. Additional research was carried out within scientific literature and on the internet to better understand the underlying physics. Robert Sungenis and Dr. Robert Bennett are writing the book, "Galileo was Wrong", due out this year (2005), which should provide far greater detail than this introduction.


Review of Part I

In part I, we discussed the basic principles of geocentrism. We discussed coordinate systems, and briefly touched upon relative motions within the cosmos. Part I basically stated that one could perform a coordinate transformation to any point in space and as long as one had a map of relative motions and observations of heavenly bodies from the originating coordinate system, one could map out what those motions and observations would appear to be in a new coordinate system. For this reason one could simulate what the motions of the solar system looked like from the sun's perspective (this is called heliocentrism). One could also map out what those motions looked like from the earth (i.e., geocentrism). Of course one could choose Mars, a specific asteoid, etc. It was also pointed out that all the observations made by man up to the space age were basically equivalent to earth based observations. This means that the motions of the planets, moon(s), asteroids, comets were geocentric observations. This means that the phases of Jupiter's moons, phases of Venus, parallax, abberation, etc. were geocentric observations. It is in fact impossible to differentiate between geocentrism and any other proposed center (i.e, heliocentrism, acentrism) based on observations. George Ellis, a cosmologist in Cape Town, South Africa made this point in a Scientific American article:

“People need to be aware that there is a range of models that could explain the observations,...For instance, I can construct you a spherically symmetrical universe with Earth at its center, and you cannot disprove it based on observations.” Ellis has published a paper on this. “You can only exclude it on philosophical grounds. In my view there is absolutely nothing wrong in that. What I want to bring into the open is the fact that we are using philosophical criteria in choosing our models. A lot of cosmology tries to hide that.”.

W. Wayt Gibbs, "Profile: George F. R. Ellis," Scientific American, October 1995, Vol. 273, No.4, p. 55.

Finally, it was proposed that the real issue for geocentrists (and heliocentrists and acentrists, etc.) is to propose a physical model that accounts for the observations. It was put forth that Einstein's General Relativity states that there are no preferred reference frames in the universe. In other words, one can choose any point in space and consistently describe not only the motions and observations, but the actual forces in the universe from the chosen point. A series of quotations from Einstein and other scientists to this effect were presented in relation to geocentrism. It was not claimed that this proves geocentrism.
First let us discuss briefly physical theories. Many physical theories are approximate and empirical. An example is Newtonian mechanics, especially Newtonian gravitation. With the example of gravitation in mind, it can be stated that Newtonian theory has no physical explanation for gravity. Yet it does tend to work, at least for most cases we have yet enountered . An example of a more descriptive physical theory for gravitation is Le Sage's corpuscular theories (and related theories, i.e., graviton theories, etc.) . While Newton relates the gravitational attraction of two objects to the masses and the inverse square of the distances, Le Sagean theory relates the attraction to a sea of proposed corpuscles moving at very high velocites through space. The corpuscles impinge upon objects equally on all sides, except where a second object blocks the first. Where the objects interfere, there is less corpuscular "pressure", thus the objects move towards one another. Interestingly, within reasonable limits, the equations for Le Sagean gravitation reduce to Newton's equations for gravity. I will call the less descriptive type of theory "empirical" and the more descriptive theories "mechanistic".

Probably the most used theory in general cosmology today is Einstein's General Relativty (GR). Though it is considered a very powerful theory, it is in fact empirical, especially in its treatment of gravity. GR's treatment of gravity can be viewed as geometric. In the geometric interpretation, gravity is imagined to be a distortion of an underlying grid. Space is represented as distorted by massive objects. The idea is that as other objects approach, they will "roll down the distortion". Of course there is still a force implied, otherwise why would an object feel the need to "roll down"? So this is just a way of representing gravity. Ultimately, in fairly static space-time (i.e., such as our solar system represented as heliocentric), the gravity in Einstein's General relativity will reduce to Newtonian gravity (much like in the case of Le Sage's gravity). Empirical theories are probably the most used today, because it is not necassary to elucidate all the details (of gravity for instance). As long as the theory is valid, and for practical problems this is acceptable.

Let us start by viewing geocentrism from the perspective of GR. After a general description within GR, we can see what explanations have been proposed for rotating universes. Then we can briefly discuss some more mechanistic possibilities.

One may ask 'if no one believes in geocentrism, why would they model a rotating universe with earth at the center?'. Well first some researchers may be open to geocentrism. Secondly, researchers want to validate the principles of GR. One of the principles is that there are "no preferred reference frames" in the universe. This means that we can pick any center, make a coordinate transformation to that center and describe the universe from that point. It means that the interactions of all the gravitational attractions and other forces in the universe will balance in such a way that the center we picked will physically act as the center. This means that if we pick a fixed earth (non-rotating, non-translating) then all the forces in the universe will act in such a way that when we solve the Einsteinian equations, we will find that there will be a balance of forces in the universe that will include the features of:

1. A rotating universe
2. An earth (or other chosen center) fixed in the center
3. Forces opposing the rotation of the center.
4. All observations in the universe will be consistent with observations from solutions at a different center.

I.e., if we chose earth as center, and we currently believe the earth is rotating, and we are able to describe the motions of geosynchronous satellites from the rotating earth perspective (or say from a fixed sun perspective), and we reformulated Einstein's equations on a fixed earth, there must exist analgous forces causing the same observations of geosynchronous satellites. If not, then GR is incorrect. This is one reason why relativists create models of rotating universes on a fixed earth. They want to demonstrate that GR produces forces analogous to what we observe in our presumed rotating earth universe. This principle is called the "strong" principle of relativity. Neither Newtonian theory nor Einstein's Special Relativity have the strong principle.

Let's start with a related example. Gron and Erikson gave an example of an observer seeing the earth from the surface of the moon. Now from this location, the earth appears to be rotating below the moon. It is just hanging in space and turning. Why does the moon not fall to the earth? They explain that the reason is because we had neglected to include the rest of the universe in the picture! They, and GR, are proposing the universe is Machian (after Ernst Mach of Mach Number fame). Mach proposed that every object in the universe is attracted to every other object. He proposed that inertia is due to resistance of movement of an object to all the other objects in the universe. Like Leibniz, he proposed that space was really not something, but rather just a relationship between objects in the universe.

But what is the relationship between the rest of the objects in the universe and our coordinate system (i.e., fixed moon)? Well the rest of the universe (cosmic mass) is rotating around this coordinate system (and thus around the earth and moon). Somehow this rotating universe is creating forces which [from our coordinate system's perspective] keep the earth from falling to the moon. Gron and Erikson (General Relativity and Gravitation) explain it in this quote:

"...we consider the Moon orbiting the Earth. As seen by an observer on the Moon, both the Moon and the Earth are at rest. If the observer solves Einstein’s field equations for the vacuum space-time outside the Earth, he might come up with the Schwarzchild solution and conclude that the Moon should fall toward the Earth, which it does not. So it seems impossible to consider the Moon at rest, which would imply that the strong principle of relativity is not valid.

This problem has the following solution. As observed from the Moon the cosmic mass rotates. The rotating cosmic mass has to be included when the Moon observer solves Einstein’s field equations. Doing this he finds that the rotating cosmic mass induces the rotational non-tidal gravitational field which is interpreted as the centrifugal field in Newtonian theory. This field explains to him why the Moon does not fall toward the Earth."

But, one objects, we know why the moon does not fall to the earth. It is because the moon is orbiting the earth and rotating... This is true from the perspective of a coordinate system fixed say on the north pole of the earth and allowing the earth to rotate around it. In this case the cosmic masses are not rotating, and their influence is less (but not zero, inertia still exists). This is the realm of Newtonian mechanics and Special relativity. This is the key to GR- it is Machian. One can pick any center and reformulate the entire universe from the perspective of this center and consistently describe the universe. In fact per GR there is no reality beyond a perspective. This is a philosophical position. Actually doing this (modelling the entire universe) is difficult, but this is the principle that GR is built upon. If it turned out that there actually were a center to the universe, then it is still possible that the GR solution to this center's perspective is valid. All other solutions (i.e., for other centers) would be considered hypothetical ones considering the other centers as candidate centers. If we found a portal to a known fixed reference outside the universe, and knew we could spend a limited amount of time there (I.e., if God granted us this), our best bet would be to solve Einstein's GR equations for a number of candidate centers. Then we could go to this observation post, and see which one most accurately describes the observed universe. Of course we cannot do this.

Let us look at an example dealing specifically with the earth. Rosser treats an observer (O') on earth with earth as the center (earth functions as a "roundabout"), and describes why there is no issue with the stars moving greater than the speed of light. He then points out that when the rotating roundabout (i.e., the rotating earth) is treated as being at rest (ie., fixed earth, also the "stationary roundabout"), the forces from the rotating cosmic masses become huge, and create the forces (which for instance keep geosynchronous satellites apparently hovering above the fixed earth) which hold the earth fixed against a rotating universe.

"Relative to the stationary roundabout [the Earth], the distant stars would have a velocity rw [radius x angular velocity] and for sufficiently large values of r, the stars would be moving relative to O' [the observer] with linear velocities exceeding 3 x 10^8 m/sec, the terrestrial value of the velocity of light. At first sight this appears to be a contradiction…that the velocities of all material bodies must be less than c [the speed of light]. However, the restriction u [less than] c = 3 x 10^8 m/sec is restricted to the theory of Special Relativity. According to the General theory, it is possible to choose local reference frames in which, over a limited volume of space, there is no gravitational field, and relative to such a reference frame the velocity of light is equal to c . However, this is not true when gravitational fields are present. In addition to the lengths of rods and the rates of clocks the velocity of light is affected by a gravitational field. If gravitational fields are present the velocities of either material bodies or of light can assume any numerical value depending on the strength of the gravitational field. If one considers the rotating roundabout as being at rest, the centrifugal gravitational field assumes enormous values at large distances, and it is consistent with the theory of General Relativity for the velocities of distant bodies to exceed 3 x 10^8 m/sec under these conditions." (An Introduction to the Theory of Relativity, W. G. V. Rosser, London, Butterworths, 1964, p. 460)

As an aside, I want to briefly touch on the issue of fixed light speed (3X10^8 m/s, or 300,000,000 m/s). GR does not have a specific limitation on the speed of light. Special Relativity states it is fixed everywhere. GR does reduce to special relativity in regions of space-time which are flat (i.e., no gravity). In these instances GR may have a limitation on speed. The reason GR cannot have a general limitation on the speed of light is illustrated in this amusing example:

(Math Pages)

"The moon revolves round my head faster than light!

Stand up in a clear space and spin round. It is not too difficult to turn at one revolution each two seconds. Suppose the moon is on the horizon. How fast is it spinning round your head? It is about 385,000 km away so the answer is 1.21 million km/s, which is more than four times the speed of light! It sounds ridiculous to say that the moon is going round your head when really it is you who is turning, but according to general relativity all co-ordinate systems are equally valid including revolving ones. So isn't the moon going faster than the speed of light? This is quite difficult to account for.

What it comes down to, is the fact that velocities in different places cannot be directly compared in general relativity. Notice that the moon is not overtaking the light in its own locality. The velocity of the moon can only be compared to the velocity relative to other objects in its own local inertial frame. Indeed, the concept of velocity is not a very useful one in general relativity and this makes it difficult to define what "faster than light" means. Even the statement that "the speed of light is constant" is open to interpretation in general relativity. Einstein himself in his book "Relativity: the special and the general theory" said that the statement cannot claim unlimited validity (pg 76). When there is no absolute definition of time and distance it is not so clear how speeds should be determined.

Nevertheless, the modern interpretation is that the speed of light is constant in general relativity and this statement is a tautology given that standard units of distance and time are related by the speed of light. The moon is given to be moving slower than light because it remains within the future light cone propagating from its position at any instant."

Now, we have demonstrated that GR can be used to make a reasonable case for a fixed earth at the center of a rotating universe. One may ask, 'what are the mechanisms that actually allow this to occur'? Misner, Wheeler and Thorne in Gravitation (pp. 1117-1119) modeled the general case of gyroscopic motion with gravitation in the post-Newtonian limit (which can be interpreted as a rotating universe as having gyroscopic stability). They conclude that the gyroscope (rotating universe) maintains the center of mass (the earth in geocentrism) from rotating or translating. This is much like a top. If a top is disturbed forces react to the disturbance to maintain the position of the center of mass. In the case of a geocentric universe, the universe will react to maintain its center. This means the entire power of the universe will be used to maintain earth at its center.

Many people ask 'what constitutes the earth'? Is it just the surface? Is it the solid ball? Does it include the atmosphere? Really the question is no different in geocentrism then it is in heliocentrism or acentrism. It really depends on what we are looking at. In terms of gyroscopic stabilization, the universe will try and stabilize its center. If the earth is at center, it will be stabilized. Though the center of mass is mathematically a point, the action of the entire universe will work to maintain this point stable (just like a top will wobble or precess against a disturbance). One can imagine various mechanisms which could act to stabilize the earth. If there is a huge volcanic eruption, and 0.001% of earth's mass is blown into the atmosphere and lands on the other side of the earth, how much would the universe have to rearrange itself to accomodate this? Undetectably.

Let us finish up by looking at more mechanistic explanations. These are more speculative, but interesting to consider. Usually, geocentrists (much like quantam mechanicists today) bring back the possibility of an aether to explain a geocentric universe. Many people believe aether was disproven, but, just like geocentrism, this is not true. As I have stated, in quantam mechanics, the aether is being brought back by many researchers. Also, the concept of dark matter and dark energy are an aether under different names. Note that though GR does not posit aether, and Einstein rejected it, this does not mean aether is incompatible with GR. Many researchers into Le Sagean gravity and graviton type models have shown that some relativistic effects (such as frame dragging) can be explained with aether type theories. See for instance the book Pushing Gravity, edited by Edward R. Matthews. Let us leave this at this.

The proposed substance of the aether is the Planck particle. This is the substance proposed by some quantam mechanicists. These particles have a diameter of 1.6x10^-35 m and a mass of 2.2x10^-8 kg. The density is a whopping 5x10^96 kg per cubic-centimeter (some quantam mechanicists refer to Planck particles as "micro-black holes")! Now if the stars, planets, etc. are rotating in this dense medium, then really, the relative motion between the stars, galaxies, etc., and the aether is very small (i.e., local motion). Within this rotating aether, planets can orbit stars, galaxies can rotate, etc. This is allowed because the de Broglie wavelength (i.e., particle-wave duality) of normal matter (baryonic matter) is 10's of orders of magnitude different than Planck particles (non-baryonic matter), and thus there is little or no direct interaction between them. Thus in the modern Tychonic system, the sun can revolve with the universe around the earth, and the planets orbit the sun with Keplerian type orbits.

The aether becomes a rotating frame of reference. Depending on the property of the aether, light and gravity can be transmitted through the aether. This can lead to a speed of light of "c' and almost instantaneous gravitational reaction over large distances (i.e., no "action at a distance" problem like Newtonian theory and relativity). Also, a Le Sagean corpuscular gravitational mechanism could be introduced.

This is the end of Part II. The next discussion will be regarding Church statements and Scripture in the case of geocentrism.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Geocentricity 101, Part I

Geocentricity 101, Part I, Basic Concepts
Mark Wyatt
August 1st, 2005

Acknowledgements: The material presented here is a summary of research firstly based on the dialogues of Robert Sungenis, as well as correspondence with him. Also, the works of other geocentric researchers (esp. Gerardus Buow, Walter Van Der Kamp) were consulted. The details were discussed, debated, etc. with scientists in various forums. Additional research was carried out within scientific literature and on the internet to better understand the underlying physics. Robert Sungenis and Dr. Robert Bennett are writing the book, "Galileo was Wrong", due out this year (2005), which should provide far greater detail than this introduction.


There are many possible explanations for explaining the cosmos we observe. Geocentricity is one of the many explanations.

If one treats the motions in the heavens as relative motions (whether Galilean relativity, Einstein's General Relativity, or other types), one can create a model of the cosmos which is consistent with observations from many (if not any) reference points. This is basically stating that a coordinate transformation can be made from some to any other coordinate system (say x, y, and z axis) with its origin placed arbitrarily in space. If this coordinate transformation is done correctly, then the relative motions of the observed objects in the heavens will be consistent with the relative motions from any other correctly applied coordinate system at a different location. This is basic vector mathematics and is not controversial. To state it more simply if one observes the relative motions of objects in the heavens (let's say we pick earth, our sun, and say one distant galaxy) from a spot on the surface of the moon, one can consider this the origin of a coordinate system (say CS1). If one then observes the motions of the same objects from a location on Mar's surface, this represents a coordinate system transformation to a new coordinate system (Say CS2). Since we can think of ourselves as sitting at the origin of whatever coordinate system we choose, this point becomes fixed in space, and the universe appears to revolve around us at this point. If one plotted the relative motions from CS1 and CS2 relative to their respective origins, the paths of the observed objects would seem very different. In fact though, they would be consistent. If one transformed a coordinate system from CS1 to a thrid coordinate system (CS3, say on the surface of Alpha Centuri), and one did the same coordinate transformation from CS2 to CS3, the resulting paths of objects realtive to the origin of CS3 should be identical.

Let's take an example. Let's start at CS1, viewing the path of the earth. Assuming we pick a location on the face of the moon with view to earth, we would see the earth rotating in place on about a 23.12 hour period (this accounts for a 24 hour rotation + the 27.3 day period of the moon orbiting the earth). Ignoring any ellipticity in the moons orbit, basically the earth appears not to be translating, but only rotating. The sun would have more complicated motion. It would appear to have a 27.3 day cycle (the lunar orbital period), and would spend much of the time eclipsed by the earth, or behind us. The distant objects would rotate on 27.3 day periods, apparently on a sphere.

Now let's transform to CS2, the surface of Mars. To be sure we can always see the earth. let's fix CS2 on Mar's North pole, and allow Mars to rotate on our z-axis (a rotating Mars reference frame, z-axis pointing north). In some cases, the earth will move behind us, but we can look over our shoulders at it. The earth will appear to have a bizzare motion, sometimes moving towards us, sometimes moving away. The path will be curved, often making loops. Pretty similar to watching Mars from earth.

Now if we transformed from CS1 to CS3 (sitting out in space say on one of Alpha Centuri's poles, with the star permitted to rotate on its axis if it wants to) we would see the moon travelling around the earth, the earth apparently travelling around the sun, etc., all apparently in fixed space. Now keep in mind that if the universe was rotating with Alpha Centuri in it, we just stoppped the rotation by fixing our coordinate system on Alpha Centuri. If we transform from CS2 to CS3, we get the same result. This is what is meant by the observed motions are consistent.

In the case of a geocentric model, we will place earth at the center of the universe, and fix it (allow no rotation or translation). The universe will revolve around the earth. In a geocentric model, we are stating that this is the true reality of the universe, and we want to go beyond the fact that we can perform a coordinate transformation to achieve this model. There is no controversy regarding the observations. All the observations man has collected up to the space age have been a fixed earth model. Ptolemy's model of the universe had high observational accuracy, and was based on fixed earth observations. Ptolemy's observations are still consistent with space based observations (coordinate transformation). Ptolemy's model was transformable to different locations on the fixed earth. Finding the physics to describe why the paths were as they were in Ptolemy's model is difficult.

Corpenicus created a heliocentric model using the same basic observations of Ptolemy. In his model, the sun was the center of the universe. As in Ptolemy's model, the planets had circular orbits, but in this case around the sun. Corpenicus, just like Ptolemy had to add epicycles to match the model to observations. In order to gain the same accuracy as Ptolemy's model, Corpencius required 48 epicycles to Ptolemy's 40. An example of an epicycle is illustrated here for a Ptolemaic system (epicycle).

Tycho Brahe proposed the Tychonic geocentric model. In his original model, the sun and stars revolve around the earth every 24 hours. The planets orbit the sun with circular orbits. The Tychonian system is as accurate as the Corpenican, except it does not predict parallax.

In modern geocentric theories, the modern-Tychonian or neo-Tychonian model are used. The modern-Tychonian system is the same as the original, except the planets orbit the sun with elliptical orbits. In the neo-Tychonian system the further extension of the modern-Tychonian that the stars are centered on the sun, is added. The neo-Tychonian system directly predicts parallax. Parallax can also be created in the modern-Tychonian system by providing for a precession of the universe. The results of either modification are essentially the same.

No one argues that from an observational perspective all these systems are equivalent. It is simply a matter of relative motion. The observed motions in the various models are consistent between models to some degree o accuracy. Clearly there are geocentric (i.e. modern-Tychonic type), heliocentric (i.e., Keplerian type), and acentric (i.e., Kepler like with no center) which can match all known observations, including parallax, abberation, motion of the planets, etc. According to modern physics, the systems are equivalent, also. This led Sir Fred Hoyle (Nicholas Corpenicus, 1973) to state:

"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."

Similarly, Max Born in his famous book,"Einstein's Theory of Relativity",Dover Publications,1962, pgs 344 & 345 says:

"...Thus we may return to Ptolemy's point of view of a 'motionless earth'...One has to show that the transformed metric can be regarded as produced according to Einstein's field equations, by distant rotating masses. This has been done by Thirring. He calculated a field due to a rotating, hollow, thick-walled sphere and proved that inside the cavity it behaved as though there were centrifugal and other inertial forces usually attributed to absolute space.

Thus from Einstein's point of view, Ptolemy and Corpenicus are equally right."

Einstein himself also says:

"The struggle, so violent in the early days of science, between the views of Ptolemy and Copernicus would then be quite meaningless. Either CS could be used with equal justification. The two sentences, 'the sun is at rest and the earth moves,' or 'the sun moves and the earth is at rest,' would simply mean two different conventions concerning two different CS. -- Einstein and Infeld, The Evolution of Physics, p.212 (p.248 in original 1938 ed.)"

These quotes do not explain the physics, but state that according to Einstein's General Rrelativity, the systems must be equivalent (else General Relativity is wrong!) Another way of stating this is to say that there are no preferred reference frames in the universe. I.e., one should be able to formulate the forces and motions of the universe consistently from any reference frame in the universe, treating that reference frame as fixed.

In the next section, we will look at some fio the physics of a geocentric universe.