Atheist's Attacks

Answering Humanist's Accusations Against the Bible

Christian Resources

Is Science Superior to the Bible?

Does the Bible teach the earth is stationary and at the center of the universe?

THE HUMANIST'S CLAIM: The Bible teaches a Stationary Earth as the Center of the Universe

An erroneous Bible teaching caused Christian theologians to oppose Galileo’s proof that the earth rotates on its axis and revolves around the sun. In the sixteenth century, Copernicus proposed this theory about the double motion of the earth. In the following century, Galileo’s telescope proved that Copernicus had been right.

To oppose the Copernican doctrine and show that the earth remains stationary while the sun moves around it, the Catholic Church pointed to the tenth chapter of the book of Joshua [according to Andrew White]. There we are told that Joshua, in order to have a longer period of daylight in which to carry out the Lord’s command to slaughter the Amorites, ordered the sun to stand still – not the earth.

Notice that once again the discredited Andrew White is the source. If you have not read the previous chapters, please read the appendix to learn about Andrew White.

Earth At Center

We are starting to get into some important scientific questions.> So how can a semi-retired, unpaid missionary on the north Oregon coast answer tough scientific questions? Fortunately, my background also includes an education and decades of study, as well as experience in engineering, ichnology, and science. And I love science... especially if the science questions are about the Bible.

What Is The Origin of the Belief in a Geocentric Earth?

The answer, in one word, is… science… and that means Aristotle. The Christian church was not promoting a belief that the earth is at the center of the universe; geocentricity was the accepted scientific belief at that time. Why did some Catholic leaders believe in geocentricity? As often happens, some people in the church abandoned the teaching of scripture, and believed what science taught. What about Galileo? Galileo supported the fact that the earth goes around the sun. However, his opposition to the political intrigue of the Pope caused him more problems than his science.

Why Then Was Galileo Tried by the Inquisition?

You can get the complete answer to this question in a paper published in April of 2000. The author, Thomas Schirrmacher, writes in the abstract for the paper:

The 17th century controversy between Galileo and the Vatican is examined. Fifteen theses are advanced, with supporting evidence, to show that the Galileo affair cannot serve as an argument for any position on the relation of religion and science. Contrary to legend, both Galileo and the Copernican system were well regarded by church officials. Galileo was the victim of his own arrogance, the envy of his colleagues and the politics of Pope Urban VIII. He was not accused of criticizing the Bible, but disobeying a papal decree. - The Galileo Affair: History or Heroic Hagiography? by Thomas Schirrmacher on April 2000

Does The Bible Teach Geocentricism?

No, it does not. A good paper on this topic is: Geocentricism and Creation, by Dr. Danny R. Faulkner. The following quote from that paper points out that the Bible does not address this issue. Some Christians, based on misunderstanding science, try to put things into Scripture that are not there:

[The] Bible is neither geocentric nor heliocentric. While geocentrists present some interesting scientific results, their scientific arguments are often based upon improper understanding of theories and data. Much of their case is based upon a misunderstanding of general relativity and the rejection of that theory.”

Does Joshua 10:11-13 Support Geocentricism?

No, it does not. It has nothing to do with geocentrism. If you’d like to learn more about Joshua’s long day, and some possible scientific explanations, a good article was published in Creation Magazine: Joshua’s long day Did it really happen—and how? by Russell Grigg

Why is Joshua 10:11-13 used to support geocentricism? Here are verses 12 and 13

12 Then Joshua spoke to the Lord in the day when the Lord delivered up the Amorites before the sons of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel,

“O sun, stand still at Gabon,
And O moon in the valley of Aijalon.”

13 So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped,
Until the nation avenged themselves of their enemies.

Some have taken the phrase "the sun stood still" to mean that the sun stopped moving. The thought is that, the only way that could be true is if the sun goes around the earth, and the sun had stopped moving. Therefore, the Bible describes geocentricity... the sun going around the earth.

The problem with this is that it is absurd. If this way of thinking were true, then TV weather forecasters across the country would be declaring geocentricity every day when they give the times of the sunrise and sunset. Do you see it? Obviously, there cannot be a sunrise (or sunset) unless the sun is moving around the earth. In the evening, the sun goes below the horizon. Obviously, this is a statement claiming the sun is moving around the earth (I am stating sarcastically).

Free Atheist's Answers Book
Do you see the error?

The Bible speaks in the same everyday manner that we speak. We describe things, such as the sun rising (morning arriving), from our point of view on the earth. That is why the SUN RISES in the morning. It is not that this is a scientific fact... it is just the way it visually appears. Being consistent, this is the way the Bible describes what happened during Joshua's long day. The sun appeared to stop moving in the sky. This says nothing about the sun physically going around the earth. All it says is that, to an observer on earth, the sun stopped in the sky.

How could the sun stop in the sky? I suggest reading the article I recommended above: Joshua’s long day Did it really happen—and how? by Russell Grigg

Conclusion: TThe Bible does not teach a stationary earth as the center of the universe. The historical facts are that science, based on Aristotle, wrongly taught geocentricity for nearly 2000 years, and secular science vigorously defended it in Galileo's day. It was science that was wrong, not the Bible.

NEXT humanist claim: Other passages demonstrating that the earth remains stationary include Psalm 93:1 (“The world is [e]stablished, that it cannot be moved.”); I Chronicles 16:30 (“[T]he world also shall be stable, that it be not moved.”); and Psalm 104:5 (The Lord “laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed forever.”).

Because of Galileo’s support for the Copernican doctrine, the Inquisition threatened him with torture, forced him to recant, and subjected him to imprisonment. Additionally, for nearly 200 years the Catholic Church’s Index of Forbidden Books condemned all writings that affirmed the double motion of the earth. [Again referencing the discredited Andrew White.]

The humanists continue whipping the dead horse of geocentricism, totally ignoring the fact that at the time of Galileo geocentricism was the firm belief of science, and had been for nearly 2000 years. It's science that got it wrong, not the Bible. We'll look at the scripture the references in the next page... click here.


The Good News

Before you get the good news, you need to know the bad news. It's about you. God says:

All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. - Romans 3:23

Sin means disobeying God, aka breaking God's law. God is perfect and perfection is required to enter heaven. It's a standard none of us can achieve. We all fall short. For example, compare yourself with just one of the Ten Commandments. Have you ever told a lie?

All liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death. - Revelation 21:8. Or what about:

Have you ever taken something that does not belong to you, no matter how small? Have you ever looked at another person with lust? In Matthew 5 Jesus said:

Everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.' Have you done that?

You have broken God's laws. You have sinned. There must be justice, and that means eternity in hell, the lake of fire, the second death. Unless...

Unless there was someone willing to pay that penalty on your behalf. Someone who will take on themselves the consequences you deserve. And there is. There is one person who can and will do that. That person is Jesus Christ. If you trust this is true (believe), and repent (turn away from disobeying God), Jesus' death is applied to your account and you are freed from the penalty of sin to be with God forever.