Interview With a Geocentrist, by Jacob Michaels

In this interview with CAI's Robert Sungenis, find out how geocentrism is supported by Scripture, Tradition, and the Magisterium, and why this particular belief is important in the overall scheme of things.

Jacob: Robert, for the benefit of those who don't understand all of what's involved in geocentrism, can you give us a brief definition?

Robert: "Geo" refers to the earth, and "centrism" refers to the earth being the center of the solar system, and the universe at large.

Jacob: So the earth is the center of the solar system. That means that all the planets revolve around the earth?

Robert: In the Ptolemaic system yes, but no geocentrist uses that one today. In the Tycho Brahe system the planets revolve around the sun, and the sun and planets revolve around the earth. The earth would not be considered a planet. "Planet" is from the Greek meaning "wandering star," but since the earth is immobile, it does not "wander."

Jacob: I see. So in your view, the planets revolve around the sun, but the sun revolves around the earth?

Robert: Correct, but it is not my view alone. It is the generally accepted view among all geocentrists. I don't know anyone who does not hold to it.

Jacob: Does the earth rotate, or does it remain completely stationary?

Robert: Each is a possibility, but most geocentrists hold that the earth does not rotate, but rather, the universe rotates around the earth, once per day. Since Scripture says the earth is immobile, this would discount any diurnal motion (rotation on axis and revolution around the sun). "Diurnal motion" was also condemned as a "heresy" and "opposed to Scripture" by the Sacred Congregation of St. Robert Bellarmine, and confirmed by three popes.

Jacob: You've mentioned both Sacred Scripture and the Ordinary Magisterium - I take it that this is more than just a scientific hobby-horse with no theological ramifications?

Robert: To say the least.

Jacob: Roughly when did heliocentrism come into vogue?

Robert: The first to advance heliocentrism were the Greeks, particularly, Aristarchus of Samos. The Fathers of the Church knew of the Greeks' advancing of heliocentrism, but they countered it with geocentrism, and they were unanimous in that belief.

Jacob: So when, approximately, did the tides turn and heliocentrism begin to become to the accepted view?

Robert: When Nicholas Copernicus first introduced the idea. He presented his work to Paul III. But it was just an introduction. Copernicus was fearful of making his thesis a dogmatic fact. (And, in fact, his Copernican solar system really didn't work well, since it did not have elliptical orbits for the planets). It wasn't until Galileo tried to make heliocentrism a fact of science that the opposition started to mount.

Jacob: Which popes condemned heliocentrism as a heresy?

Robert: Paul V and Urban VIII had accepted and approved of the Sacred Congregations condemnation of heliocentrism. In fact, when St. Robert Bellarmine wrote his condemnation to Galileo, he used the plural "we condemn" and then stated that the condemnation had the approval of "his holiness," the reigning pontiff, Paul V, in 1616. After Bellarmine dealt again with Galileo under Pope Urban VIII in 1633, then again in 1667 Pope Alexander VII condemned heliocentrism in a papal bull, with his name signed to the bull.

Jacob: Do you have the names of those documents on hand?

Robert: The papal bull of Alexander VII was titled Speculatores Domus Israel. The condemnation by St. Robert Bellarmine, approved by the pope, was first written on May 26, 1616, from the office of the Sacred Congregation.

Jacob: What Scripture references would you bring to our attention in order to support geocentrism?

Robert: There are many. One of the more famous is Joshua 10:12-14.

"Then spoke Joshua to the LORD in the day when the LORD gave the Amorites over to the men of Israel; and he said in the sight of Israel, 'Sun, stand thou still at Gibeon, and thou Moon in the valley of Aijalon.' And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the nation took vengeance on their enemies. Is this not written in the Book of Jashar? The sun stayed in the midst of heaven, and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day. There has been no day like it before or since, when the LORD hearkened to the voice of a man; for the LORD fought for Israel."

The reason this one is so important is that, not only does Joshua command the sun to stand still, but he also commands the moon to stand still. Now, even heliocentrists believe the moon moves, so it would be contradictory for them to claim that Joshua literally told the moon to stay still, but only figuratively told the sun to do so.

Also, Joshua records that the sun was still over "Gibeon" while the moon was still over "Aijalon," which shows that there are two distinct surface points on the earth which confirm the coordinates of the cessation of movement, and thus it is not a "figurative" piece of literature.

[Editor's note: see also Eccles. 1:5-6; Ps. 104:5; Ps. 93:1; Ps. 96:10; 1 Chr. 16:30; Job 26:7]

Jacob: Yes, and it's not in the poetic genre, which is what some may argue against, say, the Psalms or Job. But you know what your opponents will say: this was merely Joshua's perspective. From his view, the sun did stand still.

Robert: That's right -- it was from his perspective. But "they" have the almost impossible job of proving that Joshua's perspective was not a literal perspective. Further, if they agree that the moon ceased its motion in Joshua 10:12, then they've already admitted that they are taking at least part of the verse literally.

Jacob: Correct me if I'm wrong, but if Joshua's "perspective" was right, but the scientific fact was wrong, then hasn't God allowed an error to slip into Scripture?

Robert: That question is a non-sequitur, because we know God could not let an "error" slip into Scripture. You need to rephrase the question.

Jacob: Right, so I guess what I'm asking is this - if heliocentrism is true, then isn't Joshua 10 in error, and thus, we're talking about an issue of inerrancy?

Robert: Yes. Inerrancy is part-and-parcel with this topic. That is why Bellarmine, Paul V, Urban VIII and Alexander VII said that advancing a diurnal movement of the earth was "heretical" and "opposed to the Holy Scriptures."

Jacob: Are there other theological ramifications that come with accepting the heliocentric view? Other than undermining inerrancy?

Robert: Yes. One also undermines the papacy, since if three popes (and one in a papal bull) approved the condemnation of heliocentrism, then to ignore those authoritative statements besmirches the divine guidance and authority of the papacy. In reality, however, since there was never a formal and official retraction of what Paul V, Urban VIII and Alexander VII condemned as a heresy, then the Church has never, officially, reversed their decrees. The only other thing that happened was that Pius VII had taken Copernicus' book off the Index (after certain revisions were made), but he, nor any other pope, reversed the declaration of Alexander VII that a moving earth was "heretical" and "opposed to Scripture."

It also undermines Tradition, since it is a fact that ALL the Fathers were geocentrists (not merely because they didn't know any better, but because they specifically rejected the doctrine of heliocentrism propounded by the Greeks). Also, all the medieval theologians, including Aquinas, were geocentrists. To reject them all is to reject Tradition.

So, we have a rejection of the inerrancy of Scripture; a rejection of the divine guidance and authority of the papacy; and a rejection of established Tradition in consensus.

[Editor's note: see also The Roman Catechism (also known as Catechism of the Council of Trent), The Creed: Article I, "The Formation of the Universe"]

Jacob: Pretty much whole-scale overthrow of the foundations of our Holy Faith.

Robert: Yes, and then this begins to allow Scientism to ascend the throne and make itself appear virtually infallible (when in actuality, Science is more puzzled today than in medieval times).

Jacob: I seem to remember Pope St. Pius X commenting on that in Pascendi - the Modernist's tendency to enthrone science over faith.

[Editor's note: the Modernists teach that "it is evident that science is to be entirely independent of faith, while on the other hand, and notwithstanding that they are supposed to be strangers to each other, faith is made subject to science." (Pope St. Pius X, Pascendi, 17) See also condemned propositions 5, 57, 64, and 65 of Pope St. Pius' Lamentabili Sane.]

Robert: Yes, and he paid particular attention to the idea of "evolution" that pervades every area of study.

Jacob: I think I heard you mention some time ago that heliocentrism destroys the idea that the earth - and Man - is the pinnacle of God's creation. Can you elaborate on that?

Robert: Yes. As St. Paul says in Romans 1:18ff, in order to escape the truth of God, men will actually make a concerted effort to "hold down" or suppress the truth. Whenever truth hits them in the face, it forces them to turn to God. But men love their lifestyle too much and do not want to be accountable to a Supreme Being. Thus, Scientism (even though it has no proof for its cosmological theories) will present them as fact. These "facts" are designed to allow man to escape the inevitability of a Creator. One way this is done is by saying that everything in the universe is a product of time and chance (i.e., evolution). Another way to do it is to say that the earth, being a product of time and chance, is merely a floating speck of dust swirling around in a vast and unending universe, with no more significance than any other heavenly body. This allows man to believe that there was no "God" behind the earth's creation and placement in the universe.

But if the earth is the center of the universe, then that means it had to be given that special place by a designer, for the odds that the earth could assume a central location by chance are absolutely unfathomable. In fact, one astronomer, J. P. Varshni, in 1975, discovered that all the known quasars were situated in concentric spheres around the earth as the center. He calculated that the odds of this arrangement happening by chance were 10 to the 84th power, and he was a secular astronomer who happened to stumble onto this discovery.

Jacob: That's amazing. Not to mention that earth is where Our Lord chose to descend in the Incarnation

Robert: Yes, I forgot to mention that, since the earth was going to be the birthplace of God Himself, and the place from which the Son would eventually reign, it is quite appropriate for God to make the earth the center of the universe, just as Jerusalem was the center of the known world many years ago.

Jacob: So the universe moves closer together in concentric circles: earth is the center of the universe, Jerusalem is the center of the earth, and the temple (and thus God's presence) is the center of Jerusalem

Robert: Yes. It's all staring us in the face, if men would just look at it and believe.

Jacob: Well, I'm just about out of questions, but I do have one more side-note: is it not true that NASA uses the geocentric model for all of the calculations they do?

Robert: Yes, NASA uses what they call a "fixed-earth" basis to calculate their earth-based trajectories and outer space launches. I have a letter from them stating so. The reason: the math of geocentrism is much simpler than that of heliocentrism.

Jacob: And finally, do you have one or two references from the Church Fathers on this issue?

Robert: Here is one from Basil the Great, one of the foremost patristic writers on issues of cosmology and cosmogony. In fact, he is probably the greatest Father on these issues. He writes:

There are inquirers into nature who with a great erudition of words give reasons for the immobility of the earth....Do not then be surprised that the world never falls: it occupies the center of the universe, its natural place. By all necessity it is obliged to remain in its place, unless a movement contrary to nature should displace it. If there is anything in this system which might appear probably to you, keep your admiration for the source of such perfect order, on the wisdom of God. (Hexameron, Homily 1, 10, NPNF2 p. 57.)

Jacob: So it seems geocentrism is supported by Scripture, Tradition, and the Magisterium. Quite eye-opening. Robert, thanks for your time, I hope we get to talk about this again soon.

Robert: My pleasure. I enjoy talking about this topic more than any other, since it hits right at the heart of our life on earth, and our trust in God as the source of truth

Jacob Michael
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