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Is the Earth motionless or is it spinning?


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#1 Cyprian Crawford

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Posted 27 May 2016 - 06:55 PM

I was taught in school that the Earth is hurtling through space, orbiting the sun, and that it also rotates on its axis once daily, causing the day and night.  Yet, I came across this passage from St. John Chrysostom which seems to be saying the opposite, that the earth does not move.  That could only mean that the sun would have to be orbiting the earth to cause day and night.

St. John Chrysostom - Homily III on Titus

"For they who are mad imagine that nothing stands still, yet this arises not from the objects that are seen, but from the eyes that see. Because they are unsteady and giddy, they think that the earth turns round with them, which yet turns not, but stands firm. The derangement is of their own state, not from any affection of the element."

Thoughts?

 



#2 Olga

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Posted 30 May 2016 - 05:47 AM

Science attempts to explain how the observable world and the observable universe works. Scripture and patristics are not science texbooks, just as science textbooks are not in the business of explaining the things of God.



#3 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 30 May 2016 - 09:28 AM

I am no scientist, nor do I know much about patristic thought on this but from what I have read it appears the Fathers had varying opinions, just as early thinkers had. The main question seems to be whether the heliocentric or geocentric system is true, and the issue is complex so that scientists even today can say that the arguments pro and contra either are not as clear-cut as we might suppose. I cannot quote chapter and verse but I think St Basil the Great (probably in the Hexameron) said a man's salvation did not depend on what view he held about the matter.



#4 Lakis Papas

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Posted 30 May 2016 - 10:32 PM

Older conversation examines issue http://www.monachos....l-pythagorean/#

#5 Kosta

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Posted 02 June 2016 - 06:24 PM

I'm not so sure the verse is even speaking of the earth's rotation. He says the madmen truly see themselves with their own eyes rotating with the earth

#6 Dcn Alexander Haig

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Posted 03 June 2016 - 06:50 AM

Is it not possible to say that while the Earth orbits the Sun which in turn orbits within the Milky Way etc, spiritually Man is at the centre of the Cosmos?  Despite the existence of one hundred billion galaxies – each with, perhaps, a hundred billion stars and a similar number of planets – Man has been set at its heart as steward.

 

In Xp

Dcn Alexander



#7 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 03 June 2016 - 06:28 PM

I once heard a scientist who is a Christian (not a 'Christian Scientist'!) say that what matters in the universe is not relative size and scale but relative complexity, and even simple life forms - let alone man - on earth are more complex than enormous expanses of rock and gas in the universe. He went on to say that the universe has to be as it is to sustain and support the earth as it is. In that sense, earth, being where God chose to place man and to visit him and live with him, is, for the reasons Dcn Alexander alludes to, the centre of creation.



#8 Cyprian Crawford

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Posted 06 June 2016 - 11:53 PM

"Scripture and patristics are not science textbooks, just as science textbooks are not in the business of explaining the things of God." 


While I have no qualms acknowledging that Sacred Scripture is not specifically a science textbook, however, the holy Fathers teach that the Scriptures are inerrant, and can answer all questions:

St. John of Kronstadt - My Life in Christ:

 
"The whole of the Word of God is single, entire, indivisible truth; and if you admit that any narrative, sentence, or word is untrue, then you sin against the truth of the whole of Holy Scripture and its primordial Truth, which is God Himself.  "I am the truth," said the Lord; "Thy word is truth," said Jesus Christ to God the Father.  Thus, consider the whole of the Holy Scripture as truth; everything that is said in it has either taken place or takes place."

Archimandrite Justin Popovich:

"All that is necessary for this world and the people in it — the Lord has stated in the Bible. In it He has given the answers to all questions. There is no question which can torment the human soul, and not find its answer, either directly or indirectly in the Bible.  Men cannot devise more questions than there are answers in the Bible. If you fail to find the answer to any of your questions in the Bible, it means that you have either posed a senseless question or did not know how to read the Bible and did not finish reading the answer in it."

Holy Scripture testifies about the orderly arrangement of God's creation, including the origin of the cosmos, earth, and man.  Modern "science" textbooks also offer their alternative view of the origin and arrangement of the cosmos, the world, and the creation of man.

As is readily apparent to all, the popular claims of the scientific community are oftentimes found to be in direct conflict with the revelation of the Holy Bible and its interpretation by the God-bearing Fathers.

Why should an Orthodox Christian be allowed to prefer the claims of modern science, when these claims are blatantly contradictory to the revelation of Scripture, and the consensus patrum?

St. John of Kronstadt - My Life in Christ:

"The Holy Scriptures speak more truly and more clearly of the world than the world itself or the arrangement of the earthly strata; the scriptures of nature within it, being dead and voiceless, cannot express anything definite. "Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth?" Were you with God when He created the universe? "Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord, or being His counseller, hath taught Him?"  And yet you geologists boast that you have understood the mind of the Lord, in the arrangement of strata, and maintained it in spite of Holy Writ!  You believe more in the dead letters of the earthly strata, in the soulless earth, than in the Divinely-inspired words of the great prophet Moses, who saw God."


#9 Cyprian Crawford

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Posted 07 June 2016 - 12:43 AM

"I am no scientist, nor do I know much about patristic thought on this but from what I have read it appears the Fathers had varying opinions, just as early thinkers had.

St. John Chrysostom is not the only Father that spoke in terms of the earth at rest, fixed motionless in the center of the universe.  I do not know of any Fathers of antiquity that have spoken in terms of the earth rotating on its axis or orbiting the sun.  I have yet to encounter any of the Fathers of antiquity who refer to the earth as a planet, since planet is derived from the Greek planan meaning to ‘wander,’ hence planets are called 'wandering stars'.   St. Basil, St. Augustine, and St. John of Damascus all refer to the sun as a planet, but none of the holy fathers (with a few possible exceptions in recent times) referred to "planet earth," which is a misnomer, implying the earth is wandering.

Here is another instance I came across from a universally-accepted Orthodox Father of the highest authority, nearly a thousand years after Chrysostom:

St. Gregory Palamas - Homily Six:

"He disposed and composed all things in complete natural harmony between themselves, each in relation to all, and all in relation to each. He surrounded the motionless earth, as a central point, with the higher circle of the perpetually moving heavens, holding them in place by means of what lies between, all according to His wisdom, that the universe might stay stable while in motion. When the heavenly bodies all around were moving unceasingly and at great speed, the motionless earth had of necessity to take its place at the centre, its stability counterbalancing the motion, lest the sphere of the universe roll off its course."

"I cannot quote chapter and verse but I think St Basil the Great (probably in the Hexameron) said a man's salvation did not depend on what view he held about the matter."

I have read Basil the Great's Hexaemeron multiple times, and what I did notice is that St. Basil is constantly referring to the orbit, course, revolution, movements, etc. of the sun, which he also calls a planet, but never speaks of the earth in motion, orbit, revolution, as a planet etc.

St. Basil the Great - Hexameron:

 

"But at that time it was not after the movement of the sun, but following this primitive light spread abroad in the air or withdrawn in a measure determined by God, that day came and was followed by night."
 
"Thus, every time that, in the revolution of the sun, evening and morning occupy the world, their periodical succession never exceeds the space of one day."
 
"Besides, we see that the great wisdom of Him who governs all, makes the sun travel from one region to another, for fear that, if it remained always in the same place, its excessive heat would destroy the order of the universe. Now it passes into southern regions about the time of the winter solstice, now it returns to the sign of the equinox; from thence it betakes itself to northern regions during the summer solstice, and keeps up by this imperceptible passage a pleasant temperature throughout all the world."
 
"If the sun, subject to corruption, is so beautiful, so grand, so rapid in its movement, so invariable in its course;"
 
"It is winter when the sun sojourns in the south and produces in abundance the shades of night in our region.  The air spread over the earth is chilly, and the damp exhalations, which gather over our heads, give rise to rains, to frosts, to innumerable flakes of snow. When, returning from the southern regions, the sun is in the middle of the heavens and divides day and night into equal parts, the more it sojourns above the earth the more it brings back a mild temperature to us.
 
"[H]e has not measured into what extent of air its shadow projects itself whilst the sun revolves around it, nor stated how this shadow, casting itself upon the moon, produces eclipses.


#10 Ryan

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Posted 22 June 2016 - 06:35 PM

Saint Gregory Palamas also teaches (in his 150 chapters) that the earth consists of 2 eccentric spheres, a small one of earth and a large one of water. The earth sphere juts out at one part and the rest is underwater. I'm not sure where Saint Gregory hit upon this idea but it's ridiculous and even people living at his time could have disproved it. So just because a given father says something doesn't mean we should accept it uncritically.

#11 Lakis Papas

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Posted 22 June 2016 - 10:36 PM

Orthodox texts have many scientific references to the science of their times. This is not why they are great texts.

#12 Kosta

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Posted 23 June 2016 - 06:30 AM

Actually St Gregory Palamas would be correct. This is why science borrowed the greek term hydrosphere.




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