Where in the World is the World? Natural Science and Cosmic Geocentrism
Note: This is the second of two essays dealing with cosmic geocentrism: the idea that the Earth sits at rest at the center of a rotating universe. The first dealt with biblical testimony favorable to cosmic geocentrism; this one deals with the scientific. I have extracted most of the material for these articles from my book on biblical cosmology, In Search of the Beginning: A Seeker’s Journey to the Origin of the Universe, Life, and Man (Redemption Press). For documentation of the statements made in this essay, see the book itself, along with the end notes. My book, plus others referenced in it, contains much additional information about the development of modern cosmological views, and also about the scientific evidence—often suppressed—supporting cosmic geocentrism. If you find this subject of interest, please consult these longer works, and also the resources that I have occasionally linked to remarks you will find in these articles. God bless you as you embark on your journey to the center of the universe!
“Do you know the ordinances of the heavens, or fix their rule over the earth?”
In the previous essay we examined the testimony of the Bible concerning the structure of the cosmos. In so doing we found that Scripture consistently pictures the Earth at the center of the physical universe, and this for the excellent reason that the Earth and its human inhabitants lie at the center of the Triune God’s affections, purpose, and plan for his creation.
Now it is time to consider a second witness in the great debate about cosmic structure: natural science.
In approaching this subject we must be careful to ask the right question. I believe it is this: Do the findings of natural science at all speak up in favor of cosmic geocentrism? Now if, as I argued earlier, our life in this world is essentially a test of our love of the truth about God and the other great questions of life, then they certainly should. For how could the God who created the universe, reason, and human ability in natural science give us a revelation that runs altogether contrary to the universe, reason, and sound natural science? In other words, if the Bible really is God’s word to mankind, its cosmological statements should be reasonable, and, to a reasonable extent, verifiable by means of good evidence. And this includes God’s statements about the geocentric structure of the universe.
Note carefully, however, what the question here is not. It is not, “Does natural science prove cosmic geocentrism?” Natural science cannot prove any model of the universe, since natural scientists are unable to observe the universe in all places and at all times. So then: The real question is: “Are geocentric models of the cosmos scientifically plausible? Is there good observational evidence to back them up? Are they at least as reasonable—or possibly even more reasonable—than the prevailing a-centric model?” Well, surprisingly enough, a growing number of modern physicists and astronomers are now returning an enthusiastic answer of “yes” to all these questions!
In what follows I will touch briefly on the main lines of scientific argumentation favorable to the idea of cosmic geocentrism, beginning with theoretical considerations and then progressing to specific experiments and observations. Since I have neither the space nor the expertise to speak on these subjects at length, more scientifically inclined readers should consult the books, articles, videos, and websites that appear in the “links” section of my website, and also in the notes at the end of this essay.
Arguments from Theory
- The Trend Towards Relativity
The first line of argumentation is the modern trend towards relativity—a trend that, paradoxically enough, actually restores geocentrism as a viable cosmological option.
Consider, for a moment, the crucial role of the assumptions, or presuppositions, that we bring to the study of the cosmos. We know, for example, that medieval cosmology in the West was grounded upon a biblically-based metaphysical assumption that (with the help of Ptolemy) endured up until the time of Copernicus: absolute cosmic geocentricity. However, with Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, and Newton, that assumption changed: Now the sun stood at the center of a finite material universe, while the Earth rotated on its axis and revolved around the sun beneath “the fixed stars.” Later on, Kant retained a cosmic center, but denied pride of place to our solar system. And after that, theoretical cosmology more or less abandoned that idea, realizing that it was indeed an assumption, and that the methods of natural science could not, in any case, discover or demonstrate a center, since, according to the Galilean/Newtonian principle of relativity, we are unable to determine absolute motion or rest by direct observation. Finally, Einstein stepped forward and made what is surely a philosophical and scientific faux pas: Daringly, he introduced a new metaphysical assumption: absolute relativity. According to this assumption, there is no such thing as absolute motion or rest, an absolute truth which entails that a cosmic center cannot exist. Seekers of cosmological truth should understand that in our day, this conviction of an a-centric cosmos—and not textbook heliocentrism—is the view that prevails in the scientific world.
Said Dr. Arnold Sikkema:
No physicist I know says that the Earth in any absolute sense travels around the sun . . . Science today does not claim that there is an absolute reference frame in which the Earth is moving. Newton thought that, but after Einstein, no informed scientist still makes that claim.
Similarly, Bertrand Russell wrote:
Whether the Earth rotates once a day from west to east, as Copernicus taught, or the heavens revolve once a day from east to west, as his predecessors believed, the observed phenomena will be exactly the same. This shows a defect in the Newtonian dynamics, since an empirical science ought not to contain a metaphysical assumption.
This is a most revealing statement. Because of the modern trend towards relativity, Mr. Russell faults Newton’s cosmology as unscientific. He asserts that an empirical science (e.g., cosmology) ought not to contain a metaphysical assumption (i.e., Newton’s assumption of absolute heliocentricity). However, if this is so, then surely cosmology ought not to assume absolute relativity. True, we cannot observe absolute rest or motion. Nor can we observe the center of the universe (if indeed there is one). But do these observational limitations really justify our saying that absolute rest, absolute motion, and an absolute cosmic center absolutely do not exist? Surely not, for again, that would be to introduce exactly what Mr. Russell condemns: a metaphysical assumption—a metaphysical assumption of absolute relativity. This is what Einstein did in his Theory of Relativity. But, says Russell, he was quite unscientific in doing it. For in the end, the post-Copernican trend towards relativity does not rule out the possibility of absolute motion, absolute rest, or an absolute center; it only confronts us with our inability to observe or ascertain them scientifically. Accordingly, the modern trend towards relativity does not rule out a geocentric universe.
Happily, some modern cosmologists are wise and honest enough to admit it. They include men like S. Hawking and G. Ellis, who confessed that it is impossible to do cosmology without metaphysical assumptions; that their preferred a-centric universe contains an “admixture of ideology”; that they have arbitrarily embraced a “democratic” view of the cosmos, rather than grant to the Earth or to mankind any special place therein. Similarly, we have the words of Sir Fred Hoyle, who declared—albeit rather reluctantly—, “The Earth-centered hypothesis is as good as anybody else’s, but no better.” Here, Hoyle speaks for all clear-thinking relativists, openly admitting that the modern trend towards relativity has not ruled out cosmic geocentrism, but has in fact made it a viable cosmological option once again.
However, in one respect Hoyle is surely mistaken. For what if an ever-growing mass of direct observational evidence actually favored the geocentric view? Furthermore, what if the Unknown God has given us a well-attested scriptural revelation that positively teaches this view? Under such circumstances would not the geocentric model become, far and away, the better hypothesis—and therefore the most reasonable to believe?
- The Proliferation of Geocentric Modeling
Since the idea of relativity leads inexorably to a fresh consideration of cosmic geocentrism (and therefore quite possibly to its own demise), it should hardly surprise us that 20th century physics is marked by a noteworthy proliferation of geocentric models. We will briefly discuss them here.
In order to be viable, any model of the cosmos must satisfy two basic criteria. First, it must “save the appearances.” That is, it must enable us to understand and even predict the observed motions and appearances of the heavenly bodies (e.g., the path and phases of the moon, the path of the sun, the Earth’s four seasons, the path of the planets, the retrograde motion of the planets, various “perturbations” of the planets, the path of the stars, etc). Down through the years Ptolemy gave us one such system of celestial kinematics, Copernicus another, Tycho Brahe yet another, and Kepler and Newton another still, until at last the modern turn to relativity seemed to eliminate any hope of arriving at a definitive picture of the actual motions of the heavenly bodies. Might a renewed confidence in the geocentric cosmology of the Bible supply us with such a picture? Perhaps. But for it to do so, it must—like any good model—“save the appearances.”
Secondly, a viable cosmology will also seek to give us a plausible system of celestial mechanics and dynamics. That is, it will follow in Kepler’s footsteps, trying to explain the physical reasons for the diverse motions of the heavenly bodies. Are these bodies attached to revolving crystal spheres that are propelled by angels? Are they moved by invisible gravitational, centrifugal, and Coriolis forces acting at a distance? Are they rolling around in pockets of curved space-time (whatever that might mean)? Or are they carried along by a dense but invisible ether, rather like fish in a revolving fishbowl, or like boats in a whirlpool? Only heaven knows for sure. But on Earth, we do know that the model with the greatest explanatory and predictive power normally carries the day—until a better one comes along.
Again, the twentieth century has witnessed a surprising proliferation of basically geocentric models of the cosmos, all of which attempt to address the above concerns. Very importantly, the majority of these are “secular,” having been developed by scientists with no explicit interest in, or appeal to, divine revelation. Examples here include the work of P. Gerber, H. Thirring, G. Brown, G. Birkhoff, P. Moon and D. Spencer, J. Nightingale, J. Barbour and B. Bertotti, G. F. Ellis, D. Lynden-Bell, and others. The common component in all or most of these models is Mach’s Principle: the idea that if the universe is indeed a bounded sphere revolving around the Earth, the cosmic rotation will somehow generate forces more or less identical with those we associate with heliocentric physics: centrifugal, centripetal, coriolis, and Euler. After agreeing on this, each embarks in its own direction. Some are based on Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity, others upon classical Newtonian mechanics, others still upon newer physical models. After discussing a number of these, Christian astronomer G. Bouw concludes:
All of these physicists (and there is not a geocentric Christian in the bunch) conclude that there is no detectable, experimental difference between having the Earth spin diurnally on an axis as well as orbit the sun once a year, or having the universe rotate about the Earth once a day and possessing a wobble centered on the sun which carries the planets and stars about the Earth once a year. In none of these models would the universe fly apart, nor would a stationary satellite fall to the earth. In every one of these models the astronauts on the moon would still see all sides of the Earth in the course of 24 hours, the Foucault pendulum would still swing exactly the same way as we see it in museums, and the Earth’s equator would still bulge. In other words, each of these effects is due to either the centrifugal force, Coriolis force, or some combination of the two, and can be totally explained in any geocentric model.
Such considerations are likely the kind of thing English astronomer G. F. Ellis had in mind when he said, “I can construct you a spherically symmetrical universe with Earth at its center and you cannot disprove it based on observations.”
Encouraged by these developments, biblically-oriented scientists and philosophers have stepped forward as well. Modern biblical geocentrists include the father of the movement, W. van der Kamp (1913-1998), the heir to his mantle, Dr. Gerardus Bouw, and a growing cadre of thoughtful colleagues including Dr. Russell Arndts, Dr. Robert Bennett, R. G. Elmendorf, Dr. J. Hansen, Dr. Martin Selbrede, Philip Stott, and Dr. Robert Sungenis. Most of these men have daringly devoted a significant portion of their career to rescuing modern physics and cosmology from their thralldom to Relativity Theory, hoping to restore them once again to what they see as their true and proper foundation: the geocentric cosmology of the Bible. Their friends call them prophets, their opponents call them “windmill tilters.” Each seeker will have to decide for himself which description fits best.
Most biblical geocentrists (but not all) champion a slightly modified version of Tycho Brahe’s Earth-centered cosmos, sometimes referred to as the Neo-Tychonic Model (NTM). If we limit ourselves simply to the kinematic side of the model (i.e., to a description of the motions of the heavenly bodies), it is fairly easy to understand. Here, the Earth stands motionless at the center of the universal sphere. The moon, whose orbit wobbles slightly over the course a month, revolves around it daily. As for the planets, they do indeed orbit the sun. But since the sun itself is embedded in the ether, it too, like the moon, revolves daily around the Earth. And since the stars, galaxies, and other astronomical bodies are all “centered on the sun” (that is, embedded with the central sun in the same ethereal frame), it appears to us as if the sun were carrying the entire universe around the Earth. Thus, the Earth truly is at the center, since the moon, the sun, the planets, the stars, the galaxies—the universe as a whole—all revolve around the Earth once a day!
Kinematically speaking, this model is the exact equivalent of the traditional heliocentric view, but with the Earth standing still and everything else in motion. Accordingly, its proponents argue that it does everything the traditional model does. In particular, it is held to account for the observed motions of the planets (including their retrograde motions), the phases of the planets, the phases of the moon, and stellar parallax, commonly held to be one of the definitive proofs of heliocentrism. But as we are about to see, it may do even more, since the NTM is uniquely able to accommodate the various observational evidences favorable to cosmic geocentrism, and since it also proffers a fresh, holistic understanding of the physics of the universe.
Turning now to the dynamic side of the NTM, we find considerably less agreement and considerably more speculation, some of which is quite challenging for the layman to understand. We cannot, however, overly fault the geocentrists on this point, since, unbeknownst to many, the situation in the larger scientific community is certainly no better, and perhaps worse. Yes, with the help of Newton’s equations any physicist can give a basic mathematical description of how gravity and inertial forces work (on the Earth, at least). But the well-kept secret of modern science is that there is little if any agreement as to why, physically speaking, they work as they do—and no end to the resulting hypotheses and speculations about them. Here, then, is where the geocentrists may well have a leg up on their secular peers: Though they are not yet fully united around a single theory of cosmic dynamics, they are at least pretty much agreed in eschewing the bizarre relativistic world of Einstein in favor of a simple, underlying physical cause for the dynamics of celestial motion.
To get a feel for this cause, let us briefly consider some of Robert Sungenis’ thoughts about the structure of the cosmos. According to Sungenis, the Earth lies at the center of a spherical rotating universe full of ether particles. He likens this universe to an immense gyroscope whose enormous mass locks the Earth in place in the midst of all. But what exactly does he mean by “the universe” and “the mass of the universe”? In the following quote he answers these questions, and in doing so implicitly proposes an (astonishing) explanation for the seasons, as well as for other important astronomical phenomena:
What constitutes the sphere of which the Earth is the immobile center? Do the stars themselves define the universal sphere, or is the universal sphere defined by itself? By force of logic we are compelled to say that the stars are merely contained within the universal sphere, but are not necessarily the composite body by which the sphere is defined. This is especially true when we understand that besides the stars and other celestial bodies comprising the universe, the universal sphere has its own substance (i.e., the ether), and thus it has a mass and velocity independent of the stars. It is the universe’s own mass that is rotating around the immobile Earth, and as it does so it carries the stars with it. As such, there is nothing to prohibit the stars from being slightly shifted to one side of the universal sphere and thus have their center on the sun, whereas the universal sphere itself is centered on the Earth. In fact, if that is the case, we would obtain the characteristic precession or “wobble” that we see in so many sectors of the cosmos. All this can be accomplished by keeping the Earth as the immobile center of the universe.
Here we find Sungenis introducing what, for many biblical geocentrists, is the primary physical cause of cosmic dynamics: an all-pervading physical ether that somehow lies behind, or is involved with, gravitational and inertial forces. First, he places the Earth at the center of a rotating spherically symmetrical universe. Second, he fills this universe with ether. Third, he embeds the stars and galaxies in the ether, thus making the universe a gigantic ethereal fishbowl. Fourth, he posits that the stars and galaxies are (intentionally) distributed in such a way as to be “centered” on the sun, rather than the earth. (Does this mean that the stars and galaxies are largely arranged in concentric shells radiating outward from the sun, as astronomical observations now affirm? Or is it simply that, at the largest scale, all the other stars are homogenously distributed around this particular star?) Fifth, he suggests that because of this arrangement the universe “precesses”, or slightly wobbles. This causes the sun, which is itself carried along by the rotating universe, to describe an annual helical motion up and own the Earth’s y-axis. Here then, according to Sungenis, is the reason for the seasons, and for other astronomical phenomena as well.
Again, the dynamical side of geocentric cosmology (and of other systems as well) is essentially based upon the ether, a concept that controlled much of the physics prior to Einstein, and to which post-Einstein scientists are now gradually returning under the influence of new discoveries in quantum mechanics. Dr. Robert Bennett, Sungenis’ colleague, defines the ether as a hugely massive “fluid of quanta” (i.e., tiny particles, the smallest in all creation) that is more rigid than steel, more flexible than any known substance, and that fills (or constitutes) all of space. It is this ether, he argues, that the Bible has in view when it speaks of “the firmament.”
The importance of the ether for geocentric cosmology can be seen in its many functions. Macroscopically, it serves to carry all the stars and galaxies in their daily revolution around the Earth; that is, it is the primary physical cause of cosmic inertia (with the God of providence being the spiritual cause). Its enormous mass locks the Earth at the center of the universe. According to some, vortices or whirlpools of ether account for local rotational motion, say in a spiral galaxy. According to others, streams of ether flowing to us from outer space create a downward ethereal pressure that we on Earth experience as gravity. According to others still, gravity is caused by the ongoing vibration of ether particles, which vibration will always push two material objects together, since there is less “ether pressure” in the space between them than there is elsewhere around them. Furthermore, it seems to be agreed that rotating ether—or rather interactions with it—somehow produces the so-called “inertial forces,” (i.e., centrifugal force, the Coriolis force, and the Euler force). Finally, as in days of old, the ether is seen as the appointed medium for the propagation of electromagnetic waves and gravitational force.
Geocentrists freely admit that their new ether science is still in its infancy, and that there will inevitably be theoretical false starts and dead ends before things come into focus. They are, however, much encouraged. Experimental evidence for the existence of cosmic ether, which began to appear in the 60’s, is now abundant. Secular researchers are increasingly open to the idea that the “vacuum” of space may actually be a plenum of tiny ethereal particles. As a result, the prospect of a new and truly physical physics suddenly looms upon the horizon. For biblical geocentrists this is all to the good, since it raises hopes of a latter day exodus from the maze of Relativity Theory, a fresh look at cosmic geocentrism, and, above all, a return to the God and cosmology of the Bible. In hopes of winning a new generation of seekers to that warm and wonderful world, the geocentrists labor on.
- Geocentric Answers to Heliocentric Arguments and Objections
While geocentrists certainly do not claim to have all the answers, they contend that their model has at least as much explanatory and predictive power as the heliocentric. Neither space nor scientific competence permit me to explore this fascinating debate in detail, but we can at least survey the main fields of battle here.
In arguing for the Earth’s rotation on its axis, heliocentrists typically cite: a) the Earth’s equatorial bulge, b) the veering flight of projectiles fired towards the north or south pole from the equator, c) the diagonal, west-to-east pattern of the Earth’s generally north-south winds, d) the “precession” (i.e., arcing motion, rotation) of the plane of gyroscopes or a Foucault Pendulum, and e) the amazing behavior of geostationary satellites (i.e., satellites that hover over a single point on the Earth’s equator).
Beneath the light of Newtonian mechanics, all of these phenomena can indeed be taken to demonstrate a rotating Earth. For example, one can argue that the centrifugal force generated by the Earth’s spin produces its bulge; that geostationary satellites, orbiting the Earth at an altitude of 22,000 miles, are moving synchronously with a point on the Earth’s equator below and being held aloft by a balance of centrifugal and gravitational forces; that winds, projectiles, gyroscopes, or pendulums—all actually moving in approximately straight lines—seem to be veering because the Earth is moving beneath them, thus producing a so-called Coriolis effect.
In response to this line of reasoning, geocentrists typically point out that the same phenomena may be explained at least as well within a geocentric framework. All that is necessary, they say, is to begin with the presupposition that the Earth is at rest with respect to a universe that revolves around it once a day. It is the second part of this presupposition that proves decisive (as well as shocking). For again, many scientists, whether secular or biblical, agree with Ernst Mach, that a revolving cosmos will generate centrifugal and Coriolis forces capable of producing the various effects under discussion. Moreover, the biblical geocentrists throw a revolving ether into the mix, thus enhancing their model by positing a genuinely physical cause for such effects.
If, then, the Earth really does have an equatorial bulge (for satellite photographs do not show one clearly), might this be an effect of a rotating universe, or of distant masses rotating within it? As for the flight of projectiles, the diagonal pattern of winds, and the arcing motion of the Foucault pendulum or the gyroscope, might these also be caused by forces associated with a rotating sea of ether and/or distant masses embedded in it?
Concerning the challenging problem of geostationary satellites, most geocentrists argue that cosmic forces of some kind balance out gravity and hold them aloft. Sungenis illustrates this approach by inviting us to imagine a roulette wheel. There are two ways to put centrifugal force on the marble situated on the inside rim. We can move the marble very fast on a stationary rim, and the marble will cling to the rim due to centrifugal force; or we can rotate the roulette wheel very fast, and the marble will again cling to the rim, again by centrifugal force. The latter option is meant to picture the geocentric solution: A geostationary satellite remains in place at 22,000 miles about the Earth because at that that point the sataellite “experiences” a centrifugal force generated by a rotating universe that exactly matches the centripetal force generated by the Earth’s gravity.
There are other options as well. Robert Bennett, for example, points to peculiarities in the flow of cosmic ether near the Earth, suggesting that, “Ether motion around the Earth can be deduced from satellite motion, since ethereal rotational motion around an object sustains orbital motion.” Thus, a geostationary satellite would remain in place because at an altitude of 22,000 miles the ether, for some reason, is either flowing negligibly or not at all. Still another approach would simply be to say that at 22,000 miles above the Earth the gravitational force generated by precisely situated stars and galaxies cancels out the gravitational force generated by the Earth, the allowing any object in that special zone to remain aloft.
In seeking to prove the Earth’s annual revolution around the sun, heliocentrists typically cite the four seasons, stellar parallax, and its kissing cousin, stellar aberration. They also note that everywhere we look in the solar system, the smaller body (e.g., Jupiter’s moons) revolves around the larger, as indeed Newtonian mechanics seems to require.
Concerning the first of these, we have already seen that geocentrists respond by positing a “wobble” in the rotating universe at large. Yes, to modern minds saturated in heliocentrism this solution will indeed sound far-fetched. It must be remembered, however, that biblical geocentrism tends to be radically theistic; that it is centered upon the God of the Bible, who rhetorically asks all mankind, “Is anything too hard for the LORD” (Genesis 18:14; Matthew 19:26)?
Moreover, the idea of a cosmic wobble—perhaps a slight destabilization of the motion of the original universe—seems to fit well with the Genesis cosmology. The wobble could, for example, be traceable to the Fall of Adam, which, according to the apostle, sent shock waves throughout the entire universe (Romans 8:18-21). On the other hand, it may have begun in the days of the Flood, after which, for the first time, the Bible mentions the four seasons (Genesis 8:22). In either case, the four seasons—and their astronomical cause(s)—would ultimately be traceable to man’s sin, an idea embraced by Christian poets and philosophers who see in this annual cycle a mystical and redemptive significance centered upon Christ.1 Thus, the thesis of a cosmic or solar wobble may not be nearly as preposterous as it first seems.
Geocentrists typically explain stellar parallax by noting that the Copernican and Tychonic models both predict this phenomenon, on the condition that we modify the Tychonic model by centering the stars upon the sun rather than the Earth. Sungenis has developed some helpful graphics to illustrate this point. (See here)
As for stellar aberration, it is different from stellar parallax since the elliptical path described by the annual motion of the stars as seen in our telescopes does not correspond exactly to the (alleged) elliptical path of the Earth. Bradley, as we saw earlier, therefore postulated that stellar aberration was an optical effect produced by two components: light traveling at a finite speed through the ether, and the annual motion of the Earth. However, Robert Bennett argues that there are other explanations for aberration that do not necessitate ascribing motion to the Earth:
Bradley’s results make perfect sense in an ether-filled universe. The effect could be caused by the ether flow or density variation between the star source and the Earth. The light speed changes while traversing the ether medium, bending according to the ether’s properties and hitting the Earth at an angle, moving the image position of the star so as to form an annual ellipse. For example, stars on the equator have no observed North-South aberration component, so the ether flow in the space projected out from the equator has only an East-West flow. Another valid interpretation is that the ether has no net effect on the starlight, but what is observed is, in fact, reality, the actual intrinsic elliptical motion of the stars. The only reason to discard this alternative is Occam’s razor, which makes a subjective human judgment about the (relative) beauty and simplicity (of) two possible conclusions. Occam’s razor sees complexity as an obstacle to human understanding, which it is, but excludes revelation as a valid source of knowledge and is ignorant of God’s perfect simplicity. Having no parts, God finds nothing complex. To Him all things are simple!
Concerning the problem of the smaller body typically orbiting the larger, two responses are customarily made:
First, it is not good logic to say that the pattern seen in the planets must apply to the Earth as well. Obviously, the Earth may be an exception to the rule. Indeed, if the Earth holds a God-ordained, privileged position in the universe, it is only reasonable to expect that it should be an exception, and the sole exception.
Secondly, it is indeed true that Newtonian mechanics requires the smaller body to orbit the larger—if we limit our gravitational calculations to these two bodies alone. But this is precisely what the geocentrists will not permit. Rather, they insist that gravitational and centrifugal forces arising from a rotating universe filled with other massive bodies must be included in the calculations as well (as indeed all good Newtonians would agree is necessary). In other words, they argue that God has so meticulously situated the ether, stars, and galaxies in space that they hold the (presumably) more massive sun in orbit around the (presumably) less massive Earth. R. G. Elmendorf has this very thing in mind when he writes:
In the geocentric model, the function of the Earth is primarily to furnish a small gravitational stabilizing influence to the rest of the universe, not to generate the physical forces of orbital mechanics for everything else.
Now that is some kind of fine-tuning—and one that justly explains how the sun can be reckoned a “planet” that actually revolves around the Earth!
Our discussion thus far has addressed the usual objections to cosmic geocentrism. It remains only to touch on two that are somewhat less common:
First, critics sometimes assert that geocentrism is impossible, since the enormous centrifugal forces generated at the outer edges of the universe would cause it to “fly apart.” One response is to say that such centrifugal force is counterbalanced by an equally enormous gravitational force directed towards the cosmic center (i.e., the Earth). However, the question itself may betray a misunderstanding of the true nature of centrifugal force. If, as some geocentrists assert, centrifugal force is generated by rotational motion against the ether, then it is clear that only objects within the (ether-filled) universe will feel such force, and not the universe itself. In other words, unless our universe were encased within yet another sphere of (rotating) ether, it would feel no centrifugal force working upon it to cause it to stretch or fly apart. And besides this, where would such a universe fly apart to?
Finally, some object that celestial objects situated beyond the so-called Schwarzchild radius (i.e., about 2.6 billion miles out from us, the radius beyond which objects daily orbiting the Earth would exceed the speed of light) would be moving at superluminal speeds, something that is physically impossible. Here, several responses are in order.
First, this objection presupposes the truth of Special Relativity, which posits that the speed of light is a cosmic absolute. However, there is no good reason to believe that Special Relativity is true, and good reasons to believe it is not (see here, here and here) More to the point, however, is the fact that even in Relativity Theory, c is constant only within a given medium, and in particular the so-called “vacuum of space.” Therefore, even if the relativistic view of c were true, this would not constitute a problem for geocentrism, since in that model it is the (outer reaches of the) universe itself that travels at superluminal speeds, not the stars moving within it. In other words, relative to the (ether-filled) universe that carries them along in its bosom, celestial objects beyond the Schwarzchild radius do indeed travel faster than the speed of light. But relative to one another, or to the ether through which they (and their light) are moving locally, all or most of them are traveling at speeds considerably slower than 186,000 mps. On the other hand, it may be that some are indeed traveling through the ether at speeds faster than c, as a number of recent observations seem to suggest, much to the dismay of strict relativists.
I want to close this section on geocentric modeling by stressing once again that science still does not really understand gravity or inertial forces, only how they work locally (i.e., near the Earth), and even then only approximately. Newton thought it preposterous to hold that gravity was an immaterial force acting upon objects from a distance, and he therefore contemplated a number of physical theories of gravity. Einstein’s notion of gravity as a distortion of space-time is incomprehensible, and observations alleged to demonstrate its truth have been challenged or explained on other grounds. Quantum Mechanical views, looking to explain gravity in terms of tiny particles of “space-foam,” may be getting closer to the mark, since the evidence for a kinetic ether is now plentiful. But again, the bottom line is that no one really understands gravitational and inertial forces from a physical point of view.
Moreover, even if we were able to discover an underlying physical cause for these forces, the new knowledge would only inaugurate a fresh search for further causes behind that one. In the end, then, our journey towards a satisfying theory of celestial mechanics must lead us back to the First Cause of all things. For the biblical geocentrist, that cause is God. However many physical links there may be in the great chain of kinetic causation, he is the spiritual anchor that holds them all down. Ultimately, he is the Prime Mover of all that moves. As the Bible puts it, he is the One who causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the Earth; who makes lightning for the rain; and who brings the wind out of his treasuries. He is the One in whom all things live and move and have their being (Psalm 135:7; Acts 17:28). And—according to the geocentrists—he is the one who causes the universe to revolve daily around the earth.
Therefore, urging physicists, astronomers, and cosmologists to lift their sights a little higher, God himself unabashedly asks:
“Can you bind the cluster of the Pleiades, or loose the belt of Orion? Can you bring out the constellations in their season, or guide the Great Bear with her cubs? Do you know the ordinances of the heavens? Can you set their dominion over the Earth? Lift up your eyes on high, and see who has created these things, the One who brings out their host by number and calls them all by name. By the greatness of His might and the strength of His power not one of them is missing. To whom then will you liken Me, or to whom shall I be equal?” says the Holy One. —Job 38:32; Isaiah 40:26, 25
Arguments from Observation
- No Conclusive Evidence for Earthly Motion
Turning now to observational evidences for cosmic geocenetrism, let us begin by affirming with Einstein’s disciple, Lincoln Barrett, that, “We cannot feel our motion through space, nor has any physical experiment ever proved that the Earth is actually in motion.” Similarly, Henri Poincare wrote, “We do not have, and cannot have, any means of discovering whether or not we are carried along in a uniform motion of translation.”
Though these statements will come as a shock to many, we have already seen why most scientists, in private at least, will admit to their truth. The reason, in a nutshell, is relativity. As Einstein, Hoyle, Hawking and the rest have publicly confessed, relativity makes it impossible to deduce the Earth’s motion from any physical experiment. For example, we have repeatedly seen that the NTM is at least as fruitful as the heliocentric; and that it saves all the appearances and gives acceptable explanations for all the so-called proofs for the Earth’s rotational and translational motion. So who can say what is really moving–the Earth or the sun?
Now, it is true that relativity is a two-edged sword: Just as it precludes observationally demonstrating that the Earth is in motion, so, too, it precludes observationally demonstrating that the Earth is at rest. This does not mean, however, that the evidence does not favor one model over the other. Indeed, a growing number of scientists, many quite reluctantly, are now prepared to admit that there is indeed a large and compelling body of observational evidence favorable both to the geocentric and geostationist views. In the space that remains, let us survey that evidence briefly.
- Observational Evidence for Geocentrism
Observational evidence for geocentrism is so varied and so abundant that it now threatens to completely overthrow the Copernican (or Cosmological) Principle, forcing a paradigm-shift on modern cosmology. Capturing the drama of this recent development, Sungenis writes:
After Hubble, all kinds of interesting objects and forces were found in man’s telescopes, e.g., quasars, gamma-ray and X-ray bursters, CMB radiation, and a wide assortment of galaxies and star clusters. To the utter consternation of the world’s scientists, each of the newfound discoveries kept revealing the same startling information—that the Earth was right smack in the center of it all!
In their magnum opus, Galileo Was Wrong, Sungenis and Bennett collate and carefully document all of the new evidence. Some of their discussion is technical and therefore challenging for the scientific layman. Nevertheless, the salient points are clear enough. Citing frequently from their work, I will touch on a few of the most important here.
The Cosmic Microwave Background
First, we have the Cosmic Microwave Background radiation (CMB). Though views differ as to its cause, all agree that this so-called black body radiation arrives at the Earth at essentially the same temperature (2.70 K) from all directions in space. In other words, the CMB radiation is almost perfectly isotropic. This means, however, that the Earth must be at or very near the center of the CMB. Joseph Silk expresses the situation this way:
Studies of the CMB have confirmed the isotropy of the radiation, or its complete uniformity in all directions. If the universe possesses a center, we must be very close to it…otherwise excessive observable anisotropy (i.e., non-uniform appearance) in the radiation intensity would be produced, and we would detect more radiation for one direction than from the opposite direction.
As we saw earlier, Big Bang theorists reject Silk’s common sense geocentric conclusion by assuming the inconceivable, namely, that the universe is homogeneous and isotropic; that it has neither edges nor center; and that matter is so evenly distributed throughout it that the heavens (and the CMB) look basically the same from every vantage point. However, since this assumption is highly counterintuitive, and since other evidence points even more decisively to geocentrism, the geocentric interpretation of the CMB seems the more reasonable.
In passing, we should note also that painstaking studies into slight irregularities in the CMB (i.e., so-called anisotropies) have given further credence to geocentricity. In particular, Dr. Max Tegmark’s analysis of data from the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) led him to conclude that: 1) the CMB is not perfectly isotropic, 2) the anisotropies show it to be symmetrically structured, 3) the universe seems to have an axis upon which it rotates (and therefore an equator as well), and 4) that axis passes through the Earth or a point very near to it. In short, the WMAP evidence points to a rotating cosmos with the Earth at its center. So dangerously anti-Copernican were these results, that one author wrote an essay about them entitled, “Axis of Evil Warps Cosmic Background.”
Galactic Red Shifts
Over the last 25 years, beginning with the work of William Tifft, astronomers have carefully measured the red shifts of hundreds of galaxies. Also, they have analyzed the red shifts of several different kinds of galaxies (e.g., individual spiral galaxies, binary clusters, dwarf irregulars, rapidly rotating regulars, etc.). To the astonishment of everyone, the results showed that their red shifts are all “quantized.” That is, the red shifts are not smoothly distributed along a spectrum of numerical values, but bundled in one or another fraction of the most common value, 72 km/ sec. Thus, red shift measurements commonly fall at 12, 24, 36, 72, 144, or 216 km/sec. As Robert Bennett observed, “The probability of this occurring by chance is incalculable.”
But what does it all mean? Well, for the standard Big Bang model it means big trouble. That’s because Big Bang cosmology interprets red shifts as an indicator of galactic recession and spatial expansion. But if this view were correct, the red shifts should be smooth, not quantized. Furthermore, the new observations lead quite naturally to a most geocentric conclusion: The galaxies are situated around the Earth like the layers of an onion. As Tifft himself observed with due scientific caution, “A hierarchy of quantized domains is suggested.” Drawing out the implications of this for Big Bang cosmology, the alarmed writer for Sky and Telescope Magazine complained, “Quantized red shifts just don’t fit into this [standard Big Bang] view of the cosmos, for they imply concentric shells of galaxies expanding away from a central point—Earth.”
Big Bang cosmology wants all galaxies to be receding smoothly one from another, leaving no hint of a cosmic center, and thus confirming the cherished Cosmological Principle. However, the actual observations—now confirmed beyond serious dispute—tell a very different story, putting the Earth at the center and leaving no hint of the Cosmological Principle.
It is, of course, possible to interpret galactic red shifts in other ways. For example, rather than seeing them as “cosmological” (i.e., as indicating recessional velocity), one can view them as “intrinsic” (i.e., as arising from some property within the galaxy itself). This approach would, however, be equally disastrous for the Big Bang, since it would mean that the so-called “Hubble relation” between the red shift, recessional velocity, distance, and age of a given galaxy is non-existent. This in turn would mean that the universe is likely quite small and (relative to Big Bang conclusions) quite young, leaving far too little time for cosmic evolution. Moreover, even if (as the best evidence now indicates) red shifts are not due to recession, the geocentric implications would still remain, for no matter what their cause, red shifts would not appear in our telescopes as systematically quantized unless the Earth were central. As Robert Bennett explains:
If Earth were not central, arcs of each shell would be seen with varying red shifts. In geometry, concentric circles can have but one center. All quantum red shifts indicate that the Earth is the center of this incredible phenomenon. Any other location would break the quantum levels, smearing them out, as was expected prior to the discovery by Tifft.
In closing, let us note also that actual observations do not favor the standard view that galaxies are homogeneously distributed throughout space. To the contrary, galactic distribution—like galactic red shifts—is decidedly geocentric. Physicist Harold Slusher states the case as follows:
If the distribution of galaxies is homogeneous, then doubling the distance should increase the galaxy count eightfold; tripling it should produce a galaxy count 27 times as large. Actual counts of galaxies show a rate substantially less than this. If allowed to stand without correction, this feature of the galaxy count implies a thinning out with distance in all directions, and that we are at the very center of the highest concentration of matter in the universe… This would argue that we are at the center of the universe… When galaxy counts are adjusted for dimming effects, it appears that the number of galaxies per unit volume of space increases with distance. From this we still appear to be at the center of the universe, but now it coincides with the point of least concentration of matter.
Summing up, it appears both from their distribution and the observed red shift of their light that the galaxies are trying to teach us something important: We on Earth are privileged to live in the midst of it all—and we didn’t get there by accident!
Other Celestial Bodies
Like a symphony performing variations on a theme, the universe over and again presents us with celestial objects that are distributed geocentrically in space. We have just seen that the CMB and the galaxies both play their part. Let us look here at a few more.
First, we have gamma ray bursts (GRB’s). Emanating from invisible sources, these enormously powerful bursts of gamma rays “…are equivalent to 1045 watts of energy, which is over a million trillion times as powerful as the sun. The bursts occur at the rate of about one per day, but they are fast fading and random, never occurring in the same place twice.” From this description, we may justly surmise that GRB’s are caused by the explosive death of unknown, star-like objects. Very importantly, careful observation of the location and uniform intensity of the GRB’s leads investigators to the unavoidable conclusion that their sources are situated upon a spherical shell (or shells) whose center is the Earth. As GRB researcher Jonathan Katz observes below, the data create a very disturbing “dilemma” for the followers of Copernicus:
No longer could astronomers hope that the Copernican dilemma would disappear with improved data. The data were in hand and their implication inescapable: We are the center of a spherically symmetric distribution of gamma ray burst sources, and this distribution has an outer edge. Beyond this edge, the density of the burst sources decreases to insignificance.
Note carefully Katz’ emphasis on an outer edge. This is another source of his Copernican dilemma. For unless the GRB’s are distributed evenly throughout all space, they present decisive observational refutation of the Cosmological Principle, according to which no place in the universe is special or unique. The evidence, however, clearly leads to the conclusion that the shell of GRB sources is unique, and that the Earth at its center is uniquer still!
This brings us to a second kind of geocentrically distributed body: quasars. First discovered in the 1960’s, these faintly visible quasi-stellar radio sources display large red shifts, and so (on Big Bang premises) are thought to be very distant and very old. Y. P. Varshni, one of the earliest researchers in the field, studied some 400 quasars and found, to his amazement, that their red shift values effectively bundled them into 57 groups, giving the impression that quasars, much like the galaxies, are situated on concentric spheres, all of which have the Earth at their center. Subsequent observations of some 20,000 quasars have only confirmed Varshni’s findings. His original statement about the significance of this data, though later abandoned under pressure from his colleagues, was impressively direct:
The Earth is indeed the center of the Universe. The arrangement of quasars on certain spherical shells is only with respect to the Earth. These shells would disappear if viewed from another galaxy or quasar. This means that the cosmological principle will have to go. Also, it implies that a coordinate system fixed to the Earth will be a preferred frame of reference in the Universe. Consequently, both the Special and General Theory of Relativity must be abandoned for cosmological purposes.
As we see from Varshni’s own words, quasars produce big problems for relativistic Big Bang cosmology. If the Cosmological Principle is true, why are there no quasars near the Earth? Why are they uniquely centered upon the Earth? How can they travel at superluminal speeds (as indeed they must if they are moving as fast as their red shifts suggest)? Questions like these again cast doubts upon the standard interpretation of red shifts, inviting us to contemplate a small, Earth-centered universe, created by a big, Earth-centered God.
Besides the CMB, galaxies, GRB sources, and quasars, there are quite a number of other celestial objects that play their part in the great geocentric symphony. In surveying them at some length, Sungenis and Bennett discuss such exotic phenomena as BL Lacertae, X-Ray Bursts, Spectroscopic Binaries, Globular Clusters, Quantized Planetary Orbits, and Cosmic Mega-Walls. The breadth and force of the evidence is impressive indeed.
The Uniqueness of the Earth System
Observations to date reveal that the local physical system of which the Earth is a part is cosmically unique. For example, though astronomers think they have found a few stars with a single associated planet, they have certainly found nothing like our own so-called solar system, however we may conceive its actual configuration. Also, they have never discovered a planet that supports life, not to mention a planet inhabited by self-conscious beings such as ourselves. Now the Cosmological Principle predicts that all these phenomena should appear uniformly throughout the universe—hence NASA’s deep space probes and the SETI program. But the facts, so far as we know them, show that they do not. The Earth, and the local system of which it is a part, appear to be very special, even unique. If so, it is only reasonable to think of them as central.
Cosmic Fine Tuning
Here we touch upon a very large body of evidence suggesting that our Earth lies at another kind of center—the center of interest of the One who created it. It includes literally hundreds of phenomena indicating that the Earth, the solar system, and the universe itself have all been fine-tuned to support life on earth.
Scientists know, for example, that there are a great many physical constants in nature, none of which could vary even slightly without shattering the physical integrity of the universe (e.g., gravitational and electromagnetic constants, the mass of elementary particles, strong and weak nuclear forces, etc.). They know also that life could not exist if the sun were a different color, or a different mass, or closer to Earth, or farther from it. The same is true of the moon: If it were only 50,000 miles closer, ocean tides would engulf nearly all the Earth’s land mass twice a day; if slightly further, life in the stagnant seas would die. Or again, if the Earth’s gravity, crustal thickness, oxygen/nitrogen ratios, and water vapor and ozone layers were only slightly different, life would perish. Because, on naturalistic premises, this manifold fine- tuning is so improbable, many have concluded that there must be a Fine Tuner who has delicately structured all things for the support and enjoyment of earthly life. In short, cosmic fine-tuning reveals Earth’s inhabitants as the special object of a divine creator’s interest and activity. And if they lie at the center of his interest, is it not reasonable to imagine them at the center of his universe as well?
Summing up on this point, in our brief survey of the evidence for geocentrism we have looked at the CMB, galactic red shifts, miscellaneous heavenly bodies, the uniqueness of the Earth system, and cosmic fine-tuning, also sometimes called the anthropic principle. Any one of these phenomena should give Copernicans pause. Taken together, they are compelling. The Bible declares, “Out of the mouth of two or more witnesses, let every matter be established” (Deut. 19:15; Matt. 18:16). To judge from the manifold observational evidence, the matter of cosmic geocentrism appears to be well-established indeed, presumably at the hand of the Bible’s evidence-loving and evidence-giving God.
- Observational Evidence for Geostationism
Just as it is impossible to prove experimentally that the Earth is moving through space, so too it is impossible to prove experimentally that it sits at absolute rest in the center of the universe. Nevertheless, there are several lines of scientific evidence suggesting strongly that this is indeed the case.
First, there are the results of the numerous interferometer experiments. An interferometer is a device specifically designed to detect and measure the speed of the Earth as it moves through space. However, as Michelson and Morley found—much to the dismay of the scientific establishment—their device, and the many successors to it, was unable to detect any significant motion. These experiments do show that: a) there is indeed an ether, b) it is either stationary, with the Earth moving through it at a snail’s pace, or c) the Earth is stationary, with the contiguous ether (i.e., the ether near the Earth’s surface) revolving around it at a snail’s pace. While direct observation cannot decide between these two options, several other lines of evidence agree in declaring that the geostationary option is best (e.g., Biblical teaching, common sense experience, the observational evidences for cosmic geocentrism, etc.).
Secondly, we have the pattern of global air currents. In heliocentric thinking, the observed west-to-east airflow is caused by thermal heating plus the rotation of the Earth on its axis. But in the following quote, Robert Bennett shows how unreasonable this view is, and in so doing gives impressive evidence for a stationary Earth:
We would think that a rotating Earth would drag along the air right at the surface, but the lack of friction and viscosity of air, plus its inertia, would make the air stream behind the ground’s motion form as swirls of cream in a coffee cup. At the equator, which [supposedly] spins at 1,054 mph, there would be a rapid change in the wind profile, from zero on the ground to 1,054 mph at high altitudes. Testing our belief with anemometers, we are surprised to learn, however, that the equatorial winds are quite docile, random, and calm, even at heights. Only the sun’s heat, as it crosses the sky (literally) provides gentle breezes…Moderns, having made great advances in natural understanding, laugh and say, incredibly, that the whole atmosphere co-rotates with the Earth, as if the air were solid! Theists, with a geocentric mind, say with scriptural simplicity “Of course there is no wind—the Earth is fixed forever. It was God who told us so!
Finally, we have the superior usefulness of a fixed-Earth model for astronomical and navigational calculations. After conceding that the heliocentric paradigm does have occasional practical advantages (e.g., for calculating the relative positions of the planets), geocentrist Philip Stott goes on to observe:
Nevertheless, well over 90% of all astronomical calculations are done assuming the Earth is not rotating and is stationary at the center of the universe. All navigation calculations also assume that the Earth does not move and does not rotate.
Notably, this is precisely the testimony of NASA, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and other governmental science agencies, all of which concede that global positioning satellites, geostationary satellites, and deep space probes use what is called the Earth Centered Inertial (ECI) frame of reference in planning and executing their launches. In other words, because it works best to do so, these agencies chart their rocket’s courses on the assumption that the Earth is at rest in the midst of the universe. But this invites an important question: Does their assumption work so well because it happens to be the truth?
Though it may well be an emerging trend, cosmic geocentrism is still a radical idea. It cuts hard against the grain of prevailing scientific opinion and sharply challenges a pervasive ideology of progress telling us that we moderns have become wiser than our ancestors. Yet the Test Terspective warns us against any and all smugness, even in the matter before us. So too does the Bible. Together, they declare that the world is a strange place where truth and error ever do battle, where God sorely tests men’s love of the truth, and where he chooses “foolish” things in order to confound the wise (Matt. 11:25f; 1 Cor. 1:27).
In such a world, cosmic geocentrism may well be true. Moreover, from many quarters we have received good evidence for its truthfulness. It is the testimony of common sense (and therefore the testimony of most ancient cosmologies). It is the testimony of the Bible. It is the testimony of sound theoretical and observational science. It promises emancipation from the confusing labyrinth of Relativity Theory. It holds forth the promise of a new, coherent, and holistic physics, astrophysics, and cosmology. But most important of all, it points us to a wise and powerful divine creator, one who very much has the Earth on his mind; a God who shows himself to us in his universe; and a God who calls us back to himself in his Book.
Such considerations will give seekers of cosmological truth pause. Moreover, as they pause—perhaps gazing upward on a clear, moonless night at the mighty vault of heaven—they will better be able to discern the wisdom of the great Swiss mathematician, Leonard Euler (1707-1783), when he said:
In our researches into the phenomena of the visible world we are subject to weaknesses and inconsistencies so humiliating that a (divine) Revelation is absolutely necessary to us. We ought to avail ourselves of it with the most powerful veneration.
On the matter of cosmic structure, shall we not then seriously question the word of man, even as we powerfully venerate the Word of God?
- Since, in man’s experience of nature, the four seasons embody a cycle of life and death, Christian interpreters of nature wonder if they mystically point to the truths of redemption. One suggestion is that spring typifies the birth of Christ, who, after millennia of spiritual cold and darkness, brought new life into the world (John 1:4); summer represents the days of his childhood and youth when, like Israel’s crops, he quietly grew in wisdom and stature (Luke 2:52); fall points to the short three-year season of his earthly ministry, when he began to harvest God’s believing children in Israel (Matthew 9:37; John 4:35); winter recalls the dark days of his rejection, death, and burial, in which the light and warmth of the world was seemingly extinguished, and when “no one could work” (John 9:4, 5, 11:9, 12:35). This brings us again to spring, which may also be seen to typify the day of Christ’s resurrection, when he brought life and light back into the world, once and for all, (John 1:5; Romans 6:4; 2 Timothy 1:10). According to a similar (and related) paradigm, spring corresponds to the world in its pre-fall purity and vitality; summer to the first four millennia of mankind’s toil, when God was secretly working (especially in Israel) to prepare a global harvest; fall to “the fullness of time,” now some two millennia long, throughout which Christ, by means of the Church, harvests a people from all nations; winter to the end-time tribulation and agony of the true spiritual Church; and spring to the eternal season of light and life, inaugurated by Christ’s coming again, the resurrection of the dead, and the creation of new heavens and a new Earth.