When speaking of matters dealing with creation the Bible is very specific and clear as to why there is a creation—the God of heaven created it! There is no waffling; no ambiguity; no vagueness, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." The Bible takes for granted the reader understands God exists and is the creator and doesn't waste time defending or explaining God or His existence. One either believes it or not. However, when it comes to HOW God created, the Scriptures are often very ambiguous; sometimes frustratingly so to those with an agenda.
When confronted with the Bible's ambiguity, the believer needs to remember the passages are ambiguous or indefinite by design. God has a purpose in it. We often wish the Scriptures would reveal more detail, but the Lord limited His revelation for His own reasons. Thus, the believer is not to add his personal suppositions to the texts to force them to "comply" to his doctrine, but instead, from a practical perspective, he should try to learn something from the ambiguity. One very helpful concept your author learned many years ago was one can learn quite a bit from the Bible's silence—what the Bible doesn't say.
Whether a Bible passage or doctrine is very clear and definite or unclear and ambiguous, the believer's duty is to not go beyond what they actually say. Some brethren feel the need to help the Lord convey His "truth," so they, often in a matter-of-fact way, teach that the Bible proclaims doctrines that it simply doesn't mention. When it comes to creation and the physical movements of the heavens, a lot of this "sanctified" doctrinal embellishment occurs.
One important fact a believer needs to always keep in mind is the Bible was not written primarily to Christians in the Church Age, but to believers (and unbelievers) of all ages. To the Jews were committed the oracles of God (Rom 3:2) and the bulk of the Book was written directly to and for them. Likewise, one must remember the Bible was addressed to people in different time periods as well. Early on people had much less knowledge and revelation than we do today. This is on several fronts: from theology to science. Thus we have to remember that we today, those progressing through time on the very cutting edge, can't expect what the Lord revealed 3500 years ago to be at the level of "scientific detail" we may expect. Some say, "Yes, but God knows everything and all the intricacies of reality." True, but He doesn't have to "tell everything He knows" in a book that is meant for believers over a 3500 year period.
In Genesis 1 the account begins with the simple but profound statement,
"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth."
One cannot overestimate the scope of this statement. By creating the first physical objects, the Lord had to create an entire, extremely intricate, system of physical principles and "laws" to govern His new reality. Just to get the earth to simply exist, even in a "without form and void" state, the Lord created atoms and molecules of countless types and variations and then instantly devised unfathomable methods or "laws" to join these atoms in ways to make the most basic elements. Then with these elements he somehow combined them to make the heavens and the earth. No one knows how the Lord did this, and no one will in this earthly life. It appears He just spoke it all into existence, and that is all we really need to know. It is like the Lord is telling us, "I made everything, now lets go on."
With the ten words of Genesis 1:1 the Lord tells us he created three things: the heaven, the earth, and time ("the beginning"). When God created matter he created physical movement. Though it took around 6000 years for man to learn it, all matter is made up of atoms that are buzzing with countless particles orbiting a tiny nucleus. With this movement the concept of time was created. When one thinks about it, something must be moving to measure time. Look at your watch or clock. Something is moving in it whether tiny gears or a quartz crystal. Consider the length of a day: it's measured by the sun; the month by the moon; and the year by the combination of the sun and earth. If they all stopped moving there would be no calendar and if the atoms stopped moving there would be no time or matter. Thus time and matter are mutually entwined and depend on each other for their very existence, all by the Lord's design.
Gen 1:2 opens up a whole new "can of ambiguity." Here the earth is "without form." Since around 1800 many books and debates have transpired trying to deal with this verse and some have placed "time-gap" in it, but the "Genesis Gap" topic is not relevant to our present subject so we will digress. However, the second sentence of the verse is very relevant, "And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." Geocentrists often use this verse to "prove" the earth is stationary since the Spirit of God is the object moving in the passage. They often glibly say something like, "What about where it says the Spirit moved on the face of the earth in Genesis 1:2? That shows God does the moving and the earth is stationary." Have you ever heard such a contrived statement designed to bolster a pet argument regardless of what the Scripture actually says? Lets look at this claim in a little detail.
"The Spirit moved around the earth" they say, but what does the verse really say—"And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the WATERS." Want to see a perfect example of why Geocentrism is on shaky ground? It's because they can't go two verses without misquoting Scripture and revealing their obvious suppositions. The verse does not say the Spirit moved over the "earth;" It states He moved over the "waters." They just assume the waters are on the earth. Assumption is a key element of modern Geocentrism.
Furthermore, they try and insinuate that since the spirit is moving the earth is not moving, but that is a false comparison and juvenile error. How does merely stating one object is moving prove (or even suggest) that another object is not moving? It doesn't. Both could be moving and the focus of the text is just on one of them moving. Their claim would be like saying if a person is walking on a ocean liner, that means the ocean liner cannot be moving through the sea. Nonsense.
Now consider the context. Genesis 1:2 starts with "And" which connects it with verse 1. Thus the context is the heaven and the earth. Verse 6 says,
"And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters."
So there is/was at least two places of "waters." God put the firmament (first and second heavens) in between the waters. Verse 7 continues,
"And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament:"
The locations of the waters was under the firmament and ABOVE the firmament. As for the earth's position in this, Psalm 136:6 speaks of the Lord stretching "out the earth above the waters" indicating there is/was waters below or under the earth. So it appears there was "waters" above and below the earth and God put the firmament in place to permanently separate them from the earth.
It is not until verse 20 that the Scriptures speak of water that is specifically on the earth. They bring forth life and fowls fly above it. Thus the waters closest to the context of verse 2 are the waters above the earth—but that is not a proof. As we mentioned, the passages are quite ambiguous and they simply do not make a definitive statement as to what waters are meant in verse 2. Could it be the waters on earth, yes, or it could be the waters far above the earth now above the firmament. Nevertheless, the Geocentrists want one to believe their opinion is "gospel.
A further example of the Bible's ambiguity in describing creation is when God said "let there be light" in verse 3. It is never stated WHERE that light actually is. Most assume it is on the earth, but that is not stated. It may have been the light of heaven shining on the waters of verse 2. The key truth to be remembered is one cannot build sound doctrine on assumptions about ambiguous passages.
Another argument that Geocentrists like to bring up when discussing Genesis chapter 1 is, "If the earth circles the sun and the sun isn’t created until the fourth day, then what did the earth go around the first three days?" They ask this as if it is an unsurmountible problem.
Can they not see the desperation in such a contrived question? Do they really think such a question serves their purpose? Apparently so. What did the earth go around? What Scripture says it had to go around or orbit anything? None. What Scripture says any physical thing was moving around the earth? None. The earth could have been stationary or it may have been moving. The question is irrelevant thus the Lord doesn't say. When one gives them this answer they most often sarcastically say, "According to Heliocentrism the Lord must have nudged the earth in orbit when he created the sun." Not really, according to physicists who would likely know, once the sun was in place the earth would automatically begin to orbit it. The pull of gravity would initiate the motion.
Nevertheless, if the Lord did nudge the earth in motion around the sun that would be a whole lot less involved than making the sun and the rest of the universe spin instead! God had to initiate the motion in whatever is moving, whether the earth or the firmament. Making the earth both spin and orbit the sun would be the least involved method of getting our present cosmological situation. Making the earth static and the entire universe rotate with the sun, moon, planets moving independently would be the most elaborate method of doing it.
Some of you may be old enough to remember Curly Neal of the old Harlem Globetrotters (interesting, "Globetrotters"). Curly was a master basketball handler. He could make a basketball spin on his finger all sorts of ways. Imagine Curly Neal in the center of a basketball stadium doing his classic ball spin. It is impressive but also easily understandable how it happens. However, if we make an analogy to Geocentric thought, the basketball is not spinning at all. It is fixed in place and the whole stadium plus the rest of the universe is spinning around it! To an ant on the ball its world would look the same in either scenario (if the ball was spinning once per day), but the differences in motion would be astronomical. Consider which scenario is simpler, more efficient, more intuitive, and more practical.
Concerning the sun, do the Geocentrists not realize the Scriptures do not "literally" say the "sun" was created on the 4th day. It says "lights" were made,
And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament...And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth...And God made two great lights...(Gen 1:14-16)
It is interesting that the names of the heavenly bodies are not given, they are merely called "lights." Thus, what was specifically created that day were the "lights," not necessarily the celestial bodies themselves. It cannot be proven with the language given that the bodies of the sun and moon were not created (dark) on day one and only "set" in the firmament and made to emit light (only the sun) on the 4th day. Since they both reside in the "heaven" (vs 1), it is a real possibility.
A key heavenly body that is a snare to the Geocentrists claims is the beautiful moon. As mentioned above, it is interesting that the first name for the moon was not "moon" but "light." It is called the "lesser light" in Gen 1:16 while the sun is called the "greater light." Thus these two heavenly bodies are primarily known for what they do, "give light upon the earth." They are not identified by their common names until later.
The problem here for the Hyper-Literal Geocentrist is obvious. Man has known for millennia that the moon is not a true light. It produces no light of its own. It merely reflects the light of the sun, and even at that there is a day every month called a "New Moon" when it does not bear any light at all to the earth. Since it is a universal fact (not disputed by anyone with any sense) that the moon does not generate its own light, consider these verses,
"For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine." (Isa 13:10)
"And when I shall put thee out, I will cover the heaven, and make the stars thereof dark; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not give her light." (Eze 32:7)
"Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:" (Mat 24:29)
"The moon shall not cause her light to shine"? These verses, if taken in the absolute sense, require the moon to produce "her" own light and make it "shine" on the earth. Is the Bible wrong? Did God lie to us? Only if you are a hyper-literal Geocentrist who is consistent in his exegesis. Does the Bible anywhere say or even suggest that the light from the moon originates from the sun? No, it does not. So if the Bible does not even mention this simple "cosmological fact" are the Geocentrists still going to claim it dogmatically proves Geocentrism? Many will, because they have sold their soul to it.
Again, the Scriptures are using relative and non-absolute language. To people on earth the moon gives light. That the light originates with the sun is such a frivolous detail to the Scriptures that they don't even mention it.
Many on earth fail to realize that from the moon's perspective the earth gives light for the same reason the moon does—reflection. In fact, a double reflection on the moon can be seen from the earth! When you look at a crescent moon right after sunset, if you look closely you can see the circle outline of the whole moon faintly behind the crescent. This faint outline is caused from the light from the earth being reflected to the moon and back again to earth. Right after sunset there is still a large part of the earth lighted by the sun just beyond the horizon and it provides the reflected light. Later in the night, when the moon is directly overhead, this outline cannot be seen because the whole backside of the earth is in the dark and there is no light to reflect.
Joel 2:31 (also Act 2:20) states,
"The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood,"
How can the sun be "darkness" yet the moon still be seen even if "blood"? To take this verse literally the sun will no longer be light but darkness itself. It will not emit any light. But if the sun is absolutely dark, where does the moon get its light to be "blood" (red)? Would not the moon be invisible also? Yes, if you are a Hyper-Literal Geocentrist. No, if you are a sensible Bible Believing Christian who reads the Bible the way it is meant to be understood. The sun is only "darkness" to the earth. It can still shine on the moon so its bloody redness can be seen.
There are a few hyper-literal Geocentrists out there who are so literal they believe the moon turning to blood means the moon actually becomes literal blood! If it is absolutely "turned into blood," then the moon as we know it ceases to exist and turns into a big moon sized ocean of red liquid blood! Talk about hyper-literalism! Well, at least they are consistent, even if highly misguided. If the moon becomes literal blood, what living creatures supplied the blood? In the Bible true, actual blood is always from a living creature. God never created blood as a stand-alone entity. It is designed to be the "life of the flesh." This is a question they cannot answer.
The global Geocentrists are in another "pickle" concerning the sun "rising" and "setting" because when something is said to absolutely and literally rise it must go "up." But which way is up?
Here is an interesting passage (Psalms 75:6-7),
"Promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another."
Notice how "promotion" (help or deliverance) does not come from the east, west, or south but from God. So what direction is left for the Lord to come from? Why the north, or course. That the direction of God's dwelling place in heaven is due north is confirmed by other passages. Isaiah 14:13 tells us,
"For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: "
Thus the "mount of the congregation" is in the "sides of the north" "above the stars of God." This mount is called the heavenly Mount Zion (Psa 48:2, Heb 12:22, Rev 14:1),
Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King.
"But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels."
"And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion... "
Moses also knew the Lord is northward (Lev 1:11),
"And he shall kill it on the side of the altar northward before the LORD..."
Therefore, the Bible clearly indicates the direction of God, His throne, and the third heaven is due north, and thus due north is the only true and literal direction of "up."
The Scriptures also confirm that the Lord coming from heaven is Him coming "down" and His returning back is going "up." When the people built the tower of Babel, God said, "Let us go down" (Gen. 11:7). After God spoke to Abraham, "he left off talking with him, and God went up from Abraham" (Gen. 17:22).
Now that we've got our bearings on the direction of heaven and "up," what direction does "rise" mean? Of course, "rise" means to come "up." So if the sun literally rises then it must be going North...but...wait a minute, the sun rises in the East (Num 2:3) and sets in the West (Ecc 1:5; Isa 45:6), plus according to every global geocentric model they have, the sun is on a fairly even plane with the earth, called an ecliptic, placing the sun beside the earth. The sun is never literally and absolutely above it, yet man is said to be "under the sun" (Ecc 1:3, 9, 14, etc.). How can a poor Geocentrist "literally" explain this? He can't. The only explanation is "sunrise" and "sunset" is relative language considering the perspective of the observer. Since the sun obviously doesn't travel north and south, the terms must be considered figures of speech.
This fact is a snare to the global Geocentrists. Since the earth is a globe, unless a person is at the north pole, when he looks straight up, he is not looking north at all but in some other direction. If a person is south of the equator looking "up," he is looking more south than north. He would actually have to look through the earth to look north! The true direction of God's throne would be under his feet!
The Flat-Earth Geocentrists can deal with "up" being always north much better, since they believe the earth is basically a flat plane facing north. Their nemesis, the global Geocentrists, will protest that in the Flat-Earth model the sun doesn't rise or set at all, but this is nonsense. To the Flat-Earthers the sun is essentially due east in the morning and due west in the evening very slightly above the horizon. As the morning progresses the sun rises in the sky until noon when it is directly overhead and then sets back down to near level. Watching these two factions of Geocentrism argue is like watching the clowns at the circus.
Another interesting observation showing "up" is often relative is the direction one looks when he looks up to heaven. You may be thinking "didn't you just show how the direction of heaven is due north?" Yes, but does a New Zealander need to look past his feet through the earth when he raises his eyes to heaven? Not at all. The Lord will accept looking up as looking toward Him no matter where he is, even if he is actually looking South!
Consider that Israel is around 32 degrees North latitude above the equator. (That is about the same latitude as Savanna, Ga). When all the Bible saints looked straight up into the sky they weren't looking due north, but many degrees below due north somewhere in space. As the earth turns (or the firmament, to humor the Geocentrists) the place they are looking is constantly moving in a circle. Only due north (or south) is a fixed point.
Now consider when the Lord ascended into heaven. If He went straight up, He was not going directly in the direction of the Father in the third heaven. To go due North (toward the North Star) He would have had to ascend at a pretty shallow angle toward the North because from Jerusalem due North is fairly low in the sky. He would have gradually ascended as He skirted the tops of the trees and hills until the cloud received Him. In Act 1, where His ascension is described, we find,
And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. (Act 1:9-11)
Did the Lord ascend at an angle towards due North or pretty much straight up? It doesn't say, and the fact it doesn't say shows one can look into any part of heaven from anywhere on earth and be figuratively facing the Lord in His heaven even if it is not possible for Him to look literally due North.
One of the key claims of all Geocentrists is that the sun moves in a "circuit," and they use Psalm 19 as a proof text. Some claim "circuit" "refers to the time span of one year" and is to be taken literally. Let's take a look.
1, To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.
2, Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.
3, There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.
4, Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun,
5, Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race.
6, His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof. (Psa 19:1-6)
Verse 1 makes it clear the subject is the heavens and the firmament.
Verse 2 proclaims them to utter "speech" during the day and show "knowledge" at night. Hum...do the heavens literally speak or is this figurative language explaining that the heavens reveal truths about the Lord?
Verse 3 continues by saying they have a "voice" that everyone can hear. Ever hear the literal, audible "voice" of the sky speaking with words (vs. 4)? Me neither. Obviously, when David refers of the heavens speaking with a voice he is referring to it revealing the power and nature of God.
Verse 4 says this revelation goes through "all the earth" and the "end of the world." Then it states how the sun was "set" in them to "tabernacle" or dwell. A tabernacle or dwelling is put a fixed place; a place a home is "set." When the Israelites set up the tent of the tabernacle, they pitched it in a fixed spot. Therefore the sun is "set" or fixed in the heavens...but wait a minute, what about verses 5 and 6?
Verse 5 likens the sun to a "bridegroom coming out of his chamber," and where do you find bridegrooms and chambers? On earth, of course. Where do you find "strong men" run[ing] a race"? Why, again, on earth. How could the sun go in and out of a "chamber" in the heavens unless it is figuratively speaking of how it appears to man on earth? Thus the perspective of Psalm 19 is naturally from the earth, and it speaks using strong figurative and symbolic language.
Verse 6 concludes the thought by saying the sun, which is personified by gender ("his"), travels from the "end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it (heaven)"...but didn't we just read where the sun was "set" in the heaven? What a passage to build a controversial doctrine upon!
Geocentrists love to appeal to verse 6 where it says the sun has a "circuit." The rest of the verse where it says the sun's circuit takes it from one end of heaven to the other they don't like so much because they can't make it literal. They can't claim without looking like fools that the sun travels from one end of the entire universe to the other every day or year. They want to take the circuit as literal but not the actual extent of the circuit: to the "ends" of heaven. Typical inconsistent, self-serving behavior. Obviously, the "ends of heaven" refers to the extent the sun travels from horizon to horizon from the perspective of David on earth.
Like the other passages mentioned earlier, Psalm 19's statements are all made from the perspective of men on the earth. Furthermore, the passage is dominated by figurative language. The circuit of the sun is merely a reference to the sun's "movements" from the viewpoint of a man gazing into the sky. Whether it refers to its daily circuit or yearly circuit is irrelevant. The point David is making is his amazement at the manifestation of the power, glory, and majesty of God's creation as we puny humans look at the heavens. It is not a literal and dogmatic discourse on Bible cosmology, and to try an make it such is disingenuous.
Oddly enough most Geocentrists will admit that it is not Genesis (the book of beginnings) or other narrative books that have the most to say about Bible cosmology, instead it is the poetic Psalms. Psalms, a book of songs, is the primary Scripture ground for Geocentric "proofs"? That figures. Songs by their very nature are often highly poetic and figurative and the Psalms are no different. Take a look at the Psalm 23. Probably the most well known,
"The LORD is my shepherd" — You are not a sheep and He is not a shepherd.
"He maketh me to lie down in green pastures" — Has the Lord ever made you lie down in a literal green pasture...
"he leadeth me beside the still waters." — ...or walk beside a calm lake?
"though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death," — Where is this valley?
"thy rod and thy staff they comfort me." — Have you ever felt a literal rod?
"Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies" — Where, what table?
"thou anointest my head with oil" — When?
"my cup runneth over." — What cup...runs over with what?
Even though this Psalm is nearly all figurative it is one of the most descriptive and comforting books in all the Bible. The Lord doesn't restrict Himself to cold, sterile literal language. He uses metaphors, similes, and other literary devices to express the nature of His care and compassion. A shepherd's loving care for his sheep is an image David and people of all ages can identify with, and it expresses God's love and care for His people. To try and make the expressions literal would essentially destroy the entire Psalm because no human could easily identify with it.
Naturally, since they are songs, this non-literal, descriptive language is very frequent in the Psalms. When they say the Lord God is "a sun and shield" (Psa 84:11) or a "rock" (Psa 62:2), we know that is figurative. When they say the Lord owns "the cattle upon a thousand hills" (Psa 50:10) we understand that the passage is not restricting what He owns (what about the 1001st hill, etc.), but is poetically describing that He owns all. To refuse to take passages that are clearly figurative as such is to handle the Bible dishonestly.
Furthermore, we very much realize that several of the Psalms are Messianic and prophetic. Psalms such as Psalm 2, 22, 45, 89, 110, 118, etc. have prophetic utterances that refer to Jesus Christ. Many have already been fulfilled, but others won't be fulfilled until He returns. However, that certain passages are prophetic does not mean they cannot also contain figurative language. Look at Psalm 45:6-7,
"Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre. Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows."
Did God the Father literally anoint His son with an "oil of gladness"? Chapter and verse? No, this is a figurative expression of Christ being filled with the fullness of the Holy Spirit (John 3:34) which was given without measure.
Because of the figurative nature of the Psalms (and some other books), they are not the most fitting ground from which to establish doctrine. That is, because of the symbolism one often cannot pin the words down in the Psalms alone to a specific prophecy or meaning. However, they are very fertile ground to find truths after a doctrine has already been established, such as in the New Testament. Before Christ was born much of the truths in the Psalms were hidden. No one realized Psalm 22 was referring to how the God of heaven was going to be crucified on a cross and mocked by wicked men. No one really understood what "The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool" meant until Christ brought it up (Psa 110:1, Mark 12:36-37). But since the advent of the New Testament many passages in the Psalms come alive with prophecy and revelation. This is an example of progressive revelation.
Nevertheless, the figurative and symbolic Psalms are a key "stomping-ground" for the Geocentrists, and this speaks loudly. Since they cannot much support their doctrine from anywhere else in the Scriptures, they cling to this poetic book where they can "massage" the figurative texts to fit their belief (Psa 19, etc.).