copernicus: and the earth went mobile

The Copernican Revolution. Displacing man and the earth from the center of the universe…

…The second important aspect of Copernicus’s work in which he differed from his predecessors is that, far from offering a hint or a suggestion or a sketch of an astronomical system, he offered the complete system itself, in thorough and efficient detail. Only one man had done this- or even tried to do this- before, namely Ptolemy in his “great synthesis,” which we know by the Latinized Arabic title Almagest. Here Ptolemy had set out the arguments for a geostatic universe, and then had goner on to give a mathematical exposition of the motions of the moon, the sun, and the planets, with tables showing what the positions of these heavenly bodies ought to be in the future.

---Creation of Adam - Jan Brueghel the Younger - 17th C.---click image for source...

—Creation of Adam – Jan Brueghel the Younger – 17th C.—click image for source…

Now Copernicus produced in De revolutionibus a mirror image of the Almagest: in the first book of what he called “the general system of the universe,” that is, the arguments in favor of the earth’s mobility- Ptolemy’s arguments for its being at rrest all carefully refuted- followed, as in the Almagest, by a short trigonometric treatise intended to provide the more advanced mathematics to be used in later books.

Then, again like the Almagest, Book II applies his trigonometry to various problems concerned with the apparent motions of the planets, improving on Ptolemy, and ends with a star catalogue, that of  Ptolemy corrected for the passage of time. The follows in Book III an exposition of the motions of the earth, in Book IV of the moon, and in Books V and VI of the inner and outer planets, each exposition ending with a theoretical discussion of the particular body’s motion and with tables intended to show future positions.( to be continued)…

---The Creation of the Animals - Tintoretto -  1551---

—The Creation of the Animals – Tintoretto – 1551—


(see link at end)…Just how such moral degeneration could result from such a subtle shift in worldview is not intuitively obvious. Nevertheless,
the concern of the Reformers and other Christians has proven to be well founded; for heliocentrism directly spawned the view that man is but a mere machine, a cosmic accident. Heliocentrism is widely acknowledged as the foundation of the impersonal, mechanistic, materialistic universe and the existentialist view that human life is purposeless and thus, by implication, worthless. … but we have already noted its foundation in the quote by Burgess …who correctly notes that Christianity without geocentricity is just plain “silly.”

To understand the Reformers’ uneasiness about heliocentrism we start at Isaiah 66:1 where we are told that the earth is the Lord’s footstool:

Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest?

The theme of the earth as footstool is extended in Acts 7:49 (which is not a quote of Isaiah 66:1 but an elaboration): Heaven is my throne, and earth i

footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of  rest?

Note that the two places mentioned, heaven and earth, were the first things created (Genesis 1:1). Read More:

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