Tuesday, September 27, 2016

John Owen on the Necessity of Going Beyond the "Words" of Scripture to Express Its "Meaning"

In the declaration, then, of this doctrine unto the edification of the church, there is contained a farther explanation of the things before asserted, as proposed directly and in themselves as the object of our faith, — namely, how God is one, in respect of his nature, substance, essence, Godhead, or divine being; how, being Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, he subsists in these three distinct persons or hypostases; and what are their mutual respects to each other, by which, as their peculiar properties, giving them the manner of their subsistence, they are distinguished one from another; with sundry other 379things of the like necessary consequence unto the revelation mentioned. And herein, as in the application of all other divine truths and mysteries whatever, yea, of all moral commanded duties, use is to be made of such words and expressions as, it may be, are not literally and formally contained in the Scripture; but only are, unto our conceptions and apprehensions, expository of what is so contained. And to deny the liberty, yea, the necessity hereof, is to deny all interpretation of the Scripture, — all endeavours to express the sense of the words of it unto the understandings of one another; which is, in a word, to render the Scripture itself altogether useless. For if it be unlawful for me to speak or write what I conceive to be the sense of the words of the Scripture, and the nature of the thing signified and expressed by them, it is unlawful for me, also, to think or conceive in my mind what is the sense of the words or nature of the things; which to say, is to make brutes of ourselves, and to frustrate the whole design of God in giving unto us the great privilege of his word.

- John Owen, Brief Declaration and Vindication of The Doctrine of the Trinity [source]

More Quotations About the Trinity HERE

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Moreland and Craig on the Two Minds View of the Incarnation

Some Christian philosophers, such as Thomas Morris, have postulated an independent conscious life for the incarnate Logos in addition to the conscious life of Jesus of Nazareth, what Morris calls a “
two minds” view of the Incarnation. He provides a number of intriguing analogies in which asymmetrical accessing relations exist between a subsystem and an encompassing system, such that the overarching system can access information acquired through the subsystem but not vice versa. He gives a psychological analogy of dreams in which the sleeper is himself a person in the dream, and yet the sleeper has an awareness that everything that he is experiencing as reality is in fact merely a dream.
Morris proposes that the conscious mind of Jesus of Nazareth be conceived as a subsystem of a wider mind which is the mind of the Logos. Such an understanding of the consciousness of the Logos stands in the tradition of Reformed theologians like Zwingli, who held that the Logos continued to operate outside the body of Jesus of Nazareth. The main difficulty of this view is that it threatens to lapse into Nestorianism, since it is very difficult to see why two self-conscious minds would not constitute two persons.
If the model here proposed makes sense, then it serves to show that the classic doctrine of the Incarnation of Christ is coherent and plausible. It also serves religiously to elicit praise to God for his self-emptying act of humiliation in taking on our human condition with all its struggles and limitations for our sakes and for our salvation.
-J.P. Moreland and William Lane Craig in chapter 30 of their book The Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview


Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Quotes in Favor of Geocentrism

The following are quotes I've copied from Robert Sungenis' documentary Journey to the Center of the Universe. I don't know how accurate these quotations are; but for myself I've tried to meticulously reproduce them here (correcting only obvious typos like the misspelling of Friedrich Nietzsche's first name as "Fredrich"). At the very least the following quotes demonstrate that because the General Theory of Relativity requires all motion to be relative, that therefore relative geocentrism is a perfectly acceptable scientific position to hold. The controversial position is that of absolute Geocentrism (Geocentrism with a captical "G", if you will). For a defense of this latter position, I highly recommend Robert Sungenis' books and documentaries in its defense. Though, I myself don't take a dogmatic stand in favor of absolute Geocentrism (as intriguing as the case may be). I'll be emphasizing some quotations using bold and/or colored text.

"In order for the Earth to be at rest in the center of the system of the sun, planets, and comets, there is required both universal gravity and another force in addition that acts on all bodies equally according to the quantity of matter in each of them and is equal and opposite to the accelerative gravity with which the Earth tends to the sun...And thus celestial bodies can move around the Earth at rest, as in the Tychonic system."- Physicist, Isaac Newton

"I have come to believe that the motion of the Earth cannot be detected by any optical experiment."- Physicist, Albert Einstein

"...to the question whether or not the motion of the Earth in space can be made perceptible in terrestrial experiments. We have already remarked...that all attempts of this nature led to a negative result. Before the theory of relativity was put forward, it was difficult to become reconciled to this negative result."- Physicist, Albert Einstein

"Briefly, everything occurs as if the Earth were at rest..."- Physicist, Henrick Lorentz

"There was just one alternative; the earth's true velocity through space might happen to have been nil."- Physicist, Arthur Eddington

"The failure of the many attempts to measure terrestrially any effects of the earth's motion..."- Physicist, Wolfgang Pauli

"We do not have and cannot have any means of discovering whether or not we are carried along in a uniform motion of translation."- Physicist, Henri Poincaré

"A great deal of research has been carried out concerning the influence of the Earth's movement. The results were always negative."- Physicist, Henri Poincaré

"This conclusion directly contradicts the explanation...which presupposes that the Earth moves."- Physicist, Albert Michelson

"The data [of Michelson-Morley] were almost unbelievable...There was only one other possible conclusion to draw — that the Earth was at rest."- Physicist, Bernard Jaffe

"We can't feel our motion through space, nor has any physical experiment ever proved that the Earth actually is in motion."- Historian, Lincoln Barnett

"Thus, even now, three and a half centuries after Galileo...it is still remarkably difficult to say categorically whether the earth moves..."- Physicist, Julian B. Barbour

"There is no planetary observation by which we on Earth can prove that the Earth is moving in an orbit around the sun."- Physicist, I. Bernard Cohen

"Thus, failure [of Michelson-Morley] to observe different speeds of light at different times of the year suggested that the Earth must be 'at rest'...It was therefore the 'preferred' frame for measuring absolute motion in space. Yet we have known since Galileo that the Earth is not the center of the universe. Why should it be at rest in space?"- Physicist, Adolph Baker

"...The easiest explanation was that the earth was fixed in the ether and that everything else in the universe moved with respect to the earth and the ether...Such an idea was not considered seriously, since it would mean in effect that our earth occupied the omnipotent position in the universe, with all the other heavenly bodies paying homage by moving around it."- Physicist, James Coleman

"In the effort to explain the Michelson-Morley experiment...the thought was advanced that the Earth might be stationary...Such an idea was not considered seriously, since it would mean in effect that our Earth occupied the omnipotent position in the universe, with all the other heavenly bodies paying homage by revolving around it."- Physicist, Arthur S. Otis
[The second part of the above quote seems to be a repetition of the second part of the previous quote. Yet they are said to be by two different physicists. Either one of the quotes are in error (or misattributed), or they are from a work that was written by both Coleman and Otis. At Sungenis' website the attribution is to Otis [ (Arthur S. Otis, Light Velocity and Relativity, p. 58.)] http://galileowaswrong.com/critique-of-alec-macandrew-ph-d-topic-geocentrism/  . Whereas Sungenis attributes it to Coleman in one his comments at a blog on Discover magazine's website  [ (James A. Coleman, Relativity for the Layman, p. 37).]     http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2010/09/14/geocentrism-seriously/#.V1e_1OTqORY]

"The Michelson-Morley experiment confronted scientists with an embarrassing alternative. On the one hand they could scrap the ether theory which had explained so many things about electricity, magnetism, and light. Or if they insisted on retaining the ether they had to abandon the still more venerable Copernican theory that the earth is in motion. To many physicists it seemed almost easier to believe that the earth stood still than that waves - light waves, electromagnetic waves - could exist without a medium to sustain them. It was a serious dilemma and one that split scientific thought for a quarter century. Many new hypotheses were advanced and rejected. The experiment was tried again by Morley and by others, with the same conclusion; the apparent velocity of the earth through the ether was zero."- Historian, Lincoln Barnett

"So which is real, the Ptolemaic or Copernican system? Although it is not uncommon for people to say that Copernicus proved Ptolemy wrong, that is not true...one can use either picture as a model of the universe, for our observations of the heavens can be explained by assuming either the earth or the sun to be at rest."- Physicist, Stephen Hawking

"If we were to adopt a frame of reference like Tycho's in which the Earth is at rest, then the distant galaxies would seem to be executing circular turns once a year, and in general relativity this enormous motion would create forces akin to gravitation, which would act on the Sun and planets and give them the motions of the Tychonic theory."- Physicist, Steven Weinberg

"Let it be understood at the outset that it makes no difference, from the point of view of describing planetary motion, whether we take the Earth or the Sun as the center of the solar system. Since the issue is one of relative motion only, there are infinitely many exactly equivalent descriptions referred to different centers - in principle any point will do, the Moon, Jupiter...So the passions loosed on the world by the publication of Copernicus' book, De revolutionibus orbium caelestium libri VI, were logically irrelevant..."- Astronomer, Fred Hoyle

"...we can take either the Earth or the Sun, or any other point for that matter, as the center of the solar system. This is certainly so for the purely kinematical problem of describing the planetary motions. It is also possible to take any point as the center even in dynamics, although recognition of this freedom of choice had to await the present century."- Astronomer, Fred Hoyle

"It is possible to describe the entire universe using any chosen point as the unmoving center - the Earth will do very well - and no one can prove that choice is wrong....Scientists today prefer to picture everything in motion and nothing as being the center. If you haven't given much thought to the implications of twentieth-century science, you may be chagrined...to realize that because of the concept of relative motion, no one can prove that the Earth moves."- Kitty Ferguson, Science Writer

"...Thus we may return to Ptolemy's point of view of a 'motionless Earth' This would mean that we use a system of reference rigidly fixed to the Earth in which all stars are performing a rotational motion with the same angular velocity around the Earth's axis...one has to show that the transformed metric can be regarded as produced according to Einstein's field equations, by distant rotating masses. This has been done by Thirring. He calculated a field due to a rotating, hollow, thick-walled sphere and proved that inside the cavity it behaved as though there were centrifugal and other inertial forces usually attributed to absolute space. Thus from Einstein's point of view, Ptolemy and Copernicus are equally right. What point of view is chosen is a matter of expediency."- Physicist, Max Born

"I can construct for you a spherically symmetrical universe with Earth at its center, and you cannot disprove it based on observations. You can only exclude it on philosophical grounds. In my view there is absolutely nothing wrong in that. What I want to bring into the open is the fact that we are using philosophical criteria in choosing our models. A lot of cosmology tries to hide that."- Physicist, George F. R. Ellis

"If it [earth] isn't moving relative to the ether, then earth alone among the cosmos is at rest relative to the ether. Now that may be an absurd possibility but maybe it's true. I think you can see that this not going to be very philosophically satisfying, and it isn't satisfying physically either, but it violates the Copernican Principle that the earth isn't special. It is particularly absurd in light of what we know from modern cosmology namely that there are places in the universe, distant galaxies in particular, that are moving away from us at speeds very close to the speed of light. It's absurd to imagine that everything in the universe is pinned to earth when there are such a wide range of speeds relative to earth throughout the universe, but it suffices to rule it out on this philosophical ground."- Physicist, Richard Wolfson

"The ancient argument over whether the Earth rotates or the heavens revolve around it (as Aristotle taught) is seen to be no more than an argument over the simplest choice of a frame of reference. Obviously, the most convenient choice is the universe....Nothing except inconvenience prevents us from choosing the Earth as a fixed frame of reference....If we choose to make the Earth our fixed frame of reference, we do not even do violence to everyday speech. We say that the sun rises in the morning, sets in the evening; the Big Dipper revolves around the North Star. Which point of view is "correct"? Do the heavens revolve or does the Earth rotate. The question is meaningless."- Physicist, Martin Gardner

the Earth-centered system "...is in reality absolutely identical with the system of Copernicus and all computation of the places of the planets are the same for the two systems."- Astronomer, J. L. E. Dryer

"...it is very important to acknowledge that the Copernican theory offers a very exact calculation of the apparent movements of the planets...even though it must be conceded that, from the modern standpoint practically identical results could be obtained by means of a somewhat revised Ptolemaic system....It makes no sense, accordingly, to speak of a difference in truth between Copernicus and Ptolemy: both conceptions are equally permissible descriptions. What has been considered as the greatest discovery of occidental wisdom, as opposed to that of antiquity, is questioned as to its truth value."- Physicist, Hans Reichenbach

"...I tell my classes that had Galileo confronted the Church in Einstein's day, he would have lost the argument for better reasons. You may use my name if you wish."- Mathematician, Carl E. Wulfman

"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 observable phenomena will be exactly the same. This shows a defect in Newtonian dynamics, since an empirical science ought not to contain a metaphysical assumption, which can never be proved or disproved by observation."- Physicist, Dennis Sciama

"Before Copernicus, people thought that the Earth stood still and that the heavens revolved about it once a day. Copernicus taught that 'really' the Earth revolves once a day, and the daily rotation of the sun and stars is only 'apparent.' Galileo and Newton endorsed this view, and many things were thought to prove it - for example, the flattening of the Earth at the poles, and the fact that bodies are heavier there than at the equator. But in the modern theory the question between Copernicus and his predecessors is merely one of convenience; all motion is relative, and there is no difference between the two statements: 'the earth rotates once a day' and 'the heavens revolve about the Earth once a day.' The two mean exactly the same thing, just as it means the same thing if I say that a certain length is six feet or two yards. Astronomy is easier if we take the sun as fixed than if we take the Earth, just as accounts are easier in decimal coinage. But to say more for Copernicus is to assume absolute motion, which is a fiction. All motion is relative, and it is a mere convention to take one body as at rest. All such conventions are equally legitimate, though not all are equally convenient."- Philosopher, Bertrand Russell

"There is no planetary observation by which we on Earth can prove that the Earth is moving in an orbit around the sun. Thus all Galileo's discoveries with the telescope can be accommodated to the system invented by Tycho Brahe just before Galileo began his observations of the heavens. In this Tychonic system, the planets...move in orbits around the sun, while the sun moves in an orbit around the Earth in a year. Furthermore, the daily rotation of the heavens is communicated to the sun and planets, so that the Earth itself neither rotates nor revolves in an orbit."- Physicist, I. Bernard Cohen

"Descartes is, however, doubly interesting to us in the discussion of Relativity, for at one time when the Inquisition was becoming uneasy about his scientific researches, he gave them a reply that satisfied them, or perhaps he merely gained time, which was long, while they were trying to understand its meaning. He declared that the sun went around the Earth, and that when he said that the Earth revolved round the sun that was merely another manner of expressing the same occurrence. I met with this saying first from Henri Poincaré, and I thought then that it was a witty, epigrammatic way of compelling thought to the question; but on reflection I saw that it was a statement of actual fact. The movements of the two bodies are relative one to the other, and it is a matter of choice as to which we take as our place of observation."- Physicist, Arthur Lynch

"Tycho Brahe proposed a dualistic scheme, with the Sun going around the Earth but with all other planets going around the Sun, and in making this proposal he thought he was offering something radically different from Copernicus. And in rejecting Tycho's scheme, Kepler obviously thought so too. Yet in principle there is no difference."- Astronomer, Fred Hoyle

"We know now that the difference between a heliocentric and a geocentric theory is one of motions only, and that such a difference has no physical significance, [the Ptolemaic and Copernican views], when improved by adding terms involving the square and higher powers of the eccentricities of the planetary orbits, are physically equivalent to one another."- Astronomer, Fred Hoyle

"What happened when the experiment was done in 1887? There was never, never, in any orientation at any time of year, any shift in the interference pattern; none; no shift; no fringe shift; nothing. What's the implication? Here was an experiment that was done to measure the speed of the earth's motion through the ether. This was an experiment that was ten times more sensitive than it needed to be. It could have detected speeds as low as two miles a second instead of the known 2mps that the earth as in its orbital motion around the sun. It didn't detect it. What's the conclusion from the Michelson-Morley experiment? The implications is that the earth is not moving..."- Physicist, Richard Wolfson

"Michelson and Morley found shifts in the interference fringes, but they were very much smaller than the size of the effect expected from the known orbital motion of the Earth."- Physicist, John D. Norton

"This "null" result was one of the great puzzles of physics at the end of the nineteenth century. One possibility was that...v would be zero and no fringe shift would be expected. But this implies that the earth is somehow a preferred object; only with respect to the earth would the speed of light be c as predicted by Maxwell's equations. This is tantamount to assuming that the earth is the central body of the universe."- Physicist, Douglas C. Giancoli

"So if Earth is at rest relative to the ether, then it alone is at rest. That makes us pretty special...Do you really want to return to parochial, pre-Copernican ideas? Do you really think you and your planet are so special that, in all the rich vastness of the Universe, you alone can claim to be 'at rest.'"- Physicist, Richard Wolfson

"...all this evidence that the universe looks the same whichever direction we look might seem to suggest there is something special about our place in the universe. In particular, it might seem that if we observe all other galaxies to be moving away from us, then we must be at the center of the universe...There is, however, an alternative explanation: the universe might look the same in every direction as seen from any other galaxy, too. This, as we have seen, was Friedmann's second assumption. We have no scientific evidence for, or against, this assumption. We believe it only on grounds of modesty: it would be most remarkable if the universe looked the same in every direction around us, but not around other points in the universe."- Physicist, Stephen Hawking

"But when you look at CMB map, you also see that the structure that is observed, is in fact, in a weird way, correlated with the plane of the earth around the sun. Is this Copernicus coming back to haunt us? That's crazy. We're looking out at the whole universe.....That would say we are truly the center of the universe."- Physicist, Lawrence Krauss

"I have to confess that I was bothered by the fact that the Axis of Evil seemed linked to a special direction in our solar system......But now we have completely independent data......This is a hint of something really big."- Astrophysicist, Max Tegmark, MIT, The Principle

"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."- Astrophysicist, Yetendra P. Varshni

"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 at the center of a spherically symmetric distribution of gamma-ray-burst sources, and this distribution has an outer edge."- Astrophysicist, Jonathan I. Katz

"Why is the solar system cosmically aligned?"- Astrophysicist, Dragan Huterer

"The apparent alignment in the cosmic microwave background in one particular direction through space is called 'evil' because it undermines our ideas about the standard cosmological model....the Copernican Principle seems to be in jeopardy."- Astrophysicist, Ashok K. Singal

"Looking into this anomaly more deeply we will find that it remains robust throughout all seven years of published WMAP data, and furthermore that it is very difficult to explain within the context of the canonical Inflationary Lambda Cold Dark Matter of cosmology [the Big Bang]....the observations disagree markedly with the predictions of the theory."- Astrophysicists, Glenn D. Starkman, Craig J. Copi, Dragan Huterer, Dominik Schwarz

"One of the most surprising findings is that the fluctuations in the cosmic microwave radiation temperatures at large angular scales do not match those predicted by the standard [Big Bang] model."- The European Space Agency, Planck Probe, 2013

"It is both amusing and instructive to speculate on what might have happened if such an experiment could have been performed in the sixteenth or seventeenth centuries when men were debating the rival merits of the Copernican and Ptolemaic systems. The result would surely have been interpreted as conclusive evidence for the immobility of the Earth, and therefore as a triumphant vindication of the Ptolemaic system and irrefutable falsification of the Copernican hypothesis."- Physicist, G. J. Whitrow

"It will be proper to discuss this, in order that we may know whether the universe revolves and the Earth stands still, or the universe stands still and the Earth rotates. For there have been those who asserted that...risings and settings do not occur by virtue of the motion of the heaven, but that we ourselves rise and set. The subject is worthy of consideration...whether the abode allotted to us is the most slowly or the most quickly moving, whether God moves everything around us or ourselves instead."- Roman historian, Seneca

"But among all the discoveries and corrections probably none has resulted in a deeper influence on the human spirit than the doctrine of Copernicus...Possibly mankind has never been demanded to do more, for considering all that went up in smoke as a result of realizing this change: a second Paradise, a world of innocence, poetry and piety: the witness of the senses, the conviction of a poetical and religious faith. No wonder his contemporaries did not wish to let all this go and offered every possible resistance to a freedom of view and greatness of thought so far unknown indeed not even dreamed of."- Poet, Johann von Goethe

"The Copernican revolution outshines everything since the rise of Christianity and reduces the Renaissance and Reformation to the rank of mere episodes, mere internal displacements, within the system of medieval Christendom. Since it changed the character of men's habitual mental operations even in the conduct of the non-material sciences, while transforming the whole diagram of the physical universe and the very texture of human life itself, it looms so large as the real origin both of the modern world and of the modern mentality, that our customary periodisation of European history has become an anachronism and an encumbrance."- Historian, Herbert Butterfield

"Where has God gone?" he cried. "I shall tell you. We have killed him - you and I. We are his murderers. But how have we done this? How were we able to drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the entire horizon? What did we do when we unchained the Earth from its sun? Whither is it moving now? Whither are we moving now? Away from all suns? Are we not perpetually falling? Backward, sideward, forward, in all directions? Is there any up or down left? Are we not straying as through an infinite nothing? Do we not feel the breath of empty space? Has it not become colder? Is it not more and more night coming on all the time? Must not lanterns be lit in the morning? Do we not hear anything yet of the noise of the gravediggers who are burying God? Do we not smell anything yet of God's decomposition? Gods, too, decompose. God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we, murderers of all murderers, console ourselves?"- Philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche

"Christianity is dead and rotting since Galileo cut its throat."- Slote, The Winds of War

"If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote of me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?"- Jesus Christ, Gospel of John, 5:46-47