Robert Odell, Jr. likes to explore and examine the many mysteries of our world and universe.
Earth, the Center of It All
For thousands of years, mainstream humanity believed that the earth was the center of the universe. The world's populous adamantly believed that everything observed in the heavens revolved around the stationary, flat surface that they called home. Could it be that our ancient ancestors were right in their belief that earth is the center of it all?
Earth, a Speck in the Universe
Around 500 BC, Greek philosopher and mathematician Pythagoras challenged the flat earth theory. He postulated about a spherical Earth. Approximately two hundred years later, the Greek philosopher Aristotle ratified the round earth theory.
Fast forward to 240 BC, and we encounter a Greek mathematician named Eratosthenes. Eratosthenes came up with the exact circumference of the Earth, (40,030 km or 24,873.489 miles) 2200 years before satellites flew into space. He came up with that notion by measuring the difference in shadow lengths of sticks in his native city Alexandria and a city south of his called Syene. He then used mathematics to determine the circumference of a spherical earth.
The dominant twentieth-century philosophy suggests that the marvelous blue ball that is called planet earth is merely a speck in a universe filled with an overabundance of stars and galaxies. As a child, I would often wonder why God would choose such a small blue marble to work out his great purpose. From the 1900s onward, many astronomers stated that countless planets exist that can dwarf earth. So why didn't God choose a more prominent place to work out His plans? An examination of the different views of the universe might answer that question.
Heliocentrism, A Sun-Centered Universe
The idea of a sun-centered universe was published by Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus in 1543. This concept, known as heliocentrism, positions a motionless sun near the center of everything. Orbiting around the sun at similar speeds in circular paths are earth and other planets.
German astronomer and mathematician Johannes Kepler helped to promote the heliocentric model by fostering his laws of planetary motion. He was a crucial figure in the scientific revolution that occurred in the 17th-century.
English mathematician, physicist, astronomer, theologian, and author Sir Isaac Newton was also a key figure in the promotion of the heliocentric model of the earth and the universe. The masses celebrated Newton's laws of motion and universal gravitation as the most significant scientific views of all time. The theory of relativity later replaced them.
Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei was a physicist and engineer. Considered the "father of modern science," his influence in fostering the heliocentric view of earth was phenomenal.
German-born theoretical physicist Albert Einstein developed the theory of relativity. Einstein's theory strongly supports modern physics and scientific philosophy. In 1917 he used the theory of relativity to model the structure of the universe.
By removing the earth from the center of things, perhaps unknowingly, Nicolaus Copernicus, Johannes Kepler, Sir Isaac Newton, Galileo Galilei, and Albert Einstein reduced humanity to a bewildering existence void of meaning.
Geocentricism, an Earth Centered Universe
The geocentric theory maintains that our world is the center of the universe. The theory surmises that the sun, moon, and celestial bodies seen in the sky are rotating in a circular motion around a stationary land-base.
Geocentric theorists propose that Antarctica is not really a continent, but a tall ice wall located around the outer perimeter of a flat, disk shaped earth.
Things take on a different twist when our world is at the center of the universe. Geocentricsm points directly to the theocentric theory.
Theocentricism, a God Centered Universe
Theocentricism postulates a God-centered world view. The theocentric theory was dominant between 476 AD - 1492 when science was a part of theology. An orderly, stationary world at the center of everything points directly to intelligent design.
Intelligent design reveals the true God. With our dwelling as the center of the universe, God, man, and the place where man resides take on a vibrant and colorful theme. If our world is indeed the center of everything, that means that humans were intentionally put here for a singular purpose. The true potential of humanity would catapult beyond the wildest imagination of the most celebrated fiction author.
What Did God's People Think?
The ancient Israelites, a people who communed directly with God, did not think of the earth as being a globe. The people of Yahweh divided the world into Heaven, Earth, Sea, and the Underworld.
God's people felt that the sky was like an arch-shaped roof resting on foundations. Passages referred to as gates, and windows allowed rain from God to come through to the earth. "The fountains also of the deep and the windows of heaven were stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained..." Genisis 8:2 ASV. God's dwelling was in the highest heaven (Heaven of Heavens) above all, clothed in glory, majesty, and honor.
Pillars secured a disk-shaped world floating on the waters. "For the pillars of the earth are the Lord's, and he had set the world upon them" I Samuel 2:8 LXX. The earth was the universe of humanity. Man, in a physical state, could not comprehend what was beyond the boundaries of the world.
The Underworld (Sheol) was a dark, watery, permanent prison. Sheol was a physical place beneath the disk-shaped earth. Death was the only way to get to Sheol.
Contemporary Flat Earthers
The contemporary flat earth phenomenon originated with the English writer Samuel Rowbotham (1816–1884). He based his conclusions on a series of observations called The Bedford Level experiment. The experiments, conducted in 1838, were carried out along a six-mile (9.7 km) length of the Old Bedford River in the United Kingdom. Rowbotham concluded his studies by saying he had proven the earth to be flat.
After Rowbotham's death, Lady Elizabeth Blount established a Universal Zetetic Society. The society's objective was to use scientific investigation to confirm the Holy Scriptures. Operating well into the early part of the 20th century, the organization published a magazine called The Earth Not a Globe Review. Between 1901-1904 Lady Blount edited a flat Earth journal called Earth: a Monthly Magazine of Sense and Science.
Twentieth-Century Flat Earthers
Flat earthers of the twentieth-century and beyond have agreed about the notion of a flat surface. However, there are many different ideas about the layout of the plane. A common opinion is that the earth is a flat area surrounded by an ice wall. It is also commonly felt that the many satellite pictures depicting our world as a blue marble in space are fakes. Purportedly, the actual shape of our dwelling place is a secret kept from the masses.
Since 2009 Flat Earth Society leaders have reported a growth rate of 200 people per year. Some celebrities, including rapper-singer Bobby Ray Simmons, Jr. (B.o.B.), and former NBA player Shaquille O'Neale (Shaq), enthusiastically jumped onto the flat earth wagon.
Martin Kenny and Syncretism
One of the most intriguing and expanded views of the flat earth concept comes from Martin Kenny. Martin used syncretism to cement his theories.
Syncretism is the combining of different religions, cultures, or schools of thought. Like a miner panning for gold, Martin extracted precious nuggets of truth from a plethora of sources. He passionately studied everything he could get his hands on concerning flat earth. Kenny may have come up with the most accurate depiction of a flat plane ever. Kenny states, "It is my innerstanding that there are other lands, dimensions, and civilizations yet to be discovered across and within the plane of our earth. The whole earth consists of 4 concentric rings of land, each ring having its own sun and moon, which would be our wandering stars."
What Could Happen?
If the existence of a flat earth were an absolute and accepted fact, our society would be drastically different.
The big bang theory, which blows a Creator God out of the picture, would dwindle to a mere puff. Flat earth points directly to intelligent design. With a flat plane, everything would revolve around a world that has been strategically balanced and placed at the center of our universe. Earth would no longer be an insignificant, blue dwarf. Man's world would be the center of a phenomenal theocentric plan.
The geocentric model could be the answer to my childhood ponders. It reveals that God had chosen a prominent place to work out his plans from the very beginning.
Man himself would also be the center of a great plan. Man would have astounding potential. Imbued with embryonic power and potentiality, all of humanity, not just a few, would prosper tremendously. Everything would revolve around the earth, and humankind could rightfully claim dominion over it all.
"When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field..." Psalm 8:3-8 ESV
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Vision2020, M. K. (2018, December 1). Martin Kenny - UNIversal DISClosure. The Most Interesting Video On Earth - 2020 - Norb Czufis. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rN8TPxKNFUc&list=PLCz1s6o27R3y7haIOHbaG9EpxD0k8rvsv.
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© 2019 Robert Odell Jr