The astronomical shift from geocentrism to heliocentrism is today regarded as part of a greater philosophical shift – the rejection of special creation as taught by the Bible. But this reveals the ongoing incapacity of humanity to perceive the nature of what God considers to be truly “central.”
It must first be noted that geocentrism was a pagan teaching. Developed by Aristotle and expanded by Ptolemy, it was this pagan idea which became the “majority opinion” under the Roman Church, supposedly supported by a few Bible verses which employ “the language of appearance.”1For more discussion, see Russell Grigg, The Galileo Twist.
However, if we take the account in Genesis 1 as it was intended, that is, as history, there were three literal days during which the earth was indeed the centre of everything, since nothing else existed.
Day 1: Light and Darkness
Day 4: Governing Lights
Day 7: Intended Rest & Rule
When the sun, moon and stars were created on Day 4, the earth not only ceased to be alone, it also began its orbit around the sun. The earth was the centre of God’s attention, but it was not the fixed centre of the solar system, nor even of the galaxy. It has been noted that the position of the earth within the solar system provides it with optimum conditions to support life, and the same goes for its position within the galaxy. But what does the fact of the earth’s orbit teach us typologically?
Since the sequence of the Creation Week is found in the furnitures of the Tabernacle, those symbolic elements give us a clue. They highlight the pattern of Creation as a hierarchy, a cruciform chain of authority. (In case you are familiar with the pattern of biblical Covenants, I have included those subheadings. If not, you can read about it here.)
Day 1: Ark of the Covenant
Day 2: Veil
Day 3: Bronze Altar & Golden Table
Day 4: Lampstand
Day 5: Incense Altar
Day 6: Mediators: Laver, Sacrifices & High Priest
Day 7: Shekinah
- The sequence begins with the ultimate authority, the light of heaven, the Law of Moses in the Ark of the Testimony, in the Most Holy Place.
- The court of heaven is hidden behind the Veil.
- It then moves in the Holy Place, where the Golden Table presents the “Firstfruits” of the Promised Land, which is pictured by the four cornered Bronze Altar. This image of priestly obedience is the first result of the commandments, a preliminary “Filling.”
- Once the holiness of the land (or earth) is judged by its fruits, new rulers are established. They are not only subordinate to the initial light of the Law (corresponding to the light of heaven on Day 1), but they are plural, representing the kings who govern under God as His legal representatives. The seven lights of the Lampstand picture the light of the sun, the moon, and the five moving “stars,” the planets which can be observed with the naked eye.
- The fragrant, silver/rainbow clouds of the Incense Altar represent the hosts of heaven and sea, swarms which prefigure the role of the angels above and the nations of the world below.
- Next, more rulers are created, those who mediate between heaven and earth, standing upon the “spring” of Eden which waters the earth. The beasts picture the angelic guardians of God’s throne, and the man and woman image the relationship between heaven and earth. Of course, the slaying of animals to cover the naked man and woman are the foundation for Israel’s later ministry in the Aaronic priesthood, both animals and priests being washed with water from the Laver.
- If Adam images God physically (Genesis 1), socially (Genesis 2) and ethically (Genesis 3), he will inherit the promises given to him, and enter into the rest and rule of dominion. Thus, the seventh and final step is Adam as the head of mankind, filled with the glory of God. This is the meaning of the Shekinah which filled the Tabernacle of Moses and the Temple of Solomon at their completion (Exodus 40:34-38).
Adam was to be a human Tabernacle, and Genesis 2:7, which describes the creation of Adam, follows the same sevenfold pattern2For more discussion, see “The Spirit of Adam” in Inquiétude: Essays for a People without Eyes. Adam was thus a microcosm of all Creation. Once the Tabernacle was constructed, it was filled with the glory of God. This fiery cloud, God’s “chariot throne,” guided them through the wilderness. Adam was intended to be this guide, the one in whom was a life which would be the light of men (John 1:4), serving as the throne of God on earth.
This means that the three pivotal points of the pattern all involve light of some kind, working from God’s spiritual throne, via created natural thrones to Man’s supernatural throne:
Alone, the earth submitted to uncreated light for three days, and its obedience bore fruit. Then, as the chosen and fruitful one among many, the earth submitted to the constraints of the created lights for three days, at the end of which it bore a better kind of fruit bearer, Adam, who was intended to be a tree of righteousness. From Day 7, depending upon hiss faithfulness on Day 6, the obedient earth and all that was in it would submit to Adam as their ruler. Filled with the Uncreated Spirit, heaven and earth united in him, he would take the good world and “disciple” it from glory to glory, from nature to culture, from Garden-Sanctuary to city of God, following the same pattern established by the Lord. Due to Adam’s sin against God above, the earth below rebels against Adam.
What does this entail for the “spiritual geocentricism” of the earth in the Bible? Simply, that the source of the earth’s glory is its submission. The Son is the glorious focus, the centre of the glory of heaven, because of His humility before the Father. The earth, as the centre of God’s affection in creation, is also self-effacing. In its submission, as was intended in the submission of Adam, is its fruitfulness and thus its glory.
One final point. The description of the greater light and lesser light, sun and moon, in Genesis 1, is often ridiculed because they are presented as apparent equals, in size if not in luminosity. The sun (as bridegroom, Psalm 19:5) rules the day and sustains all life, but the moon is bridal, governing the tides and the cycles of fertility (in Hebrew, the word “month” is actually “moon”). To the naked eye, the sun and the moon are of equal proportions, making for perfect solar eclipses, hardly an accident of nature. Yet the moon revolves around the earth as the earth revolves around the sun. What is the lesson here? That the moon is “stoicheic,” like the lunar feasts of Old Covenant Israel. It serves as a governor, a teacher, but is ultimately only a servant, one who cannot inherit, and is thus revealed as subordinate to the earth once the child reaches maturity.
I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything, but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. (Galatians 4:1-7)
And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. (Revelation 12:1)
This wonderful “planetary deference” is a profound lesson in harmony for masters, servants, men, women and children (Ephesians 5:1-6:9) concerning the fundamental character of our God. We must all be constrained, “gripped” in the orbit of the love of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:14). The “pale blue dot” which serves as our home is the greatest treasure because it makes itself the least.3For an application of the Bible Matrix to the question of the existence of life on other planets, see “Barren Worlds” in Inquiétude.
Although we are still at enmity with the earth (Genesis 3:17-18), reflected in the enmity between Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:16), the saints are longer at enmity with heaven. We gather around bread and wine, the firstfruits of the land, presented to us as flesh and blood, the firstfruits of the womb, clothed in the righteousness of the firstborn from the dead. And, like Hannah, the quiet earth continues to groan in expectation of the revelation of the sons of God (Romans 8:18-23).
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References [ + ]
|1.||↑||For more discussion, see Russell Grigg, The Galileo Twist.|
|2.||↑||For more discussion, see “The Spirit of Adam” in Inquiétude: Essays for a People without Eyes.|
|3.||↑||For an application of the Bible Matrix to the question of the existence of life on other planets, see “Barren Worlds” in Inquiétude.|