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Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Pasche's Die Bibel und Astronomie; Copernicanism Part 19c

[2018-06-28: added quote from Lutheran Confessions (Ap. VII-VIII);2018-03-02: added info on Calov below in red; 2017-07-14: added note in red below (Hafenreffer)]
      This continues from Part 19b, a series on Copernicanism and Geocentricity (see Intro & Contents in Part 1) in response to a letter from a young person ("Josh") who asked if I believed Geocentricity ... and did not ridicule me in his question.
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      Pasche's 2nd book in German was published in 1906.  I present a translation of the Table of Contents (w/ hyperlinks) and a sampling of comments of selected topics.  This book is available at Google Books:

Die Bibel und Astronomie – 1906 (Google Books; >> full text here <<)
                  First part. – The Bible.
1. The Bible teaches a certain astronomical plan - 7
2. The Bible always teaches only this astronomical system - 12
3. Scripture treats the apparent movements of the heavenly bodies as the actual movements of these bodies - 14
4. The much controversial word of faith of Joshua - 22
5. All Scripture is inspired by God  - 31
6. Scripture speaks rightly, as of spiritual, and also of natural things - 44
7. Scripture never speaks of the erroneous ideas of men - 53
8. The position of the old church - 61
9. The position of the Roman church - 70
10. The position of Luther - 80
11. The Lutheran Church from beginning to now - 100
12. The Rationalistic Accommodation Theory - 126
13. Every Christian must seriously take heed of false interpretations of the Scriptures - 143
14. You can not limp on either side - 153
15. Testimonies of truth - 158
                  Second part. – Astronomy.
1. History - 177
2. Copernican boastings - 202
3. Disbelief of naturalists - 214
4. Science has its limits - 230
5. Space is not infinite - 272
6. Changes in the heavens - 282
7. False conclusions - 295
8. Evil Cliffs - 339
9. Throndson - 386
10. Explanation of the calendar. Darkness until 1915 - 401

Here is a small sampling of the material covered:

1) p. 80: Martin Luther is quoted from his commentary on Genesis 1:14, St. Louis Edition vol 3, col. 40, paragraphs 39 & 40 (translation and highlighting by BackToLuther):
     39. So we see that it is everywhere from God's order, and no thing has its essence, nor governs by itself, but everything from the hand, counsels, and wills, that we should see God in all creatures, we open our eyes or ears , and so thank Him. And, when I have said above enough, we should not think that God had created the creatures, and afterwards went away, and let them act on their own accord; rather that He made them, and still make them, and keeps them by the Word. So the Word still drives the sun today and always from morning to evening. For it is not their own nature or power, but the Word by which they are created, that they go through the sky every day.
     40. Again, besides, God says that these two lights [Sun and Moon] are meant to be signs, tidings, years, and days; that is, that time could be counted and known. To do this, we have no thoughts from our own art, but everything is arranged by God. So, in these lights, both the day and the night are measured, that the sunshine is divided into twelve hours, and also teaches the year in the course of the sun, because every year it comes round, and with its course the seasons, summer and winter, with it.
For those that own Concordia Publishing House's Luther's Works, American Edition, volume 1, we are out of luck to find the above quote.  This is because the editors chose another series of lectures by Luther than the one used in the St. Louis Edition.  Nevertheless, even the American Edition teaches much the same, e.g. page 44 on Gen. 1:14:
The following "and for days" denotes the natural day, when the sun revolves around the earth. – Martin Luther
How many quotes does it take to convince us that Martin Luther taught just what the Holy Scriptures teach?

2) p. 100 ff.: Pasche gives a long list of Lutheran theologians who taught against the error of Copernicanism.  These include:
This list was partly compiled from Director J.C.W. Lindemann's article in Evangelisch-Lutherisches Schulblatt vol. 8, p. 112 "Kopernicus und die lutherischen Theologen".  It is only slightly incomplete as he overlooked Carl Gottlob Hofmann and Pastor C.A.T. Selle, one of the charter members of the old (German) Missouri Synod.
[2017-07-13: The Lutheran Hafenreffer should be added to this listing.  Walther quoted a statement made about him in his Baier-Walther Compendium (II, p. 86) the following (roughly translated):
Acta Eruditorum: "The theologian Hafenreffer suggested to his friend Kepler to develop a system that the earth moved as a hypothesis to save the phenomena as useful to astronomers, and abstain from reconciling it with the Bible." (Vol. anni 1719., p. 5-6)] 
[2018--3-02: On Calov, Robert Preus reported in his Theology of Post-Reformation Lutheranism, vol. 1, p. 399: “On the basis of such passages as Ps. 104:5; Eccl. 1:4; Ps. 19:6-7; 74:16; 104:19; and Jer. 31:35 Calov maintained that Scripture teaches that the earth does not move in an orbit but remains in a fixed position. Calov was fully aware of the theories of Copernicus and Kepler, which “appeared more probable to the reasonings in the physical sciences and mathematics,” but on this particular issue he is convinced that Scripture has decided the issue.”]
[2018-06-28: From the Lutheran Confessions, Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article VII-VIII: Of the Church,  § 50 (Triglotta, p. 245, “For as  fixed movements of the heavenly bodies are truly God's ordinances and these are preserved by God,…”, Tappert, p. 178 translates as "fixed movement of the stars" or the German text says (translated): "For as heaven, earth, sun, moon and stars are of God's order and are preserved by God,..."; Latin text translated here: siderum = stars or "celestial bodies".

3) In the second part of the book, there is much history of science.  Any student of this topic would do well to include Pasche's books in their study.  He was quite resourceful in digging out so much information, even accessing the Library of Congress! (p. 361)  It amazes me how he could have compiled so much information before our age of the Internet!  Among the many scientists he covers are Kepler, Tycho Brahe, Galileo, Newton, and many that were lesser known.  Many of these are also covered by Dr. Gerhardus Bouw, but perhaps both authors missed some information covered by the other.  But what strikes one is a statement he quotes regarding Gravitation (p. 198):
"The wisest naturalist of today will assure you that he knows absolutely nothing about the how of gravitation."
This statement was made before Einstein's theories were put forth. Yet it still striking how long this took since Newton's Law of Universal Gravitation and how little is really understood about the nature of Gravity.  Even the Wikipedia article on Gravity openly states:
"There are some observations that are not adequately accounted for, which may point to the need for better theories of gravity or perhaps be explained in other ways."
4) It should be noted that Pasche covers those who embraced a "flat earth" or the Zetetic Society on pages 380-386.  Suffice to say that Pasche, as well as Dr. Bouw, refutes both their science and their Scriptural basis.
Pastor and Mrs. F.E. Pasche
in later years.
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      Further comments and analysis of this book are beyond the scope of this blog.  Pastor Pasche followed up with his English pamphlet in 1915 Fifty Reasons: Copernicus or the Bible but that ended his publications on this topic.  My mother had a copy of his later 1929 devotional book Daily Bread and apparently treasured it.  I have benefited greatly from studying this old (German) Missouri Synod pastor's books, but I still value C.F.W. Walther's judgment more in one certain area.  Walther made a striking statement in 1880 regarding Copernicus's own Christian faith that differed from Pasche's judgment.  In the next Part 26a (chronological sequence), I cover this. (Following the numerical sequence, the next Part 20 presents additional quotes from Luther and Walther).