Now I move back to our present day. One of the questions that racked my scientific mind as I grappled against Copernicanism: that the successes of the Space Program proved that geocentricity was problematic. But in one of Gerardus Bouw’s books, he makes the point that all the equations of the space program are identical whether geocentric or heliocentric. This is inadvertently somewhat confirmed when one discovers in Encyclopedia Britannica that the formulas to predict eclipses are based on a fixed earth (“For this purpose it is convenient first to consider Earth as fixed”). —
|Wernher von Braun|
"Father of Rocket Science"
"I am quite confident that the great majority of Church leaders know in their hearts that this united front can best be presented by a common faith of all Christians in the basic teachings of Jesus Christ. But it means learning to live with the findings of Copernicus, of Galileo, of Darwin."
Some people seem to have serious difficulties tying together certain Biblical passages with the reality of science, such as the story of creation given by Genesis, of the account of Joshua’s poetic appeal for the Sun to stand still while the Israelites avenged themselves over their enemies. The interpretation of Biblical passages has been the subject of argument between wiser men than myself for centuries. My own views on the delicate topic are that it helps to bridge the gap between the Bible and modern scientific thought if we remember that the Bible deals with man as well as God, and most of the people of whom the Bible speaks suffered from the same human frailties that we experience today.And later he says:
In my opinion, (and let me emphasize here that I fully respect and honor different views) insistence on an inflexible type of religion, holding to a literal interpretation of every word of the Bible as ultimate truth will tragically delay reconciling some of the Biblical references to scientific interpretations. But I believe, with all my heart, that religion, like science, is evolutionary, growing and changing in the light of further revelations by God. While the Bible is the best preserved account that we have of the revelations of God’s nature and love, we should recognize that particularly the early books, such as Genesis, were not written by scientific observers and witnesses, but by scribes who recorded ancient shepherd songs and tales because of their allegorical beauty.
Understanding the nature of the creation provides a substantive basis for the faith by which we attempt to know the nature of the Creator.
So we see that von Braun's position on the Bible largely follows what modern theology teaches -- that the Joshua account is "poetic", the Bible is from human authors not always divinely inspired, and that "a literal interpretation of every word of the Bible as ultimate truth will tragically delay reconciling some of the Biblical references to scientific interpretations".
Werner von Braun is largely an enigma to the world, straddling the fence in many ways. I will leave this account of von Braun with a picture of his gravestone (Find-A-Grave), which most certainly is not advertised by NASA or the NCSE:
|The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.|
But in reading of dozens of modern day well-known scientists, one despairs of finding almost any that claim Christianity;[He who is not for me is against me. Luke 11:23] ... with the possible exceptions of Werner Heisenberg, Owen Gingrich, John Polkinghorne, and... Wernher von Braun. Of these, I have not found any who would defend against Copernicanism and for the Bible. Again, reading of the well-known scientists of the twentieth century up to our time is largely an exercise in reading of self-avowed atheists/agnostics or Jews, not withstanding names such as the "Trinity Test" or the "God particle". Can the field of "science" be so utterly barren of faith?
The Saviour said
Matthew 7:21 – Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.The modern-day scientists who claim Christianity are not the ones to be followed in their weakness, as our Saviour's words warn us. Indeed, my faith is so weak that I look only to those who
- give the Bible its full authority... as the very Word of God,
- don't accommodate the Bible to "science",
- are proponents of what Andrew Dickson White called "an ancient belief based upon text-worship ... in that branch of Protestantism which claims special enlightenment."
And can you believe it?... I still have a "love" for true science through all of this. — In the next Part 16a, I go back to the old (German) Missouri Synod in 1898 as it grappled with... Copernicanism.