Thursday, May 17, 2007

in defense of geocentrism

Food for thought, from Vladimir Lossky's The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church (pp. 105-106 in the English edition):
In the face of the vision of the universe which the human race has gained since the period of the renaissance, in which the earth is represented as an atom lost in infinite space amid innumerable other worlds, there is no need for theology to change anything whatever in the narrative of Genesis; any more than it is its business to be concerned over the question of the salvation of the inhabitants of Mars. Revelation remains for theology essentially geocentric, for it is addressed to men and confers upon them the truth as it is relative to their salvation under the conditions which belong to the reality of life on earth. . . .

It is the mystery of our salvation that is revealed to us by the Church, and not the secrets of the universe in general which, quite possibly, does not stand in need of salvation; this is the reason why the cosmology of revelation is necessarily geocentric. It also enables us to see why copernican cosmology, from a psychological or rather spiritual point of view, corresponds to a state of religious dispersion or off-centeredness, a relaxation of the soteriological attitude, such as is found in the gnostics or the occult religions. The spirit of the insatiable thirst for knowledge, the restless spirit of Faust, turning to the cosmos breaks through the constricting limits of the heavenly spheres to launch out into infinite space; where it becomes lost in the search for some synthetic understanding of the universe, for its own understanding, external and limited to the domain of becoming, can only grasp the whole under the aspect of disintegration which corresponds to the condition of our nature since the fall. The Christian mystic, on the other hand, entering into himself, and enclosing himself in the "inner chamber" of his heart, finds there, deeper even than sin, the beginning of an ascent in the course of which the universe appears more and more unified, more and more coherent, penetrated with spiritual forces and forming one whole within the hand of God.
I wish I'd encountered something like this before I discovered (and wholeheartedly embraced) so-called "scientific creationism." (I'm not denying that there are some good scientists out there arguing against the excesses of Darwinism, but there's also a lot of drivel.) For one thing, it could have saved me a lot of time and energy spent fighting the wrong battles. I'm appalled now to think back on how closely I identified in my teenage mind evangelism with a lot of arguing about macroevolution or the age of the earth.

1 comment:

Lucian said...

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