Posted by: futurefaith | July 19, 2011

Galileo

I recently read a book for review that I found absolutely intriguing. The book was by Mitch Stokes titled ‘Galileo’ and is part of the ‘Christian Encounter’ series. The book was a biography of sorts and did an excellent job of connecting the reader to the person, age and events of this historical figure. One of the misconceptions that many have (and I had) was that Galileo was on a quest against Christianity. In fact, quite the opposite was true. Galileo held both the Church and Scripture in high regard and, as he on many occasions would reiterate, the scripture is inspired and infallible. He always kept that before him as he progressed through his “investigations”. What was really in conflict was the view that the Church took concerning the celestial structure and function. The problem from the very beginning was that the Church embraced a pagan’s philosophy of the universe. The Church had embraced Aristotle’s terrestrial (and the Ptolemaic celestial theory of) physics and philosophy which obviously did not take into account any biblical statements concerning the universe (if they did the world would not have been flat for so long). Early on, Aristotle became the one-man-band and civilization embraced everything Aristotle (i.e. logic, rhetoric, poetry, ethics, physics, zoology, cosmology, and metaphysics. As such, the wisdom of the day said that the earth was the center of the universe and everything rotated around it as based on the Ptolemaic system. However, Galileo became convinced of a theory more along the lines of Copernicus’ theory, which simply put, puts the Sun at the center of the celestial spheres, though not necessarily as the celestial center.
The Church, however, was stuck on interpreting the Scripture, for the most part, on face-value. This brought Galileo in conflict with passages like Joshua 10:12-13, “At that time Joshua spoke to the LORD in the day when the LORD gave the Amorites over to the sons of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, “Sun, stand still at Gibeon, and moon, in the Valley of Aijalon.” And the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, until the nation took vengeance on their enemies. Is this not written in the Book of Jashar? The sun stopped in the midst of heaven and did not hurry to set for about a whole day.” The Church took a literal stand which made the earth (at least) the center for the sun and thus the Aristotelian understanding was consistent with the scripture. This was the Church’s official stance. Galileo however, argued that since both nature and the Scripture were revelation from God they each functioned in accord with one another. The Scripture was not primarily a work of scientific facts as it was a detail revealing of the personal God in relation to man. They do not oppose, they compliment. Galileo said, “Though Scripture cannot err…some of its interpreters and expositors can sometimes err in various ways. One of these would be very serious and very frequent, namely, to want to limit oneself always to the literal meaning of the words; for there would thus emerge not only various contradictions but also serious heresies and blasphemies…” Galileo clearly believed, depending on the topic, that the Scripture doesn’t always speak literally. The battle, therefore, wasn’t about faith vs. non-faith. It was about taking the scripture and scientific fact and showing how the two speak in unison to the God of creation. The error wasn’t necessarily on Galileo’s side. It was on the Church’s side. They embraced the humanist and self-sufficient philosopher’s theory and made it dogma. And when that happens, old habits die hard.
The book itself is a very easy read. The font size looks like 12 pt. There are about 29 lines to a page and the book is very well written. The book sizes 7 in. x 5 in. x .5 in. If you like history, science, philosophy or theology there should be enough to keep your interests all the way through. As a minister and a lover of history this was right up my alley. I would definitely recommend this read.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

Advertisements

Responses

  1. Great review. Just preached on Creation Sunday and mentioned Galileo. Good stuff bro.

  2. I am grieved when Christians use Galileo as a supporter for their Theistic Evolutionary view. The point Galileo was making had nothing to do with the creative acts of God or the THEORY of evolution for that matter. If anything, Galileo shoots a bullet through the brain of both Classical and Theistic Evolution because the problem of the day was that the Church embraced and dogmatized a theory…and what is evolution? Last time I checked it was STILL a theory. Interesting the only form of “evolution” that can be deemed science is “Micro” evolution as it is called. And even then it isn’t dealing with two separate species. Mutation of genes within a species? OK. Mutation of species into another…never happens. The only reason to accommodate this theory in way is because one cannot accept that God made things instantly, and completely.

  3. *to accommodate this theory in ANY way* (oops)

  4. Fantastic website. A lot of helpful information here. I’m sending it to several buddies ans additionally sharing in delicious. And obviously, thanks for your effort!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: