The Grinding Ice
- May 20, 2003
- Reaction score
- North of the Sundering Seas
I may be mistaken as you say, but I remember hearing that the Bible describes how the Earth is the center of the universe.Mrs. Maggott said:The Bible does not mention the movement of the planets. The fact that many Christians believed that the various heavenly bodies moved around the earth has nothing whatsoever to do with Scripture and everything with the "accepted science" of the age. The ancient Greeks (and probably most other ancients) knew that the earth was round because the sun at noon threw different length shadows depending upon where one was upon its surface. Hence, it was a simple deduction that one was standing not upon a flat surface, but a rounded one. Furthermore, the fact that one saw things rising from the horizon topmost first (rather than all of a piece) meant that one was seeing them approach upon a rounded surface.
Do not confuse medieval scientific understanding (or lack thereof) with Christian teachings; they are not the same. God did not feel it was necessary to go into physics and cosmology when He was interacting with mankind. Moral and ethical as well as religious issues were the order of the day, not science. If a man is good and keeps God's Word, it matters not if he has a mistaken understanding of the cosmos. On the other hand, if he is a whiz at quantum mechanics and a miserable essobee, his level of knowledge is equally irrelevant in the final analysis.
Suffice it to say that the Bible was written and collated at a time and in a place where advanced mathematics, physics and astronomy would have been beyond the understanding of the target audience. Under the circumstances, I think God did a pretty good job making Himself known to a bunch of nomadic shepherds and letting them take it from there (with His help, of course!).
Anyway, medieval scientific understanding and Christianty are somewhat intertwined. It could be said the Bible constituted the "scientific understanding" of the time; it was a sort of barometer for the understanding of all things, both scientific and metaphysical. It was thought that the Bible contained all truth, and that all laws of science could be explained via the teachings of the Church; in this way, the small grain of scientific theory in the Bible was enlarged to enlarged to create a primitive understanding of natural law. So it is more accurate to say that science was dependent on Christian teachings, but the distinction is meaningless. The point is, the Bible paid little attention to science, and the bits and pieces of it that the Bible contains show an (unsuprisingly) undeveloped understanding of science.
This shows something about the creators of the Bible: their understanding of the world was still constrained by the meager scientific knowledge during the time in which the Bible was written. Ergo, the writers' understanding was not inspired by a divine source, or else they would have had much deeper knowledge of the world. The entire Bible deals with creation; don't you think that they would go into a bit more (accurate) detail about its properties?