An anti-Transubstantiation argument for Geocentrism? (John Edwards)

Status
Not open for further replies.

Reformed Covenanter

Puritanboard Commissioner
I am just after reading this highly intriguing extract from John Edwards wherein he argued against Copernicanism on the basis that it, as with the Romish notion of transubstantiation, was contrary to our senses. What do you make of this argument and how would you argue against it from a Common Sense Realist point of view?

Fourthly,
I would argue thus, Why do we check and gall (and not undeservedly) the Romanists with this, that they deny their Senses in holding of Transubstantiation? And why do we condemn the Doctrine of Transubstantiation for being contradictory to the verdict of our Senses, if we hold that the Earth turns round notwithstanding we have no notice of it in the least by our Senses? Or, can we be wheeled and hurled about every minute as fast as we can imagine, and yet have no Apprehension of it, not only not feeling the Earth move under us, but not perceiving the Air at all moved, nor having any intimation of it by our Sight, or any other Sense at any time of our whole Lives? This is not to be believed, and why therefore do any take the Confidence to assert the Earth's moving under them when they have no Sense of it?

For this is certain that if there be any such thing, it is the proper Object of Sensation. But if we admit this which is so much against our Senses, we may as well embrace Transubstantiation, which is a defiance to our Senses. If any Man satisfactorily answers this, I shall be inclined to be a Copernican, and I shall have a great Temptation to believe the Doctrine of Transubstantiation, I mean upon this account of our Senses, though there are other Arguments which are purely Theological that will for ever uphold the contrary belief in me. In short, it is strange to me that such a considerable piece of Natural Philosophy as this, the Object of which is Corporeal and Sensible, should have no proof from any of the Senses. A Romanist with his Hoc est corpus may solve the matter, but I do not see how this can be the Philosophy of one of the Reformed.

John Edwards, A demonstration of the existence and providence of God, from the contemplation of the visible structure of the greater and the lesser world in two parts, the first shewing the excellent contrivance of the heavens, earth, sea, &c., the second the wonderful formation of the body of man (London: Jonathan Robinson and John Wyat, 1696), 1.2, pp 42-43.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Puritanboard Commissioner
While I am not convinced by the exegetical arguments for Geocentrism such as the earth standing still in Joshua, as such passages are open to a different interpretation, this argument seems a bit more weighty on the face of it.
 
Last edited:

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
I get what he was saying. My only push back is that one of the problems with transub is that it violates definitions. You have accidents without a substance.

The argument that it violates our senses isn't as powerful today as it used to be.
 

Logan

Puritan Board Junior
From just a basic physics standpoint, his understanding is limited by the extent of knowledge from his time period.

Example: Not feeling the earth moving beneath us. If you are moving at the same speed, then even according to Newton there would be no perceptible frame of reference. If you are on a smooth train which has reached its traveling speed (stopped accelerating), there is no way to "feel" that you are moving except for the bumps or corners. Does that mean the train isn't actually moving and therefore transubstantiation is real? Clearly not. Or try this on a plane at cruising altitude. You might almost feel like you are just floating in a noisy room and yet clearly you are traveling rapidly.

There are many things we can't sense without the use of tools or instruments. That doesn't mean they don't exist. Example: the electromagnetic waves that allow your devices to communicate over wifi or cell towers. We can't sense it (even if some people claim they are allergic to it), yet it clearly exists---we use it all the time.
 

SRoper

Puritan Board Graduate
We don't sense speed. We sense acceleration.

I'm not sure I follow all the ins and outs of the philosophical argument, but it seems like a category error. We might identify a substance by our sense of it, but our sense of motion of a substance is not unambiguous. The sense of being on a train moving at a constant speed and the sense of being on a stationary train is the same. Motion is by definition relative, substances are not.
 

Jeri Tanner

Moderator
Staff member
While I am not convinced by the exegetical arguments for Geocentrism such as the earth standing still in Joshua, as such passages are open to a different interpretation, this argument seems a bit more weighty on the face of it.
What would be a different interpretation you have in mind for the passage in Joshua?
 

TylerRay

Puritan Board Graduate
I am just after reading this highly intriguing extract from John Edwards wherein he argued against Copernicanism on the basis that it, as with the Romish notion of transubstantiation, was contrary to our senses. What do you make of this argument and how would you argue against it from a Common Sense Realist point of view?

Fourthly,
I would argue thus, Why do we check and gall (and not undeservedly) the Romanists with this, that they deny their Senses in holding of Transubstantiation? And why do we condemn the Doctrine of Transubstantiation for being contradictory to the verdict of our Senses, if we hold that the Earth turns round notwithstanding we have no notice of it in the least by our Senses? Or, can we be wheeled and hurled about every minute as fast as we can imagine, and yet have no Apprehension of it, not only not feeling the Earth move under us, but not perceiving the Air at all moved, nor having any intimation of it by our Sight, or any other Sense at any time of our whole Lives? This is not to be believed, and why therefore do any take the Confidence to assert the Earth's moving under them when they have no Sense of it?

For this is certain that if there be any such thing, it is the proper Object of Sensation. But if we admit this which is so much against our Senses, we may as well embrace Transubstantiation, which is a defiance to our Senses. If any Man satisfactorily answers this, I shall be inclined to be a Copernican, and I shall have a great Temptation to believe the Doctrine of Transubstantiation, I mean upon this account of our Senses, though there are other Arguments which are purely Theological that will for ever uphold the contrary belief in me. In short, it is strange to me that such a considerable piece of Natural Philosophy as this, the Object of which is Corporeal and Sensible, should have no proof from any of the Senses. A Romanist with his Hoc est corpus may solve the matter, but I do not see how this can be the Philosophy of one of the Reformed.

John Edwards, A demonstration of the existence and providence of God, from the contemplation of the visible structure of the greater and the lesser world in two parts, the first shewing the excellent contrivance of the heavens, earth, sea, &c., the second the wonderful formation of the body of man (London: Jonathan Robinson and John Wyat, 1696), 1.2, pp 42-43.
I asked @Afterthought a very similar question once in regard to common sense realism and special relativity.

So, our perception is that we are standing still and the sun circles what we are standing on--but (as Ramon pointed out to me), our perception is not absolute--someone in a different position can perceive the same objective reality that we do, but with a different perspective.

We can't get a proper sight of the movements of the spheres so long as we are standing on one of them.
 

TylerRay

Puritan Board Graduate
To put it another way, my son understands himself to be sitting still in his carseat as we're going down the interstate. The unfortunate gentleman with a flat tire in the margin watches my son (along with the rest of our van) go past him at 80 mph. Has common sense failed? Not really--it's just limited by perspective.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Puritanboard Commissioner
What would be a different interpretation you have in mind for the passage in Joshua?
That the text is referring to how we perceive things, rather than making a precise scientific statement about whether or not the sun circles around the earth. There is a technical term for it, but it has slipped my mind.
 

Bill The Baptist

Puritan Board Graduate
Regardless of what our senses may tell us, we can use scientific testing to determine that the earth is indeed moving. On the other hand, laboratory tests would reveal that the bread and wine of the Catholic mass remained bread and wine.
 

Tom Hart

Puritan Board Senior
Regardless of what our senses may tell us, we can use scientific testing to determine that the earth is indeed moving. On the other hand, laboratory tests would reveal that the bread and wine of the Catholic mass remained bread and wine.
If I am not mistaken, Romanists do not teach that the bread and wine are physically altered. They say that the substance changes, while the accidents remain the same. That is, they remain apparently bread and wine, but they are really, mysteriously, the body and blood of Christ.
 

Bill The Baptist

Puritan Board Graduate
If I am not mistaken, Romanists do not teach that the bread and wine are physically altered. They say that the substance changes, while the accidents remain the same. That is, they remain apparently bread and wine, but they are really, mysteriously, the body and blood of Christ.
But that’s simply now how properties and substances work. They are arguing that it becomes blood and flesh in its substance, but remain bread and wine in its properties. The problem with this view is that, logically, a particular substance is always limited in the number of potential properties it may have. Wine and bread are simply not possible properties of flesh and blood.
 

Taylor Sexton

Puritan Board Junior
But that’s simply now how properties and substances work. They are arguing that it becomes blood and flesh in its substance, but remain bread and wine in its properties. The problem with this view is that, logically, a particular substance is always limited in the number of potential properties it may have. Wine and bread are simply not possible properties of flesh and blood.
I think this is what Jacob was getting at above. Substance and properties are really inseparable. If something has all the properties of a duck, it is a duck. Furthermore, if something is substantially a duck, it will have all the properties of a duck.

To me, transubstantiation thus creates serious issues for our theology proper. If substance and properties can be separated, then God cannot be his attributes, as there is a property "omnipotence" that exists apart from God. Same with the other attributes, threatening the uniqueness of our God.
 

Tom Hart

Puritan Board Senior
But that’s simply now how properties and substances work. They are arguing that it becomes blood and flesh in its substance, but remain bread and wine in its properties. The problem with this view is that, logically, a particular substance is always limited in the number of potential properties it may have. Wine and bread are simply not possible properties of flesh and blood.
I'm not saying it makes any sense, because it doesn't. But no Roman Catholic says that it becomes the physical body and blood of Christ.

So if you were to lop off an RC's head mid-swallow, you would find that yes, the bread and wine would still be, to all appearances, bread and wine, and the RC wouldn't have a problem with saying so. (He might have a problem with having his head lopped off, however.)
 

lynnie

Puritan Board Graduate
Actually, scientific testing showed the earth at rest. Michaelson- Morley and Sagnac among others. ( from list of quotes link below)

"What happened when the experiment was done in 1887? There was never, never, in any orientation at any time of year, any shift in the interference pattern; none; no shift; no fringe shift; nothing. What's the implication? Here was an experiment that was done to measure the speed of the earth's motion through the ether. This was an experiment that was ten times more sensitive than it needed to be. It could have detected speeds as low as two miles a second instead of the known 2mps that the earth as in its orbital motion around the sun. It didn't detect it. What's the conclusion from the Michelson-Morley experiment? The implications is that the earth is not moving..."- Physicist, Richard Wolfson

The reason Time Magazine named Einstein "Man of the Century" is that after a couple decades of scientists puzzling about the scientific results (of course the earth could not be at the center), Einstein explained everything with his theory of relativity.

I would have to say that it is relativity that primarily goes against common sense realism, as well as classical physics. That is where the debate really lies- is relativity correct or is it nonsense. There are PhD astronomers and physicists out there who answer every objection that might arise from the heliocentrists, and it's probably all been posted here before.

I just tried to find a list of quotes I posted a while back. I did see this that I posted myself.....common sense fails us all I think, the numbers are too hard to grasp.

"It is interesting to compare the solar system with one atom. Now I know the old Bohr model with electrons as little orbiting points is no longer the model. We now have a nucleus grain of sand in the middle of picturing a big puff of smoke, which can be a sphere or doughnut or dumbbell, and the electron is a probability wave of quantum physics now.

If our sun and the nucleus of a gold atom were each scaled to one foot long, the outer electron of the gold atom ( or edge of the uncertainty shell) would be past Pluto. (The earth would be 215 feet out.)

https://www.google.com/search?q=per...ei=r7H7V_naOsXme4egpOAN#imgrc=Nc2FckaS9bkClM:

So using a classical Bohr model, every second that electron with an orbit out past Pluto spins 1.7854*10^20 revolutions per second around the sun. Can you imagine Pluto spinning around the sun 1.780,000,000,000,000,000,000 times every single second?

https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20090103143328AAI2BrN

Yet people think the universe could not spin every 24 hours. (and see Barry Setterfield on the speed of light decay for why the universe size is far smaller than you've been led to believe).

People accept the structure of an atom without giving it a single thought. Yet the same God who can make an electron spin (or do its uncertainty principle wave motion thing)the equivalent of Pluto spinning around the sun 1.780,000,000,000,000,000,000 times every single second can't make the planets and stars spin every day?"

Here is a list of quotes from Sungenis' book, fascinating reading:

https://quotesandreferences.blogspot.com/2016/08/quotes-in-favor-of-geocentrism.html
 

Jeri Tanner

Moderator
Staff member
The belief that the earth circles the sun is indeed contrary to our senses, not only of lack of perception of movement but also of sight.

I don’t know how strong an argument it is to compare the claim that the earth is moving, contrary to sense, to transubstantiation. I’d be interested to see what the argument against it would be from a Common Sense Realist point of view (I barely know what that means). Can you give an example of what that argument might sound like, Daniel? (Or anyone?)
 

Reformed Covenanter

Puritanboard Commissioner
The belief that the earth circles the sun is indeed contrary to our senses, not only of lack of perception of movement but also of sight.

I don’t know how strong an argument it is to compare the claim that the earth is moving, contrary to sense, to transubstantiation. I’d be interested to see what the argument against it would be from a Common Sense Realist point of view (I barely know what that means). Can you give an example of what that argument might sound like, Daniel? (Or anyone?)
John Edwards' quotation above is basically a CSR argument in opposition to heliocentrism.

For what it is worth, while I do not believe that the Bible overtly teaches Geocentrism, as the texts cited in support of the theory do not necessarily demand that interpretation, I would be open to a scientific/empirical argument for the position if I were scientifically literate, which I am not.

As I see it, too many who argue for Geocentrism today do so merely on the basis of having read something in John Owen or Francis Turretin without pausing to consider whether or not such conclusions have been superseded by subsequent research.
 

Jeri Tanner

Moderator
Staff member
As I see it, too many who argue for Geocentrism today do so merely on the basis of having read something in John Owen or Francis Turretin without pausing to consider whether or not such conclusions have been superseded by subsequent research.
I don’t think subsequent research could ever prove or disprove heliocentricity or geocentricity (similar to proving or disproving the age of the earth I guess). I’m of the opinion that Joshua under inspiration states that the sun was moving along a course, and that it stopped its course when commanded that day, but I understand people’s believing that it’s an example of phenomenalism.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Puritanboard Commissioner
I don’t think subsequent research could ever prove or disprove heliocentricity or geocentricity (similar to proving or disproving the age of the earth I guess).
Subsequent linguistic and theological research, however, could be used to prove that the biblical texts cited in favour of Geocentrism do not necessarily demand that interpretation.
 

Jeri Tanner

Moderator
Staff member
Subsequent linguistic and theological research, however, could be used to prove that the biblical texts cited in favour of Geocentrism do not necessarily demand that interpretation.
If something like that developed, I guess so. (Isn’t it really unlikely that happening for that passage?) But no shame in standing with the passage as translated all these millennia, I think, until and unless that were to happen.
 

Jeri Tanner

Moderator
Staff member
Subsequent linguistic and theological research, however, could be used to prove that the biblical texts cited in favour of Geocentrism do not necessarily demand that interpretation.
Are you thinking of a possible development from the use of a different underlying manuscript/text family than used now for Joshua?
 

py3ak

They're stalling and plotting against me
Staff member
Grown-up people find it very difficult to believe really wonderful things, unless they have what they call proof. But children will believe almost anything, and grown-ups know this. That is why they tell you that the earth is round like an orange, when you can see perfectly well that it is flat and lumpy; and why they say that the earth goes round the sun, when you can see for yourself any day that the sun gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night like a good sun as it is, and the earth knows its place, and lies as still as a mouse.
Edith Nesbit, Five Children and It
 

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
I'd like to see a Venn diagram showing the intersection of geocentrists and anti-vaxxers. I'd bet that would be interesting.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top