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Sunday, September 22, 2013

Creationism and Geocentrism

Recently, our pastor announced that the parish was inviting in Hugh Owen, defender of Creationism and main speaker for the Kolbe Center for the Study of Creation, to give a parish talk on what he and Mr. Owen consider to be a doctrine of the Church. Given what I have written in the past, this piqued my interest. Much as I would have loved a personal conversation on this topic, I am unable to attend the talk due to a previous engagement. So, I sent his institute a question on their contact form:
Do you teach geocentrism as well? It is attested to by all the Doctors of the Church, so I'm certainly hoping you do.
This was his reply:
Please forgive me for taking so long to write back to you.

Many of our members are geocentrists, but not all, mainly because we have concentrated our efforts on educating people about the doctrine of creation rather than the geocentric controversy.  However, all of us who have looked into the matter agree with you and do not shy away from saying so when the topic arises.

One of the main tenets of traditional Catholic theology that has been almost completely abandoned in our time is the distinction between the order of creation and the natural order of providence which only began when the work of creation was finished with the creation of Adam and Eve.  Atheistic and theistic evolutionism are both based on the false premise that one can extrapolate from the natural order of providence in which we live all the way back to the beginning of creation--and that is false.  Thus, all forms of evolutionism are based on a fundamental error.  The relations among the Earth, the sun and the planets in the solar system on the other hand is a part of the natural order of providence and is thus a legitimate object of study for the natural scientist.  This is one of the main reasons why we do not place the Church's traditional position on geocentrism in the same category as her dogmatic teaching on creation which concerns things which are beyond the legitimate ken of the natural sciences.

Please keep the Kolbe Center in your prayers.

                                                           Yours in Christ through the Immaculata,

                                                                                                     Hugh Owen
So, apparently the existence of human persons is not part of the natural order of providence, while the relations among heavenly objects is part of the natural order of providence. 

Now, if we "cannot extrapolate from the natural order of providence in which we live all the way back to the beginning of creation", then presumably we cannot extrapolate a Big Bang, nor any universe that is not geocentric. But he also says that the relationship between heavenly bodies is "a legitimate object of study"...

So which is it? If we can study the relationship between heavenly bodies, then it would be possible to do so all the way back to the beginning of creation. Certainly the planets were created before Adam and Eve. But he denies that we can go all the way back to "the beginning of creation." Now, what constitutes the beginning? Does he mean "Let There Be Light"? Or does he count the whole "six days" of creation as one unit, and therefore mean we can only go back to just after the creation of Adam and Eve? If the latter, then when it comes to studying the relationship of heavenly bodies, he is saying both "no" and "yes" in the same answer. 

And, notice, the question I asked concerned geocentrism - the question of whether the earth is at the center of the universe, not just at the center of the solar system (which, if Mr. Owen were correct about geocentrism, would render his "solar system" phrase itself erroneous, but I digress), so his answer is somewhat contradictory. His response seems to imply that his members teach the earth is at the center of the "solar system" and at the center of the universe, simultaneously. If so, this is a brand-new model. Even Tycho Brahe didn't attempt to prove both could be simultaneously true.

Finally, if he does teach geocentrism as well as creationism, why not proudly put both on the website so that the necessary distinctions between natural order of providence and the supernatural order of providence could be made clearly? Why would I have to send him an e-mail to discover that he teaches geocentrism as well as creationism? 

Here is my reply:
I'm afraid you mistake me, sir.
I agree with neither creationism nor geocentrism.
However, I *did* very much hope that you were logically consistent enough to recognize that to insist on creationism is necessarily to insist on geocentrism, for the foundation of one subsumes the other.

I just wanted your response so I could make it public. As you aver, none of your group shies away from saying so when the topic arises. Thus, I am somewhat saddened that your institute does not publish your geocentric views anywhere on your site, at least not as far as I can see. If you do have a link to a page on your site where you make your full position clear, that would be most helpful.
If you would like to have a public conversation on the topic, you may feel free to reply on this website: 
 Thank you for your reply!
Steve Kellmeyer


Robert Sungenis said...

Steve, I've been meaning to get back to you since your article on the Bible and science. I've answered your article here:

On the current matter, I agree with you that if you are a creationist then you are necessarily a geocentrist, since both disciplines require a literal interpretation of Scripture on these points. The degree to which one advertises the connection depends on the focus and rationale of its adherents, whether they are Protestant or Catholic.

If you would like to have a public debate on geocentrism, please let me know and I will arrange it.

Robert Sungenis

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Robert, I'm fine with geocentrism in the sense that it violates no known experimentally demonstrable scientific principle. Anyone who accepts Einsteinian relativity can have no quarrel with geocentrism.

I find the arguments for geocentrism a LOT more rationale than the arguments for 6-day creationism.

So, we would both be on the same side at such a debate. :)

James said...

Perhaps, then you would be open to debating with Robert on the arguments for 6 day creationism. Do you reject the Church's teaching on the complete inerrancy of Sacred Scripture? If so perhaps you could list all those things which you find in error besides any doubts you may have over 6 day creationism.

James Phillips

Steve Kellmeyer said...

I'm not interested in debating. The whole question of origins is so muddled by both sides that I don't see why my contribution would add any clarity.

My position is "a pox on both your houses." That's not really a substantive position for a debate.

James said...


I honestlyl think you would greatly benefit from this book by Dr. Sungeis found here:!/The-First-Four-Days-of-Creation/p/38861431/category=1571960

I have it and I found it to be truly superb in doing what it sets out to do. It is very clear and very logical. It presents a crystal clear view of the traditional Catholic position for the 1st 4 days of Creation.

The description of the book is also found at the above site: The book, "The First Four Days of Creation" is a 50-page, illustrative book in full color, that explains how the first four days of Genesis 1 can be read in literal and chronological order and coincide with the known facts of modern science. There is no book like this on the market today. The images alone of how God put the universe together, piece by piece, is worth the price of the book. Robert explains in clear and concise language the scientific and historical details along the way. Hugh Owen, director of the Kolbe Center for the Study of Creation, wrote to Robert and said: "You have written the best book on the first four days of creation week that I have read." The book is recommended for Middle School and above, but can also be challenging and absorbing for college and professionals as well.

Best wishes,

Hans Georg Lundahl said...

"So, apparently the existence of human persons is not part of the natural order of providence, while the relations among heavenly objects is part of the natural order of providence."

Both are, in fact.

What can be extrapolated from human persons living now is however, that each has a soul created only by God.

Extrapolation from present human persons to monkey ancestors (not necessarily the now alive monkey species, that is another question) are neither legitimate extrapolations from human persons living now, nor legitimate extrapolations from monkeys alive now.

The opposite, either both existing eternally or both being created, or monkey being devolved from man by losing its reason capacity (however that could happen) are all of them much more legitimate (though the last is also illegitimate) extrapolations of men and monkeys alive now.

Both natural order of providence and miracles go back to order of the creative acts during the six days, which instituted them.