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Friday, February 26, 2016

Pieper on Copernicanism (again) — Part 3

[2016-10-28: Added note at bottom]
      This continues from Part 2, a series on Copernicanism and Geocentricity (see Intro & ToC in Part 1) in response to a letter from a young person ("Josh") who asked if I believed Geocentricity ... and did not ridicule me in his question. [Note: negative comments will not be published or read]
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      After hearing Dr. Faulkner disparage geocentricity (and my faith in an infallible Scripture) in Part 2, I want to publish all the text from Franz Pieper's Christliche Dogmatik relating to this topic.  First, I will publish the material on "The Fourth Day" of creation from the English edition Christian Dogmatics, vol. 1, pages 472-473.  As "Josh" indicated, he perceived that I may have wavered on the teaching of a fixed Earth based on a previous blog post.  
English edition, Volume 1 with added underline emphasis from original German.
Highlighting and hyperlinks are mine:
page 472
The Fourth Day: God created the celestial bodies, sun, moon, and stars. We are not told of what (materia ex qua) they were created, but it is stated for what purpose (finis cuius) and for whose good (finis cui) they were made. They are to serve as the dispensers of light and the indicators of the time and seasons (Gen. 1:14-18). The Bible does not teach any so-called astronomical "system," but it does teach clearly the following facts: The earth came into existence before the sun, and the light was before the sun. The earth does not serve the sun, but the sun was made to serve the earth. The existence and activity of the sun, moon, and stars are dependent on the existence of the earth. When the earth has run its course, having fulfilled its purpose, which is to provide a habitation for men to hear the Gospel of the crucified Savior of sinners, then the sun, moon, and stars will disappear with this present earth. Matt. 24:14 speaks plain language: "And this Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come." With the end of this world the end of all things, of the universe, πάντων τὸ τέλος (1 Pet. 4:7), is come. No matter what size, compared with the earth, men may ascribe to sun, moon, and stars, these celestial bodies have no independent history and no independent meaning and function, but [page 473] their history and significance or function are dependent upon the earth. These facts are positively taught in Holy Scripture.
As to the astronomical systems constructed by men, every Chris­tian, and particularly every Christian theologian, must keep these four things in mind: 1) Scripture is errorless, also in physical matters. Scripture is indeed "no textbook of the natural sciences." Its purpose is to teach the way to heaven by faith in Christ (2 Tim. 3:15; John 17:20; 20:31; Eph. 2:20-22). But when, even though only in passing, it does teach matters of natural science, its statements are the inviolable truth (John 10:35).  2) Scripture accommodates itself to our human conception of things (e. g., when it speaks of a praescientia Dei or of a descensus Dei), but never to erroneous human conceptions. We are not entitled to limit John 10:35: "The Scripture cannot be broken," and John 17:17: "Thy Word is truth" by saying that this "self-evidently" does not refer to the historical, geographic, scientific, etc., statements of Scripture.  3) our human knowledge of astronomical matters is naturally limited much by our inability to view them from a position outside this globe and the universe. Even the geographer Daniel, who is himself a Copernican, reminds us of this fact. "The cosmic systems, all of them without exception, are not based on experience, for this would demand a position outside the earth, but on conclusions and combinations. All of them therefore are and remain hypotheses." 10  4) It is unworthy of a Christian to interpret Scripture, which he knows to be God's own Word, according to human opinions (hypotheses), and that includes the Copernican cosmic system, or to have others thus to interpret Scripture to him. 11
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At this point I want to present footnote 11 as my translation from the original German footnote # 1454b. found on pages 577-578.  Although the English edition's translation is quite adequate, I want to be as exact as possible:
1454 b) Especially those who consider themselves "Copernicans", have the bad habit in explaining their "world view" as a “fixed result of science”.  This also came out on the occasion of the Lisco-Knak affair (1868).  In Lehre und Wehre of the same year p. 325 [Google Translation here] was a report of the affair which provoked great excitement in America at that time, juxtaposing statements of Twesten and Ströbel.  [Page 578]  It was done as follows: The Berlin Pastor Lisco had in a "Church Report" for the Berlin District Synod asserted that natural sciences had destroyed "the worldview of the biblical writers" forever, and no "orthodox" of modern times would believe with the Bible that the earth stood fast and the sun moved around it.  To this challenge the Berlin Pastor Knak answered: "Yes, that I believe; I know of no other world view than that of the Holy Scriptures."  This statement of Knak aroused great anger among those who are considered 'scientific' Copernicans.  Lehre und Wehre cited above reports that [Ed.- Lehre und Wehre vol. 14 (1868), p. 325, under heading “In Berlin hat neulich…”; see here for Google Translation]: “The old chief consistorial councilor [Oberkonsistorialrat, August Detlev Christian] Twesten addressed in a lecture to his audience the following words: ‘Do not believe that you as theologians have the deplorable prerogative of having to be narrow-minded.'”  On this stump Ströbel, in the Zeitschrift für luth. Theologie und Kirche, 1868, p 734, set the following wedge: "As long as man keeps his head on, the dream of the rotation of the earth will appear to him not as a result of science, but as one indicating lack of thought or inability to think.”  Ströbel writes this in the review of a writing of Pastor J. L. Füller, „Das Alte Testament dem Zweifel und dem Anstoß gegenüber" [“The Old Testament  – of the Doubt and Offense Against It”].  Ströbel praises this writing, but counts it as a “rust fleck” when  Füller asserts: "We followers of the Copernican system know what Joshua and his army did not know."  To this Ströbel remarks: "But the words (Joshua 10:13) ‘The sun stood still’ do not originate from the son of Nun, and the children of Israel, but from the Holy Spirit; should He maybe also first go to school with Copernicus?  Why doesn’t Pastor Füller also yet remain true to his principle with respect to the astronomical system:  ‘No one will probably be challenged who has not yet refused their own thinking and testing and does not yet in blind simple faith accept all unproven and unprovable presuppositions and assertions as the results of science.’”  This is also what we meant when we said above: "It is unworthy of a Christian to allow interpretation of the Holy Scriptures, which he knows to be God's own Word, according to human opinions (hypotheses; cf. Dr. Daniel)."  Luther is known to be against all astronomical systems where they are beyond experience for objective truth.  (Opp. Ex.., Erl 1.35 sqq. St. L. I, 33  [Ed.- see paragr. # 67; Am. Ed. 1, p. 27]; XI, 300 ff. [Am. Ed. vol. 52,  p 164 ff.])  By the way (übrigens), about a year ago, the newspaper writers threatened that Einstein's relativity theory will take the life out of Copernicanism.

There are 2 points that I would highlight at this time (so many to pick from):
1) “Scripture [never] accommodates itself … to erroneous human conceptions.”  The Bible could have accommodated itself to Copernicanism in Joshua 10:13… it could have said the sun appeared to stand still… but it didn’t… still doesn’t.

2) But didn’t Pieper seem to leave out a defense of a “fixed earth” with the sun going around it?  Answer: Although he did not specifically address this point in the body of his text, he did address it definitively in his footnote #11 (or 1454b) by recounting the “Lisco-Knak affair (1868)”, synodical publications. And  
in response to an assertion that “no ‘orthodox’ of modern times would believe with the Bible that the earth stood fast and the sun moved around it", the Berlin Pastor Knak answered: "Yes, that I believe; I know of no other world view than that of the Holy Scriptures."

As I reviewed exactly how Pieper presented his whole case, it occurred to me that he actually did follow Walther.  How so?  Didn’t he seem to ignore the “fixed earth” teaching in his text?  Perhaps, but he made it quite clear in his footnote and the references there that the students of Concordia St. Louis were to study the events surrounding this issue, including past synodical coverage and the “Lisco-Knak affair” in Germany,  and also Luther's writings.  And in his footnote, he made it clear that he not only taught with Pastor Knak (and Walther) that “the earth stood fast and the sun moved around it”, but also how to defend against a Copernicanism which demands that its teaching be considered objective truth.  Here particularly he uses Luther.

To “Josh”:
Do you see what Pieper and Walther say to you?  … as you “accept Copernicanism”?  They say that you are “in error but not as a heretic” … but with a condition.  What condition?  That you hold to your reverence for the infallibility and divine inspiration of Holy Scripture.  – But do you also hear the strong warning issued by both Pieper and Walther to you as you “accept Copernicanism”?  That you (and all Christians) are putting your faith in jeopardy, that you are “setting up a dangerous hermeneutical principle”.  Pieper addresses those “Copernican Christians” (my term) with the serious warning that their system, carried to its logical conclusions, can lead to serious errors, dare I say it?... loss of faith  –  in that the Earth’s purpose “is to provide a habitation for men to hear the Gospel of the crucified Savior of sinners.”  –  Why don’t either Walther or Pieper call your “acceptance of Copernicanism” heresy?  Because they recognize this can be only a secondary matter in Christian doctrine.  And importantly, Walther and Pieper, as also Luther, knew how to deal with the weak in faith.  I am reminded how Walther, perhaps the strongest teacher against secret societies, would commune a lodge member … as long as that person remained instructable.  An analogy to this situation would be that Walther and Pieper would not use an error in the teaching against Usury or Life Insurance to excommunicate a person, perhaps not even disallowing communing them.  Luther considered that there were Christians also under the Papacy and would not advise one to leave the Roman church until that person could see their way by the Word of God.

Josh, this post essentially answers your question of me. I’m glad you wrote to me, for it gave me opportunity to dig deeper into not only the references that Pieper gave in his footnote, but to a host of information, such as history from the time of the Reformation and the church history of the land that Franz Pieper emigrated from, Pomerania, once in Germany, now part of Poland.  This series may run well over 1 dozen posts.  I will return to Pieper’s references to Luther and Einstein’s theory of relativity at a later time.  But what about this “Lisco-Knak affair” in 1868?  Pieper’s account hints of its magnitude it “provoked great excitement in America” and “aroused great anger” among Copernicans.  But after researching this affair, I would wonder that Pieper’s description does not do it full justice.  In the next Part 4a, I begin expanding on the great “Lisco-Knak affair”... as the dear Pastor Gustav Knak stood before the ridicule of the whole world.

[2016-10-28: I have discovered that Pieper had in 1923, one year before the above Dogmatik was published, spoke of Copernicanism and the geographer H.A. Daniels in his address "The Christian World-View" later translated into English and published in J.T. Mueller's translated book What Is Christianity? And Other Essays.]

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Dr. Danny Faulkner, Astronomist– AnswersInGenesis

      This continues from Part 1, a series on Copernicanism and Geocentricity (see Intro and Table of Contents in Part 1) in response to a letter from a young person ("Josh") who asked if I believed Geocentricity ... and did not ridicule me in his question. [Note: negative comments will not be published or read]
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     So after consoling my faith, I set out to investigate this matter… on the Internet and elsewhere.  One of the first scientists I read from was Dr. Danny Faulkner speaking for AnswersInGenesis.org.  I have found much help for my faith in past times regarding the issue of Biblical creationism from Ken Ham’s organization.  And Dr. Faulkner has a Ph.D degree in Astronomy and other graduate degrees.  
     Oh, but Dr. Faulkner’s article threw stones at my faith as he rebuts a geocentrist, Dr. Gerardus Bouw, and his book Geocentricity.  As stated, Faulkner has a Ph.D in Astronomy and speaks about technical issues for which I have little ability to judge, especially in Astronomy.  He states about geocentrists:

“These people believe that the Bible clearly states that the Earth does not move, and hence the only acceptable Biblical cosmology is a geocentric one. Modern geocentrists use both Biblical and scientific arguments for their case. We examine these arguments, and find them poorly founded. The Scriptural passages quoted do not address cosmology. Some geocentrists draw distinctions that do not exist in the original autographs or even in translations. In short, the Bible is neither geocentric nor heliocentric. While geocentrists present some interesting scientific results, their scientific arguments are often based upon improper understanding of theories and data. Much of their case is based upon a misunderstanding of general relativity and the rejection of that theory. While geocentrists are well intended, their presence among recent creationists produces an easy object of ridicule by our critics. ...
However, the Church did support the wrong side of a scientific issue four centuries ago. That issue was the question of whether the Sun went around the Earth (geocentrism) or if the Earth went around the Sun. …
Alas, there are recent creationists in the world today who are geocentrists.”

Geocentricity per AnswersInGenesis
Oh well, my geocentric beliefs have just been trashed by a Ph.D in Astronomy speaking for AnswersInGenesis — not a fun thing to read from a spokesman for Ken Ham’s organization.   And without mentioning Luther and Lutheranism, he also seems to trash Lutheran Orthodoxy, at least it appears so when he mentions “four centuries ago”.
     A strange statement was made by Faulkner near the end:
"I have examined the claims of leading modern geocentrists and have found that their insistence that the Bible teaches geocentrism is not well founded. It would be helpful if someone with formal theological training could further explore and refute this claim."
Dr. Faulkner admits it might take “formal theological training” to refute geocentricity.  Isn’t he sure about the typical arguments for “figurative” or “optical” or "phenomenological" language?   How does a need for “formal theological training” promote the teaching of the clarity and perspicuity of Holy Scripture for the “sheep”? (John 10:27)
     And who was this “Dr. Gerardus Bouw” and what about his book Geocentricity? In places, Faulkner actually compliments him on his knowledge. (I will return to Dr. Bouw later.)
     My faith took a severe beating from Dr. Faulkner.  After all, I believe that the Reformation actually advanced science since that century, so how could I stand up to a Ph.D. in Astronomy (from Indiana University!)?... one who speaks for AnswersInGenesis?...  But that believing boy of my youth kept yelling at me: but I BELIEVED THAT THE SUN STOOD STILL!  Would you go back on that faith from God’s Word that directly states this? (Joshua 10:13 – Faulkner does not mention this Bible verse)...  No (I thought), I don’t want to… but, but…
     But what exactly did Franz Pieper teach in his Dogmatik?  Did he actually weaken Walther’s teaching?  In the next blog post, I present his paragraph and footnote against Copernicanism… and learn again from the greatest Lutheran teacher of the Twentieth Century. -- In the next Part 3, I will publish my translation of Franz Pieper's textbook answer on the question of Copernicanism..

[For those wishing to jump forward in my series, they may read Dr. Gerardus Bouw’s “unprintable” response to Dr. Faulkner here.]

Monday, February 1, 2016

Copernicanism – Intro (for “Josh”); Table of Contents


     Today marks the first anniversary (from 2/1/2015) of the LC-MS/CTCR online publishing of their report "In Christ All Things Hold Together - The Intersection of Science and Christian Theology", (Blog intro, web page, download) On page 20, it gives all teachers in the LC-MS not only an allowance but essentially a directive "to reject the geocentric paradigm in favor of a heliocentric one".  Any teacher who violates this rejection is officially on notice.  I will return to this document later.  But in "honor" of this publication, I present the following series of blog posts.  In reality this series is dedicated to "Josh".
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    This series of blog posts was prompted by 2 events that occurred recently:
  1. correspondence arrived from a very astute young person regarding the matter of Geocentrism.  I will call this person “Josh” although that is not this person’s real name; and,
  2. while proofing Franz Pieper’s Christliche Dogmatik, Vol. 1b, I arrived at his footnote regarding Copernicanism on pages 577-578 (English edition pages 473-474).  
Without the emailed note from “Josh”, I probably would have bypassed this subject as I had already covered it sufficiently in my first 2 blog posts.  “Josh” is the main reason for this series, along with the young boy of my youth.  But Josh’s letter (by email) not only contained some surprises, it also showed that this youthful writer was quite perceptive in reading my prior posts on “Geocentrism”. —  
    Josh said he was a member in the LC-MS, not long out of higher education, accepted the Copernican system, but considered himself to be truly following Christian doctrine, was well aware of Luther’s position supporting geocentricity and the old Missouri’s anti-Copernicanism stand.  He had been taught in the LC-MS that it could be taught from Scripture that Scripture does not literally teach geocentrism.  (We see that the LC-MS/CTCR statement now formally teaches what had actually been taught for a long time.)  But Josh had been researching this matter for some time (he did not ridicule or counter me!) and he had a very direct question for me.  
    What question?  Josh detected a possible weakening in my position regarding Geocentricity as I reported Franz Pieper’s teaching.  The writer noted that in my second blog post I stated: “Pieper did not doubt the verity of the Copernican Theory, he knew it was wrong where it taught that the earth was not the primary planet in the universe.”  He then wondered that either I (or maybe even Pieper) had softened Walther’s strong stand against Copernicanism.  What did I believe?  And indeed, as I read the letter, I recalled that I did have a few moments of doubt about Pieper’s own position.  This moment of weakening then almost overtook me this time, for I have not been without temptations to drop all this “Geocentricity” stuff and just fall back on what Walther calls an “optical” viewpoint of Joshua’s Long Day.  Why?  Because I have a degree in engineering from a well known state university.  That means I have had considerable science training… indeed I have what I would call a “love” for science.  I truly enjoyed the teaching on the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics and Entropy.  I also believe it is the Reformation that spawned the great outbreak of science ever since that century.  So naturally I enjoy learning true science!
    And what about Pieper?  Here was the difficult part for me – it seemed as I had earlier read him that he may have weakened Walther’s teaching, as his final words did not seem to directly affirm Walther.  … I had some very anxious moments!  Why?  Because as a young boy I BELIEVED the account of Joshua and the Sun Standing Still!  I BELIEVED IT!  I BELIEVED THE SUN STOOD STILL BECAUSE THE BIBLE TEACHES THIS!  So to soften on this point of Scripture would mean that I would have to be able to tell that believing young boy (of my youth) that I was naive!  And the faith that God granted me as I returned to my Christian faith (a faith that I do not deserve) yelled out NO!  Do not go that way!  Stay with what the Scripture teaches!  And Luther and Walther were right there with that boy of my youth!  Indeed, it had to be that the truth of Joshua 10:13 had to give me a priori confidence in its truth because God said so!  I could not rely on science to confirm it… it must be true first because God said it.  And if science did not confirm it or would reject it, then that science was only so-called “science”, or “science falsely so-called”. (1 Tim. 6:20).
    And so I again studied Pieper’s teaching anew to see if my fears were correct.  And I realized my earlier fears regarding him were unfounded, and his teaching revealed truly Christian counsel.
    But before I publish my translation from the German original of Pieper’s Dogmatik on Copernicanism, I want to touch on one of the first websites a Google search presented me: Dr. Danny Faulkner of AnswersInGenesis.

⇒ To “Josh”:
You shared with me more than I have described above, but I hope in the ensuing series some things will be clarified for your consideration on this matter.  Perhaps you might even smile at the pseudo-name I have chosen for you.  Also be aware that I am not only responding to you, but to the “schoolboy” of my youth.

[Please note: I am pausing my project of proofing Pieper’s Christliche Dogmatik books to address the above subject that has come up.  I will return to that project after this series.]
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Table of Contents (to be updated periodically)
Part 3 – Pieper’s teaching in his Dogmatik
Part 4aDeutsche Blaetter (Die Gartenlaube) on Lisco-Knak Affair of 1868
Part 4b Die Gartenlaube on Lisco-Knak Affair of 1868
Part 5 – Drs. Gary North and Michael Martin Nieto - "science" against Geocentricity
Part 6 – Walther's Eastern District (1868) writing against Copernicanism – full version
Part 7 – Luther's Table Talk on new Astronomy – 2 versions with new English translation
Part 8 – Robert Schadewald's "Plane Truth", fight against Geocentrism (and Creationism)
Part 9 – Malcom Bowden's You Tube videos
Part 10a – World wide furor over Pastor Knak's confession of Holy Scripture (German theologians)
Part 10b – World wide furor over Pastor Knak's confession of Holy Scripture (England & America)
Part 11 – J.C.W. Lindemann's 1873 Astronomical Debate pamphlet – full text in English (and German)
Part 12Synodical Conference on Copernicanism in 1886, and divinity of Holy Scripture
Part 13a – Gerardous Bouw PhD – science refutes Copernicanism, defends Geocentricity
Part 13b – Gerardous Bouw– Scriptural stand, some aberrations
Part 13c-1Bouw: past geocentrists- any Lutherans? (Schöpffer)
13c-2Bouw: past geocentrists- any Lutherans? (Knak)
13c-3Bouw on: Pasche…, LCMS, WELS, ELS, McLaughlin (also C.A.T. Selle)
Part 13d – Bouw’s history recent geocentrists– any Lutherans?
Part 14 – Knak and Pieper — remembered (Fuerbringer's memories)
Part 15 – Wernher von Braun, space program, modern scientists (Copernicanism? Christianity?)
Part 16a – Missouri Synod 1898 – conference deliberations on Copernicanism; also Der Lutheraner 1878
Part 16b – Missouri Synod 1878 Der Lutheraner: Copernicanism & Inspiration
Part 16c – LC-MS 2016: back door on Inspiration, Infallibility of Holy Scripture
Part 17Historians of science; Math-The Loss of Certainty
Part 18aSchöpffer's List– German scientists question Copernicanism (von Humboldt)
Part 18bSchöpffer: German scientists question Copernicanism (Encke, K. von Raumer, Brandes)
Part 18cSchöpffer: King, Lamont question Copernicanism (King Ludwig I, Lamont)
Part 18dSchöpffer: Gauss doubts, Fontenelle dreams: Copernicanism, Part 18d
Part 18e – Schöpffer: beaten down, rises again (attacked by Mädler, F. von Raumer)
Part 18fSchöpffer: found by old Missouri, few historians; Stimson's account
Part 18g-1 – Dr. Alexander Frantz, another pastor in Germany against Copernicanism (philosophers)
Part 18g-2 – Dr. Frantz: mud, wolf, fish on stilts, cuckoo's egg- Copernicanism
Part 19aPastor F. E. Pasche: Prof. J. Schaller's testimony (from old Wisconsin Synod)
Part 19b – Pasche's Christliche Weltanschauung (Worldview); Lindemann Jr.; Gräbner; Penrose
Part 19cPasche's Die Bibel und Astronomie
Part 20Luther & Walther: quotes on science & religion
Part 21 – Synodical Conf 1886– Divinity of Scripture: Docetism or Pipe organ?; on Sasse
Part 22 – Carl Gottlob Hofmann - warning against Copernicanism
Part 23a – Wallace H. McLaughlin vs Copernicanism; Bible Inviolate
Part 23bWallace McLaughlin: true “Missourian”
Part 24 – George Stoeckhardt – Defender of Inspiration
Part 25Warfield letters to Pieper: on Walther, Luther, Inspiration
Part 26aWalther on Copernicus’s epitaph and his faith (Walther's striking statement on him)
Part 26b Copernicus’s epitaph (Non parem…)
Part 26c Copernicus’s faith
Part 27 – Pieper on reports of Einstein relativity theories; Becker's ridicule
Part 28 – Conclusion: Copernicanism, science… & Justification; Ginzburg's envy

    Still to come: several old (German) Missouri teaching sources against Copernicanism: Der Lutheraner, Lehre und Wehre, J.C.W. Lindemann (senior and son Friedrich), A.L. Graebner mysteries, Pastor F.E. Pasche; Pastor Knak’s stand against Copernicanism (Germany 1868) and fallout; German/English/American ridicule of geocentrists of 19th century (including Andrew Dickson White of Cornell); Martin Luther’s Table Talk; today’s “science” commentators: Bob Schadewald, Glenn Branch - NCSE;  today’s Christian commentators, i.e. Owen Gingerich, etc.; Wernher von Braun and space program; various creationist organizations & “fundamentalists”, Baptists, etc.; Malcolm Bowman and his YouTube videos; Drs. Gary North/ Michael Martin Nieto; Drs. Gerardus Bouw and James Hanson and their Biblical Astronomy/Geocentricity; Carl Schöpffer, 19th century German scientist, also Dr. Alexander Frantz; Wallace McLaughlin; Einstein's Relativity Theories; Synodical Conference; Profs. Tappert and Arand, Recent historians of "Early modern period", their assessment of "Copernicanism", Copernicus and his faith?,... and current LC-MS/CTCR statement on Science and Theology...

In the next post Part 2, I cover an article by Dr. Danny Faulkner against Geocentricity...