Afterall.net

Consider all. Test All. Hold on to the good.

Illogic Primer Quotes Clippings Books and Bibliography Paper Trails Links Film

Nancy R. Pearcey and Charles B. Thaxton

[I]n The Making of the Modern Mind historian John Herman Randall
writes that the Copernican revolution "swept man out of his proud
position as the central figure and end of the universe, and made him a
tiny speck on a third-rate planet revolving abut a tenth-rate sun
drifting in an endless cosmic ocean." ¶ The implication is that
Christians mobilized against Copernicanism to resist this shattering of
their cozy cosmology, but the literature of the day does little to
support this portrayal. It is true that medieval cosmology, adapted
from Aristotelian philosophy, placed the earth at the center of the
universe. But in medieval cosmology the center of the universe was not
a place of special significance. Quite the contrary, it was the locus
of evil. At the very center of the universe was Hell, then the earth,
then (moving outwards from the center) the progressively nobler spheres
of the heavens. ¶ In this scheme of things, humanity’s central
location was no compliment, nor was its loss a demotion. In fact, in
Copernicus’s own day a common objection to his theory was that it
elevated man above his true station. In medieval cosmology, human
significance was rooted not in the earth’s central location but in the
regard God showed toward it. Hence, the idea that Copernican theory
threatened the Christian teaching of human significance is an
anachronism. It reads back into history the angst of our own age.