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Q: Does the Bible say that the Sun moves around the Earth? ( Answered 3 out of 5 stars,   3 Comments )
Subject: Does the Bible say that the Sun moves around the Earth?
Category: Relationships and Society > Religion
Asked by: gcse-ga
List Price: $50.00
Posted: 06 Nov 2004 01:51 PST
Expires: 06 Dec 2004 01:51 PST
Question ID: 425191
I was told the other day in school by a history teacher that in the
Bible it clearly say that the Sun moves around the Earth and this was
proven wrong by the scientists.
If this really happens then could anyone help me to find the versus that said so?
This would really help me a lot.
Many thanks.

Request for Question Clarification by politicalguru-ga on 06 Nov 2004 03:03 PST

This is not the Bible, but the contemporary interpretations (before
and around Galileo) of those certain verses, that claim so. Would you
still like to see those verses?

Clarification of Question by gcse-ga on 06 Nov 2004 03:13 PST
Yes please can you tell me the verses for them?
So it is true that the Bible does say that?

Request for Question Clarification by pafalafa-ga on 06 Nov 2004 08:11 PST

I don't think that the Bible actually says anything about the sun
moving around the Earth (or vice versa, for that matter).  So in this
respect, at least, your teacher appears to be mistaken.

The Bible clearly puts the Earth and human beings at the "center" of
God's attentions, and this focus has led believers, throughout much of
history, to assume that -- just as we are at the spiritual center of
all things -- the Earth is also at the physical center of the

Again, the Bible doesn't say this, but members of the Church have
interpreted it this way.

Of course, this belief in the Earth as the center -- and that
everyything else (sun included) revolved around the Earth -- led to
the great clash between Galileo and the Church establishment, or more
broadly, between science and religion.

I'd be glad to point you towards some great resources on this topic,
if you'd like.  Would that suit you as an answer to your question...?

Let me know.


Request for Question Clarification by omnivorous-ga on 06 Nov 2004 08:46 PST

Bot pafalafa and politicalguru are trying to be precise in the
reporting of what the Bible says.  It also says that the Earth is
flat, immoveable (except by God), has 4 corners, is built on pillars,
that stars are tiny lights than can fall to the ground.  Taken
together, one has to conclude that the Sun moves, rather than the

With modern science we're likely to think of these things as metaphors.  

But the question remains: what would you like to see? 

Best regards,

Subject: Re: Does the Bible say that the Sun moves around the Earth?
Answered By: scriptor-ga on 06 Nov 2004 11:06 PST
Rated:3 out of 5 stars
Dear gcse,

The medieval European belief in the concept of a fixed Earth and a Sun
orbiting Earth was based upon literal interpretation of a couple of
statements included in Bible verses.

Possibly the most important of these scriptural references to a
geocentric cosmological system was Joshua 10:12-13:

"Then spake Joshua to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up
the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight
of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the
valley of Ajalon.
And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had
avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book
of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted
not to go down about a whole day."

By taking these verses literally, medieval theologists regarded them
as clear biblical (and thus established) evidence that indeed the Sun
was moving.

Additional biblical proof for a moving Sun was seen in Ecclesiastes
1:5, where it is said:
"The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his
place where he arose."

Other biblical verses were interpreted as scriptural evidence that the
Earth is fixed and immovable:

Psalm 93:1
"(...) the world also is stablished, that it cannot be moved."

Psalm 104:5
"Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever."

1 Chronicles 16:30
"(...) the world also shall be stable, that it be not moved."

Upon these text passages from the Old Testament, theologians based the
doctrine of a fixed Earth with the Sun orbitting it. For example,
Cardinal Robert Bellarmine (1542-1621) referred to these passages,
when he became involved in the controversy about Galileo Galilei's
work. On 12 April 1615, he wrote in a letter, refusing Galilei's
scientific concept of the Sun being orbited by the Earth which proved
wrong the doctrine:
"I say that, as you know, the Council [of Trent] prohibits expounding
the Scriptures contrary to the common agreement of the holy Fathers.
And if Your Reverence would read not only the Fathers but also the
commentaries of modern writers on Genesis, Psalms, Ecclesiastes and
Josue, you would find that all agree in explaining literally (ad
litteram) that the sun is in the heavens and moves swiftly around the
earth, and that the earth is far from the heavens and stands immobile
in the center of the universe."

And even reformer Martin Luther was still a man of medieval
Scripture-based cosmology. In 1539, he commented the ideas of German
astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus, who had made a case of a cosmological
system with the Sun in the center and all planets including the Earth
orbiting it, with the deprecative statement:
"Der Narr will die ganze Kunst Astronomiae umkehren! Aber wie die
Heilige Schrift anzeigt, so hiess Josua die Sonne still stehen und
nicht das Erdreich."
("That fool tries to distort the entire art of astronomy! But as the
Holy Scripture shows, Joshua commended the Sun to stand still, and not
the Earth!")


University of Notre Dame: Ideas in Society - Robert, Cardinal Bellarmine

Skeptics Corner: Sun, stand thou still - by Louis W. Cable

Leadership U: Luther and Science, by Donald H. Kobe The Case of Galileo Galilei

Spiritual Stars of the Golden Age: Galileo Galilei

Web Bible Network

Die Demütigen und die Militanten, by Paul N. Siegel (in German)

Search terms used:
sun earth joshua galilei
"Joshua 10" galilei
"sonne um die erde" stillzustehen
"to the common agreement of the Holy Fathers"
"The sun knows its time for setting"
luther kopernikus "der narr" erdreich
"die ganze Kunst Astronomiae umkehren"
luther copernicus

Hope this is what you were looking for!
gcse-ga rated this answer:3 out of 5 stars

Subject: Re: Does the Bible say that the Sun moves around the Earth?
From: pugwashjw-ga on 09 Nov 2004 20:27 PST
Those medieval theologists who interpreted the scripture at Joshua
10;12-13, when the sun stood still, as proof of the sun moving around
the earth,  completely overlooked the fact that Joshua had prayed to
God for help in his battle with the Amorites. It is one of the many
miracles recorded in the Bible. Also, they failed to notice that if
the earth was stationary, the stars position in the night sky would
not change. The miracle affected only the sun and the moon.
Ecclesiastes 1;5 simply states our perception and the perception of
the writer, King Solomon, of what the sun seems to do. We see it every
Psalm 93;1 states, in a slightly different way, ' "The productive land
also becomes firmly established so that it cannot be made to totter".
This backs up the promise that God made to never again destroy the
earth as He did so with the flood. Genesis 8;21,22.."and never again
shall I deal every living thing a blow just as I done.22. For all the
days the earth continues, seed sowing and harvest, and cold and heat,
and summer and winter, and night and day, WILL NEVER CEASE.
This scripture does not preclude God from completely ridding the earth
of wicked people and leaving only the meek, as expressed at Psalm 37;
10 and 11.
Psalm 104;5, another translation, but not different.."He has founded
the earth upon its established places, It will not be made to totter
to time indefinite, or forever".
First Chronicles 16;30.."Be in severe pains on account of him, all you
people of the earth, Also the productive land is firmly established,
never will it be made to totter".
All the above, IF you believe the Bible, show that, as far as God is
concerned, the earth is here for quite a while, part of God`s Master
Plan for the earth and for those who follow His instructions.
Subject: Re: Does the Bible say that the Sun moves around the Earth?
From: theologian-ga on 30 Nov 2004 21:31 PST
No the Bible does not teach that the sun revolves around the earth. 
You can read the Bible in this respect the way that you talk.  When
the sun comes up in the morning it is a "sunrise".  When it sets in
the evening it is a "sunset".  Well the sun actually does not rise and
it does not set, yet we still use the terminology even though we know

One must remember that the Bible was not written as a history and
science textbook, but what historical and scientific information it
gives is correct.  It' like when you call a hand-drawn circle a
circle.  It's not a "perfect" circle, but it is still circle.  The
same is true with the Bible.

In His grace, 
Theologian <><
Subject: Re: Does the Bible say that the Sun moves around the Earth?
From: marsattacks-ga on 13 Jan 2005 01:22 PST
Job 9:7

7Which commandeth the sun, and it riseth not; and sealeth up the stars.

If you don?t want the Sun to rise you command the Earth, not the Sun.
It clearly states the Sun orbits the Earth.


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