Church Fathers on Geocentrism – Part 2

As one site notes,

1) The Fathers never say the earth moves, except at the end of time.

2) The Fathers always say the earth is at rest at the center of the universe.

3) The Fathers never say the sun is the center of the universe.

4) The Fathers never say the sun does not move around the earth, even in their scientific analysis of the cosmos.

5) The Fathers always say the earth is the center of the universe.

6) The Fathers always say the sun moves as the moon moves.

7) The Fathers recognize that some of the Greeks held that the earth moves and rotates, but they do not accept that teaching.

8 ) The Fathers accept the Chaldean, Egyptian and Greek teaching that the earth is at the center of the universe and does not move.

9) The Fathers hold that the earth was created first, by itself, and only afterward the sun, moon and stars.

10) The Fathers hold that light was created after the earth, but that this light preceded the light of the sun and stars.

Let me also add that many of the earlier Fathers believed that they were at the end of the 6,000 year stretch of human history

Thus, we continue –

Chrysostom: Consider of how great value is the righteous man. Joshua the son of Nun said, “Let the sun stand still at Gibeon, the moon at the valley of Elom” (Josh. x. 12), and it was so. Let then the whole world come, or rather two or three, or four, or ten, or twenty worlds, and let them say and do this; yet shall they not be able. But the friend of God commanded the creatures of his Friend, or rather he besought his Friend, and the servants yielded, and he below gave command to those above. Seest thou that these things are for service fulfilling their appointed course?

This was greater than the of Moses. Why (I ask)? Because it is not a like thing to command the sea and the heavenly . For that indeed was also a great thing, yea very great, nevertheless it was not at all equal . Why was this? The name of Joshua , was a type. For this reason then, and because of the very name, the creation reverenced him. What then! Was no other person called Jesus? ; but this man was on this account so called in type; for he used to be called Hoshea. Therefore the name was changed: for it was a prediction and a prophecy. He brought in the people into the promised land, as JESUS into heaven; not the Law; since neither did Moses , but remained without. (Homily on the Epistle to the Hebrews, Homily VIII)

Chrysostom: Therefore it was, that Joshua, the son of Nave, said, “Let the sun stand still in Gibeon, and the moon over against the valley of Ajalon.’ And again the prophet Isaiah made the sun to retrace his steps, under the reign of Hezekiah; and Moses gave orders to the air, and the sea, the earth, and the rocks. Elisha changed the nature of the waters; the Three Children triumphed over the fire. Thou seest how God hath provided for us on either hand; leading us by the beauty of the elements to the knowledge of His divinity; and, by their feebleness, not permitting us to lapse into the worship of them. (Homily to Antioch, Homily X)

Clement of Rome: The sun and moon, with the companies of the stars, roll on in harmony according to His command, within their prescribed limits, and without any deviation. (First Epistle to the Corinthians, Ch XX).

Clement of Rome: the Creator, long-suffering, merciful, the sustainer, the benefactor, ordaining love of men, counselling purity, immortal and making immortal, incomparable, dwelling in the souls of the good, that cannot be contained and yet is contained, who has fixed the great world as a centre in space, who has spread out the heavens and solidified the earth (Homily II, Ch XLV)

Clement of Rome: For it is manifest even to the unbelieving and unskilful, that the course of the sun, which is useful and necessary to the world, and which is assigned by providence, is always kept orderly; but the courses of the moon, in comparison of the course of the sun, seem to the unskilful to be inordinate and unsettled in her waxings and wanings. For the sun moves in fixed and orderly periods: for from him are hours, from him the day when he rises, from him also the night when he sets; from him months  and years are reckoned, from him the variations of seasons are produced; while, rising to the  higher regions, he tempers the spring; but when he reaches the top of the heaven, he kindles the summer’s heats: again, sinking, he produces the temper of autumn; and when he returns to his lowest circle, he bequeaths to us the rigour of winter’s cold from the icy binding of heaven. (Pseudo-Clementine, Bk VIII, Ch XLV)

Cyril of Jerusalem: And he, who could not hope to live because of the prophetic sentence, had fifteen years added to his life, and for the sign the sun ran backward in his course Well then, for Ezekias’ sake the sun turned back but for Christ the sun was eclipsed, not retracing his steps, but suffering eclipse, and therefore shewing the difference between them, I mean between Ezekias and Jesus. (Catechetical Lectures, II, 15)

Cyril of Jerusalem: the earth, which bears the same proportion to the heaven as the center to the whole circumference of a wheel, for the earth is no more than this in comparison with the heaven: consider then that this first heaven which is seen is less than the second, and the second than the third, for so far Scripture has named them…” (Catechetical Lectures, VI, 3)

Ephraim the Syrian: The sun in his course teaches thee that thou rest from labour. (On Admonition and Repentance)

Eusebius: The vast expanse of heaven, like an azure veil is interposed between those without, and those who inhabit his royal mansions: while round this expanse the sun and moon, with the rest of the heavenly luminaries (like torch- bearers around the entrance of the imperial palace), perform, in honor of their sovereign, their appointed courses; holding forth, at the word of his command, an ever-burning light to those whose lot is cast in the darker regions without the pale of heaven. (Oration of Constantine, Ch 1).

Eusebius: to whom he has permitted the contemplation of celestial objects, and revealed the course and changes of the sun and moon, and the periods of the planets and fixed stars. (Oration of Constantine, Ch VI).

Eusebius: Even so one and the same impression of the solar rays illumines the air at once, gives light to the eyes, warmth to the touch, fertility to the earth, and growth to plants. The same luminary constitutes the course of time, governs the motions of the stars, performs the circuit of the heavens, imparts beauty to the earth, and displays the power of God to all: and all this he performs by the sole and unaided force of his own nature.(Oration of Constantine, Ch XII)

Gregory Nanzianzus: But who gave him motion at first? And what is it which ever moves him in his circuit, though in his nature stable and immovable, truly unwearied, and the giver and sustainer of life, and all the rest of the titles which the poets justly sing of him, and never resting in his course or his benefits? How comes he to be the creator of day when above the earth, and of night when below it? or whatever may be the right expression when one contemplates the sun? (Orations, Oration XXVIII, XXX)

Gregory Nanzianzus: The sun is extolled by David for its beauty, its greatness, its swift course, and its power, splendid as a bridegroom, majestic as a giant; while, from the extent of its circuit, it has such power that it equally sheds its light from one end of heaven to the other, and the heat thereof is in no wise lessened by distance. (Funeral Orations for St. Basil, 66).

Gregory of Nyssa: “This is the book of the generation of heaven and earth,” saith the Scripture, when all that is seen was finished, and each of the things that are betook itself to its own separate place, when the body of heaven compassed all things round, and those bodies which are heavy and of downward tendency, the earth and the water, holding each other in, took the middle place of the universe; while, as a sort of bond and stability for the things that were made, the Divine power and skill was implanted in the growth of things, guiding all things with the reins of a double operation (for it was by rest and motion that it devised the genesis of the things that were not, and the continuance of the things that are), driving around, about the heavy and changeless element contributed by the creation that does not move, as about some fixed path, the exceedingly rapid motion of the sphere, like a wheel, and preserving the indissolubility of both by their mutual action, as the circling substance by its rapid motion compresses the compact body of the earth round about, while that which is firm and unyielding, by reason of its unchanging fixedness, continually augments the whirling motion of those things which revolve round it, and intensity s is produced in equal measure in each of the natures which thus differ in their operation, in the stationary nature, I mean, and in the mobile revolution; for neither is the earth shifted from its own base, nor does the heaven ever relax in its vehemence, or slacken its motion. (On the Making of Man, 30, 1, 1)

Gregory of Nyssa: But, boasting as they do that they know these things, let them first tell us about the things of inferior nature; what they think of the body of the heavens, of the machinery which conveys the stars in their eternal courses, or of the sphere in which they move; for, however far speculation may proceed, when it comes to the uncertain and incomprehensible it must stop. For though any one say that another body, like in fashion (to that body of the heavens), fitting to its circular shape, checks its velocity, so that, ever turning in its course, it revolves conformably to that other upon itself, being retained by the force that embraces it from flying off at a tangent, yet how can he assert that these bodies will remain unspent by their constant friction with each other? And how, again, is motion produced in the case of two coeval bodies mutually conformed, when the one remains motionless (for the inner body, one would have thought, being held as in a vice by the motionlessness of that which embraces it, will be quite unable to act); and what is it that maintains the embracing body in its fixedness, so that it remains unshaken and unaffected by the motion of that which fits into it? (Answer to Eunomius’ Second Book)

Gregory of Nyssa: And how does earth below form the foundation of the whole, and what is it that keeps it firmly in its place? what is it that controls its downward tendency? If any one should interrogate us on these and such-like points, will any of us be found so presumptuous as to promise an explanation of them? No! the only reply that can be given by men of sense is this:–that He Who made all things in wisdom can alone furnish an account of His creation. For ourselves, “through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God,” as saith the Apostle. (Answer to Eunomius’ Second Book)

Gregory of Nyssa: “…the vault of heaven prolongs itself so uninterruptedly that it encircles all things with itself, and that the earth and its surroundings are poised in the middle, and that the motion of all the revolving bodies is round this fixed and solid center…” (On the Soul and Resurrection)

Gregory of Nyssa: “…on whatever side the sun’s rays may fall on some particular point of the globe, if we follow a straight diameter, we shall find shadow upon the opposite point, and so, continuously, at the opposite end of the direct line of the rays shadow moves round that globe, keeping pace with the sun, so that equally in their turn both the upper half and the under half of the earth are in light and darkness…” (On the Soul and Resurrection)

Gregory of Nyssa: And when you look at the waning and waxing moon you are taught other truths by the visible figure of that heavenly body, viz. that it is in itself devoid of light, and that it revolves in the circle nearest to the earth, and that it is lit by light from the sun; just as is the case with mirrors, which, receiving the sun upon them, do not reflect rays of their own, but those of the sun, whose light is given back from their smooth flashing surface. Those who see this, but do not examine it, think that the light comes from the moon herself. But that this is not the case is proved by this; that when she is diametrically facing the sun she has the whole of the disc that looks our way illuminated; but, as she traverses her own circle of revolution quicker from moving in a narrower space, she herself has completed this more than twelve times before the sun has once traveled round his; whence it happens that her substance is not always covered with light. (On the Soul and Resurrection).

Gregory Thaumaturgos: And the life of men weareth away, as day by day, and in the periods of hours and years, and the determinate courses of the sun, some are ever coming, and others passing away. And the matter is like the transit of torrents as they fall into the measureless deep of the sea with a mighty noise. And all things that have been constituted by God for the sake of men abide the same: as, for instance, I that man is born of earth, and departs to earth again; that the earth itself continues stable; that the sun accomplishes its circuit about it perfectly, and rolls round to the same mark again; and that the winds in like manner, and the mighty rivers which flow into the sea, and the breezes that beat upon it, all act without forcing it to pass beyond its limits, and without themselves also violating their appointed laws. (On Ecclesiastes, Ch 1, 2)

Hippolytus: When Hezekiah, king of Judah, was still sick and weeping, there came an angel, and said to him: “I have seen thy tears, and I have heard thy voice. Behold, I add unto thy time fifteen years. And this shall be a sign to thee from the Lord: Behold, I turn back the shadow of the degrees of the house of thy father, by which the sun has gone down, the ten degrees by which the shadow has gone down,” so that day be a day of thirty-two hours. For when the sun had run its course to the tenth hour, it returned again. And again, when Joshua the son of Nun was fighting against the Amorites, when the sun was now inclining to its setting, and the battle was being pressed closely, Joshua, being anxious lest the heathen host should escape on the descent of night, cried out, saying, “Sun, stand thou still in Gibeon; and thou moon, in the valley of Ajalon,” until I vanquish this people. And the sun stood still, and the moon, in their places, so that day was one of twenty-four hours. And in the time of Hezekiah the moon also turned back along with the sun, that there might be no collision between the two elemental bodies, by their bearing against each other in defiance of law. And Merodach the Chaldean, king of Babylon, being struck with amazement at that time–for he studied the science of astrology, and measured the courses of these bodies carefully – on learning the cause, sent a letter and gifts to Hezekiah, just as also the wise men from the east did to Christ. (Fragments, I, Discourse on Hezekiah).

Hippolytus: We find in the commentaries, written by our predecessors, that day had thirty-two hours. For when the sun had run its course, and reached the tenth hour, and the shadow had gone down by the ten degrees in the house of the temple, the sun turned back again by the ten degrees, according to the word of the Lord, and there were thus twenty hours. And again, the sun accomplished its own proper course, according to the common law, and reached its setting. And thus there were thirty-two hours. (Fragments, III, Discourse on Hezekiah).

Hippolytus: For what richer beauty can there be than that of the circle of heaven? And what form of more blooming fairness than that of earth’s surface? And what is there swifter in the course than the chariot of the sun? And what more graceful car than the lunar orb? And what work more wonderful than the compact mosaic of the stars? And what more productive of supplies than the seasonable winds? And what more spotless mirror than the light of day? And what creature more excellent than man?(Discourse on the Holy Theophany, 1)

Hippolytus: : “And that the earth in the middle of the cosmical system is moved round its own center towards the east.” (The Prooemium, Ch XIII)

Irenaeus: The sun also, who runs through his orbit in twelve months, and then returns to the same point in the circle (Against Heresies, Bk I, Ch XVII, 1)

Jerome: In Exodus we read that the battle was fought against Amalek while Moses prayed, and the whole people fasted until the evening. Joshua, the son of Nun, bade sun and moon stand still, and the victorious army prolonged its fast for more than a day. (Against Jovinianus, Bk 2).

Jerome: The moon may dispute over her eclipses and ceaseless toil, and ask why she must traverse every month the yearly orbit of the sun. The sun may complain and want to know what he has done that he travels more slowly than the moon. (Against the Pelagians, Bk I, 19)

John Damascene: For it is night when the sun is under the earth, and the duration of night is the course of the sun under the earth from its rising till its setting. (The Orthodox Faith, Bk 2, Ch 7)

Justin Martyr: The former, after he had been named Jesus (Joshua), and after he had received strength from. His Spirit, caused the sun to stand still. (Dialogue with Trypho, Ch CXIII)

Justin Martyr: And again, when the land was given up to you with so great a display of power, that you witnessed the sun stand still in the heavens by the order of that man whose name was Jesus (Joshua), and not go down for thirty-six hours, as well as all the other miracles which were wrought for you as time served; and of these it seems good to me now to speak of another, for it conduces to your hereby knowing Jesus, whom we also know to have been Christ the Son of God, who was crucified, and rose again, and ascended to heaven, and will come again to judge all men, even up to Adam himself. (Dialogue with Trypho, Ch CXXXII)

Mathetes: by whom He made the heavens – by whom he enclosed the sea within its proper bounds–whose ordinances all the stars faithfully observe–from whom the sun has received the measure of his daily course to be observed – whom the moon obeys, being commanded to shine in the night, and whom the stars also obey, following the moon in her course; by whom all things have been arranged, and placed within their proper limits (To Diognetes, Ch 7).

Methodius: And, of a truth, it seemed worth while to inquire also about the sun,–what is the manner of his being set in the heaven; also what is the orbit he traverses; also whither it is that, after a short time, he retires; and why it is that even he does not go out of his proper course: but he, too, as one may say, is observing a commandment of a higher power, and appears with us just when he is allowed to do so, and departs as if he were called away. (Concerning Free Will)

Methodius: Resuming then, let us first lay bare, in speaking of those things according to our power, the imposture of those who boast as though they alone had comprehended from what forms the heaven is arranged, in accordance with the hypothesis of the Chaldeans and Egyptians. For they say that the circumference of the world is likened to the turnings of a well-rounded globe, the earth having a central point. For its outline being spherical, it is necessary, they say, since there are the same distances of the parts, that the earth should be the center of the universe, around which, as being older, the heaven is whirling. For if a circumference is described from the central point, which seems to be a circle, for it is impossible for a circle to be described without a point, and it is impossible for a circle to be without a point,–surely the earth consisted before all, they say, in a state of chaos and disorganization. (Banquet of the Ten Virgins, Discourse VIII, Ch XIV)

Tertullian: In Exodus, was not that position of Moses, battling against Amalek by prayers, maintained as it was perseveringly even till “sunset,” a “late Station?” Think we that Joshua the son of Nun, when warring down the Amorites, had breakfasted on that day on which he ordered the very elements to keep a Station? The sun “stood” in Gibeon, and the moon in Ajalon; the sun and the moon “stood in station until the People was avenged of his enemies, and the sun stood in the mid heaven.” When, moreover, (the sun) did draw toward his setting and the end of the one day, there was no such day beforetime and in the latest time (of course, (no day) so long), “that God,” says (the writer), “should hear a man” – (a man,) to be sure, the sun’s peer, so long persistent in his duty – a Station longer even than late. (On Fasting, Ch X)

Memoirs of Edessa: For look at the sun, and the moon, and the signs of the zodiac,(4) and all the other creatures which are greater than we in some points, and see how individual freedom has been denied them, and how they are all fixed in their course by decree, so that they may do that only which is decreed for them, and nothing else. For the sun never says, I will not rise at my appointed time; nor the moon, I will not change, nor wane, nor wax; nor does any one of the stars say, I will not rise nor set. (Book of the Laws)

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