Today is the day of the year that Martin Luther nailed the 95 Theses to the door of the Church in Wittenburg, Germany. October 31, 1517 was the date. It is called “Reformation Day.”
The Reformation principle of “Sola Scriptura,” or the Bible alone, is contradicted by the Copernican Principle, or the idea that earth is not central in the universe. A logically necessary corollary of the Copernican Principle is the “Principle of Mediocrity,” which is stated as “there is nothing special about the earth.” This is a philosophical contradiction of the Bible. The word “earth” is found in the King James Bible 987 times, in 907 verses. The earth is the focus of the Bible, not some arbitrary point in space. Unthinking acceptance of the Copernican Principle is so common in the modern world that nobody analyzes what it means. Any Reformed church member who suggests that the Copernican Principle is wrong is considered ignorant. Yet somehow, his church’s position is that the Reformation principle of Sola Scriptura is true, and the Reformation is not considered ignorant.
How can both be true? There are at least two ways of considering it. First, we note that science does not give us truth. That comes from Sola Scriptura. What science finds is not to be treated as final reality, but only a tentative model that can be used to help us dress and keep the earth, until we find a better model. The problem with the Copernican Principle is that people have been tricked into accepting it as final reality. The heliocentric model seems to work fairly well, and it is taught as absolute dogma in the public schools, just like evolution. That does not mean that there is not a better model that could be found if heliocentrism were not required dogma. Second, and most common, is the acceptance of both as true somehow, and ignoring the contradictions.
The strange phenomenon of the resurgence of the Flat Earth model is instructive. Some churchmen are saying that since the Bible treats the earth as flat, then it must really be flat. This, strangely, makes the same error as the Copernican Principle. It considers that science can give us final knowledge about reality. The Flat Earthers do not insist on the Bible as their source of truth, but insist that science proves the Flat Earth model. They do not make an argument from the Bible, because there is simply no way to make the argument from there. They are asserting a physical reality, and have no philosophical argument to offer. Unlike the philosophical centrality of the earth in the Bible, there is no philosophical flatness of the earth necessary in the Bible.
But the earth going around the sun could be wrong? Again, even that has to be considered tentative. It is hard to imagine, but there may be a more real understanding where the sun really does go around the earth, and the earth is at the center of the universe. Reality does not have to answer to man. The only test is if a model works better than another to help man dress and keep the earth. It cannot tell us the Bible is wrong.