#####Science has not changed its mind about the planets, but religious people have ceased insisting on the nonsense of the sun orbiting the earth. They did at one time insist on a literal reading of the Bible and were quite clear about this.#####
It doesn't say in the Bible that the sun orbits the earth. The Church had adopted the popular "enlightened" position on that issue.
Let's check the paper trail, and see what the Church itself cited as its support for its conclusion that the Sun moved around the Earth, and the reason they considered opposing (and *correct*) opinions to be heresy punishable by arrest, shall we?
"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. Now consider whether in all prudence the Church could encourage giving to Scripture a sense contrary to the holy Fathers and all the Latin and Greek commentators."FYI, Bellarmine had a big role in the trial of Galileo.
"I add that the words 'the sun also riseth and the sun goeth down, and hasteneth to the place where he ariseth, etc.' were those of Solomon, who not only spoke by divine inspiration but was a man wise above all others and most learned in human sciences and in the knowledge of all created things, and his wisdom was from God. Thus it is not too likely that he would affirm something which was contrary to a truth either already demonstrated, or likely to be demonstrated. And if you tell me that Solomon spoke only according to the appearances, and that it seems to us that the sun goes around when actually it is the earth which moves, as it seems to one on a ship that the beach moves away from the ship, I shall answer that one who departs from the beach, though it looks to him as though the beach moves away, he knows that he is in error and corrects it, seeing clearly that the ship moves and not the beach. But with regard to the sun and the earth, no wise man is needed to correct the error, since he clearly experiences that the earth stands still and that his eye is not deceived when it judges that the moon and stars move."
-- Cardinal Robert Bellarmine, as "Master of Controversial Questions" for the Church, in April 12, 1615 letter to Paolo Foscarini
Papal condemnation/sentencing of Galileo: "Whereas you, Galileo, son of the late Vaincenzo Galilei, Florentine, aged seventy years, were in the year 1615 denounced to this Holy Office for holding as true the false doctrine taught by some that the Sun is the center of the world and immovable and that the Earth moves, and also with a diurnal motion; [...] and for replying to the objections from the Holy Scriptures, which from time to time were urged against it [i.e. for disagreeing with Bible-based criticisms - Ich.] [...] This Holy Tribunal being therefore of intention to proceed against the disorder and mischief thence resulting, which went on increasing to the prejudice of the Holy Faith, [...] The proposition that the Sun is the center of the world and does not move from its place is absurd and false philosophically and formally heretical, because it is expressly contrary to Holy Scripture. [...] The proposition that the Earth is not the center of the world and immovable but that it moves, and also with a diurnal motion, is equally absurd and false philosophically and theologically considered at least erroneous in faith. [...] Furthermore, in order to completely eliminate such a pernicious doctrine, and not let it creep any further to the great detriment of Catholic truth, the Holy Congregation of the Index issued a decree which prohibited books which treat of this and declaring the doctrine itself to be false and wholly contrary to the divine and Holy Scripture. [...] [...] We say, pronounce, sentence and declare that you, Galileo, by reason of these things which have been detailed in the trial and which you have confessed already, have rendered yourself according to this Holy Office vehemently suspect of heresy, namely of having held and believed a doctrine that is false and contrary to the divine and Holy Scripture: namely that Sun is the center of the world and does not move from east to west, and that one may hold and defend as probable an opinion after it has been declared and defined contrary to Holy Scripture. [...] Consequently, you have incurred all the censures and penalties enjoined and promulgated by the sacred Canons and all particular and general laws against such delinquents.
The relevant portions of the mentioned books of the Bible are:
Ecclesiastes 1 (Verses 5-6): 5 The sun riseth, and goeth down, and returneth to his place: and there rising again, 6 Maketh his round by the south, and turneth again to the north: the spirit goeth forward surveying all places round about, and returneth to his circuits.Next time, try researching an issue before you post your presumptions about it as if they were fact.
Joshua 10 (Verse 13-14): 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.
Psalm 19 (Verses 4-5): 4 Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, 5 Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race.
Psalm 92 (Verse 1): The Lord hath reigned, he is clothed with beauty: the Lord is clothed with strength, and hath girded himself. For he hath established the world which shall not be moved.
Psalm 103 (Verses 3-5) Who coverest the higher rooms thereof with water. Who makest the clouds thy chariot: who walkest upon the wings of the winds. 4 Who makest thy angels spirits: and thy ministers a burning fire. 5 Who hast founded the earth upon its own bases: it shall not be moved for ever and ever.
Isaiah 40 (Verse 21-22): 21 Do you not know? hath it not been heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have you not understood the foundations of the earth? 22 It is he that sitteth upon the globe of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as locusts: he that stretcheth out the heavens as nothing, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in.
by Theodosius Dobzhansky:
As recently as 1966, sheik Abd el Aziz bin Baz asked the king of Saudi Arabia to suppress a heresy that was spreading in his land. Wrote the sheik:
"The Holy Koran, the Prophets teachings, the majority of Islamic scientists, and the actual facts all prove that the sun is running in its orbit . . . and that the earth is fixed and stable, spread out by God for his mankind. . . . Anyone who professed otherwise would utter a charge of falsehood toward God, the Koran, and the Prophet."
The good sheik evidently holds the Copernican theory to be a "mere theory," not a "fact." In this he is technically correct.
[still a good read, 33 years after it was written]
You said: It doesn't say in the Bible that the sun orbits the earth. The Church had adopted the popular "enlightened" position on that issue.
Evidently the Koran says so, and since it also says it was dictated to the "prophet" in order to correct the errors that have crept into the other Abrahamic faiths...
Seriously, both the Pope and Luther condemned heliocentrism. One could say that the Earth's motion wasn't proved until Foucault's pendulum.