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Sunday, July 16, 2017

Fr. Campbell, “The Foundation of the World” (Eph.1:4)

“The Foundation of the World” (Eph.1:4)

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God; and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was made nothing that has been made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness; and the darkness grasped it not” (Jn.1:1-5).

With these words about Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and our Lord and Savior, St. John begins his Gospel. And St. Paul declares:

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing on high in Christ. Even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blemish in his sight in love. He predestined us to be adopted through Jesus Christ as his sons, according to the purpose of his will, unto the praise of the glory of his grace, with which he has favored us in his beloved Son” (Eph.1:3-6).

Our Lord fed the hungry multitudes in the wilderness with bread and fishes. Through the Holy Scriptures and the teachings of the Church founded by Jesus Christ, the Holy Catholic Church, He nourishes us with the Word of Truth. Our Lord tells us:

“If you abide in my word, you shall be my disciples indeed, and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (Jn.8:31,32).

We also have Our Lord’s words to Pontius Pilate:

“Thou sayest it; I am a king. This is why I was born, and why I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice” (Jn.18:37).

We human beings need the guidance of our Good Shepherd, because it is so easy for sheep to go astray. But God has also given us minds that can understand the truth when it is clearly demonstrated. We must believe what the Church teaches, but we also must believe what we can know by natural means through the sciences, when we use our brains properly. True science does not contradict the teachings of the Church. But there is also pseudoscience.

Recently I have heard some discussion about the flat earth theory. It is important to bring this up, because to believe that the earth is flat, and not a sphere like the other planets, requires a whole different way of looking at the universe. Those who ascribe to the flat earth theory claim that the earth is not a sphere that turns on its axis, so that the sun rises in the east, and sets in the west. The sun is said to be much smaller than believed, and much closer to the earth.  

I grew up in Nova Scotia, Canada, where there is no place more than thirty-five miles from the ocean. I have been told that if you are at the shore watching a sailboat heading out to sea, after a while it seems to be sinking. Eventually, all you can see is the top of the mast, and that soon disappears. But the boat did not sink. It simply disappeared below the horizon, because the surface of the earth is curved. The same phenomenon may be observed anywhere in the world, because the earth is a sphere.

There are many communications satellites in space in orbits encircling the earth. To deny this would be absurd, because our whole communications system depends on satellites that receive and send signals from the earth below and transmits them around the world. You can watch the news live from London, Moscow, or Beijing. You can telephone your grandmother in Australia or Norway. Pictures of the earth taken from these satellites show that the earth is a sphere. The astronauts who traveled from the earth to the moon could see the earth from space for themselves. And they have not reported seeing that the earth is flat, like a pancake. The earth is a sphere! The earth is NOT flat! And not everything about space travel comes from the Disney Company, or DreamWorks. The following is from an article by Douglas Main:

“‘With extraordinarily few exceptions, no educated person in the history of Western Civilization from the third century B.C. onward believed that the Earth was flat,’ historian Jeffrey Burton Russell wrote in 1997. ‘A round Earth appears at least as early as the sixth century B.C. with Pythagoras, who was followed by Aristotle, Euclid, and Aristarchus, among others in observing that the earth was a sphere.’ By the first century A.D., ‘the sphericity of the earth was accepted by all educated Greeks and Romans’” (Douglas Main, Newsweek, 1/28/16).

As for the Church, we have no less an authority than St. Thomas Aquinas:

“Thomas Aquinas (1225 – 1274), the most important and widely taught theologian of the Middle Ages, believed in a spherical Earth; and he even took for granted his readers also knew the Earth is round. In his Summa Theologica he wrote, ‘The physicist proves the earth to be round by one means, the astronomer by another: for the latter proves this by means of mathematics, e.g. by the shapes of eclipses, or something of that sort; while the former proves it by means of physics, e.g. by the movement of heavy bodies towards the center, and so forth.’ Lectures in the medieval universities commonly advanced evidence in favor of the idea that the Earth was a sphere. Also, ‘On the Sphere of the World’, the most influential astronomy textbook of the 13th century and required reading by students in all Western European universities, described the world as a sphere.” (Flat Earth, Wikipedia).

We give praise and thanks to God for this marvelous and beautiful earth:

“The Lord’s are the earth and its fullness; the world and those who dwell in it. For he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers. Who can ascend the mountain of the Lord? Or who may stand in his holy place? He whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean, who desires not what is vain nor swears deceitfully to his neighbor. He shall receive a blessing from the Lord, a reward from God his savior. Such is the race that seeks for him, that seeks the face of the God of Jacob” (Ps.23:1-6).