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JarMan

Galileo in the Book of Mormon

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You may have heard the one about Shakespeare in the Book of Mormon. But have you heard the one about Galileo (and other scientists of his time) in the Book of Mormon? You may have guessed that I'm talking about Helaman 12:15:

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And thus, according to his word the earth goeth back, and it appeareth unto man that the sun standeth still; yea, and behold, this is so; for surely it is the earth that moveth and not the sun.

Even though there were earlier heliocentric theories (most notably from Copernicus), Galileo was the first to show the superiority of the Copernican model over the traditional Ptolemaic model by his observations through one of the earliest telescopes.

But I'm not talking only about Helaman 12:15. We also see Galilean ideas (or alternatively, Baconian ideas) in Alma 32 where Alma urges us to try an experiment. The idea of using inductive reasoning using experiments, rather than the Aristotelian method of deductive reasoning, was revolutionary in the early 1600's and kicked off the scientific revolution.

The third place we see Galileo's influence is in the function of the Jaredite barges. Galileo's 1613 work on floating and submerged bodies was a rejection of Aristotle's theories and a defense of Archimedes. Galileo spends a lot of time discussing the fact that submerged bodies less dense than water will rise to the surface since it directly refutes Aristotle's reasoning. He also is careful to indicate that when a body is entrained with air, it is the combined density of the air plus the object that matters when compared to the density of water. By this he shows that an object which normally sinks will float if there is sufficient air entrained. This discussion appears to be the inspiration for Ether 6:6-7:

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6 And it came to pass that they were many times buried in the depths of the sea, because of the mountain waves which broke upon them, and also the great and terrible tempests which were caused by the fierceness of the wind.

7 And it came to pass that when they were buried in the deep there was no water that could hurt them, their vessels being tight like unto a dish, and also they were tight like unto the ark of Noah; therefore when they were encompassed about by many waters they did cry unto the Lord, and he did bring them forth again upon the top of the waters.

If someone could show me revolutionary 19th Century scientific ideas in the Book of Mormon I would be impressed.

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1 hour ago, clarkgoble said:

Of course the time frame for those documents is long after Moroni. But we really don't know what was believed then. It's conceivable if speculative that the orbits were known early on and the Mayans distinguished between the mythic and ritual place of the planets and the mathematics. Indeed one could even read Helaman 12:15 as making just such a distinction. On the other hand it's completely plausible that this is also an expansion to the text given by Joseph and not actually on the plates.

I find it highly unlikely the Nephites would have a heliocentric cosmology. Human nature, for one, argues against adopting this position. Secondly, they had the OT which many have interpreted as establishing an unmoving earth. Third, a telescope is necessary in order to undermine a geocentric model. Fourthly, no known civilizations before the third century BC is known to have conceived of Heliocentrism. 

I read Helaman 12:15 as embracing a controversial, but cutting edge theory. I should point out that Hugo Grotius was an admirer (and occasional correspondent) of Galileo. Grotius was familiar with Galileo’s works and considered him to be the most brilliant person alive. So it’s not surprising to me to see Galileo’s thoughts show up in multiple places in the Book of Mormon. It’s much harder, if not impossible, to make that same level of Galileo-connection to Joseph Smith or anybody in his surroundings. 

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Don't your point 2 & 3 contradict? Also both the time of Helaman and Mormon are well after 300 BC. Also a moving Earth is generally thought to be a view of Pythagorianism well before 300 BC. Finally as I noted beyond the recognition of elements of later European knowledge in their superior astronomy most Mayan records were destroyed so it’s mostly an argument from silence. As we know both heliocentric and moving earth theories were developed independent of telescopes in the ancient world it’s not implausible the Nephites had it for unknown reasons.

You also didn’t address it as an expansion to/by Joseph.

Edited by clarkgoble

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Can you just say it is about Grotius in the first post? No need to be coy.

Edited by The Nehor

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3 hours ago, clarkgoble said:

Don't your point 2 & 3 contradict?

I don't understand the question.

3 hours ago, clarkgoble said:

Also both the time of Helaman and Mormon are well after 300 BC. Also a moving Earth is generally thought to be a view of Pythagorianism well before 300 BC. Finally as I noted beyond the recognition of elements of later European knowledge in their superior astronomy most Mayan records were destroyed so it’s mostly an argument from silence. As we know both heliocentric and moving earth theories were developed independent of telescopes in the ancient world it’s not implausible the Nephites had it for unknown reasons.

The point is that the Book of Mormon people left the new world before heliocentrism was an idea. This means they would have needed to develop the idea completely independently. (And this, in the face of their scriptures telling them something different.) I mention telescopes specifically because, without them, heliocentrism is just one theory among others. If you ignore Kepler for a second, the Ptolemaic and Tychonic models are really "better" than the Galilean model. That is, mathematically they are equivalent, but philosophically the Galilean model is less satisfying. That's why I think the Ptolemaic model stuck while some of the others didn't. And it's why I think essentially all pre-modern cultures universally accepted geocentrism.

3 hours ago, clarkgoble said:

You also didn’t address it as an expansion to/by Joseph.

I see Helaman 12:15 as, among other things, a not-so-veiled backhand to the Catholic church. This doesn't make sense in Joseph's time since, by the time the Book of Mormon was published, the Catholic church had already essentially conceded heliocentrism. The latter part of Helaman 12:15 really has little rhetorical purpose or weight from an 1829 perspective.

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11 hours ago, clarkgoble said:

........................................... On the other hand it's completely plausible that this is also an expansion to the text given by Joseph and not actually on the plates........................

Or to the actual Renaissance translator of the BofM text who was familiar with the work of Copernicus and Galileo.

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1 hour ago, JarMan said:

I don't understand the question.

Sorry I meant 3 & 4. i.e. the idea that a telescope is necessary for heliocentric models is undermined by ancient heliocentric models. The reasons why geocentric models were more popular was for folk reasons not I think scientific ones. We obviously judge objects from our perspective. Thus any religion targeting the masses will have a geocentric focus due to this phenomenology. However it's not hard to reconcile them in various ways as ancient writers demonstrate. The issue really isn't the science since the Book of Mormon doesn't demonstrate any awareness of the science nor astronomical calculations.  (Which isn't to say they were ignorant - just that we can't say much based on the text) 

I also think you have to be careful when talking about culture. I think you're equivocating there somewhat. You recognize there was heliocentric astronomy in the ancient world but presumably are dismissing it as not being the main view. However you are then turning to early modernism but are playing by different views. i.e. treating the small intellectual class of scientists and philosophers as if they were representative of the broader cultural views. Again while Aristarchus is around 300 BC, the ideas go back much farther at least to the 5th century and possibly older. This view wasn't strictly heliocentrism since both the sun and earth orbit a hidden central flame.

I'd note Helaman 12  technically isn't unambiguously embracing either model. It just says if it appears the sun is still God is actually moving the earth. We might assume that's because of a heliocentric view, but it's not clear it is. It could also just be a mythology that sees God tied to the sun and so if God is acting he'd move the earth. Finally I'd note that Helaman seems to indicate a distinction between the cultural view and the author's view. That is they are reporting the sun standing still (likely written referencing Joshua 10:12) but then explaining what really is going on. Again it's not clear who the author of that verse is, so we should be careful in interpreting it. 

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40 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:

Sorry I meant 3 & 4. i.e. the idea that a telescope is necessary for heliocentric models is undermined by ancient heliocentric models. The reasons why geocentric models were more popular was for folk reasons not I think scientific ones. We obviously judge objects from our perspective. Thus any religion targeting the masses will have a geocentric focus due to this phenomenology. However it's not hard to reconcile them in various ways as ancient writers demonstrate. The issue really isn't the science since the Book of Mormon doesn't demonstrate any awareness of the science nor astronomical calculations.  (Which isn't to say they were ignorant - just that we can't say much based on the text) 

I'm not saying a telescope is necessary to develop a heliocentric view. I'm saying it is necessary in order to determine it is superior to a geocentric model. I partially agree with your general idea about why geocentric views have been more prevalent. But I think it's also important to realize that 1) a geocentric model is not less accurate, and 2) a geocentric model is easier to calculate. So it wasn't just religious orthodoxy or cultural/psychological bias that that prevented adoption of another view. It was also a matter of convenience. So all of those things combined have been a barrier to adopting heliocentrism. I don't see why the Nephites would have been immune to any of those causes. 

1 hour ago, clarkgoble said:

I also think you have to be careful when talking about culture. I think you're equivocating there somewhat. You recognize there was heliocentric astronomy in the ancient world but presumably are dismissing it as not being the main view. However you are then turning to early modernism but are playing by different views. i.e. treating the small intellectual class of scientists and philosophers as if they were representative of the broader cultural views. Again while Aristarchus is around 300 BC, the ideas go back much farther at least to the 5th century and possibly older. This view wasn't strictly heliocentrism since both the sun and earth orbit a hidden central flame.

I'm not equivocating. My proposed early modern writer had a demonstrable knowledge of Galileo's writings. Even if there was a different writer than Grotius, he would necessarily be a scholar and would certainly be aware of the controversy regarding Galileo. To defend a traditional Book of Mormon model we are forced to hope that certain ideas were in existence hundreds of years before the historical record indicates and then we are forced to hope those ideas somehow made it across a significant distance and then we are forced to hope that those ideas were exposed to and embraced by the people we want to embrace them. In a 17th Century model we know unequivocally that the ideas existed in precisely the right location at precisely the right time and with Grotius we know they were embraced by precisely the right person. 

1 hour ago, clarkgoble said:

I'd note Helaman 12  technically isn't unambiguously embracing either model. It just says if it appears the sun is still God is actually moving the earth. We might assume that's because of a heliocentric view, but it's not clear it is. It could also just be a mythology that sees God tied to the sun and so if God is acting he'd move the earth. Finally I'd note that Helaman seems to indicate a distinction between the cultural view and the author's view. That is they are reporting the sun standing still (likely written referencing Joshua 10:12) but then explaining what really is going on. Again it's not clear who the author of that verse is, so we should be careful in interpreting it. 

I disagree. I think Helaman 12 unambiguously endorses literal heliocentrism. 

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13 hours ago, JarMan said:

..................................., no known civilizations before the third century BC is known to have conceived of Heliocentrism. ......................................

What do you make of the astronomical stuff in the Book of Abraham?  Especially in chapter 3.

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1 hour ago, Robert F. Smith said:

What do you make of the astronomical stuff in the Book of Abraham?  Especially in chapter 3.

From what little I know about ancient Egyptian cosmology, the idea of associating a god with a star seems appropriate. But I highly doubt the ancient Egyptians would have conceived of planets and star systems in the way they are represented in Abraham. 

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4 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

What do you make of the astronomical stuff in the Book of Abraham?  Especially in chapter 3.

John Gee argues convincingly its geocentric doesn’t he?

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4 hours ago, clarkgoble said:

John Gee argues convincingly its geocentric doesn’t he?

I wasn't convinced.  I preferred the approach of Mike Rhodes and Ward Moody in chapter 2 (Gee & Hauglid, eds., Astronomy, Papyrus, and Covenant [FARMS, 2005]. 17-69), concluding that it corresponds with modern science as understood in the 20th century.  More importantly, my own research revealed that Abraham was fully knowledgeable of ancient Mesopotamian astronomy, which he called upon extensively -- see pages 22-25 of my “A Brief Assessment of the LDS Book of Abraham,” version 8 online August 18, 2014, at http://www.scribd.com/doc/118810727/A-Brief-Assessment-of-the-LDS-Book-of-Abraham .

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7 hours ago, JarMan said:

From what little I know about ancient Egyptian cosmology, the idea of associating a god with a star seems appropriate. But I highly doubt the ancient Egyptians would have conceived of planets and star systems in the way they are represented in Abraham. 

Abraham lectured the Egyptians on astronomy (Fac 3) based on his more sophisticated background in Mesopotamian astronomy.  See my reply to Clark Goble.

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11 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Abraham lectured the Egyptians on astronomy (Fac 3) based on his more sophisticated background in Mesopotamian astronomy.  See my reply to Clark Goble.

The ancients didn't have our modern understanding of planets as huge, rocky, potentially habitable bodies orbiting a sun in a solar system. Planets were simply wandering stars that existed in a lower layer of the cosmological model than the other stars. I don't think it would ever occur that any of these small points of light were potentially equivalent to the earth they inhabited. I won't pretend to have a great understanding of Abraham but it seems to be suggesting a multiplicity of solar systems with multiple planets in the modern sense. 

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16 minutes ago, JarMan said:

The ancients didn't have our modern understanding of planets as huge, rocky, potentially habitable bodies orbiting a sun in a solar system. Planets were simply wandering stars that existed in a lower layer of the cosmological model than the other stars. I don't think it would ever occur that any of these small points of light were potentially equivalent to the earth they inhabited. I won't pretend to have a great understanding of Abraham but it seems to be suggesting a multiplicity of solar systems with multiple planets in the modern sense

Did you read my reply to Clark Goble?  You are on the right track, but you need to go a little further (read the cited  pages in my piece).

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13 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

I wasn't convinced.  I preferred the approach of Mike Rhodes and Ward Moody in chapter 2 (Gee & Hauglid, eds., Astronomy, Papyrus, and Covenant [FARMS, 2005]. 17-69), concluding that it corresponds with modern science as understood in the 20th century.  More importantly, my own research revealed that Abraham was fully knowledgeable of ancient Mesopotamian astronomy, which he called upon extensively -- see pages 22-25 of my “A Brief Assessment of the LDS Book of Abraham,” version 8 online August 18, 2014, at http://www.scribd.com/doc/118810727/A-Brief-Assessment-of-the-LDS-Book-of-Abraham .

By the way, Bob, great paper- I had not seen that one before!

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Alma 30 [17] And many more such things did he say unto them, telling them that there could be no atonement made for the sins of men, but every man fared in this life according to the management of the creature; therefore every man prospered according to his genius, and that every man conquered according to his strength;

 

Clearly straight from Darwin, without attribution.

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On 1/20/2018 at 11:33 AM, Robert F. Smith said:

Did you read my reply to Clark Goble?  You are on the right track, but you need to go a little further (read the cited  pages in my piece).

I’m a little dense so you’ll have to help me understand what I need to see. If it’s Einsteinian relativity then I doubt you’ll be able to convince me that is alluded to in the Book of Abraham.

On the other hand, I did find some information on ancient Sumerian and Babylonian astronomy that did offer a potential tie to how I’m reading Abraham 3. This is the idea of a plurality of heavens and earths, which was apparently believed by these ancient people. However, I don’t think they looked at the stars and believed those were the “other” heavens. I think they believed they existed in a completely separate realm unobservable from earth. 

One other thing I noticed as I read Abraham 3 is that the number of stars was compared to the sands of the sea. There are really only about 2,500 stars visible to the naked eye so I’m guessing that the idea of an infinite number of stars is a modern idea. Interestingly, though, both Moses 2 and Abraham 4 seem to preserve the cosmology presented in Genesis 1 (rather than offering a more modern version).

Edited by JarMan

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2 hours ago, JarMan said:

. Interestingly, though, both Moses 2 and Abraham 4 seem to preserve the cosmology presented in Genesis 1 (rather than offering a more modern version).

Who told you this was cosmology?   Some have suggested It is likely a temple drama.

Edited by cdowis

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5 hours ago, JarMan said:

I’m a little dense so you’ll have to help me understand what I need to see. If it’s Einsteinian relativity then I doubt you’ll be able to convince me that is alluded to in the Book of Abraham.

As I pointed out on pp. 22-23 of my paper, "Where would one celestial day pass while a thousand years passed here on Earth?  What principle would allow time to be so relatively slow there and so fast here, or vice-versa? Does physics (astrophysics) know of such a phenomenon? What of the time‑dilation principle of Einsteinian mechanics at very high speeds?"[1]

* * * * 

". . . one may also account for that time differential via the Lorentz‑Fitzgerald contraction of time in Einsteinian mechanics (the Special Theory of Relativity, perhaps allied with the Aristotelian and Stoic concept of Zeus Ouranios [= Jupiter summus exsuperantissimus]) at the edge of the known universe with the quasars, or in the midst of our own Milky Way Galaxy and within its super‑massive Black Hole."

Last week in Sunday School, our teacher commented that, if a thousand years to us is merely one day to the Lord, then our life on this planet averages about 1 hour 48 minutes in the Lord's time. 


[1] See Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_dilation .

Now, of course, one can take the view that all such numbers and concepts must be accounted for only in the terms which would be understood by someone from the ancient world, no modern concepts allowed, which is why I presented Sumero-Akkadian astronomical measures.  However, in my view, God's revelations may also be fully examined in light of modern science.

Quote

On the other hand, I did find some information on ancient Sumerian and Babylonian astronomy that did offer a potential tie to how I’m reading Abraham 3. This is the idea of a plurality of heavens and earths, which was apparently believed by these ancient people. However, I don’t think they looked at the stars and believed those were the “other” heavens. I think they believed they existed in a completely separate realm unobservable from earth. 

One other thing I noticed as I read Abraham 3 is that the number of stars was compared to the sands of the sea. There are really only about 2,500 stars visible to the naked eye so I’m guessing that the idea of an infinite number of stars is a modern idea.

Hugh Nibley, who was an amateur astronomer as a kid, compared the Urim & Thummim in Abr 3 to the ocular and objective lenses of a telescope.  We do not in fact know what Abe was allowed to look at.  Joseph Smith had certainly put forward the notion of infinity in saying elsewhere that there is no beginning and there shall be no end (KIng Follett Sermon, and https://www.lds.org/manual/teachings-joseph-smith/chapter-17?lang=eng ).  Was that just hyperbole when used in the biblical text? (that is, "the number of stars was compared to the sands of the sea")

Quote

Interestingly, though, both Moses 2 and Abraham 4 seem to preserve the cosmology presented in Genesis 1 (rather than offering a more modern version).

The thing is, in both Assyria and Babylonia, the Creation Story (Enuma elish) was read as ritual on New Year's Day in the Temple.  That Mesopotamian Creation account had the same items being created in the same order as in Genesis 1.  Moreover, the creation was from pre-existing matter, just as it is in Gen 1.  This is not a science text, but a very archaic ritual text.

Edited by Robert F. Smith

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42 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

As I pointed out on pp. 22-23 of my paper, "Where would one celestial day pass while a thousand years passed here on Earth?  What principle would allow time to be so relatively slow there and so fast here, or vice-versa? Does physics (astrophysics) know of such a phenomenon? What of the time‑dilation principle of Einsteinian mechanics at very high speeds?"[1]

 

A day on Pluto is different than a day on Mercury == days are measured by its rotation time around itself.

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6 hours ago, JarMan said:

One other thing I noticed as I read Abraham 3 is that the number of stars was compared to the sands of the sea. There are really only about 2,500 stars visible to the naked eye so I’m guessing that the idea of an infinite number of stars is a modern idea. Interestingly, though, both Moses 2 and Abraham 4 seem to preserve the cosmology presented in Genesis 1 (rather than offering a more modern version).

Writing from a phone while recuperating from some minor surgery so forgive the typos. I’ll write something more in depth later. But this was a teaching of Plotinus and goes back to at least Anaxagoras. The infinite was quite important in late antiquity particularly with the platonists. Of course that’s well after Abraham but the translated papyri is famously first century.

1 hour ago, Robert F. Smith said:

The thing is, in both Assyria and Babylonia, the Creation Story (Enuma elish) was read as ritual on New Year's Day in the Temple.  That Mesopotamian Creation account had the same items being created in the same order as in Genesis 1.  Moreover, the creation was from pre-existing matter, just as it is in Gen 1.  This is not a science text, but a very archaic ritual text.

Typically Gen 1 is seen as the latest creation account. A bit problematic for Abraham. I’m curious given you raise the above how much of the text should date to the time of the papyri and how much to the time of Abraham. I ask because the cosmology in Joseph’s explanation in fac 2 makes a ton of sense if dated to the later time.

More later

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5 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

As I pointed out on pp. 22-23 of my paper, "Where would one celestial day pass while a thousand years passed here on Earth?  What principle would allow time to be so relatively slow there and so fast here, or vice-versa? Does physics (astrophysics) know of such a phenomenon? What of the time‑dilation principle of Einsteinian mechanics at very high speeds?"[1]

* * * * 

". . . one may also account for that time differential via the Lorentz‑Fitzgerald contraction of time in Einsteinian mechanics (the Special Theory of Relativity, perhaps allied with the Aristotelian and Stoic concept of Zeus Ouranios [= Jupiter summus exsuperantissimus]) at the edge of the known universe with the quasars, or in the midst of our own Milky Way Galaxy and within its super‑massive Black Hole."

Last week in Sunday School, our teacher commented that, if a thousand years to us is merely one day to the Lord, then our life on this planet averages about 1 hour 48 minutes in the Lord's time. 


[1] See Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_dilation .

Now, of course, one can take the view that all such numbers and concepts must be accounted for only in the terms which would be understood by someone from the ancient world, no modern concepts allowed, which is why I presented Sumero-Akkadian astronomical measures.  However, in my view, God's revelations may also be fully examined in light of modern science.

Hugh Nibley, who was an amateur astronomer as a kid, compared the Urim & Thummim in Abr 3 to the ocular and objective lenses of a telescope.  We do not in fact know what Abe was allowed to look at.  Joseph Smith had certainly put forward the notion of infinity in saying elsewhere that there is no beginning and there shall be no end (KIng Follett Sermon, and https://www.lds.org/manual/teachings-joseph-smith/chapter-17?lang=eng ).  Was that just hyperbole when used in the biblical text? (that is, "the number of stars was compared to the sands of the sea")

The thing is, in both Assyria and Babylonia, the Creation Story (Enuma elish) was read as ritual on New Year's Day in the Temple.  That Mesopotamian Creation account had the same items being created in the same order as in Genesis 1.  Moreover, the creation was from pre-existing matter, just as it is in Gen 1.  This is not a science text, but a very archaic ritual text.

I read the Gee/Hamblin/Peterson paper arguing for geocentricity in the Book of Abraham. It appears they have made a major error in confusing the concepts of a sidereal period and a synodic period of a planet. They discuss Abraham 3:4-8 and conclude with this statement:

Quote

Those planets or stars that are higher have a greater "point of reckoning for it moveth in order more slow" (Abraham 3:5). It therefore moves in revolution above the earth. This is a geocentric description.

It's true that planets have a longer sidereal period (the time it takes to orbit the sun once) the further away from the sun they get. But this is purely a heliocentric view. Here are the sidereal periods with increasing distance: moon (27 days), mercury (88 days), venus (225 days), earth (365 days), mars (687 days), jupiter (11.86 years), saturn (29.46 years). This is what the argument is based on as you can see that the periods increase with increasing distance.

From the perspective of the earth (which we need to view this from if we are going to claim geocentrism), the synodic period (the time it takes to realign with the earth) varies as you move outward from the earth with every geocentric model I'm aware of. The most common geocentric model has the bodies rotating earth as follows (synodic period in parentheses): moon (30 days), mercury (116 days), venus (584 days), sun (365 days), mars (780 days), jupiter (399 days), saturn (378 days). In short, their mistake actually argues in favor of a heliocentric view, not a geocentric view.

If we are to make an equivalence between 1 day and 1000 years using Einsteinian time dilation we end up with essentially impossible results. First of all, I don't believe we can use velocity time dilation since that would require impossible acceleration of Kolob in relationship to earth (it would be out of the universe by now although I haven't bothered with the calculations). So we would have to use gravitational time dilation which is almost as problematic. If we assume God's planet is the same size as earth, it would need to be about 2157 solar masses by my calculations in order to create the the appropriate slow-down. The appropriate slowdown would occur at about 48 microns (about the width of a human hair) from the Schwarzchild radius which corresponds to the event horizon if we're talking about a black hole. Conceptually this means that there would be an infinitely thin sphere of space that has the appropriate amount of gravity-induced time dilation. And any movement from this sphere greater than 48 microns toward the center would cause that matter or information to be lost forever beyond the event horizon. If this isn't hard enough to overcome, we have the issue that God's planet has probably either collapsed into a star or a black hole, which wouldn't be a very good place to dwell, even for God. And since we're so close to the event horizon, if God was six feet tall and stood so that the bottoms of his feet had the correct time dilation (1 day to 1000 years), the top of his head would have a time dilation of 1 day to 5 years. So God would be essentially warped by the immense gravity into something that was no longer God. And any slight perturbation could send him tumbling beyond the event horizon from which I don't think God could even return.

If my analysis is correct, I am 100% confident this is not the cosmology described in the Book of Abraham. Perhaps what is being described is a concept of the universe beyond even our modern understanding. Maybe God uses black holes and wormholes to navigate and operate or maybe when we have a unifying theory of relativity and quantum physics the Book of Abraham will start to make more sense. Or maybe, just maybe, parts of the Book of Abraham describe an ancient cosmology as appropriated from Genesis while other parts of it describe a 19th Century cosmology as Joseph Smith might have understood it.

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