Many historians of science have documented that the first to oppose Galileo was the scientific establishment, not the church. The prevailing ‘scientific’wisdom of his day was the Aristotelian/Ptolemaic theory—an unwieldy geocentric system, with the earth at the centre of the universe and other heavenly bodies in highly complex orbits around the earth. And it had its origins in a pagan philosophical system.
Hang on. Creationism adversaries among Liberal Theologians are saying that Creation in short period of time as well as a Global Flood (or flatworld-wide flood if earth had been flat) came from Babylonic Mythology.
To show that it was not mainly “religion vs science”, an example of the Church’s early attitude was shown by their top theologian, Cardinal Robert Bellarmine. He said it was “excellent good sense” to claim that Galileo’s model was mathematically simpler, and:“… If there were a real proof that the Sun is in the centre of the universe, that the Earth is in the third sphere, and that the Sun does not go round the Earth but the Earth round the Sun, then we should have to proceed with great circumspection in explaining passages of Scripture which appear to teach the contrary, and we should rather have to say that we did not understand them than declare an opinion false which has been proved to be true. But I do not think there is any such proof since none has been shown to me.”Actually, Galileo had not proven his case at the time—indeed, his best “proof” involving the tides is now known to be wrong. It is unfair to judge the church according to knowledge they couldn’t have possessed at the time.
Theological knowledge the Church ought to have had since Jesus Christ. But I concede that Galileo had not proven his case at the time, unless you put too much stress on "at the time". The theory of tides I was taught in school comes from Sir George Darwin, grandson of the famous or infamous Charles.
But the Psalms are clearly poetic (not historical like Genesis), so were never intended to be used as a basis for a cosmological model.
Wonderful idea, if you dismiss poetry as inherently non-factual. The fact that psalms are poetry does not preclude them being science. It is a very modern notion that science has to be unpoetic and therefore poetry irrelevant to science, unfactual for instance.
Remember the Psalmist is ancestor of Our Lord. Who had a similar literary bent. We will make a comparison.
Take Psalm 93:1–2: “The world is firmly established; it cannot be moved.” The next verse says that “[God’s] throne is established of old.” Here the same Hebrew word (כּוּןkôn) is translated “established” [i.e., stable, secure, enduring, not necessarily stationary, immobile]. Also, the same Hebrew word for ‘moved’ (מוֹטmôt) is used in Psalm 16:8, ‘I shall not be moved.’ Surely, even skeptics wouldn’t accuse the Bible of teaching that the Psalmist was rooted to one spot! He meant that he would not stray from the path that God had set for him.
Now, that reminds me of Our Lords parallelism between Pneuma and Pneuma (thank you very much, Owen Barfield):
John 3: That which is born of the flesh, is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit, is spirit.  Wonder not, that I said to thee, you must be born again.  The Spirit breatheth where he will; and thou hearest his voice, but thou knowest not whence he cometh, and whither he goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
Douai-Reims has "spirit" in verse 8, but King James (read by Owen Barfield) has "wind" here. And indeed pneuma can mean either. If Our Lord used the physical wind as a parallel to the Holy Spirit and to the man born again of Holy Spirit, it would mean that the same words are used concretely about physical fact (with exact description) and also metaphorically about the faithful who is born again. That one word is used metaphorically about another faithful (physically it would be hard for a faithful to fulfill at once both roles, though Simon Stylites and Francis of Assisi came close to fulfilling them between them) does not hinder it being used literally in another psalm.
But the psalms was not all the Bible involved in the Process. There was also the Sun standing still and resuming its movement when Joshua had trouble getting a victory complete before nightfall. And surely THAT is history. On any Orthodox Christian view.
So moving the earth away from the centre was, in the context of the middle ages, actually exalting it. Rather, what really upset the establishment was Galileo’s discovery of blemishes on the sun (sunspots), precisely because it undermined the idea of perfect heavenly bodies.
But it is also very correct that the Church in the end condemned Galileo not for the blemishes on the Sun, but for exalting the earth up to the third heaven.
Even the antitheistic publication New Scientist admitted, “Galileo’s Catholic faith was completely unshaken by his discovery,” and wondered whether this counted against his greatness.
But his so called discovery was not unshaken by his faith.
One year before he died, while already blind, he was convinced by the argument given by his former friend Pope Urban VIII.
God was free to create the universe any way he wanted it to be. He was also free to make it appear any way he wanted it to appear.
Does that mean: "he could have created it geocentric and yet make it look heliocentric to test our faith"? No, it does not look directly heliocentric in the first place. Just like the earth does not look "billions of years old" in the first place.
The real filling in of the argument would be: It is therefore according to God's will that it appears geocentric, and God is free to have created it geocentric. Also, God is no liar.
A correspondent wrote on Biblical Age Objection (which linked to that previous page):
It is remarkable to see the extent to which humans can go to justify a preconceived notion. We have seen Christians make a stand on unjustifiable grounds before; for example when they believed that the sun orbited the earth and that the earth was the centre of the universe. The assertion that the earth can be reliably dated at 6000 years by biblical genealogy alone, and in the face of modern science, is surely rather childish, and it undermines the authority of the same folks who are trying to spread the gospel of Christ.
But the problem is that precisely Heliocentrism is a preconceived notion. As well as the idea of non-historic dating of earth. Who says there must be a dating method totally independent of the preeminent dating discipline history? Some details are answered pretty well by Don Batten. His answers on age dating beats my capacities in that respect. Read that link too, will ya!
From Beaubourg G.P. Library
St Radegond's Day