Nicholas Copernicus was the Polish astronomer who put forward the first mathematically based system of planets going around the sun. Copernicus referred sometimes to God in his works, and did not see his system as in conflict with the Bible.
Copernicus was born in Torun, in eastern Poland, where his father was an influential businessman. Copernicus studied first at the University of Cracow, where he first took an interest in astronomy and then moved on to the University of Bologna to study Greek, mathematics, and more astronomy. At Bologna he fell in with scholars who agreed that Aristotle’s cosmology was too inelegant. After a brief visit home to be installed as canon (a permanent salaried staff position in a cathedral), he returned to Italy to complete his doctorate of law and to study medicine at the University of Padua. In 1506 he returned to Poland, and though only in his early thirties, he was said to have mastered all the knowledge of the day in mathematics, astronomy, medicine, and theology.
He considered it his “loving duty to seek the truth in all things, in so far as God has granted that to human reason.” In 1514 the pope asked if he could help revise the calendar. Copernicus replied that “the magnitude of the years and months … had not yet been measured with sufficient accuracy.” But he took this as a personal challenge and turned his tower apartments into a night observatory. His daylight hours were spent on his official duties with the sick, in administration, and guiding the diocese through a war between the Teutonic Knights and the King of Poland.
Copernicus’s ideas were too much for contemporaries; even a reformer like Martin Luther found it impossible to believe the sun, not the earth, anchored the solar system. It wasn’t until Galileo (1564–1642) that Copernicus’s ideas were seen for what they were—a revolution in how humankind conceived of itself. For some this implied that de-centered earth was an insignificant speck to a distant God; others, though, marveled that the creator of a now infinite universe would lavish such attention on a planet that seemed to stand at the periphery of all creation (CT)
He believed every planet revolved the Sun and the Sun was the center point that kept the planets in its orbital path. His theory proved the existence of God. As we read, “Thus says God the LORD, Who created the heavens and stretched them out, Who spread out the earth and its offspring, Who gives breath to the people on it And spirit to those who walk in it” (Isaiah 42:5). Apostle Paul said, “The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands and human hands can’t serve his needs–for he has no needs. He himself gives life and breath to everything, and he satisfies every need” (Acts 17:24-25).
We belong to a great God who keeps the whole Galaxy in the tip of His fingers. We cannot understand the greatness behind God’s glorious works in our lives and around us unless we are willing to understand His greatness. GGK!