The Eight Theses of Giordano Bruno: Point 2

The Eight Theses of Giordano Bruno: Point 2

Our discussion continues with the second assertion of Bruno, which he refused to recant:

2) The doctrine of the infinite universe and infinite worlds in conflict with the idea of Creation: “He who denies the infinite in effect denies the infinite power.

Giordano Bruno was truly a man out of time. He was born in an age when the Church was becoming very restrictive in its views of so-called heretical teachings. If he had lived in Ficino’s day, he probably would not have been fed to the flames. At the same time, if he had lived 300 years later, he may have been revered as a brilliant philosopher. True teachers of Soul are always persecuted by those in authority. It has always been the case throughout history. Those who control the masses feel threatened whenever a strong voice speaks out in favor of Truth. It was true in the days of Jesus, and it is true now.

Bruno’s doctrine of an infinite universe was an electrifying idea to have written and spoken about publicly in that day. He was well-schooled in both the prevailing view, the Ptolemaic model of geocentrism, and the view of Copernicus. Bruno was born only five years after the death of the great astronomer. The following description is the teaching Bruno attacked:

The earth was the central ball around which seven transparent spheres glided, carrying the moon, the sun, and the five naked-eye planets. An eighth sphere carried the fixed stars. It would be fruitless to dwell on the picturesque medieval elaborations on this system in which other spheres were added, presumably as the dwelling places of various ranks of angels and archangels. Essentially, the Ptolemaic universe was a closed system with the earth at the center and the stars as fixed points of light on a huge sphere. The earth was motionless; day and night were caused by the revolution of the heavens. All orbits were circles, since according to Aristotle the circle is the perfect figure. Aristotle had also taught that the earth was corruptible, while the regions beyond the sphere of the moon were perfect and therefore unchanging (Giordano Bruno and the Infinite Universe, by Warren Hollister).

The system of Copernicus was an advance on the Ptolemaic system, but it was still, nevertheless, a closed and very finite system. He still hung onto aspects of the Ptolemaic cosmology, having merely switched the earth for the sun. Of course, the Church wanted none of it, except to retain the Ptolemaic system. They reasoned that, if Christ had incarnated on the earth, it must be the center of the universe.

It was actually Bruno who paved the way for modern astronomy. Galileo, for all the wonderful discoveries he made, did not grasp the fact that the universe was a vast, infinite expanse, filled with not only planets, but suns like ours, sitting at the center of innumerable solar systems.

The universe is then one, infinite, immobile. … It is not capable of comprehension and therefore is endless and limitless, and to that extent infinite and indeterminable, and consequently immobile (In Giordano Bruno and Jack Lindsay, ‘Fifth Dialogue’, Cause, Principle, and Unity: Five Dialogues (1976), 135.).

Bruno asserted that the universe didn’t even have a center, that the center is everywhere!

To a body of infinite size there can be ascribed neither center nor boundary … Just as we regard ourselves as at the center of that universally equidistant circle, which is the great horizon and the limit of our own encircling ethereal region, so doubtless the inhabitants of the moon believe themselves to be at the center (of a great horizon) that embraces this earth, the sun, and the stars, and is the boundary of the radii of their own horizon. Thus the earth no more than any other world is at the center; moreover no points constitute determined celestial poles for our earth, just as she herself is not a definite and determined pole to any other point of the ether, or of the world-space; and the same is true for all other bodies. From various points of view these may all be regarded either as centers, or as points on the circumference, as poles, or zeniths and so forth. Thus the earth is not in the center of the universe; it is central only to our own surrounding space (Irving Louis Horowitz, The Renaissance Philosophy of Giordano Bruno (1952), 60).

With these statements, Bruno effectively laid waste the prevailing cosmological theories of the day.

How did he gain this knowledge? He did not have the tools we have today. He didn’t even have a telescope. Remember that Bruno was highly skilled in the arena of human memory. He was a master of mnemotechnics. This skill requires vast imaginative capabilities. I am certain that Bruno had traveled in his imagination to some of those many worlds he discussed. In his imagination, while traversing the mundus imaginalis, he saw the truth of our solar system and the universe. Ideas such as these begin in the imagination. It is the Star in human beings:

Imagination is the star in man, the celestial or supercelestial body (Martin Ruland, Lexicon Alchemiae, 1612).

 What will we see if we ourselves peer into this vast realm, this world with unlimited depth?

I leave you with this astounding statement from a true martyr of Truth, who, apparently saw the possibility of parallel worlds:

I can imagine an infinite number of worlds like the earth, with a Garden of Eden on each one. In all these Gardens of Eden, half the Adams and Eves will not eat the fruit of knowledge, but half will. But half of infinity is infinity, so an infinite number of worlds will fall from grace and there will be an infinite number of crucifixions. Therefore, either there is one unique Jesus who goes from one world to another, or there are an infinite number of Jesuses. Since a single Jesus visiting an infinite number of earths one at a time would take an infinite amount of time, there must be an infinite number of Jesuses. Therefore, God must create an infinite number of Christs (Giordano Bruno, On the Cause, Principle, and Unity, 5th dialogue (1588).

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