Sunday, September 02, 2012

Is Christianity geocentric?

What really got me is how freaking big the universe is. Look, when it comes to the world, you're a speck. We know that. We all know that in the grand scheme of human history, most of us are completely irrelevant. But here's the the solar system, the world is a speck. In the galaxy, our solar system is a speck. And in the universe, our galaxy is a speck. Our whole entire solar system could blink out of existence this very minute, and it wouldn't affect the universe at all*.

The fact is that the Christian faith is geocentric. I don't mean that it posits a specific theory of the geometric relationship of the sun to the Earth, I mean that according to the Christian faith, this little speck of a speck is the purpose and meaning of the entire universe. Imagine if I told you the whole entirety of the history of the world was created by God with the singular focus of a mote of dust you saw wafting through a sunbeam this morning. That little mote of dust--not WW2, not the rise and fall of imperial Russia, not your 6th-grader's band recital, not the works of Monet, not the music of Beethoven, none of it was all that important to him. The reason he created all that stuff was that some day, was to create the conditions so that little mote of dust, his pride and joy, would float in that spot in the air for a few seconds before drifting elsewhere.

In fairness to Josh, he finishes his post on a more affirming note. However, I disagree with how he frames the issue. Of course, Bible writers weren’t viewing the universe through the Hubble telescope. Nevertheless, Bible writers have an acute sense of their littleness and physical insignificance in space and time. For instance:

3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
    the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
4 what is man that you are mindful of him,
    and the son of man that you care for him?
(Ps 8:3-4)

Lord, you have been our dwelling place
    in all generations.
2 Before the mountains were brought forth,
    or ever you had formed the earth and the world,
    from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

3 You return man to dust
    and say, “Return, O children of man!”
4 For a thousand years in your sight
    are but as yesterday when it is past,
    or as a watch in the night.

5 You sweep them away as with a flood; they are like a dream,
    like grass that is renewed in the morning:
6 in the morning it flourishes and is renewed;
    in the evening it fades and withers.

7 For we are brought to an end by your anger;
    by your wrath we are dismayed.
8 You have set our iniquities before you,
    our secret sins in the light of your presence.

9 For all our days pass away under your wrath;
    we bring our years to an end like a sigh.
10 The years of our life are seventy,
    or even by reason of strength eighty;
yet their span is but toil and trouble;
    they are soon gone, and we fly away.
(Ps 90:1-10)

6 A voice says, “Cry!”
    And I said, “What shall I cry?”
All flesh is grass,
    and all its beauty[d] is like the flower of the field.
7 The grass withers, the flower fades
    when the breath of the Lord blows on it;
    surely the people are grass.
8 The grass withers, the flower fades,
    but the word of our God will stand forever.
(Isa 40:6-8)

6 “For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. 7 It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, 8 but it is because the Lord loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
(Deut 7:6-8)


  1. Having just turned thirty, it also makes me think about how quickly TIME passes and how small a window of time we all have here as well. It's not about US it's about HIM. :)

  2. Neil, precisely. Christianity is not geocentric, it's Christocentric. All,of God's purposes for his creation are centered in the Beloved. Earth is the stage for all of this working out in order that God may prepare a people for his Son. But the backdrop is an entire universe--all of creation--over which the ascended and exalted Christ reigns even now.