One popular atheist meme says the Copernican Revolution demoted our place in the universe. Because we can no longer occupy the center of the physical universe, that’s a psychological comedown. We cease to have the significance which the Bible attaches to us.
The logic of this argument is far from clear. For instance, a mother may “center” her life on her growing children. She arranges her schedule to meet their needs. To be available for them.
That doesn’t mean her children must occupy a physically central place in her life. Does she love her children any less when they are 20 miles away from home? Indeed, physical distance, physical separation, can enhance the sense of love and longing. You wish they were closer.
It’s true that a sense of vast time and space can make us feel small and insignificant. However, our littleness supplies the backdrop for God’s special love:
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 (Deut 7:7).
To take a human illustration, there are 7 billion people in the world. But that doesn’t make your friends and family less special to you. If anything, that makes them more special to you. In a world full of strangers, it’s all the more important to have a few people you can call your own. That you’re a part of. That you “belong” to.
Compare that to lonely people who feel lost, forgotten, abandoned.
Same thing with our place in time. So many generations have come and gone before us. So many will succeed us after we’re gone.
That can certainly make you feel insignificant. Replaceable.
But the fleeting nature of our mortal existence makes God all the more important to us. Only he can preserve us. Only he can reunite us:
Lord, you have been our dwelling placein all generations (Ps 90:1).
We are special if we are special to God. It is not our place in time and space that makes us significant, but God’s involvement in human history. God making us. God redeeming us. God becoming one of us. God restoring us.
Likewise, if parents have ten kids, they can love each child as much as if they had only one child. For each child is different, yet each child is theirs. They love each child for his individuality, as well as what he means to them–as their own child.