Astronomy and the importance of location in the universe, theologically speaking

It’s hard to focus on the important things when life is so full of distractions.  The universe is big, and wide and with trillions upon trillions of this and that, and so contemporary thought has a hard time seeing the value of being here, or being human, or that God would take an interest in our tiny place in the cosmos.

The ancients thought that the earth was the center of the universe, or perhaps the Sun, and that all the stars in the Heavens circled around in spheres of glass, or some other celestial mechanics.  We laugh about Aristotle and Plato, Copernicus and Galileo who argued about what goes around what but saw through meager lenses.  Our Babelian view might not be much clearer for having peeked behind the sky.

There’s a doctrine of law that can be helpful in this, being that one needs to distinguish between the “muscle” and the “nerve” centers of an entity to find out the proper jurisdiction.  Is the most important place where we find the physical property?  Or where the work gets done?  Or where the corporate officers make the important decisions?

Astronomy and measurements of mass don’t tell us much about importance, just as the size of the universe says nothing very interesting, bigness and smallness being relative and so uninformative.  The only reason we think the universe is big is in relation to ourselves, but if we compare ourselves to molecules we are suddenly great and powerful.

Israel was purposefully the smallest and least important in the eyes of the educated, but important to God and the center of his purposes on earth.  A tiny island in Western Europe had an empire that spanned the globe, while Alexander conquered the world from an unexpected place.

In relation to the universe, the centers of importance seem to be where God does his important work, and not mere centers of mass or raw materials.  We could set up stars and galaxies and universes themselves as cosmic paperweights and for all their power they would have no more significance than their creator chose to give them.

The world tends to dismiss the Earth and the value of human life because the Earth is relatively small compared to the cosmos.  We are a small people on a small planet in a small place, but God interprets these things according to prudence, not physics.

The most important error of neo-modernism is the reduction of all things to the relation of objects in space, incapable of deeper evaluation and meaning.  The second flaw is different, but overlapping, being that since we aren’t anything in particular, we can decide what we are, and so are the creators of our own meaning.  If we were important, or valuable when we came into the world, not because of what we decide to be, but because of what we already are, most human miseries could be avoided through the simple reconciliation of our intentions with our greater purpose.

If the creator of all things that gives them their value and meaning should choose to manifest his presence on one particular sphere, one tiny ball of green and blue floating through space, that place would be a very important place indeed, and those with whom he chose to dwell of greater honor than the stars and galaxies that seem to shine with greater brilliance.

Entire galaxies after all, might be just back-lighting for the cosmic stage.


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