“In the beginning, God…” Genesis 1:1
For centuries, the brightest minds in the world believed that the sun revolved around the earth. It made perfect sense. The sun came up in the east, circled the sky, and set in the west. Through simple observation, people surmised that we were standing still, and the sun circled around us. This earth-centric view of the universe stood until Copernicus published a theory in 1543 scandalously stating that the earth revolved around the sun.
The Copernican Theory was a serious challenge to the Ptolemaic (earth-centric) Theory and to the Roman Catholic Church. To the Church at the time, the earth was the center of the universe. It was God’s creation (as were we), so it had to be. Copernicus died two months after he published the theory, never having proved it, and the Church banned Copernicus’ book on the orbits of heavenly bodies in 1616. Galileo picked up the theory in 1632, only to find himself under house arrest for committing heresy. The religious implications of this understanding of the universe were tremendous. Effectively, if it were true that the earth revolved around the sun, then we, the people of earth, were no longer the center of the universe. Something else was. And we were just in its orbit.
Fast-forward to today, and many of us still believe that we are the center of the universe. Perhaps we don’t believe this when it comes to astronomy…but spiritually we often put ourselves at the heart of our own beliefs…so much so that we “make God a part of our lives.” It’s a phrase we use in church, among others like, “inviting Jesus into our hearts,” and, “making Jesus Lord of our lives.” While on the surface it may seem like mere semantics, if you dig a little deeper, phrases like this often reveal a self-centered view of Christianity – one where we are the focus instead of Christ. Faith, then, becomes just one aspect of our existence that revolves around us, along with family, work, finances and a myriad of other interests and commitments.
But the Bible speaks of God quite differently. When we read it, we see that it is not a book about man, but a book about God. The world He created, with us in it, revolves around Him. His laws, His holiness, His rules and His desires for His creation. We don’t make God a part of anything if He is everything. And we can’t make Him Lord if He already is; we can only choose to acknowledge it as true, or not.
God does not orbit us. We orbit Him; and our chief purpose is to glorify Him. Glorify means that all of our thoughts and actions are done with reverence, respect and obedience toward the One Who deserves our complete and total allegiance. Just as in Copernicus’ day, this understanding is contrary to the broadly held view in our world that we are the center of our own universe.
A century after Copernicus, when people realized the truth, it changed their worldview, and opened their eyes to a greater understanding of the universe and their place in it. Today, if we read and believe what the Bible says, our worldview is similarly changed. It starts with Genesis 1:1… “In the beginning, God…” One need read no further than to know that it is we who are in orbit in a God-centered universe. And if that is true, then there is no more important thing in the entire world than to know God, to obey God and to be with God, through His Son Jesus, for all eternity.
God, forgive me when I put myself at the center of my world. Remind me through Your Word that You are the center of my life. Help me to live in a way that glorifies You as my dreams, desires, plans and purposes lock themselves in orbit around Your will for me. Use my life to Your glory. In Jesus’ name, Amen.