Big or Small in the Plan of God?

Okay, I admit it.  I’m a fan of science fiction.  Yes, yes I know what you’re thinking, but being an imaginative child often means seeking out entertainment mediums that push the imagination, and science fiction seems to do that best.  Ever since I can remember watching Transformers and Voltron as a Kindergartner, I’ve been hooked.

Recently, a much-publicized show in the sci-fi community (if such a thing really exists) began it’s special mini-series by having a character comment on the number of recent suicides.  In the course of previous episodes, the existence of alien life was made very public.  And according to this character, several people simply couldn’t handle that reality and committed suicide.  One woman in particular is mentioned.  She was a Christian woman who now felt small in the universe, believing “science won.”

The author of the episode is a self-professed atheist, so such comments are not surprising.  Artistically, they could have still made the point without identifying her specifically as a Christian.  But for some it might make the show more interesting.  Still yet, since most people in the entertainment industry seem to not be Christian, I pretty much expect such things.

But what bothers me most is the implication that Christians are self-centered.  Apparently, in the mind of the show’s writer, Christians believe they are at the center of the universe.   And they apparently believe this to the degree that when the existence of aliens proves that not to be the case, their world no longer makes any sense.  The result is a lost faith and despair to the point of taking their own lives.

It’s certainly true that Christians believe humanity is important.  Genesis makes clear that humanity crowned God’s work in creation and was set apart as those who would have dominion over the earth, caring for it under God’s lordship (Genesis 1-2).  Furthermore, humanity is unique among the rest of creation because we alone bear God’s image (Gen 1:26).  Most importantly, though Christ’s atonement makes possible the redemption of all of creation (Rom 8:18-25), it is sinful humanity that he specifically loved and died for, to bring them into right relationship with God (Rom 5:8).  That certainly makes us special but it hardly makes us the center of the universe.

Quite the opposite actually, Christians have always believed that they are small because God is big.  God himself is the center of the universe.  And to the degree that we see that and understand that, we will find ourselves more deeply worshiping God (Rom 11:33-36), more humbly living for him (Job 42:1-6, after 38-41), and more joyfully finding our satisfaction in him (Ps 90:14).

God does everything for his glory (Rom 11:36), which means He is at the center of all things.  The universe revolves around him, not us.  And when we are able to understand that and behold his glory clearly, we will not only see our proper (small) place in the universe, but we will see the God-centeredness of God as a loving act towards sinful, undeserving  humanity (John 11:1-6, 25-26, 38-44).

Humanity may have a larger part to play in God’s plan than the rest of creation, but any Christian should be able to tell you that the One who is truly “big” isn’t humanity, but God himself.

8 thoughts on “Big or Small in the Plan of God?

  1. Alan says:

    Hello from the UK!

    I don’t watch Torchwood as it can get pretty nasty, and seems to me a way of moving younger viewers on from Dr Who to something that more explicitly promulgates its creator’s philosophy.

    What is ironic though has to be the way Christians are portrayed as not coping with a big universe, yet on Dr Who, the Doctor is perpetually telling everyone that humanity is wonderful. In other words, as much as this philosophy advertises itself as humble and Christians as uselessly anthropocentric, the makers cannot cope without investing themselves full of splendour and meaning.

    Just an observation!

  2. John says:

    Thanks for commenting, Alan. Yes, I agree with the “nasty” assessment of Torchwood. I tried watching a couple episodes from previous series, but always felt burned by the content. I thought that it might have been toned down now that it’s on BBC1 and gave it a try. It still has more than most network shows in the US, but is way down from the handful of other episodes that I have seen (e.g. no F-bombs or sex scenes!).

    Yes, isn’t it ironic how they circle back on themselves? The same thing happened when it came to the Doctor killing. In regard to an episode from series 1, Russell T Davies said ‘if the Doctor had delivered the Slitheen to her home world for execution he couldn’t be a hero in his eyes,’ so he had to come up with an “out.” Yet in the Charles Dickens episode, the Doctor talks much about a “new morality.” So, apparently the Doctor having a non-human morality is OK as long as it doesn’t conflict with Davies’ liberal, western ideas 🙂

    Looking forward to Matt Smith and Steven Moffat?

  3. jamandcream says:

    I cannot tell you how much I am looking forward to the end of Russel Davies and the start of Steven Moffat! OK, Davies got the series back BUT at the cost of genuine SF content and, often, an actual story. Episodes became vehicles for his agenda (“45 second” warnings of WMDs; homosexual relationships every couple of episodes etc) and all aimed at 8 year old boys. Which is my concern that Torchwood functions for Dr Who in the same way as MTV does for Nickelodeon.

    Now I don’t know if Moffat brings an agenda to the series, but his episodes are proper, classic Dr Who. If I pick my favourite episodes from each series, they are always his. So I’m hopeful….! As for Matt Smith, I’m afraid he’s as much of a mystery over here as he is in US. And I just don’t watch enough TV to know if he’s been in much else.

    BTW, thanks for SBC update – it gave me a first insight into some of the tension that exists (if I’ve understood correctly). I’ve heard Dever in the UK, and admire Mohler; but haven’t appreciated there are other interests at work within the ‘denomination’.
    Sorry, forgot to add great post! Can’t wait to see your next post!

  4. John says:

    Yes, people like Dever and Mohler are what I would consider the best the SBC has to offer, but are not the norm necessarily.

    I agree. Both about the DW/Torchwood link and the Davies/Moffat comparison. “The Moff” is the best (my wife and I love quoting lines from “Blink” all the time!)

  5. John says:

    Yes! Not the fashion analysis, but I had seen some photos taken the first day of filming. It shows the Doctor (11) and his companion, as well as the TARDIS in new look – very much like the original Hartnell version. It also showed series 5’s first guest star who was from a previous story. I won’t say who it was in case you hate spoilers 😉

    I think because of how poorly (in my opinion) Journey’s End worked itself out, I’m more looking forward to Doctor 11, then the rest of Doctor 10’s shows.

    http://lifetheuniverseandcombom.blogspot.com/2009/07/more-photographs-from-yesterdays-doctor.html

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