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.