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Sun and the earthAround 1500, one man proposed an idea that shook the foundations of all that the scientific and religious communities held dear. Nicolaus Copernicus believed that the Earth rotated around the sun and not the other way around. While he had years of scientific observations and mathematic calculations to support his theory, he died before his book on the subject was published. Another scientist, Galileo Galilei, championed the idea, was arrested for heresy, tried during the Inquisition, forced to recant, and spent the rest of his life under house arrest … for a theory that was later proven to be true.

On the 4th day of the creation account in Genesis, “God said, ‘Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on earth.’ And it was so. God made two great lights–the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth…” (Genesis 1:14-17 NIV)

A few observations. First, God created light before He ever made the sun.  Which makes me wonder  where that light shone from and if it has anything to do with the light described in Revelation in the new heaven and earth. “The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.” (Revelation 21:23 NIV) Scientists today agree that our sun is “dying” but light will still remain.

Second, mankind really did (and still does) use the movement of the sun and moon to mark the days, months, seasons, and years. In fact, they developed complicatedly-accurate calendars without the use telescopes or any modern-day technology. (In my opinion, that predictable foundation makes the idea of an Intelligent Designer much more probable than random Big Bang chance.)

Third, God provided for the needs of His creation (i.e. light, heat, growing seasons) in a way that clearly pointed away from a self-centered world view. He made the Earth rotate around the sun instead of the other way around.

In the days of Copernicus and Galileo, people made conclusions based on what they saw. The sun comes up on one side of me and goes down on the other and seems to travel under me overnight. Therefore, I am the center of the universe. (This reminds me of the toddler mentality where every time I cry, someone comes to feed, comfort, or care for me, therefore my needs are more important than anyone else’s.)

The radical new idea of a sun-centered universe made people uncomfortable. In an instant, their personal importance took a nose-dive and they didn’t know what to do with it. Yet, other than a change in perspective, nothing really changed. The sun still came up every morning. The seasons continued to cycle. And eventually more people opened up to the idea and took an objective look at the facts … to arrive at the same conclusion the one they imprisoned had taught.

There was another man who taught radical ideas and was arrested, tried, and convicted as a result. Jesus believed that loving God first, and then loving your neighbor more than yourself was the right way to live. This shift in thinking puts God instead of self at center of my personal universe and upsets the balance of power.

Just because the idea is uncomfortable doesn’t make it false.

“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities — his eternal power and divine nature — have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20 NIV)

Creation declares that God is central to life.

What about you? How do you react to ideas that upset your preconceived notions? Would you have believed Copernicus or Galileo? Who is the center of your personal universe?

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