Question 198:

Do you believe that our tiny earth is the centre of the immense universe? The biblical creation narrative suggests that it was only here that life began, and that all other celestial bodies were created almost as mere decorations?



According to the Second Vatican Council believers and unbelievers agree almost unanimously that all things on earth should be ordained to humanity as to their center and summit (Gaudium et Spes 12).

However, these days we know better than ever before that our earth is not the centre of the universe, and that according to most scientists, mankind is woven into the evolution of the universe and of life. The question then arises: What is man? From the beginning, this has been mankinds original question. The bible too poses this question (cf. Psalms 8,5; 144, 3; Job 7, 17)

The bibles fundamental answer to the question what is man is: man is created by God; he owes his existence and his being to God. His existence is wanted and maintained by God; he is, because God has called him by his name: I want that you exist (Katholischer Erwachsenen-Katechismus, Vol. 1, p. 114).

The Bible thus differentiates between the creation of human beings and the creation of the animals. For the bible, that which distinguishes human beings from the rest of reality is that they are in the image of God (cf. Genesis 1: 26-27).Of all living things, man is the only one who is created in God’s image, who can hear God and respond to him. Mankind is therefore created as God’s partner and called into communion with God.

Looked at from the point of view of the unique dignity of mankind, the tiny earth in the midst of the universe is therefore indeed the centre of the infinite universe. This view is expressed beautifully in the psalms:

„O LORD, our Lord,

how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory above the heavens....

what is man that you are mindful of him,

the son of man that you care for him?

You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings

and crowned him with glory and honor.

O LORD, our Lord,

how majestic is your name in all the earth!

(Ps 8, 2.5-7.10; cf. Sirach 17, 1-10)

(Ebd., p. 115-117)

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