Summary: Atheists like Carl Sagan believe that We live on an insignificant planet of a humdrum star, lost in a galaxy, tucked away in some forgotten corner of universe in which there are far more galaxies than people." But is that true?
OPEN: Psalm 8 is an intriguing Song of Praise to God. It begins and ends with the words that inspired a popular worship song. I’d like you to sing it with me:
“O, Lord, our Lord how majestic is Your Name in all the earth
O, Lord, our Lord how majestic is Your Name in all the earth
O, Lord, we praise Your Name. O Lord, we magnify Your Name
Prince of peace, mighty God - O, Lord God Almighty (sing through twice)
This Psalm was written by the Shepherd boy whom God made into a King. By a boy who became the man known as the man after God’s own heart. A young man that we know by the name of David.
You can almost imagine him (as a young man) laying on a hillside. His father’s sheep are bedded down for the night, and David looks up into the night sky and begins to be filled with wonder.
ILLUS: Abraham Lincoln once wrote: “I never behold (the heavens filled with stars) that I do not feel I am looking in the face of God. I can see how it might be possible for a man to look down upon the earth and be an atheist, but I cannot conceive how he could look up, into the heavens and say there is no God.”
There’s something about a clear night filled with a huge moon and bright shining stars that creates a sense of wonder in most people. And this is probably what inspired David to write:
“When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?” Psalm 8:3-4
ILLUS: A father told of taking his family to the Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado. He said the sky seemed more brilliant than they had ever seen it, and the stars were so close you felt as if you could touch them.
Their 3 boys decided that they would put their sleeping bags out on the ground so they could go to sleep watching the stars.
The man and his wife had just settled down for the night when their youngest came into the tent, dragging his sleeping bag with him.
What is the matter?" we asked. "Is it getting too cold?"
"No," he answered. "I just never knew I was so small." (Reader’s Digest, 9/81 p. 126)
And so we can imagine David looking up at the majesty of the night sky and being filled with awe… and suddenly he feels REALLY small.
How could a God who has created all this beauty be concerned with him? How could such a God be mindful of him or care what happens to him?
It doesn’t make any sense!
And, David was right – that didn’t make any make any sense! That’s what Arthur C. Clarke, author of “2001: A Space Odyssey” thought when he said: “If there are any gods whose chief concern is man, they can’t be very important gods.”
He was saying: we’re so insignificant that any God worth the name wouldn’t give us a 2nd thought.
And that sentiment was echoed in a different way by one of the leading astronomers and atheists of the past century – Carl Sagan. On his popular science program “Cosmos” he said this:
“We live on an insignificant planet of a humdrum star, lost in a galaxy, tucked away in some forgotten corner of universe in which there are far more galaxies than people."
Sagan painted a portrait of a trivial planet… inside of a dismal solar system… located in a backwater galaxy that was… dwarfed by bigger and more impressive systems throughout the cosmos.
Sagan not only asked WHY would anyone be impressed with mankind? He asked WHY would anyone even be impressed with our planet, our sun or our solar system?
And why would Sagan say that?
Well, 1st – he was an atheist. He didn’t believe in our God, so he had no reason to believe that our world would have any significance at all.
But 2nd – he’d seen and heard a great deal about the universe. And what he’d seen and heard made him scoff at our galaxy having any importance. As an astronomer he knew that there were upon billions upon billions of stars, and many of those stars are 1000’s of times brighter than our sun.
And of course he would know that our sun was called a yellow DWARF star. Do you have any idea why our sun is called a “dwarf” star? It’s because it’s a really small star. It is literally dwarfed by the size of other stars in the known universe.