Summary: Why does God care about men and women when you think how insignificant we are in this vast universe?
The Exalted Position of Man Cp. Ps.8
The insignificance of mankind
I want you to picture, in your mind’s eye, David, still a lad caring for his sheep. One night he lies peacefully on the hillside gazing into the cloudless sky. There are no lions or bears to threaten his flock, though his ears are alert for any trouble. As he gazes at the moon and stars he thinks to himself how great God is to have made the vast heavens and how insignificant he is. These are the sort of thoughts which must have prompted him to write Psalm 8, which Hebrews 2 builds on.
If those were David’s thoughts how should we feel today? He had no real idea of the vastness of space or of the immense number of stars that there are out there. Even today we have little real concept of the distances and numbers involved. Our sun is about 860 thousand miles across, that is 100 times the diameter of the earth and about 300,000 times the weight!
We are about 93 million miles from the sun. It takes light about 8 minutes to cross this distance at 186,000 miles/second. Our Solar System is about 7,000 million miles across, it takes light 10 hours to cross this distance. It takes light over 4 years to travel here from the nearest star Proxima Centauri, one of three stars in the Alpha-Centauri system. That’s 23 million, million miles away 23 followed by 12 zeros! At 70MPH it would take you 40 million years to visit the neighbours! If you were in a hurry you could borrow an old Concord and cut that to only 2m years at a steady Mach 2 (1350mph)!
The number of stars in the visible universe is thought to be 2000 billion billion or 2 with 21 zeros after it. It is a good job God told Adam to name the animals, not the stars or he would still be at it!
When you think about these astronomical numbers we have a very inflated idea of our own importance, don’t we? Realising how small our planet is helps us to get things in perspective. We need to appreciate how small and weak we are but, more importantly, how great and powerful our God is. David didn’t stop at feeling small, he also cried out: O LORD, our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth, Who have set Your glory above the heavens! Ps.8:1
But important to God!
What is surprising, when you think how insignificant we are, is that God is interested in mankind at all. As David said: What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him? v4 Why does God take an interest in mankind? Why, above all, did He give His dear Son to die for us when we had rebelled against Him? The only answer can be that He loves us so much.
From the very beginning, God’s purpose in creation was to have fellowship with man. It is evident that in Eden God talked with Adam and Eve, in some way. The fall interrupted this closeness and Adam and Eve hid, because they felt guilty and afraid. The rest of Scripture is the story of how the barrier caused by sin has been dealt with so that this original fellowship might be restored.
Do you feel unimportant, insignificant and unloved? Well to people with power and influence you may be, but to God you are important. Jesus chose to become one of us, our brother He is not ashamed to call them brethren, v11. There are many today who would be delighted to be a brother of a player on the English football team yet that game will be forgotten in a few weeks. How much more wonderful to have the King of Kings and Lord of Lords as our brother!
A little lower than the angels
David said that God made us a little lower than the angels v7. What does this mean? We are less powerful creatures than the angels, they can move quickly from one place to another and can do miraculous things. They are spirit creatures, we are physical. We age and die, they do not. Nevertheless God has given us a very special place in creation. He made us in His own image with a capacity to love. He also gave us tremendous intellectual and artistic potential. Endued with these powers He set Adam and Eve over all creation Gen.1:26.
Since the fall, because of the curse, (Gen.3:17-19) there has been a constant struggle between mankind and nature as man tried to impose his will upon it. We can achieve so much. We have reshaped the world in so many ways, yet we are still helpless before hurricanes, earthquakes, and so on. Now, maybe, we are on the verge of a new ice age if the Gulf Stream breaks down due to global warming. On the other hand England could end up with a semi tropical climate with winds and rain to match. In our arrogance and stupidity we are on the verge of ecological disaster. This is the consequence of fallen humanity’s struggle with the earth, driven as it is by selfishness and greed.