Carl Sagan went out of his way to make it clear to his audience that they were definitely not special. In his famous ‘blue dot’ speech he writes,
“Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.”
For Sagan, like others, humanity is some forgotten accident clinging to a little rock unknown to the vast majority of the universe. If this is true then he is right to write off all the arguments, wars, religions and various skirmishes by mere ants on an ant hill. Humorously, Sagan uses his theory that our lives are meaningless to encourage love for each other.
“There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.”
If indeed our death is our end and we will never see one another again, nor they us, what motivation do we have to do anything for anyone? What a joke.
It is frightening to look up at the skies at night. The illusion of day is gone and we can see beyond our place, like opening a window on a spaceship. How foolish to think there is something special about Earth, about ourselves. How bizarre to actually think that the great Beginner of all things would begin here?
Yet that does seem to be a grand motif of Scripture. The whole Bible is full of small, insignificant things being magnified by God. The nomad Abraham died unknown to the rest of humankind. The 12 tribes of Israel had to find food in another country and later were enslaved. If the people Israel became a great nation it was only for a moment and even then they achieved a fairly tiny domain with most of the world, unaware anything special was going on anyways.
Finally God takes on flesh and it is a baby, a son of average working class parents. He hangs out with equally tiny blue dots, unassuming and unimportant nobodies. He hangs on the cross of a long line of rebels who were crushed by the great Roman Empire. Make no mistake, no one outside of a small segment of this peculiar tiny Jewish county had any idea that something amazing happened that day or three days later.
This is what God does. From creation to Sarah, Hannah, Elizabeth and Mary, God makes everything out of nothing. Maybe it shouldn’t surprise us at all that earth turns out to be just one of zillions of objects floating in a vast universe or universes! Maybe this is yet another discovery that only confirms God’s Word.
God seems to love tiny insignificant things. From babies to Zacchaeus, from Mary of Magdalene to the woman at the Well, God does everything only for people who can do absolutely nothing for themselves. (How absolutely weird and foreign to scripture to not believe babies should be baptized.)
Sagan and others accuse Christians of being mistaken when thinking that this little planet and its inhabitants are the center of the universe. Certainly it does seem silly looking at this little blue dot from the view point of deep space slipping by the rings of mighty Saturn. Yet doesn’t that seem just like God, to love the seemingly meaningless, weak, and foolish pale blue dots.