Friday, 3 July 2009

A Personal Copernican Revolution

I like the history of ideas. There are many ideas that have revolutionised human life. Examples abound: fire, agriculture and animal husbandry, the stirrup, the discovery of the unconscious. But the greatest revolution in thinking is Copernican in nature. Simply, it is the realisation that each of us is not actually the centre of the universe; the rest of the world does not orbit around me, and neither is it merely the background for my life. This is the great spiritual insight that is the antidote to the human propensity toward self-centredness. We need a centrifugal force ultimately to displace us from the centre of our world. Only God is capable of displacing us from the centre of our universe, and only God can carry the responsibility of the centre. The problem for human beings is that we try to fit God into our world, rather than seeing ourselves orbiting God. The Masai people put it well. They say that “to have faith is to be sought out by God. God has searched us out and found us. All the time we think we are the lion. In the end the lion is God.”


  1. This is a very hard lesson to preach in our world today, when the message we continue give people is "It is all about you". "You can do anything, be anything, be someone." It is an extremely counter-cultural message.

  2. Couldn't agree more, Warren. Anthropocentrism abounds in church and world. The trick is to find our place in God without losing our place as well.