What do you think created the universe

What is the place of man in space?

The ancient world saw the world as a house with three floors: above the heaven, the dwelling place of God and the angels, below the earth the realm of the dead, and in the middle the earth with the plants, the animals and the people. In such a worldview, the importance of man was easily recognizable. He stood between the divine and the created world, he was called to be the mediator between the two. Modern science has radically changed this view. The claim to assign humans a central place in the order of things seems to have something presumptuous, indeed something wrong, since it has been lost on a small planet that revolves around a star like billions of others, in a middle one Galaxy of an expanding space.

But the man in the Bible could already get the same impression. In Psalm 8 someone looks into the vast, night sky, which is strewn with stars, and spontaneously exclaims: "What is man that you think of him, the child of man, that you take care of him?" (V. 5) The immensity of the universe had something oppressive for him too.

In the following verse the psalmist finds his way back to his self-confidence through a conviction that faith gives him: "You have made him only a little inferior to God." all life. God did not choose him because he is the most impressive being; In the end, humans are frail and small. His greatness does not come from his abilities, but from his divine calling. God has chosen him to be "ruler over the work of his hands". (V.7)

Here we encounter another problem. The term “rule” can have a negative connotation. Do people have the right or also the duty to impose their will on all of creation? Isn't it this ill-considered exploitation of the earth by humanity that causes so much damage, the consequences of which we have to suffer?

The verb given by “rule” refers first and foremost to the activity of a king. And in Israel the king's job is not to oppress the people, but to ensure justice and peace in society. He has to use his power to ensure that the powerful do not crush the weak and that there is consistency between the various groups. In the same way, the role of man in the Bible is characterized by the fact that he has to use his gifts of insight and creativity to make the universe more habitable for all beings. In their search for this cosmic peace, people have to start with inner peace that arises from communion with God, the source of all peace. Otherwise they simply transfer their own divisions to their environment.

How should one read the accounts of creation in the Bible today?

Obviously, the accounts of creation at the beginning of the Bible were not written from the perspective of modern science. That's why some people just want to discard them. Others oppose it and try to prove that the reports reflect reality more accurately than modern theories. Is it possible to get beyond such a failed understanding from the start?

The alleged conflict between faith and science is initially scarcely a clue in the texts themselves. The first chapter of the book of Genesis is "scientific" in its own way because it shows a very precise power of observation and the ability to classify things. In verse 12, for example, the different types of plants are carefully distinguished from one another, probably according to how they reproduce: the grasses with no visible seeds, the cereal plants that bear seeds, the trees with the seeds hidden in the fruit. Of course, this does not correspond to the scientific status of our day, because the writers of the Bible neither had the methodology nor the research instruments that we have today.

The real difference between the biblical texts and a scientific study of the origins of the universe is not so much the method used as the original question. Physicists and biologists of our time are primarily interested in the mechanisms with which the world and life came into being and what enables them to continue to function. The biblical authors are interested in something completely different: they want to explain the continuity between the history of Israel with its God on the one hand and humanity and the universe as a whole on the other. They want to make it understandable that God is really universal, that he has to do fundamentally with the life and fate of everything that exists.

They also want to show how the world we know emerges from the identity of this God. What is one of their essential features as being created by God, and on the contrary, what does not fit with their status as divine creation? Understanding our origins in this way means encountering foundations that enable us to lead a coherent life. So the intention of the biblical writers is in no way theoretical. Your search is part of what the Bible calls “wisdom,” which is the attempt to live a life in harmony with reality.

Anyone who wants to see an alternative to scientific theories or a kind of documentary film in the biblical accounts of creation can only be disappointed. On the other hand, when we try to grasp the meaning of our life, we find far-reaching intuitions. When everything suddenly goes back to God, the relationship with him is the key that unlocks a life that really has a meaning, a meaning.

Last updated: June 26, 2006