Humanity has had many opinions about the earth’s role in the universe throughout our brief history. Only recently in our history have we even understood that there was much more to the universe than earth, that we might be able to travel beyond earth. For many centuries we thought that the earth was the center of the universe, but the Copernican Principle taught us that the earth appears to rotate around our sun just as the other planets within our solar system do, and that the earth is not particularly special within the universe. This seems to fly in the face of the Judeo-Christian idea that the universe was created for humanity. If we don’t exist within a special place in the universe, how could the universe be “for us”?
Is Earth Special?
First and foremost, the Bible does not really teach geocentrism. There are poetic verses in Psalms which could be construed that way, but could also apply to a heliocentric model as well. Psalms is a book of songs and should probably be treated as such, rather than as the source of the biblical position on the earth’s place within the universe.
Now that we have addressed that issue, let’s look at the philosophical position I mentioned earlier. If humanity is special, shouldn’t we have a special place within the universe? Under the Copernican Principle we really do not have a position within the universe that is physically special. Our view of the universe is theoretically the same as any other position in the universe. We are just as likely to be destroyed by debris drifting through space as any other planet, and the fact that we haven’t been destroy is merely good fortune. Also, the fact that we are close enough to a star for life to exist, on a planet with the conditions for life to exist, well that is just good fortune as well. It only seems special because we haven’t been able to locate anywhere else with the same conditions from the limited vantage point that our remote corner of the universe provides us.
So, if we are not truly in a physically special place within the universe, how can we justify the Judeo-Christian claim that humanity is special? I would first like to clarify two things. One, anything that God creates can be special. It is not up to us to define the conditions required for something to be special to another being, we can all understand and appreciate sentimental value derived from emotional attachment or love. Second, does the earth truly need to be in a physically special place within the universe in order for it to be the home of something that it was designed for? I will not answer this question directly, just think it over for yourself.
Alright, I have gone through and made a brief case for why the earth does not need to be physically special in order to be a planet that was created by God just for humanity. Now I would like to explain how the earth might actually be physically special within our universe. It might even be in the center of the universe. Wouldn’t that be a strange thing? To say that we randomly evolved on a planet in the center of a spontaneously created universe purely by chance would be quite a statement would it not?
The Cosmological Axis Of Evil
Over a half-century of cosmological observations have dragged an unwilling scientific community to the idea that perhaps, beyond all odds, our solar system may be at the very center of the universe. Cosmic microwave background radiation, the relic radiation remaining from the earliest known point of the universe, was recently mapped and measured by the Planck satellite. By mapping temperature variations within the radiation, a map was able to be generated that revealed an asymmetrical universe, flying in the face of isotropy by implying that the universe is not similar in all directions. Additionally, there is a rather large cool portion in the center of the map, right where our solar system resides. The separation of these hot and cold sections seems to align with our ecliptic plane. I won’t draw the conclusion of this data myself, but will instead point you to Lawrence Krauss, Chairman of the Physics Department of Case Western Reserve University.
But when you look at CMB map, you also see that the structure that is observed, is in fact, in a weird way, correlated with the plane of the earth around the sun. Is this Copernicus coming back to haunt us? That’s crazy. We’re looking out at the whole universe. There’s no way there should be a correlation of structure with our motion of the earth around the sun — the plane of the earth around the sun — the ecliptic. That would say we are truly the center of the universe.Lawrence Krauss – Physicist/Cosmologist, Ambrose Swasey Professor of Physics, Chairman of the Physics Department of Case Western Reserve University
While it is obviously too early to make any concrete claims, the new findings do lend credence to far earlier, more biblical, cosmological claims, and while we may not have fully understood our position in the universe, it seems entirely possible that biblically inspired cosmological concepts may have a place in the future of our scientific community. Perhaps this is why the axis between the hot and cold portions of the cosmic microwave background radiation is referred to as the Axis of Evil, because of the potential implications it may have on the relationship between science and theology.