“I am not all that important.” I agree, humility is a virtue to be nurtured and appreciated. However, I have been surprised to hear now from several sources, “humility” as a reason not to pursue God. In contrast to my friend who believes to accept the reality of God would diminish himself, this “atheist” upheld his position of non-engagement in the question of God as one that emerged from humility. “I am not all that important, and humans are not all that important. Why would I need a god to tell me I’m significant? We don’t really matter.”
Indeed even a cursory look at the stars puts us in humbling position in regard to the universe and time. The Psalmist declared, “When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers–the moon and the stars you set in place–what are people that you should think about them, mere mortals that you should care for them?” Psalm 8:3-4
The extension of this humble view of insignificance seems to me to have a troubling consequence. If I extend the view that I don’t matter to others, then they don’t matter as well. I am not sure I would want to live in a society in which other’s don’t matter and the choices I make in respect to them don’t matter either. Such a society would eventually suffer from its corporate amnesia and enter into the chaos of distrust and the persistent pursuit of self-interest. That’s the way human hearts seem to work. We abandon the forward motion of love for tolerance; we abandon tolerance for apathy.
So it is a matter of scale. When looking at the stars, earth and its inhabitants seem relatively insignificant. However, when I look across the room or across the table, I am glad there is someone who cares or takes an interest in me. If I am really so insignificant, why do I care to be loved? And it is at this point that the Christian message becomes very particular and quite scaled down. God, who in three persons–Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, engaged in the Creation of all we see, got very personal with us. The incarnation of Jesus Christ is described in the most physical and close terms: “So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory the glory of the Father’s one and only Son….God’s unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. But the one and only Son is himself God and is near to the Father’s heart. He has revealed God to us.” John 1:14, 17-18 (NLT)
The Gospel is announced in Jesus’ incarnation; God is getting up close and personal. He crossed the universe to announce and complete His love for us…for me…for you.