Facing our Finitude

After seeing Gravity last night, Psalm 8 has taken on new meaning and depth for me.

Unknown

Lord, our Lord,how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory
in the heavens.
Through the praise of children and infants
you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger.
When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?[c]

You have made them[d] a little lower than the angels[e]
and crowned them[f] with glory and honor.
You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
you put everything under their[g] feet:
all flocks and herds,
and the animals of the wild,
the birds in the sky,
and the fish in the sea,
all that swim the paths of the seas.

Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

The magnitude of this movie’s artistry and depiction of space was incredible. So incredible that I can confidently say that my stress level was at an all-time high (for a movie that is) at every moment throughout the entirety of its ninety minute airtime (and for two hours after I left the theater).

Encountering space in this movie was surprisingly frightening to me. I was overwhelmed by the reality of the universe and how truly foreign it is to us who reside on Earth. Not only did its foreign nature scare me, but how it made me feel afterward was particularly palpable. It sounds silly, but space it not something that I think about all that much. I don’t tend to bring it up in conversation and I think there is a reason for that (besides the fact that I know next to nothing about the universe we live in). I think that when I talk about it I am faced with how small, limited, and finite I am. As I watched this movie last night I could not escape from encountering these feelings.

The consistent undercurrent throughout this movie was the obvious lack of control the two key astronauts had over an untamed universe. Every scene in the movie seemed to contain some sort of catastrophy where the astronauts were faced with their finitude and ultimately death. “What is man that you are mindful of him?”-I ask that question with sincerity after seeing this movie.

Trying to imagine space and then trying to imagine God is incredibly difficult for me. The ever-expanding universe is already too much much for my imagination to consider, but then to imagine a God who created that by speaking it into existence is on another level. It would seem logical to state that because the universe is vast and unknowable that its creator must be even more unknowable and uninvolved in the existence it created. Though this seems logical (maybe it doesn’t for you), we see in Psalm 8 that God is not logical in the way that we think He should be (cue verse 2).

While God is vastly different than us, he is not unknowable. Yes, all creation (including the universe and infinite galaxies) was crafted by a God who spoke it into being. The God who created all things also decided to reveal himself through a baby. It was through a very particular Jew named Jesus that we see the God who created the universe putting on human flesh and pursuing humanity. Absolutely unfathomable isn’t it? Hence, in verse 2 of Psalm 8 it says, “Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.” While there is so much of God that remain mysterious there is also so much we can know through this particular God-man named Jesus. He became one of us, identifies with us, knows us, and rescues us.

4 comments

  1. Wow! The movie had my heart racing! It is so unimaginably huge and I totally agree how that then overwhelms me to think of the Creator of it all. Wow. Just wow!

  2. I am overwhelmed as well when thinking of the vastness of space. How is space never ending..very hard for me to grasp and understand…That is why it is so frightening i guess…

    1. Yep. I remember you saying that in a letter you wrote me a few years back, Pops. I appreciate you letting me in on what scares you…hard not to be frightened by something so vast I suppose!

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