Roughly 90 years later Galileo lands in hot water when defending Copernicus and the heliocentric view in his book Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, published in 1632. He is eventually labeled a heretic and kept under house arrest until his death. Mark Galli and Ted Olsen, in their book 131 Christians Everyone Should Know, explain, “His position flew in the face of common sense and 1,500 years of academics.” Not to mention, many believed it contradicted the Bible. For example, 1 Chronicles 16:30 states, “The world is firmly established; it cannot be moved.” If the Earth is spinning on its axis at over 1,000 miles per hour and orbiting the sun at almost 70,000 miles per hour then the it is certainly not moving. But of course, the Bible is not a science book and is not in error when the writers who were inspired by God write from their vantage point, from their understanding, from how they observed the world. In the words of Galileo, “The Bible teaches men how to go to heaven, not how the heavens go.”
The story is long and complicated and interesting, but perhaps the moral of the story is this: human beings prefer the idea that we are at the center of the universe. Forget about the geocentric system or the heliocentric system; we prefer a me-ocentric system! Yes, we live in a me-first, check-me-out, I-got-swag kind of culture and we are all in danger of being convinced that we ought to be at the center of everything. We must look to Jesus and His example to model our lives after. He did not care to be a well-known miracle worker, but the Messiah; he did not care to be a popular side-show, but the Savior. Philippians 2:8 says, “And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!” Jesus humbled Himself, died for us and we are called to do the same. You may wonder, if I don’t look out for myself, who will? As Jesus humbled Himself, God lifted Him up. Philippians 2:9 says, “Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name.” His Father had His back and He will take care of us as well. Jesus, Peter, and James all tell us that our humility will not be in vain (see Luke 14:11, James 4:10, and 1 Peter 5:6).
In order to grow in humility, we must first understand what humility is. C.S. Lewis gives the best definition I know of: “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.” That is a tall order, but the Spirit of God is eager to help us. Here is a great way to begin thinking of yourself less, serve others. Serve your family, serve your church, serve your neighbors, serve you community, serve your co-workers, serve your school. Serving others is a great way to get our minds off of ourselves. Again, we have no greater example than Jesus, who said of Himself, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)