Christ and the Stars
THE stars arc mysterious in themselves, but what of the mystery of Christ and the Stars ? For those of us who hold with a full heart the full Catholic Faith of the Incarnation, here is a problem, as serious as it is puzzling. " God from God, Light from Light, very God from very God, begotten not made, being of one Essence with the Father, by Whom " (i.e., by God the Son) " all things Cwere made . . . . " Put that great statement of the reed up against the facts of the magnitude of Creation, as revealed to us by Astronomy ; and a man is bound to be staggered, if at least he measures the values of life, as most of us are humanly prone to do, by numbers and by size. From this point of view, why should our tiny globe of Earth, among all God's other millions of worlds, be chosen as the scene of the Incarnation ?
What say the Astronomers on this subject ? Ever since the invention and development of the telescope, this problem must have faced all the great pioneers in Star- Science. Only the other day a • well-known man of Science was complaining that too many Christian believers are slow to pay the tribute due to facts. We Christians certainly ought to pay it. Only we may plead that, before we do so, the facts should be absolutely proved facts, and not either suppositions nr mere half-proved theories.
What answers, then, can Christian believers give to this difficult problem ?
First, Science itself may teach us that quantity is not the standard of quality : material bulk is not the real test of greatness. It is not always size that carries with it either the highest value, or the greatest power. A sovereign is smaller than a penny : yet its real worth is more than 200 times as much. Or, again, a diamond, which is smaller than a sovereign, may be worth ninny thousands of pounds. Most of us do recognize life as the supreme asset of Creation. That is why one drop of blood in your child's little finger, as representing its life, is of more value to you than all the waters of the ocean. Or, once more, look at this question from the point of view of man's size. He is apparently the lord and master of the earth on which he stands. And yet six feet or so by eighteen inches of its surface will suffice him when he dies: Now the question is : how could it be that God should choose this one tiny spot for the greatest event, so far as we have cognizance, in all His vast Universe ? The first answer is that size has nothing to do with it. May we not quite reasonably refuse to be surprised if we find God's greatest marvels of Power and of Love done in His least and lowest world ? After all, how if there be no great and little with God ? How, if these things, Space and Time, which seem so great and all- important things to us now, arc really limitations only under our present human conditions, and do not belong, to the eternal realities of Life ?
It is well that we should leave more room for our own ignorance. How true is that saying : " Man's knowledge is as a rivulet : his ignorance as the sea." Anyhow, human Science itself—to look no higher—does teach us downwards as well as upwards, on the small scale no less than on the great. As someone once well put it : " If the telescope has revealed to us the fact that every star is another world, so the microscope has no less revealed to us that there is a world in every grain of sand."
But, secondly, Christian believers have also their own revealed answer to this Mystery of Christ and the Stars. If this truth of God "taking flesh " in human life belongs to this world only, then we must believe that it was so because God is good and because evil is an exception the one awful and mysterious exception—approving the rule of God's goodness. It is just because evil is still working out its terrible doom here on earth that here on earth is required the special intervention of our loving God. This is the teaching of the Bible (see Rev.xii.7-12). And even if this be not the full answer—if evil has a wider circuit in God's Universe than on this one small earth of our's—we Christian believers can still hold fast to the central stay of our Faith : we can still believe that in other worlds, as in our own, the one glorious truth which will at the same time fit the facts of reason, and satisfy the desires of our soul, is the truth of our Creator's Love, as revealed in the way of Self-Sacrifice. It may be that those other worlds are worlds waiting for the. full evolution of Cod's Creation and God's creatures, and that the Incarnation applies to them in ways unknown and unknowable to us.
F. W. JOYCE.