The Heavens Declare God's Infinity

Sometimes I'm asked how I explain the disproportion between the size of the universe and the smallness of man created as the crown of God’s creation. The tension is felt in Psalm 8:3-5.

“When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.”

My answer is that the magnitude of the universe is not meant to correlate with the image, but with the Original. The heavens are not designed to declare the glory of man. “The heavens declare the glory of God” (Psalms 19:1). The point of the universe is that God is great and man is infinitely less great.

I did not say man is not great. Psalm 8 says man is great. “A little lower than the heavenly beings.” Now we are ready to see the point of the universe and why Psalm 8 begins and ends, “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” It does not begin and end, “O Man, image of God, how majestic is your name in all the earth.”

Man is great. But compared to God’s greatness, “What is man that you are mindful of him?” The universe is designed to remind us of this distance between’s God’s infinite greatness, and man’s finite greatness. Man must reside on tiny planet earth in a seemingly infinite universe. And the universe must look infinite to be a fitting picture of what it cannot be: infinite. Only God is infinite. The universe is declaring that. Pretty well.

John Piper (@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books.