In the early 1500s, almost everyone believed Earth was the center of the universe. However, a Polish scientist named Nicolaus Copernicus believed differently. Contrary to popular opinion, when Copernicus first proposed that Earth and the other planets revolved around the sun, most people doubted this claim. Unfortunately, they ridiculed and almost threatened him with heresy. When he finally published his official book, he died just two months later, and they eventually banned it.
Mikolaj Kopernik (Copernicus) was born on Feb. 19, 1473, in Toruń, Poland. When he turned 18, he traveled to Italy to attend college, where he was to study the laws and regulations of the Catholic Church and then return home to become a canon. Instead, he became more interested in learning mathematics and astronomy. Despite this, he eventually became a canon due to his uncle’s persuasive influence but returned to Italy to study medicine and complete his law doctorate.
This decision proved providential for him as while studying medicine and law, he lived and worked with astronomy professor Domenico Maria de Novara. Copernicus assisted Domenico by doing research and helping him make observations of the heavens. In no rush to take his priestly orders, he decided to stay working as a secretary and physician for his influential uncle in Warmia. However, he eventually returned to Poland and practiced as a priest. This decision became the turning point in his life.
They assigned Copernicus a room in one of the towers that surrounded the town and boasted an observatory. In his spare time, he observed the heavens and discovered that the existing model of everything revolving around the Earth didn’t seem accurate. Eventually, in 1532 he formalized his theory that the planets orbited the sun rather than the Earth. Unfortunately, many religious leaders didn’t accept this idea, and, in 1616, the Church banned the book. It wasn’t until almost 100 years later that Galileo Galilei confirmed and elaborated on Copernicus’ findings but was also persecuted for his beliefs.
Their stories remind me how difficult it is for many to believe the universe doesn’t “revolve” around them. In a “look at me” culture, many are obsessed with the idea they are “the center of the universe.” Scripture, however, tells us differently. Christ commands us to think of others before ourselves and place others in higher esteem. the Bible also tells us to make God the center of our lives.
Answer and Journal the Following
And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
Pray for the Spirit to give you a desire to make God the center of your universe and hold others in high esteem.
Meditate / Memorize:
Determine how you will make God the center of your universe. What’s your plan of action?
Share what you’ve learned with someone else.