That is a relatively common sentiment on Atheist blogs. One often reads something like -
“How arrogant of Christians to think that a planet, let alone a universe was created just for people.”
Actually, I’d have to agree - If that is what Christians believed and If that is what the Bible taught. Neither assumption is correct.
The problem is, almost everything that atheists say or think shows their ignorance about the Bible and about their Creator. The Bible, which Jesus taught is a revelation from God, to us, about God and His plan for the cosmos teaches the following:
#1. The Cosmos was not created for us. It was created for God.
#2. We, humans, were not created for us and for our pleasure. We were created for God.
#3. God does not love us because we’re good. God loves us because He is good.
#4. God does not love us because we have value. We have value because God loves us.
Now, if those statements sound to someone like grounds for arrogance in human beings, I’m not sure what it would take to change that person’s mind. Nevertheless, I think it can be explained further this way. When I was a kid, my dad used to take me to farm auctions. He rarely bought anything, but he liked to go. Something that is common at these auctions is what’s called the “junk wagon.” This is an area or platform or in some cases a literal wagon or flat-deck that contains stuff that most people would just throw out. Because it’s an auction, it’s put out to see if someone else might actually be willing to pay for it. On it’s own, this stuff is worth next to nothing. Let two or more people want the same thing however, and any given item can take on astonishing value.
For whatever reason, God values us. For whatever reason, He loves us. It might not make sense to others, but it makes sense to God. Is an item from the junk wagon arrogant because someone wants it? Of course not.
Another example. On a shelf in one of the bookcases in my office, I have an Orange. It’s not just any orange. It’s a “Christmas” Orange from 1984. Obviously this Orange didn’t get eaten in 1984. And, instead of rotting, this stupid thing just dried up and kinda fossilised. My wife asks why I keep it, but I happen to think it’s kind of interesting. An object that is completely worthless to everyone else in the universe, has value to me.
For whatever reason, God values us. For whatever reason, God loves us. It might not make sense to others but it makes sense to God. Is this particular orange, out of billions of oranges arrogant because I want it? Of course not.
Another example. Two homeless people are walking down the street. Both are extremely hungry. They come to the door of a shelter that is serving lunch. One of them goes in and is filled with delicious food. The other chooses to remain on the street and churn with anger because of his hunger. When the first person comes out of the shelter, he sighs, rubs his stomach and says, "Ah, that was good."
The second person scowls and hisses like Christopher Hitchens, "You think you're better than me? You arrogant toad!"
For whatever reason, God values us. For whatever reason, God loves us. It might not make sense to others but it makes sense to God. Is the first man arrogant because he was wise enough to accept the offer of free food?
One last example. Three men are being crucified. Two are criminals. One is Jesus. All are just minutes from death. One of them curses Jesus. The other one says, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." Jesus replies to the one who is forgiven, "Today, you will be with me in paradise."
Is the forgiven criminal arrogant or grateful? Is the cursing criminal intelligent or a fool?
It doesn’t matter why God loves us. The reality is, He does love us. Accepting that love is not a symptom of arrogance. Only a certain type of person would think that it does.
I’m amazed that my wife of 36 years knows the absolute worst about me and she still loves me. Rather than protest that love, I accept it and enjoy it. I consider myself to be a lucky man. I don’t deserve her love but I’m tremendously grateful for it.
Jesus loves me. And He doesn’t just know all the bad stuff that I’ve done. He knows all the shameful thoughts that I have today, and all the wrong things that I’m going to do in the future. Yet, knowing this, perhaps because of this, He still loves me enough to die for me. He loves me not because of any intrinsic value that I possess, but because of who He is. God is Love. In fact He is so loving that the very same salvation that has been offered to me is offered to all atheists as well. Now, the Bible says that I’d be a fool to turn away from that kind of love, and I agree. I mean, if I relish a fraction of God’s love as it’s presented to me through my wife, why would I turn my back on the real deal? I accepted God's love 28 years ago. Since then every year has been better than the year before and I see no evidence that this trend will not continue. That’s not arrogance, that’s gratefulness.
. Just as liars suspect dishonesty in others
. Just as thieves are always on guard about having their stuff stolen
. Just as violent people see the potential for violence all around them
. Just as people who struggle with an unfaithful soul suspect their partners of being unfaithful
. So it is that the most arrogant among us imagine arrogance to be present in those for whom they have the least tolerance; the humble, the meek, the forgiven.