18/03/11 | Posted by HughB

Professor Brian Cox’s series “Wonders of the Universe” is currently one of the most popular programmes viewed on BBC’s iPlayer. It gives answers to such questions as “Who are we?” and “Why are we here?” Having explored the nature of time, Brian concludes the first programme, Destiny, by declaring, “For me, our true significance lies in our ability and our desire to understand and explore this beautiful universe.”

 Wonder of the Universe

Such a claim may be one starting point for understanding the human race. We are, by nature, inquisitive and have made some incredible discoveries and achievements by asking questions. But is that really where our significance lies?

If that truly is what Brian is saying, then what does it mean for us as individuals if we do not or cannot seek to understand the cosmos? What does it mean for the person with special educational needs who comprehends this world very differently? And what about the person losing their grasp on reality with the onset of dementia?  Where is their true significance?

Interestingly, while explaining the concept of entropy in the programme, Brian compares two sandcastles. The first is made by randomly piling up sand (high entropy) while the second is created using a bucket and forms a properly shaped castle (low entropy). He says that there is nothing in the laws of physics to say that the second sandcastle couldn’t simply be made by the wind blowing it into that shape. There may not be not be anything in the laws of physics, but the truth is that the sandcastle is far more likely to have been formed by Brian with his bucket.


Brian is right. Since time immemorial, people have looked up at the skies and wondered but some have not stopped there but have looked beyond the cosmos to its Creator.

Psalm 8:3-4 declares:

When I consider 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,
the son of man that you care for him?

Surely our significance doesn’t simply rely on our ability to ask and think. We can only truly understand our significance when we recognise the God who thought us up in the first place.

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