Once upon a time the universe was much simpler. Instead of our modern concept of formless, endless space, scattered sparsely and randomly with stars, planets, and such problematic entities as black holes and quasars, there was a tightly structured, hierarchical system centred on the earth and the human race. Crystalline spheres, bearing the planets and the stars wheeled around the earth. At every level there was a moral lesson for humanity and a satisfying metaphor for the nature of God. The earth itself was the theatre of a human drama directed by the hand of God. The medieval world system, inherited by the Christian and Islamic worlds from the Greeks and Romans and modified by the principles of both religions, was profoundly satisfying both in terms of theology and common sense, answering questions which scientists would not dare to ask today. Its overthrow in the seventeenth century caused a serious spiritual and psychological dislocation from which we have yet to recover. Medieval Views of the Cosmos describes the world-view shared by medieval Islamic and Christian societies, whose agreements were far greater than their differences.
This is an excellent introduction to the topic, which describes and beautifully illustrates a rich and harmonious universe, in which the human race has a place; and God is in control.