In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light: and there was light.” And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. And God said, “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.” And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day. And God said, “Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear:” and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters called He Seas: and God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:1-10)
Man, The Moon, And The Bible
Following the Second World War, another war began that was known as the Cold War which pitted the United States against the Russian nation called the U.S.S.R. One of the focal points of this conflict began when the Russians placed the first satellite into orbit in October 1957. This led to the “space race” and a determined American plan was made to land a man on the moon before the Russians. Following the Mercury and Gemini programs that put Americans into space, the Apollo program was created to put a man on the moon. Apollo 8 was the first mission that succeeded in placing into lunar orbit three Americans: William Anders, James Lovell, and Frank Broman. It is from this historical flight the first “earthrise” was seen.
On Christmas Eve 1968, the crew of Apollo 8 gave a live broadcast to the world. Frank Borman called the moon a “vast, lonely, forbidding type of existence.” They were the first humans to witness the moon from such close proximity. James Lovell paid tribute to the Earth’s saying it was a “grand ovation to the vastness of space.” And then something remarkable happened. William Anders began by saying, “We are now approaching lunar sunrise, and for all the people back on Earth, the crew of Apollo 8 has a message that we would like to send to you.” Then the three men read from the Bible the account of Genesis 1:1-10.
It was a historical time in the history of mankind to send three men to the moon and return them safely. In July 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to walk on the moon. Man among the stars was a dream that many believed would open up the heavens to space travel and colonization. This would never happen and cannot happen as Paul declared in his sermon to the Athenians the habitation of man is determined and his boundaries established.
It remains to be appreciated that three men who first saw the surface of the moon and the earth glowing in the vastness of dark space declared the glory of God in the story of creation. This did not make everyone on earth a believer in God. What it did is confirm the intrinsic nature of man to recognize a higher being than himself. Neil Armstrong would remark on his return to earth, “It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn’t feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.” Earth seems so large to those who stand on the ground but in truth, the earth is so insignificant in the vastness and largeness of space.
The Bible has been attacked, abused, criticized and many have sought to destroy it. Nonbelievers have campaigned to destroy religion and a belief in God. When a society can minimize the presence of God they become animals turning on themselves with carnal desires, hatred, and hopelessness. All the attempts to destroy the word of God fail and it remains unchanged, unmoved and unrelenting in its purity of doctrine. The greatest achievement of man to send three men into the vastness of space is punctuated by the reading of the Creation story. God is glorified in the weak attempts men make to exalt themselves. His creation is so vast and so powerful and a man indeed is a small pea in the vastness of the universe.
Two thousand years ago outside the city of Jerusalem, an innocent man died on a cross for all those who live on the tiny rock that circles the sun. God so loved the world – earth – that He gave His only begotten Son that those who believed in Him would find eternal life. Apollo 8 did not prove that God was real. When the Lord created the universe He established who He was. Some men look at the heavens and believe in themselves. Others view the heavens with eternal awe and declare, “In the beginning GOD.”