Monday, July 22, 2019

50 Years

Saturday marked 50 years since man landed on the moon. July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon and walked on it a few hours later. While they were walking on the moon, Michael Collins orbited the moon in the command module.

The three men of the Apollo 11 mission and many thousands of people working in support made history that day. It was an amazing achievement of human ingenuity and is still incredibly amazing and important 50 years later. I have enjoyed reading and listening to the tributes over the last several days. 

Part of the nearly nonstop coverage stirred an interest in me to read more about the Apollo space program. I was reminded that the whole mission was standing tall on the shoulders of the men and women of NASA and years of accomplishments. 

Project Mercury, Project Gemini and Project Apollo built the path to the moon one step at a time. Each test, each flight and even each setback brought mankind one step closer to the moon 240,000 miles away.

A huge leap on the journey was Apollo 8 mission in December 1968. It was the first manned mission to enter the moon's orbit. They orbited the moon 10 times over a period of 20 hours. Part of the mission was televised live, including a Christmas Eve live broadcast. It was the most watched television broadcast in history at the time.

During the Christmas Eve broadcast, each astronaut read a few verses from Genesis chapter 1. Here is a transcript.

Astronaut William Anders said, 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.

1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
2 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.
3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

James Lovell read the next section of scripture. 
5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
6 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.
8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.

Frank Borman read 
9 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.
10 And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called the Seas: and God saw that it was good.

And from the crew of Apollo 8, we close with good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas and God bless all of you, all of you on the good Earth.

That is amazing. If I had ever known that before, I had forgotten it. In 2019, I can not even imagine that being broadcast all over the world from an American spaceship without a horrendous outcry. 

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. What an appropriate truth to utter while orbiting around the moon and watching the earth rise on the horizon. Most of the astronauts on all the Apollo missions said the blue ball of the earth rising was the most amazing part of going to the moon. It is no wonder they thought of Genesis chapter 1.

The truth of Genesis 1 is a truth that is totally rejected by many, many people in the USA today. 50 years ago Madalyn Murray O'Hair had a walleyed fit over the Genesis reading and sued the government but her suit was dismissed. In 2019 celebrities and politicians would come out of the woodwork screaming about the government pushing God down their throats.

What a change in 50 years. I love, love, love many of the changes of the last 50 years, but the hostility toward God, the Bible and truth in general is disturbing. Genesis chapter 1 may be out of favor and our of style, but I still believe it. 

I salute the astronauts of Apollo 8 and the whole Apollo program. God bless those men and their families. They went to the moon, looked back to the earth and acknowledged God as well they should. Psalm 19:1 says, The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.

Thank you for reading.


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