Tides rise and fall with it. Moonflowers open to it. Dogs bay at it. Lovers stroll under it. And now American astronauts, in mankind’s most daring adventure, are ready to set foot on it.
If Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin are finally able to descend their lunar module’s nine-rung ladder to the surface of the moon, the achievement should be welcomed by Christians as a blessing and an opportunity. Let believers breathe prayers of thanksgiving that God has enabled man so to coordinate his energies as to make possible this dramatic new exploration of divine handiwork. It is nothing short of a God-given miracle that assigns man the intelligence and will to make half-million-mile round trips to the moon.
Perhaps Apollo 11 will awaken Christians to begin to discover the spiritual opportunities opened up by space travel. We are already late. This is a main concern of space scientist Rodney W. Johnson, who calls for inter-disciplinary consultations on the meaning, possibilities, and problems of our “escape” from the earth (see the interview beginning on page 3). Vocational pietism is not enough. Especially in this crucial area, Christians have a responsibility to relate their faith to their work at a deeper level.
Philosophers, theologians, and Bible scholars have been strangely silent on the implications of space travel. They have felt there is not much to go on. But the time is here when we must search more deeply and determine to put the Christian faith on record with a thoughtful and creative attitude toward space exploits. To talk about the moon and planets symbolically and figuratively will not be enough. If Christians do not speak to the issues substantively, the world will take its cues from alien ideologies. ...1
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