On the threshold of man’s first landing on the moon, CHRISTIANITY TODAYinterviewed Dr. Rodney W. Johnson, a scientist from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. He holds B.S. and M.S. degrees from the University of Minnesota and a doctorate from Purdue University. His duties at NASA headquarters are with the Advanced Manned Missions Office in the Office of Manned Space Flight, where he is responsible for developing plans and studies for future manned lunar and earth orbital exploration programs. Dr. Johnson is considered to be America’s foremost authority on lunar bases. He is a fellow of the American Scientific Association and a member of the Beltsville, Maryland, Presbyterian Church.
Question: Dr. Johnson, what is the primary significance of man’s setting foot on the moon?
Answer: The significance to me lies in the fact that man will have demonstrated his ability to leave the earth and return to it freely and at will—to “escape” from earth and live and work on the moon if he should so desire.
Q: Is there special significance for the Christian?
A: Yes, I believe that when God created man, he presented man with the divine imperative to “subdue the earth.” A lunar landing marks a major new step in our dominion over the earth. Our escape from it shows our mastery over it.
Q: So you feel that dominion over all things created is a mandate from God. Does this mean that the whole of nature is at our arbitrary disposal?
A: We do not always subdue the earth wisely and well. Our pollution of our environment is a terrible thing. Yet the principle is valid. Our humanity is verified or corroborated by our response to this divine command. The more we are ...1