Presentation by Nasa Astronaut, Colonel Jeffrey N. Williams
Christian News, April 22, 2013
Jesus Christ is both Creator and Redeemer, NASA Astronaut Colonel Jeffrey N. Williams, told some 450 at Immanuel Lutheran Church, Washington, Missouri on April. Williams had spoken earlier to the children at Immanuel’s Christian day school. Dr. Mark Bangert, pastor of Immanuel, has led a group from Immanuel to the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky. Books by Ken Ham and others at the Genesis Institute are promoted at Immanuel.
Colonel Williams is the author of “The Work of His Hands,” published by the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod’s Concordia Publishing House in 2010. It was reviewed in the September 27, 2010 Christian News. After Williams spoke, a long line came forward at a book signing. Many took photos with themselves and their children gathered around the astronaut while he signed books.
In 2006 Colonel Williams in a six month mission at the International Space Station orbited the earth more than 2,800 times. He worked hundreds of experiments while suspended in microgravity. Twice he walked in space, spending more than twelve hours hanging by a tether in the astropheric void outside the spacecraft. While doing this he took more photographs of the earth than any astronaut in history.
Among the photographs he showed on the big screens at Immanuel, Washington, were the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, the Nile and Pyramids of Egypt, New York City, Washington, D.C. the Sahara Desert, Sand Dunes in Mongolia, Forests in Washington, Agricultural patterns, irrigation in Saudi Arabia, and New Mexico, volcanoes, glaciers , Mt. St. Helens, the Middle East and Israel. Throughout his presentation, the NASA Astronaut pointed out God’s order in creation.
Colonel Williams often quoted Scripture. He frequently noted that the Bible teaches that Jesus Christ is both Creator and Redeemer. John 1:3,10; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Colossians 1:16; He emphasized that Jesus Christ has creates, sustains, and redeemed the world. He noted after showing various photos he had taken in space that God created order in the universe. His favorite photos were those showing where the history recorded in Scripture, both the Old and New Testament actually took place. According to him Christianity is not some human fabricated religion but it began already in the Garden of Eden when men first believed in the coming Messiah. He points out the Dead Sea and the Lake of Galilee.
The NASA astronaut was asked about his schooling. He grew up on a farm in the rural community of Winter, Wisconsin. He graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1980 and then served more than 27 years in the U.S. Army. Williams became an astronaut in 1996 and flew on the 10 day Space Shuttle mission STS-101 in 2000. He holds a bachelor’s degree from UMSA and master’s and aerospace engineering degrees from the Naval Postgraduate School, and a master’s degree from the Naval War College. He and his wife, Anna Marie, reside in Texas and are members of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Houston. They have two grown sons.
Colonel Williams quoted some of the same passages from which Dr. David Kaufmann uses in “Scientific Observations in Scripture” in this week’s Christian News. He commented on Job 26 which says: “God stretches out the north over empty spaces and hangs the earth on nothing. He binds the waters in His thick clouds, and the clouds don’t tear under its weight. He covers the face of the moon by spreading His cloud over it. He inscribes a circle on the surface of the water at the outline where light meets darkness.” Flying around the earth 2,000 times he found “no strings attached.” While mentioning order and harmony in the universe, he noted Isaiah 45 which says: “I am the LORD, and there is no other. There is no God besides Me” (5). “The LORD made the heavens. He is God. He formed the earth and made it” (18).
The NASA astronaut writes in book “The Work of His Hands:”
“The experience on the Space Station also intensified my faith by helping me consider God’s providence and origin of His creation—that is, God as the Sustainer and Providence is a term not used much in modern times, but I love the richness of it. The reality of God’s providence transcended the entire experience of Expedition 13. Psalm 139 speaks to providence and the manifestation of God’s ever[present care, and verses 9-10 took on special meaning: ‘If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me.’ In Colossians 1:16-17, Christ is acknowledged as the Creator and also the one who sustains— that is upholds and governs –His creation. While in orbit for six months, I grew in appreciation of being sustained and upheld day by day.
“Of course, the special revelation found in the Scriptures climaxes in the redemption of sinners—that is, God as Redeemer. And that redeeming work is found in the person and work of Jesus Christ—the good news of the Gospel. That reality of God as Redeemer also became more vivid form the spaceflight experience as a direct result of the deepened perspectives of God as Creator, Sustainer, and Provider.
“In hindsight, I have come to realize anew that viewing and living out life through that lens intensifies the trust, confidence, and sense of contentment that comes in living out our faith in even the most challenging times. That perspective also invokes an intense humility and grows gratitude. It causes one to slow a bit and contemplate life issues in a new way. Additionally, it magnifies the sense of responsibility and stewardship that comes with getting such an experience. I have an obligation to share the experience and bring it back to those on Earth.
“With all of that in mind, among my favorite portions of the Earth to observe was the Middle East. The significance of redemptive history recorded in the Bible was brought to mind what I could see, in a single panorama, the entire area in which it took place. All of the history— from Abraham to Moses to David, the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the subsequent journeys and work of the apostles in the spreading of the gospel—was, in a sense, made visible in a fresh, tangible way when the biblical lands were in view out the window. I know I will never look at the maps in the back of my Bible the same way” (149-153).