A Giant Leap for Mankind

Astronaut Charlie Duke
Astronaut Charlie Duke

Twenty-four men made it to the moon between 1969 and 1972. Only twenty-four men in history have seen the earth from the surface of another world.

Here are the reflections of three of them on the significance of their experience (from 1:30:00ish in this fascinating documentary):

Astronaut Gene Cernan:

I felt that I was literally standing on a plateau somewhere out there in space, a plateau that science and technology had allowed me to get to. But now what I was seeing, and even more important, what I was feeling at that moment in time—science and technology had no answers for it, literally no answers. Because, there I was—and there you are, there you are, the earth: dynamic, overwhelming, and I felt that the world was just… There’s too much purpose, too much logic. It was just too beautiful to have happened by accident. There has to be somebody bigger than you, and bigger than me. And I mean this in a spiritual sense, not a religious sense. There has to be a creator of the universe who stands above the religions that we ourselves create to govern our lives.

Astronaut Charlie Duke:

A friend of ours got us to go to a Bible study at a tennis club, and after that weekend I said to Jesus, I said, “I give you my life. If you’re real, then come into my life, and I believe.” And He did. And I had this sense of peace that was hard to describe. It was so dramatic that we started sharing our story. I say, “My walk on the moon lasted three days, and it was a great adventure. But my walk with God lasts forever.”

Astronaut Jim Lovell:

We learned a lot about the moon, but what we really learned was about the earth—the fact that just from the distance of the moon you could put your thumb up and you could hide the earth behind your thumb. Your loved ones, your business, the problems of the earth itself—all behind your thumb. And [we learned] how insignificant we really all are, but then how fortunate we are to have this body and then be able to enjoy living here amongst the beauty of the earth itself.

Author: Mark Ward

PhD in NT; theological writer for Faithlife; former high school Bible textbook author for BJU Press; husband; father; ultimate frisbee player; member of the body of Christ.

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