I caught an interview with Brian Cox on the radio the other day and heard him talking about the Apollo 8 lunar mission. He described the way the astronauts Frank Borman, James Lovell and William Anders read from the book of Genesis when they saw the earth for the first time from space. This was an astonishing moment, a whole new perspective on the planet. We often feel we are the centre of everything, yet here was a view of the earth as a small part of something much bigger.
There are many creation stories all over the Bible. Much is debated about Genesis 1 and 2. But Job 37-40 and Psalms 8, 19, 93, 104, 136, 145 and 148, all celebrate the world God has made. And there are many other references. The writers of the Bible often return to creation to remind themselves who God is and who they are in the world. Especially during times of crisis. For Abraham the stars were a nightly reminder that God was with him on his journey into the unknown, and had plans for him. There was someone beyond the stars, someone greater, someone who cared and was guiding him.
I have included some of Brian’s thoughts here on the video below, and I like what he says about the astronauts reading Genesis – they wanted to talk about how our world came to be the way that it is. As their view of the planet shifted a little, they reached back to the story of the founding father. Something that happens time and again for so many people when their world shifts a little. When we need something solid to hold on to.
‘When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers – the moon and the stars you have set in place – what are mortals that you should think of us, mere humans that you should care for us? 5 For you made us only a little lower than God, and you crowned us with glory and honour. 6 You put us in charge of everything you made, you gave us awesome responsibility.’ The writer of Psalm 8