On top of the world

Astronaut on space station sees amazing design and beauty of the Earth

Jeff Williams
Flight Engineer Jeff Williams of NASA (Photo Aubrey Gemignani NASA via Getty Images)

Veteran NASA astronaut Jeff Williams is currently Commander of the six-man team of Expedition 48 aboard the International Space Station, returning early September.

Looking down on the blue ball we call Earth, Jeff is stunned by its beauty once again – the ISS trip is his fourth space flight. Everyday he posts amazing photographs of Earth on his Twitter feed.

In 2009, after his third spaceflight, Jeff wrote the book The Work of His Hands: A View Of God's Creation From Space in which he reflected upon "God's care for his creation, and His wisdom in ordering the universe."

The committed Christian sees no conflict between his faith and his science – quite the opposite. He says that the design of the universe that science reveals just increases his awe and wonder at the power of God.

He says "there are many Christians in NASA" and that his work "has been perfectly compatible with the Bible".

Jeff says his relationship with Jesus began late in his life when he and his wife of seven years were slowly drifting apart. While he was away doing flight training his wife became a Christian. He was so impressed by the change in her, he gave his life to Jesus as well, and it saved their marriage.

Talking about his work in space, Jeff says: "The thing that's most apparent to me when I'm up there is the detail of the design of the part of creation we call Earth. And you see where Earth is in the solar system, you see how vibrant Earth is... the systems that it takes to support life...

"And, oh, by the way, we can only do this because of the order in God's design. Physics is a demonstration of order, mathematics is a demonstration of order, and the fact that we can launch a rocket at a precise moment, at a predictable moment required, and nine minutes later we're in orbit going 17,500 miles an hour—that's a very vivid demonstration of the order that we can see in God's design of his creation.

Soyuz spacecraft
BAIKONUR, KAZAKHSTAN. MARCH 17, 2016: The Soyuz TMA-20M spacecraft is rolled out to the launch pad at Baikonur Cosmodrome, to take its crew to the International Space Station. (Photo Aubrey Gemignani NASA via Getty Images)

"The creation provides but a glimpse of the Creator. When people see Earth from the perspective of orbit, whether first-hand or through the descriptions of those who have been there, their thoughts often turn to God, or at least the question of God."

But while creation points us to God, Jeff says we can only find a relationship with God through trusting what He has told us in the Bible.

"In studying the Bible, I have grown both in awe of it and in complete trust in it as the source of the truth of reality, wisdom, and all things necessary for life... It is only through the revelation of God in the Scriptures that we can actually become close to Him in relationship and actually know Him.

"The experience of being on the space station only intensified my response to God as I viewed the work of his fingers."

Some parts of the Bible seem to describe a modern scientific view of earth from space despite being written thousands of years ago. Job 26:7-10 says: "He (God) stretches out the north over the void and hangs the earth on nothing... He has inscribed a circle on the face of the waters at the boundary between light and darkness."

Jeff concludes: "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."

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