"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Friday, December 23, 2005

Peace on Earth, Good Will Toward Men

It's getting to be an inside joke among those who don't really believe that there's anything Higher, Greater, and Kinder than ourselves to wish each other Io Saturnalia. I just can't get behind it: the costumes are tacky and the songs are terrible.

To my fellows of The Reform Club, thank you for taking me into your midst; it was the best present I could have received, and my warmest regards of the season. To our regular and irregular readers, your comments are always gelt. And to our friends who hang around like Billy Bob Thornton in The Apostle, I hope someday one of us can help you find what you're looking for.

So, Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah to all.

It was on Christmas Eve 1968 that the astronauts of Apollo 8, Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and Bill Anders, became the first of mankind to see an earthrise from the orbit of the moon, and looking back on us, they spoke these words:


Anders: "We are now approaching lunar sunrise. And, for all the people back on earth, the crew of Apollo 8 have a message that we would like to send to you...

"In the beginning, God created the Heaven and the Earth. And the Earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light; and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness."

Lovell: "And God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day."

Borman: "And God said, Let the waters under the Heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear; and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters He called Seas: and God saw that it was good."

And from the crew of Apollo 8, we close with good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas, and God bless all of you, all of you on the good earth."


It is good. God bless us, every one.

12 comments:

Pastorius said...

Thanks for this, Tom.

Hunter Baker said...

Fab, Tom. You had me at hello. Love ya, mean it, call me.

The line about Billy Bob Thornton is wonderfully priceless. I was watching that flick just the other day and it's nice to be reminded of it.

S. T. Karnick said...

Thanks, Tom. May God bless you richly in the coming year.

Jay D. Homnick said...

Thank you so much, Tom.

Now contrast this with the Sputnik cosmonauts who sent back a message: "We're up here and we don't see God." Older Russian immigrants have told me that this was played up heavily in the Soviet press at the time. (It's always possible that they were told to say that; it's also possible they never said it but the government propaganda machine manufactured the quote.)

In any case, if you ever wonder why we were the last man standing in the battle of superpowers, there is your answer right there.

Jay D. Homnick said...

Incidentally, I love that scene from The Apostle, which I saw twice. (The first time I cried so hard that the rims of my eyes hurt for hours afterward.)

Tom Van Dyke said...

Well considered, Jay, and the missus liked your story, too.

She said she figgers when the Russkis got up there, God turned off the porch light.

Hunter Baker said...

Ah, such a stupid, stupid quote from the Russkies of the time. As if the sky had long been an impenetrable mystery lo these hundreds of years and no one had ever looked through a telescope.

Jay D. Homnick said...

And conversely, was anyone ever shallow enough in their religious understanding to think that God is visible once you get up into the sky? The whole thing always struck me as totally pathetic.

On the other hand, our astronauts made the subtle point that getting into space is an opportunity to see God's handiwork laid out on a much broader scale, in which case they did indeed see God. You can see Him right here in a rose petal, smell Him in a jar of perfume, taste Him in a spoonful of honey and hear Him in a graceful melody, but up there you can see Him writ large - and that's just what Anders, Lovell and Borman shared with their countrymen.

Matt Huisman said...

The beauty of the Soviet quote is that it is the sheer arrogance of man that reveals his ignorance. The belief that man is sufficient in and of himself to accomplish anything he sets his mind to.

Of course, whether he can create anything that will last is another thing. The tower of Bable that was the Soviet Union is now gone, and the heavens and the earth continue on as they have for all time.

Jay D. Homnick said...

Thanks, Matt. Precisely right.

Ed Darrell said...

Jay said: On the other hand, our astronauts made the subtle point that getting into space is an opportunity to see God's handiwork laid out on a much broader scale, in which case they did indeed see God. You can see Him right here in a rose petal, smell Him in a jar of perfume, taste Him in a spoonful of honey and hear Him in a graceful melody, but up there you can see Him writ large - and that's just what Anders, Lovell and Borman shared with their countrymen.

Yeah, but you can't tell that to intelligent design advocates. It requires "methodological naturalism" to get to the Moon (even then, by slide-rule, that methodological naturalism instrument of torture), and that is inherently corrupting, to ID advocates.

Glad to see you guys haven't been taken in by them . . .

Matt Huisman said...

Methodological naturalism may be one way to get to the moon, but it doesn't tell you how the moon got there. Unless, of course, you're willing to believe that the only reason we ended up this way is because there are over a billion trillion universes, and we just happen to be on the one that supports life.

No room for any worldview in there, of course - just straight-up, hard-core science.