NASA Astronaut at Night of Valor: view from space confirms glory of God in creation
Your view of the world from space can shape an eternal perspective, said NASA astronaut Jeff Williams at Southern Seminary’s Night of Valor event, November 12. Colonel Williams, at one time the record holder for most cumulative days spent in space, had previously visited Southern Seminary in October of 2013. In August of 2016, he spoke with Southern Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. during the Tuesday chapel service in a broadcast from the International Space Station.
During his talk during this year's Night of Valor, Williams shared pictures from his many trips around the earth accompanied by several passages of Scripture to emphasize the awe-inspiring outpouring of God’s grace in creation.
“The beauty, the harmony that we see here — the visually pleasing order that we see — give testimony to the Creator behind it,” Williams said. “Order is something that we take for granted. We don’t always think about it, but it’s a critical element in the design of God’s creation that enables us to do everything we do in life.”
Order is especially critical to life inside the International Space Station, where everything has to be tied down or Velcro-ed to the wall. Williams said that even an afternoon cup of hot tea has to be drunk from a bag through a straw.
Williams has spent more than 530 days in space. During that time, he has captured numerous photos of the earth from orbit through the 800-millimeter lens of his camera, including the entire Grand Canyon, the Great Barrier Reef, and a volcano during an eruption. Experiences like these have reminded Williams that God has filled the world with beautiful things and has given humans the ability to discover those things and appreciate them, he said.
“When we acknowledge the provision of God by grace that he gives in our lives, things like this come to us every day,” Williams said. “They’re there for each and every one of us if we only look for them and acknowledge them, and acknowledge the giver from whom they come.”
Quoting from the Psalms and Job, Williams explained that it is a very good thing for mankind to take dominion over this world and that the order God’s image bearers bring to this planet complements the order God established. Ultimately, that order honors him, according to Williams.
Williams ended his presentation with a time-lapse video of clips from flying over the earth that he hoped would capture an idea of “the spectacular awe and wonder that’s involved when you orbit the earth and see this incredible … a portion of God’s creation that is our home,” he said. “It’s habitable, and we inhabit it by God’s grace.”
Night of Valor is an annual event sponsored by the Bevin Center for Missions Mobilization for the purpose of “celebrating [the] sacrifices of veterans,” in the words of Major Austen Fletcher, a Marine and current student at Southern, who opened the event. Previous speakers at Night of Valor include Major General Dondi Costin and Edgar Harrell.