Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | January 9, 2019

Little Idea, Epic Result

(3 Minute Read. With video.)

Apollo 8 Commemorative Patch
Apollo 8 flies above the lunar surface as it slingshots around the Moon and sees the Earth rise. The patch includes “In the beginning God…” which the crew read to the world from Genesis 1.

A seemingly insignificant idea, trivial choice, or minor event can have far-reaching consequences.

Such was the case 50 years ago when the Apollo 8 astronauts, Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and Bill Anders, celebrated Christmas in Space as they orbited the moon.

Apollo 8 was a very ambitious and very dangerous mission. NASA told Borman’s wife that the chances the crew would return safely were “50-50.” One prominent critic of the mission was British radio astronomer Sir Bernard Lovell, the director of the Jodrell Bank radio observatory, who begged NASA not to risk the lives of three astronauts.

Robert Kurson, author of Rocket Men: The Daring Odyssey of Apollo 8 and the Astronauts Who Made Man’s First Journey to the Moon, said, “Christmas and the moon were at risk if this mission failed. That’s why when you talk to experts or other Apollo astronauts who were around they speak in reverential tones about Apollo 8 – the risk was almost incalculable. If you talk to many astronauts of the time, many of them will tell you that Apollo 8 was the single most important, daring, and dangerous mission NASA ever flew.”

Yet Apollo 8 was a crucial step on the way to Apollo 11 landing men on the moon seven months later. It was a huge jump ahead in the moon race with Russia. Apollo 8 was the first time in known history that men traveled beyond Earth’s orbit, and they set a new world speed record of 24,200 mph. Its astronauts were the first men in known history to orbit the moon. Apollo 8 was the first manned flight launched into space by the huge 36-story-tall Saturn V rocket, the launch vehicle for all the following Apollo missions and for Skylab 1.

Here is NOVA’s movie Apollo’s Daring Mission (NOVA season 45, episode 17) in which Apollo 8 astronauts and engineers tell the inside story of the mission, fifty years later. They report the new technology and engineering feats that made Apollo 8’s trip to the moon possible. (Released December 26, 2018. 53:40)

Because of the significance of the mission, NASA had told the three Apollo 8 astronauts to “say something appropriate” for their Christmas Eve broadcast from the moon. No other instruction or specification was given.

But the astronauts couldn’t think of what to say. They and their three wives struggled for weeks trying to think of something without success. They considered contemporizing The Night Before Christmas or using Jingle Bells, but nothing they thought of seemed appropriate. Finally a friend of Apollo 8 Commander Frank Borman asked veteran war correspondent and newspaperman Joe Layton for help. As Layton wrestled with how to answer, his wife Christine, a former French resistance fighter, suggested the astronauts read the opening verses of Genesis.

Christine Layton
Suggested Moon reading from Genesis

This spur of the moment, seemingly inconsequential suggestion by Christine Layton — walking by her husband as he crumpled sheet after sheet of paper with discarded ideas — turned out to have epic consequences.

Anders, Lovell, and Borman read the first ten verses of Genesis to conclude their live TV broadcast from lunar orbit. At the time it was the most watched television broadcast in known history, estimated at a billion people – a quarter of the world’s population.

Transcripts and recordings of Genesis 1:1-10 (see Christmas in Space for a video) have reverberated across the decades as the historic expedition is commemorated. On each significant anniversary of Apollo 8, even the most secular publications reproduce these powerful Genesis verses which exalt the Creator.

When Christine Layton applied her creative energy to a question that interested her husband, her wildest imagination could not have predicted the worldwide impact, echoing year after year for half a century!

A billion people, including innumerable communists, atheists, and pagans, heard these three elite American astronauts testify to the creation of the universe by the God of the Bible, Yahweh, the Great Creator.

Apollo 8 Crew
Frank Borman, Bill Anders, Jim Lovell

These three astronauts were highly intelligent, college educated, extremely accomplished men who were esteemed worldwide. Eternity alone will reveal the extent to which their clear, bold words changed lives. And it was all started by Christine Layton’s simple suggestion.

We never know the extent to which our daily choices and actions will influence history. Some may mushroom worldwide down through the centuries. It’s important to consistently obey the Word and follow Jesus Christ. Both obedience and disobedience have significant consequences.

New Year Message

I wish all the readers of the Bible-Science Guy Blog a Blessed 2019 as you seek to serve and glorify the Great Creator in 2019!
But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31)

Here is a Rebus puzzle message from Mark Twain’s 1874 calling card that I’d like to send my readers. Can you figure out the appropriate phrase that this puzzle represents? Try to solve the puzzle before you look at the answer below.

Questions to Ponder

1. The astronauts’ choice to ride the Saturn V rocket to the moon was scary; yet it produced an enduring witness to the Great Creator. What Biblical choice in your life seems scary or risky? Will you trust God and act on it?
2. What “little idea” to bless another person has crossed your mind recently? Will you act on it?

Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

Rebus Puzzle Answer: I Wish You All A Happy New Year.
(Click Rebus puzzles for links to blog articles with a Rebus puzzle.)

For Christ and His Kingdom.

Read the prequel:
Christmas in Space

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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Wednesday January 9, 2019 A.D.

For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and made it holy. (Exodus 20:11)

What do you think? Leave a comment. Please pray for the worldwide impact of the Bible-Science Guy ministry!

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