Viewing the world from space can shape an eternal perspective, NASA astronaut Jeff Williams said at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary’s (SBTS) Night of Valor, an annual event in honor of veterans sponsored by the seminary’s Bevin Center for Missions Mobilization.
Earth: "… we inhabit it by God's grace," NASA astronaut Jeff Williams says at Southern Seminary.
Williams, at one time the record holder for most cumulative days in space, previously visited Southern Seminary in October 2013. In August 2016, he spoke from the International Space Station (ISS) with Southern Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. during a chapel service.
At this year’s Nov. 12 Night of Valor, Williams shared pictures from his numerous trips around the earth along with passages of scripture to depict 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 ISS, where everything has to be tied down or Velcroed to the wall. Williams said even an afternoon cup of hot tea must be consumed from a bag through a straw.
Williams has spent more than 530 days in space. During that time, he has captured numerous photos of 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 him that God has filled the world with beautiful things and has given humans the ability to discover and appreciate them.
“When we acknowledge the provision of God by grace that He gives in our lives, things like this come to us every day,” Williams, who served as an Army colonel, 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 Psalms and Job, Williams said it is a 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, Williams said.
Williams ended his presentation with a time-lapse video of clips from flying over the earth to capture an idea of “the spectacular awe and wonder that’s involved when you orbit the earth and see this incredible … portion of God’s creation that is our home.”
“It’s habitable,” he said, “and we inhabit it by God’s grace.”