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NASA astronaut: ‘The heavens declare the glory of God’

The International Space Station (the tiny-but-bright dot above the trees) as seen from Oklahoma on July 13, 2010. (Photo by Erik Tryggestad)

Blogging live from Oklahoma City
Late last night my father-in-law called and told me to go outside and look to the west. Sure enough, there in the sky was a small white dot, brighter than any of the surrounding stars.
I was looking at the International Space Station, 220 miles above me, moving at about 17,500 miles per hour. (I had to look that up.) I steadied my camera on our mailbox to try to get a semi-decent photo of what it looked like to the naked eye.
Seeing the station for myself was especially cool because this month The Christian Chronicle has an interview with one of the astronauts. Doug Wheelock, a U.S. Army colonel, is the commander of ISS Expedition 25.
Though he’s not a member of a Church of Christ, Col. Wheelock has connections to Oklahoma Christian University, where he spoke in March. The university hosted a watch party as a Russian Soyuz rocket blasted off June 15, transporting him into space.

The International Space Station, as seen by a crew member onboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis after the shuttle undocked from the station earlier this year. (Photo provided by NASA)

In a Dialogue with Col. Wheelock, the astronaut describes how his trips into the heavens have reaffirmed his faith in God.

Col. Doug Wheelock (Photo provided by NASA)

In fact, I am convinced that it would require an unimaginable amount of faith to believe that all of this happened just by chance. I spent more than 20 hours outside of the Space Station on three space walks during my first mission, and the most profound sight is to view the Earth suspended in a vast, endless sea of emptiness.
To me, it would be absolutely impossible to have just happened. It looks more like brush strokes from the Master’s hand. It is quite surreal and profoundly breathtaking.

Here’s a NASA video describing the liftoff and rendezvous at the space station.
Here’s a snippet of Col. Wheelock speaking in chapel at OC:

  • Feedback
    If you find this story interesting, you might want to check out the recently released book, An Angel’s View by minister and retired NASA engineer, Mike O’Neal. An Angel’s View combines Bible study with O’Neal’s personal anecdotes and stories to explore the natures of God and His angel’s from their encounters with each other and humans. It is really an enjoyable and informative read. The last chapter is the best, as it takes a parallel look at the Challenger disaster from inside NASA and the crucifixion from the viewpoint of the angels in Heaven. You can find it at www.21stcc.com.
    Renee Gibbs Crawford
    July, 15 2010

    Here’s a <a href=”http://www.21stcc.com/viewspecial.cfm/prodno/9780890984796″ rel=”nofollow”>direct link</a> to the book Renee mentions.
    (By the way, the author is not the same Mike O’Neal who serves currently as president of Oklahoma Christian University and is in the background of the video on this post. I thought I should clear that up!)
    Erik Tryggestad
    July, 15 2010

    It is unfortunate, but the spiritual journey of our nation’s astronauts has largely gone untold. Of course many reasons are involved, but in most cases viewing the Earth and the heavens from space has significantly impacted those priviledged to do so. It is nice to see Doug Wheelock’s faith statement – our world needs such encouragement from these intelligent and courageous men and women. (This comment is from the retired NASA and author Mike O’Neal)
    Mike O’Neal
    August, 15 2010

Filed under: News Extras Photos and Videos

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