Christianity Enters the Space Age

Space travel is a going thing. It’s what’s happening today. With the recent Apollo expeditions, man is about ready to explore the moon. After the moon, sooner or later the planets will be reached.
I truly believe that man will travel to other planets. This seems to be contrary to the expectations of most adult Reformed people to whom I have talked. There are several different opinions, but the general consensus seems to be that God will either strike men dead at the moment that they touch down on another planet, or blast them out of space on the way. I believe that people who think this way are deceiving themselves.
When God created all things, he placed man on the earth and gave him the command we call the cultural mandate: “Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth and subdue it” (Genesis 1:28). It is this cultural mandate that has driven man to settle and explore vast unknown regions of the earth. It is this mandate which has driven man to learn so much about creation. When the whole earth has been explored, the cultural mandate does not cease to command. No, man is driven on to penetrate that immense new frontier, space.
God created the Universe to glorify Himself. He placed man in a special place in that Universe, a unique place. Only man of all the creatures was able to understand the glory of God in it all. Now, of course, in natural depraved man, this understanding has been perverted to a mere wondering at the amazing amount of order “Nature” gives to the Universe; but the Christian through Christ still sees God’s glory. I think that as we travel out into space we shall become more and more aware of God’s greatness, God’s glory will be revealed to us unendingly in new and fascinating ways.
This brings us to a very important question. What will be the effect of the exploration of space upon Christianity? Perhaps it is too soon to tell for sure. Undoubtedly, there will be much godlessness, if we can judge from the history of other frontiers. Undoubtedly, also, there will be “missionaries” who travel out to “convert” the godless. Eventually, though, I can conceive that there will be true Christian churches somewhere out in space.
Perhaps the reader has noticed that until now I have not considered one very crucial point. Suppose God in His Divine Providence ends the universe before man has the ability to travel far into space? I don’t know when God will destroy this earth, nor does any other human being. If the destruction does take place before man can travel to other planets, well and good. God has His eternal purpose and nothing that man does will change it. However, since man does not know God’s purpose and will in everything, he must continue to obey God’s cultural mandate until the end. The Christian is not exempt from this. Hence, I write this paper. To me, the prospects for the exploration of space and the uncovering of new wonders of God’s creation are very, very exciting.

Originally Published in:
Vol. 29 No. 7 November 1969