VIDEO Above All the Earth, The Creator and the Details of Life

Evidence for Creation

NASA astronaut Col. Jeffrey Williams recently visited the Institute for Creation Research, and we had the opportunity to talk with him about his life, work, and faith. In our feature this month, we share excerpts from the interview (portion below). Col. Williams talked about his time in space, his love of family, and his relationship with God. I was especially touched by a story he told about God hearing him on a “down day.” On that particular day, he witnessed something that no one else on Earth saw at that moment. He was moved by the way God revealed His wonders of creation, and he even had fun with the experience.
col williams crew
In the full interview, Col. Williams said he continually sees the providence of God in the details of life. He shared some of his testimony—how he grew up on a dairy farm and later became a military test pilot. He went to West Point and served in the Army for over 27 years. Over a period of ten years he persistently applied to NASA, and eventually became an astronaut. He also shared how a family crisis brought him to faith in Christ and how a specific prayer by his wife was answered as he floated in space.

Col. Williams enjoys photography—he’s taken about 200,000 photos from the International Space Station (ISS), and many can be found on NASA’s website. He said the astronauts were continually drawn to the image of Earth outside their station window…that Earth was their constant focal point. Some of the NASA photographs included with our feature and on the cover of this issue were taken by Col. Williams.

Clips from the interview can be seen on our website, ICR.org, and clips will occasionally appear on our social media sites. You can find us on Facebook (Institute for Creation Research) and on Twitter (@ICRscience).

Other articles in this issue also highlight the providence of God. Dr. James Johnson’s article “Genesis in Chinese Pictographs” explains how God providentially used the ancient Chinese language itself to witness to a questioning student (pages 18-20). In “Evolution of a Creation Scientist,” Dr. Jeff Tomkins describes how through a bizarre series of events God placed a Christian roommate in his path at the right time (page 21). And Dr. Vernon Cupps tells of his journey in becoming a young-earth creationist in his mid-50s (page 10).

Col. Williams reminded me how much the Creator of the universe loves us and wants to be involved in our lives. He said, “Look for the little things, the providence of God—He orchestrates the details of our lives.” Our heavenly Father wants to daily interact with us and reveal Himself to us in creative ways. And whether we’re floating in space and looking through an ISS window at the planet that He created as our home, or whether we have our feet firmly planted on this earth, He delights in unveiling His wonders to His children, even on the down days.

The FULL Interview can be listened to or downloaded at http://www.icr.org/i/radio/icr_org_Col_Williams.mp3


* Jayme Durant is Executive Editor at the Institute for Creation Research.

Cite this article: Jayme Durant. 2015. The Creator and the Details of Life. Acts & Facts. 44 (3).


Few can say they’ve left planet Earth. Jeff Williams has done it three times. After a lengthy military career, Colonel Jeffrey N. Williams was chosen from among a handful of candidates to become an astronaut for NASA and work on the International Space Station (ISS). He has been a longtime supporter of ICR and recently visited our headquarters for the first time, graciously allowing us an interview.
Col Williams
ICR: Why do you support creation ministries like ICR?

JW: My affinity for organizations like ICR has to do with what I see as [their] commitment to the truth of Scripture and trying to strengthen, in the minds of Christians, a confidence in the Scripture. And, of course, your interest is in the creation account, and the Flood and the early chapters of Genesis, and that science is compatible with the biblical account.

ICR: Are you the only Christian aboard the ISS?
International Space Station
JW: There is a generalization that anyone who worked for NASA, or an organization like that, would naturally be an atheist, but that’s not true. There are many Christians in the organization, many Christians in other government agencies—there are Christians everywhere. The work that I do and have done through my military career and with NASA has been perfectly compatible with the Scriptures, and I’ve lived out my life as a Christian, and there’s been no issue there.

ICR: Why are you a creationist?

JW: I came to Christ in the late ’80s. I’ve studied the Scriptures since 1988. I didn’t want to jump on a bandwagon; I didn’t just want to be a follower of a religious organization. I wanted to understand what the faith was, and all of my life, since 1988, every day I study the Scriptures to try to understand [them], and one of the things that I’ve found is the complete internal consistency within the overall Scriptures and that the truth of Scripture is affirmed by every other piece of extra-biblical evidence.

ICR: So you don’t find any conflict between science and your belief in Scripture?

JW: I don’t find a conflict with true science—genuine science with integrity—and the Scriptures. I have found that in all cases where there is a conflict, it’s not a conflict with the science, it’s a conflict with the presupposition going in. So it’s more of a philosophical thing. If you study those things, philosophy, science, and religion have always intersected. The lines dividing them have never been clear, and they often get blurred. If somebody perceives science to be in conflict with, for example, the early chapters of Genesis, it’s not the science, it’s the presupposition that goes into it. If you have a presupposition that excludes the possibility of a god, that excludes the possibility of supernatural acts, and that [believes] everything has to be explained just with natural processes, then you’ve basically limited what you can let the objective observation of science tell you. That’s where the issue comes in. I presuppose God. And I presuppose the truth of the Scripture.

ICR: So, before you even look at the data, you have in mind that miracles could have happened?

JW: I assume a creator. And it’s not just the chance of miracles, the chance of supernatural acts, it’s the truth that He is the Creator, He accomplished His creation as He has revealed to us in the Scripture, in Genesis 1 and 2, and reaffirmed throughout the rest of the Bible.

ICR: What’s the most fascinating thing you’ve seen out in space?

JW: The biggest attraction outside isn’t deep space—it’s the earth. Everyone on the station is fascinated with the earth. You never get tired of viewing the earth. When I look out the window at the earth (and I’ve accumulated almost a year in orbit, and we orbit every 90 minutes—sixteen orbits a day), I see the entire globe—except for the poles—over time. And over weeks and months you see the seasons go by. You see all the details and all the different lighting conditions. It’s an endless variety of the observations of the details on Earth. When you cross the Middle East, from orbit, and you can see the entire biblical history in one vantage point and the entire geography that Christ came and lived on as a man over 2,000 years ago, that gives deep and profound meaning to that view.

ICR: Can you see any evidence of the Flood from the ISS?

JW: Absolutely. And it’s not just the rising waters. The Scriptures give reference to geological movements and the fountains coming from the deep, and very likely volcanic activity and earthquakes and other things, and shifting of land masses, and when you see the earth from that vantage point you see evidence of all of that, and it looks like it occurred rapidly. It only gives evidence and illustrates the account of Scripture. When you look at the earth from that vantage point, you see volcanos everywhere, some of them still erupting, others dormant, and you see geological formations that are incredible. Or you go to eastern Iran, and you see very unique formations of salt domes—fascinating geometric designs. Or you go to Australia, which looks like we’d imagine another planet to look like. I have about 200,000 pictures from space.1

ICR: How has your walk with the Lord and your study of Scripture impacted your family life?

JW: It’s had a tremendous impact. We went through a family and marriage crisis in the late ’80s and out of that came to faith in Christ and the truth in Scripture. We rebuilt our marriage and family from that point on and made it a priority, and it completely changed our lives and our priorities in life. It has completely transformed us—so it has become central. My first priority is to honor Christ, my second is as a husband. You can only fulfill your duties as a husband if you are submitted to Christ.

ICR: What are some personal, spiritual lessons you may have encountered where your walk with Christ—your study of Scripture—has intersected with some of these views of Earth from space and had an impact on your spiritual life?

JW: In a broad sense, there is a continuous impact when you have, in the back of your mind, the truth of the Creator with His infinite wisdom in the design, order, and the purpose and plan in the details of His creation.

ICR: Do you have any good stories about life on the ISS?
volcano eruption
JW: One story is my favorite—it happened in May of 2006. I was six weeks into a six-month stay, kind of having a down day, and I confessed this to my wife, Anna-Marie. I talk with her each day while in space. It was late morning, and I floated over a window where I typically had a camera staged and saw this snow-covered peak poking through the clouds and grabbed a picture. They were the Aleutian Islands, a series of beautiful snow-covered peaks. Something looked strange about one of them. I went back and reframed the picture and realized it was an erupting volcano. By the plume, I knew it was a brand-new eruption.

I was very animated about this, called NASA, and sent the pictures. We called the Alaskan Observatory from the ISS and told them I witnessed this volcano erupting, and they thought it was a prank. [It was the island volcano named Cleveland.] After 90 minutes, we flew over the volcano again, and it had already stopped by then.

In a very special way, it was the Lord’s provision to raise me out of my slump. More specifically—from a Christian point of view—it was a direct answer to Anna-Marie’s prayer that the Lord would bring something into my day. He takes care of us continually in the little things—and I’ve learned over the years to look for the little things. I have a great love for the study of the providence of God, which is evident throughout Scripture—and if we look for it, it’s in our lives. He orchestrates the details of our lives.

ICR: Is there anything else you’d like to share with ICR readers?

JW: I appreciate the ministry of ICR. I appreciate the ministry of any organization and individuals who are dedicated to reinforcing the truth of Scripture and encouraging believers to have confidence in the Bible, that it is the truth of God, that it does contain the wisdom of God. He has revealed Himself as Creator, as the Provider, and as our Redeemer in a very explicit way that can be understood and can be trusted.

Col Williams (2)
Reference

Colonel Williams’ photographs as well as other NASA images can be accessed at eol.jsc.nasa.gov/Collections

* A West Point graduate, Colonel Jeffrey N. Williams served 27 years active duty in the U.S. Army as an Army aviator and experimental test pilot. He has an M.S. in Aeronautical Engineering from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School and an M.A. in National Security and Strategic Studies from the U.S. Naval War College. Williams was selected for the NASA Astronaut Class of 1996 and has flown 3 space flights to the International Space Station, accumulating about a year in space. He is currently preparing for his fourth space flight, planned for six months, beginning in March 2016.

Cite this article: No Author. 2015. Above All the Earth. Acts & Facts. 44 (3).

Stand Up and Speak Up

romans 1 16
Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Matthew 5:15

When the apostle Peter was confronted by a servant of the high priest, he lost his tongue. Rather than speaking up for Christ, he denied knowing the Savior. But after the Resurrection and Pentecost, Peter couldn’t keep quiet. “We cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard,” he told his critics (Acts 4:20). As The Living Bible puts it, “We cannot stop telling about the wonderful things we saw Jesus do and heard him say.”

When we share the Gospel, we must stand up and speak up for everyone to hear. Don’t be deterred by criticism, and don’t let timidity keep you from telling others what God has done for you. Listen to the advice of Jesus: “Return to your own house, and tell what great things God has done for you” (Luke 8:39).

When we think of the wonderful things we’ve seen Jesus do and heard Him say, and when we consider the great things He has done for us, how can we be silent or hide our light under a basket? Let’s look up, stand up, and speak up for Him!

Let us rise and march to the place of duty, and there declare what great things God has shown to our soul. Alistair Begg

Recommended Reading: Acts 4:18-22

The Resurrection: Does It Matter?

Acts 2:22-24

Believing that the Lord Jesus Christ rose from the dead is essential for Christians. Merely recognizing that He died for our sins is not enough; we must accept His resurrection in order to receive eternal life. Christ paid our debt, but His sacrifice on the cross means nothing unless He possesses power over the grave. In vanquishing evil and death, the Lord made our salvation possible.

Jesus’ resurrection proved He was able to remove sin and its penalty. Assuming Christ remained dead would mean accepting the opposite—that believers are still in sin. And the inevitable end of a sinful life is death. Consequently, a person who denies Christ’s eternal nature looks toward a void future. Bertrand Russell, a famous atheist philosopher, offered this sad description of such hopelessness: “Brief and powerless is Man’s life; on him and all his race, the slow, sure doom falls pitiless and dark.”

Instead of enjoying Christian liberty and anticipating a home in heaven, those who reject resurrection are slaves to the present, with no real hope or meaning in life. Career, family, and good works can offer brief pleasure but not the kind of joy that comes from knowing we are right with the Lord and working in His will.

Resurrection is not a denominational issue or a point for theological debate. Either we believe Christ rose from the dead and ascended to heaven or we do not. If we reject His victory over the grave, we deny ourselves a place in eternity. But if we accept the truth, we will be saved.

The Light and the Sun

“The day is thine, the night also is thine: thou hast prepared the light and the sun.” (Psalm 74:16)

One of the traditional “discrepancies” attributed by the skeptics to the Genesis account of creation is the fact that there was “light” (Hebrew or) on the first day of the creation week, whereas God did not create the “lights” (Hebrew ma-or) to rule the day and the night until the fourth day.

However, it is interesting that modern evolutionary cosmologists find no problem in having light before the sun. According to their speculative reconstruction of cosmic history, light energy was produced in the imaginary “Big Bang” 15 billion years ago, whereas the sun “evolved” only five billion years ago. Thus, even in their attempts to destroy the divine revelation of Genesis, they inadvertently find it necessary to return to its concepts. Light energy somehow had to be “prepared” before the sun and other stars could ever be set up to serve as future generators of light energy. The fact that light is an entity independent of the sun and other heavenly bodies is one of the remarkable scientific insights of the Bible. As the basic form of energy (even intrinsic in the very nature of matter, as expressed in the famous Einstein equation), it is significant that the first recorded word spoken by the Creator was: “Let there be light” (Genesis 1:3).

In this chapter, the psalmist is entreating the Lord of light, the Creator of all things, to deliver His people from those who are seeking to destroy all genuine faith in the true God of heaven. “The tumult of those that rise up against thee increaseth continually” (Psalm 74:23). Nevertheless, “God is my King of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth” (v. 12). The mighty God of creation, who established and controls all the basic energies of the cosmos and their manifestation on the earth, is fully able to defeat His enemies and establish His people. We can be sure of that. HMM

A Closed Mouth and Silent Heart

My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned: then spake I with my tongue. —Psalm 39:3

Prayer among evangelical Christians is always in danger of degenerating into a glorified gold rush. Almost every book on prayer deals with the “get” element mainly. How to get things we want from God occupies most of the space. Now, we gladly admit that we may ask for and receive specific gifts and benefits in answer to prayer, but we must never forget that the highest kind of prayer is never the making of requests. Prayer at its holiest moment is the entering into God to a place of such blessed union as makes miracles seem tame and remarkable answers to prayer appear something very far short of wonderful by comparison.

Holy men of soberer and quieter times than ours knew well the power of silence. David said, “I was dumb with silence, I held my peace, even from good; and my sorrow was stirred. My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned: then spake I with my tongue” (Psalm 39:2-3). There is a tip here for God’s modern prophets. The heart seldom gets hot while the mouth is open. A closed mouth before God and a silent heart are indispensable for the reception of certain kinds of truth. No man is qualified to speak who has not first listened.

Lord, teach me to close my mouth. Help me to sit in silence before You, with my mouth closed. Amen.

Christianity Is No Longer Producing Saintliness

But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ…. 2 Peter 3:18

It is possible for a whole generation of professing Christians to be victims of poor teaching, low moral standards and unscriptural or extrascriptural doctrines, resulting in stunted growth and retarded development.

It is little less than stark tragedy that an individual Christian may pass from youth to old age in a state of suspended growth and all his life be unaware of it!

Those who would question the truth of this have only to read the First Epistle to the Corinthians and the Epistle to the Hebrews; and church history adds all the further proof that is needed.

In today’s Christianity, we have measured ourselves by ourselves until the incentive to seek higher plateaus in the things of the Spirit is all but gone!

The fact is that we are no longer producing saints. We are making converts to an effete type of Christianity that bears little resemblance to that of the New Testament. The average so-called Bible Christian in our times is but a wretched parody on true sainthood!

Clearly, we must begin to produce better Christians!

We must insist on New Testament sainthood for our converts, nothing less; and we must lead them into a state of heart purity, fiery love, separation from the world and poured-out devotion to the Person of Christ.

Only in this way can the low level of spirituality be raised again to where it should be in the light of the Scriptures and of eternal values!

Mediocre Christianity

I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal. 1 CORINTHIANS 3:1

Read your New Testament again and you will agree that mediocrity in the Christian life is not the highest that Jesus offers. Certainly God is not honored by our arrested spiritual development—our permanent halfway spiritual condition.

We all know that the Bible tells us that we honor God by going on to full maturity in Christ!

Why, then, do we settle for those little pleasures that tickle the saintlets and charm the fancy of the carnal?

It is because we once heard a call to take up the cross and instead of following toward the heights, we bargained with the Lord like a street huckster! We felt an urge to be spent for Christ, but instead of going on, we started asking questions.
We began to bicker and bargain with God about His standards for spiritual attainment.

This is plain truth—not about unbelieving “liberals”—but about those who have been born again and who dare to ask, “Lord, what will it cost me?”

O Lord, in my heart of hearts I desire to honor You by going on to full maturity in Christ. Help me not to be satisfied with mediocrity.