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.
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.
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?
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?
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.
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).