Yesterday Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon took his brother and two others with him into space aboard his Blue Origin spacecraft.
Bezos’ flight marked a milestone in the quest to make space accessible to more people. The flight was unique in a number of ways: it featured the youngest astronaut, the oldest and it was guided by AI (artificial intelligence) instead of a pilot. Conscious they were making history, the crew took with them a bronze medallion made from the first hot air balloon, canvas from the Wright brothers’ plane and Amelia Earhart’s flight googles.
Many on social media expressed their displeasure in that the billionaire’s money could have been spent on improving things back on earth. But new innovations always provoke naysayers. Some rejected those new fangled automobiles on the grounds that they would scare horses, they were too noisy and besides, there was no place to find gasoline anyway!
The truth is that the conquest of space is part of the quest to extend global mastery implied in the cultural mandate to “fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Genesis 1:28). Furthermore the conquest of space will improve life on earth through such things as improved communication, transportation, weather forecasting, understanding of climate change and national security.
The whole world seemed to watch the spectacle and the shared sentiment seemed to be “What could be better than taking some folks into space?!” The four newly minted astronauts were euphoric after their historic 11 minute flight.
So what could possibly be better than taking some folks into space? Unnoticed by the world, another event took place a few hours later on July 19, 2021. Don McCurry, founder of the Samuel Zwemer Center for Muslim Studies, who devoted the past 70 years to reaching Muslims for Christ was donating his library to the Assemblies of God Global Initiative. The group used the occasion to honor Don and his wife for their 70 years of faithful service in helping to lead Muslims to faith in Jesus Christ.
It made me reflect on the two events from the perspective of eternity. To be sure, taking ordinary people into space is a wonderful thing. It is potentially as revolutionary as mass producing the automobile. Yet, from the perspective of eternity, helping to take many to heaven for eternity is far greater than taking a few to space for 11 minutes.
And which is better: taking a few to space for 11 minutes or helping to take many to heaven for eternity?