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Hip and Thigh: Smiting Theological Philistines with a Great Slaughter. Judges 15:8

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

A Weekend with Jeff Williams














One of the major perks with attending a church like Grace Community pastored by a well-known radio Bible teacher is that you get to encounter a lot of interesting folks from all walks of life. Additionally, if the person is extremely interesting, he or she may have the opportunity to speak to us, and that happened this past weekend when my fellowship group had Jeff Williams and his wife visit with us for an "at church" retreat. Jeff has one of those real cool jobs: He's an astronaut who has been to space a few times.

Those of you who are regular readers of Teampyro may remember that last year, 2006, Jeff spent six months aboard the International Space Station. I had one of my buddies ask me if my family was going to attend the Grace Life conference with Jeff and I simply replied, "Listen, how often do you get to hear a major astronaut speak, and to add, a Bible believing, Christian astronaut who has spent 6 months on the space station?"

Jeff spent Friday night and Saturday afternoon showing us pictures from his time there. He tells us he took nearly 85,000, many of them available for viewing at the NASA.gov website under "Mission 13." The pictures were amazing by themselves, but what added more to their poignancy was Jeff's scriptural commentary from various biblical passages. For example, Jeff showed us a picture of what is called the "terminator line" on the face of the Earth. It's that boundary which separates light from darkness as the Earth rotates.















He then cited Job 26:10 where Job states in response to Bildad, He drew a circular horizon on the face of the waters, at the boundary of light and darkness, and pointed out how such a description affirms the divine nature of scripture when it describes something that is obviously only known from a divine position.

He also talked about the need for NASA's engineers to think through all the details of what it takes to have men live in space for any prolonged length of time. Everything from keeping the temperature regulated, filtering out the CO2, providing food, etc., etc., etc., and the many other areas of life we take for granted. It was a major reminder of how God has provided for our existence on our own planet.

I did have one burning question, however. I wanted to know his thoughts about actor Dan Aykroyd and his claim made on a UFO documentary he narrates, that UFOs are routinely seen by the ISS crew. I figured I would ask a first hand witness who has actually lived on the space station for an extended period of time. I saw Jeff on Saturday morning before the start of the first session, and I jokingly threw out my question to him. He said, "Oh really? Was that in one of his movies or something?" I said, "Nope, he made an hour long documentary on UFOs and it ends with how NASA is allegedly covering up the encounters you ISS folks regularly have with UFOs." Jeff rolled his eyes. "Well, I didn't see any." I am guessing Jeff may be part of a larger conspiracy to keep the public in the dark.

Jeff's talks were a portion of a larger conference Grace Life was having called, "The Heavens Declare the Glory of God." Though he was the center piece, Travis and Phil addressed apologetic issues relating to the natural world. Travis did a tremendous study on the proper place and function of general revelation and Phil taught on Acts 17. Both presentations were excellent, and I will link them as soon as they become available in MP3. I would certainly encourage anyone learning apologetics to give them a listen.

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