“To look out at this kind of creation out here and not believe in God is to me impossible,” so said astronaut John Glenn, during his space flight aboard the Space Shuttle in 1998. “It just strengthens my faith. I wish there were words to describe what it’s like.”
This is a powerful testimony, decades after he became the first American to orbit the Earth in 1962. The American novelist and secular writer, Tom Wolfe, in his essay on “The Faith of John Glenn,” in the Wall Street Journal, observes that Glenn’s Presbyterian confidence in God stood out back in the those early days of the Mercury program, too. In my years working as a contractor at NASA, I never had the opportunity to meet John Glenn, who recently died at age 95, but I always considered him to be a man of integrity and admiration.
By seeing God revealed in creation, above the curvature of the earth, John Glenn followed the lead of where his faith took him, which might seem controversial to some. In a day and an age where many think Christianity is in opposition to science, John Glenn was an advocate for science education in the public schools, even endorsing the teaching of biological evolutionary theory, seeing no contradiction between evolution and his Christian faith.
Christians today do indeed hold to a wide variety of differing viewpoints on the subject of creation and human origins. But I hope believers of all perspectives might be encouraged by the outspoken testimony of this man of faith, who saw God revealed in creation.