Lessons from the Lunar Landing
2009 Hayden Faculty Fall Retreat
The four “causes” of Aristotle
Material – what’s it made out of?
Formal – what is it?
Efficient – who made it?
Final – why?
“After all the training and studying we’d done as pilots and engineers to get to the moon safely and get back, and as human beings to explore moon orbit, what we really discovered was the planet Earth.”
– Bill Anders, Apollo 8 Astronaut
On Christmas Eve 1968 the crew of Apollo 8 was scheduled to do a live television broadcast from the moon. It would be watched by the largest television audience in history at that time. Mission Control reminded the crew of this fact and admonished them, “You better think of something good to say.” They chose to read the first 10 verses of the Book of Genesis. Over 2 billion people, more than half of all people alive at the time watched.
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.
And God said, d“Let there be an expanse1 in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so. And God called the expanse Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.
And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.
“A merry Christmas and God bless all of you, all of you on the good Earth.”
– Frank Borman, Apollo 8 Astronaut
“Why do you ask how you were created and do not seek to know why you were made? Was not this entire visible universe made for your dwelling? It was for you that the light dispelled the overshadowing gloom; for your sake was the night regulated and the day measured, and for you were the heavens embellished with the varying brilliance of the sun, the moon and the stars.”
– St. Peter Chrysologus
“When I see your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and stars that you set in place— What is man that you are mindful of him, mortal men that you care for them? Yet you have made him little less than a god, crowned him with glory and honor. You have given him rule over the works of your hands, put all things under his feet: All sheep and oxen, even the beasts of the field,the birds of the air, the fish of the sea, and whatever swims the paths of the seas. O LORD, our Lord, how awesome is your name through all the earth!
– Psalm 8:4-10