Close this search box.

Cosmonauts and astronauts

Let everyone in the world fear the Lord, and let everyone stand in awe of him. For when he spoke, the world began! It appeared at his command. — Psalm 33:8-9

In the early days of the space race, much more was at stake than technological bragging rights. The USSR and the USA, with their competing and contradictory ideologies, were squaring off with each other in a great struggle for the hearts and minds of the human race.

When the Soviet cosmonauts returned from their spell in space, they dutifully reported that they had seen no sign of God and therefore had concluded that He was not there. But when a group of American astronauts circling the globe read portions of the Psalms extolling the wonders of creation and its Creator in the hearing of millions, a powerful statement was broadcast concerning God’s presence and power.

It is impossible to say whether or not anybody’s views on the existence of God were changed by these opposing statements. But the fact remains that, when some look into creation, they see the Creator, while others view the same data and see only creation.

The psalm writer was firmly in the camp of the astronauts rather than that of the cosmonauts. He said, “Let everyone in the world fear the Lord, and let everyone stand in awe of him. For when he spoke, the world began! It appeared at his command” (Psalm 33:8-9).

The psalmist went even further. He did not believe in a Creator who, having created the world, went into retirement and left creation to its own devices. Instead, he said, “The Lord looks down from heaven and sees the whole human race. From his throne he observes all who live on the earth. He made their hearts, so he understands everything they do” (33:13-15).

The thought of an actively observant Lord was precious to the psalmist. Even though the behavior of the human race is so often beyond comprehension, the Lord understands everything they do! Surely it is advisable for people to be acquainted, at least minimally, with what the Scriptures say about God’s perception of humanity. Those who are thus acquainted can take great comfort and find grounds for hope in God’s nearness and understanding.

People can also take comfort in knowing God’s intentions for humanity. These intentions are hinted at by the psalm writer when he says, “The Lord watches over those who fear him, those who rely on his unfailing love” (33:18). He intends to love them unfailingly and to watch over them ceaselessly—those who “depend on the Lord,” that is!

The Soviet cosmonauts saw nothing but a mechanical universe, while the astronauts saw a creation that mirrored its Creator. With whom would you rather fly?

For further study: Psalm 33:1-22

Content taken from The One Year Book of Devotions for Men by Stuart Briscoe. Copyright ©2000. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.