How the moon landing is like reading the Bible
This week we remember 52 years since Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed their ‘Eagle’ on the surface of the moon and became the first humans to walk on the moon. It was an historic and epic moment for human achievement - truly one giant leap for mankind.
Two years ago to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the moon landing, the BBC released an excellent podcast series called 13 Minutes to the Moon. The podcast, featuring the music of Hans Zimmer, tells the story of the moon landing and the people behind it using the NASA recording of the audio transmission of the 13 minute descent of the lunar module to the Moon’s surface. For this 13 minutes represented the culmination and climax of almost a decade’s worth of vision, work, planning and sacrifice. In this nerve wracking and pioneering 13 minutes history was being made. At the end of this 13 minutes, the giant leap would be completed and a man would walk on the moon for the first time.
Listening to those famous 13 minutes is an experience which brings goosebumps as you can feel the tension, the seriousness and the gravity of the situation. Within those 13 minutes of that descent are some of the most instantly recognisable and famous words ever uttered in the history of space exploration: ‘Houston, Tranquility Base here, the Eagle has landed’.
Yet if you listen to that footage raw and uncut, there are a lot of terms, concepts and issues which seem unclear. For example, the 1202 alarm - how serious is that? There is the decision to go to ‘P64 - what does that mean? Why is there a need to be concerned about the ‘Delta-H’ and then what is the true significance of the countdown near the dramatic conclusion, ‘60 seconds...30 seconds….’?
We need a guide to understand the footage
Hence, the podcast, 13 Minutes to the Moon, unravels very cleverly each of these questions and more as it reflects on the radio communication of these 13 minutes to explore the even bigger story of the space race and the desire to get to the moon.
Much like a guide in a foreign land, the podcast is so successful, that after listening to the series, when you then listen to the full, uncut 13 minute radio conversation (which is the final episode of the podcast) you understand the true contours of tension and concern in Mission Control over the various warning signals. You appreciate the technological issues and challenges in landing a craft on the moon with 1960’s technology. You realise more clearly how close the mission was to being aborted. You understand how brilliant and cool Neil Armstrong was to land the Eagle with fuel rapidly running out.
The instantly recognisable and famous words of Neil Armstrong are made so much more meaningful and significant when understanding the context in which they are said. It was a very worthwhile journey exploring in detail this historic 13 minutes and the podcast is a worthy guide.
Parallels with the Bible
Yet as I was learning about the story of the Moon landing, I couldn’t help consider the parallels perhaps to how many people understand the Bible. Like the moon landing, the Bible contains some of history’s instantly recognisable, and famous words and phrases, ‘It is finished’, ‘Messiah’…Saviour’, Lamb of God’, etc. Yet for many people, the context, significance, meaning and even beauty of these concepts are unclear to our modern ears.
We need a guide, someone to help us make more sense of the raw, uncut footage, so we can get a true sense for the danger, drama and challenge of what was accomplished in the Christian story.
I have used a guide The Word One to One, which like 13 Minutes to the Moon, takes us back to the original uncut footage of the Gospel of John and helps explain key concepts and terms and helps show us an even bigger story. So that at the end of each section, we can read it afresh and understand more clearly this profound and even life-changing message today.
So why not get your hands on the Word One to One and understand this profound story for yourself, and like Neil Armstrong, you might find something really worthwhile at the end…