With more than 534 days spent in space (not consecutively), retired NASA astronaut Jeffrey N. Williams (Colonel, U.S. Army, Ret.) knows more about the “unknown” than most – and it’s only strengthened his personal faith in Jesus Christ.
Headlining the opening of a new exhibit at the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C., the highly decorated Wisconsin native is spending his days lately trying to convince skeptics to connect the dots between faith and science.
“Science does not contradict Christianity,” Williams said from Washington this week. “There is no contradiction. The contradiction comes into your philosophy going into your science. And your philosophy acknowledges a God that has either revealed Himself specifically in the scriptures of the Bible or your philosophy discounts or doesn’t allow a God. Then, you have to explain the existence of everything by chance over time.”
“The Bible supports and informs science with the elements of the mathematical order of God’s Creation, our calling as humans, bearing the image of God, and how God has equipped us to explore and extract that order and utilize it for the glory of God and the good of mankind.”
The museum’s new exhibit is called, “Scripture and Science: Our Universe, Ourselves, Our Place.”
A West Point graduate, Colonel Williams first joined NASA in 1996. Although he’s been on shuttle missions, the bulk of his time spent in space was serving on the International Space Station. He’s stepped out to walk in the blackness five times, amassing a total 32 hours floating above it all.
Standing before a crowd at the exhibit’s opening earlier this week, Williams reflected, “Because of the public perception that science and the Bible were in conflict, I dedicated a lot of studying in those early years so that I could be equipped to answer these kinds of questions going into my career as an astronaut. Because I know this topic comes up all the time.”
Reflecting on his time in outer space, Colonel Williams has discussed how the vantage point of earth from afar puts things in perspective. He’s been able to see God’s design, beauty, and order. He has also seen the expansiveness of the universe, and how it seemingly goes on forever without end – like eternity with Christ. He calls it “spectacular,” and beyond human description.
“The details of the Earth, and the details of the cloud formations, and the currents around the planet across the oceans and whatnot. At nighttime, when we were looking down at the U.S., we could see the patterns of thunderstorms and the rippling of lightning across the way. We got some great views of the southern aurora, the aurora australis, as we passed over southern Australia. Looking out into the heavens, in the dark you could see a magnificent star field – an infinite number of stars, far more than you can see from the ground. You could actually see the Milky Way out there as a solid, faint background behind the star field.”
The Museum of the Bible was established by the Green Family, owners of the popular Hobby Lobby chain of stores. It’s been open since November of 2017.
“I think this exhibit will certainly help people reexamine questions that they have in life if they think that there’s a conflict between science and the Bible,” said Colonel Williams.
It’s encouraging to see a Christian in a position of influence speak unapologetically about his belief in the inspired, infallible, and inerrant Word of God.