When the astronauts returned from the first trip to the moon in 1969, U.S. President Richard Nixon greeted them with these words:
“Let me close off with just one thing. I was thinking, you know, as you came down... it had only been eight days, just a week, a long week, that this was the greatest week in the history of the world since the Creation."
He was wrong.
We are encouraged that he spoke of “Creation”, rather than Nature, when he was thinking about the wonders of space. Even more encouraged that he thought of creation as the greatest “week” in history, a time span comparable to a trip to the moon, even if his eloquence concerning this second “week” does not quite match the beauty of the Bible’s description of the first week. But amazing as the trip to the moon was, it was simply not the greatest week since Creation.
Last week we celebrated the only “week” that could lay claim to such an honour: Easter Week.
The opportunity to explore the wonders of space should draw our attention to the God whose glory the heavens declare. But even with a vestigial awareness of creation in his musings about space, Nixon’s stumbling thoughts revolve around the greatness of man. As Malcolm Muggeridge puts it:
“The spectacle of... the immensity of space... far from turning us to God served rather to sharpen and intensify the idiot conceit of technologically advanced nations.” [A Third Testament, p.25].
As if a man’s week of what man can make can compete with God’s week and what he can create!
The only week that can compete with the splendour of the accomplishments of God’s first week is Easter Week. God was at work again. And in Christ, in a matter of a few days he completed the work of the New Creation. Sin is decimated, death dies, and the Second Adam steps out of the tomb into the garden of the New Creation, and in Him is Life. Science and technology cannot lead the way into a new creation; nor can political, or economic, or educational strategies. A week of man’s greatest efforts is utterly weak in comparison to God’s week.
At Easter we celebrate what really is the greatest week since Creation. In fact God has outdone himself this time. If anything can be better than what God declared to be good, the New Creation is it!