[forthright] One Giant Leap for Mankind

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From: "Forthright Magazine" <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Fri, 20 Jul 2007 15:57:16 -0300
Forthright Magazine
http://www.forthright.net
Straight to the Cross


COLUMN: HEAVENLY CONNECTIONS

One Giant Leap for Mankind
by Tim Hall

On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong immortalized the
words of our title. As he set the first human foot
on the surface of the moon, he announced that it
was "One small step for man, one giant leap for
mankind." Anyone then living can recall that
moment, remembering precisely where they were at
the time.

In retrospect, was Armstrong correct? Was the
landing of people on the moon truly a giant leap
for mankind? A generation has now passed,
sufficient time to make an assessment.

Space technology certainly had taken a giant leap
forward. Just eight years earlier President
Kennedy proposed landing a man on the moon before
the end of the decade. That our nation was able to
accomplish that in so few years is amazing. There
have continued to be advances, but there have also
been setbacks. Two of NASA's space shuttles met
with disastrous ends. The future of space
exploration is not as certain as it once was.

In medicine, some illness have been virtually
eradicated but new ones have appeared. No one knew
about AIDS or the bird flu in 1969. In politics,
all marveled as the once-mighty Soviet Union
disintegrated on the world stage. But other crises
have arisen that were beyond imagination 40 years
ago. In many areas man has taken a giant leap
forward. In many other areas, the movement has
been backward.

Nearly 3,000 years ago, a wise man observed this:
"That which has been is what will be, that which
is done is what will be done, and there is nothing
new under the sun" (Ecclesiastes 1:9, NKJV). Some
might dismiss Solomon's statement if they look
only at technology. In terms of human nature and
the central issues of life, he hit the nail
squarely on the head.

Jesus spoke a parable about a successful farmer
who forgot his spiritual needs. Today we might
substitute for that farmer a rocket scientist, a
brain surgeon or a Wall Street financier. Though
the scenes change, the central issue does not:
"This night your soul will be required of you;
then whose will those things be which you have
provided?" (Luke 12:20)

In the 1960's, our aim was upward, thinking that
winning the race to the moon would lead to answers
in other troubled arenas. Today we should still
aim upward, but with an adjustment. Isaiah spoke
of "the mountain of the Lord's house [that] shall
be exalted above the hills". Like the people
envisioned by the prophet, we should approach that
mountain for one purpose: "He will teach us his
ways, and we shall walk in his paths" (Isaiah
2:2,3). When we reach that destination, we'll find
answers for the real problems of humanity.

Aim for the moon? No, aim for the one who knows
how to keep the moon in its orbit.

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