ZACH BARTELS: Today, I am reviewing an incredibly important and relevant book, which you have probably never heard of. It’s called The Bible and Rockets to the Moon by Edward Boone.
First off, let me apologize; you won’t be able to find this work anywhere, nor can you borrow my copy. But that’s okay, because I’m going to tell you everything you need to know about this little volume. Strap in; we’re going to hit 5 Gs.
The book begins with the bold observation that, “Radio commentators, newspapers, and magazines have been talking in terms never before used in the history of the world.” This is conveyed as a bad thing, largely because recent achievements have been so far beyond the average citizen’s understanding that they “leave the human race groping in darkness like a blind man.” I know, sounds bad.
Oh, I should mention that this little booklet was written after Sputnik and Explorer, but before Neil Armstrong set foot on the lunar surface. And the “relevant issue” at hand is whether or not landing on the moon would be a sinful rebellion against the Almighty. I inherited this short, saddle-stitched volume from my late grandmother, who had a whole shelf full of similar booklets and pamphlets—some of them full of solid Gospel material, and a few of them more or less cookoo for Cocoa Puffs. I have no idea where she got them or what she thought of this particular book. Seriously, though; stick with me. I promise it really is relevant.
Mr. Boone attempts to use the Bible to build his case that a rocket to the moon would not sit well with God in Heaven. He begins by claiming there are “three heavens,” drawing this conclusion from some verse fragments (particularly 2 Cor 12:2) and rabbinical writings. The susses out the three heavens thus: 1. The realm of gravity, 2. The sun, moon, and stars, and 3. The abode of God. He finds further evidence of this in the Bible’s frequent references to “the heavens” (plural), not simply “heaven.” Of course, if he was familiar with Hebrew, he would know that the word here (shamayim) is a dual form (i.e., two, not three) and that this form doesn’t necessarily mean anything about number (for example, the word mayim, which just means water, is also a dual form).
But let’s pretend there are “three heavens” as delineated by the author. So what? Well, according to Edward Boone (I don’t know why, but I just love that name), we’re okay to go up into the first heaven (still within the realm of gravity), but not into the second or third. The biblical evidence is supposedly Genesis 1:26-28, which limits man’s dominion to the water, the air, and the earth. Also offered as evidence is Psalm 115:16, which reads, “The heavens are the LORD’s heavens, but the earth he has given to the children of man.”
Man is thus in danger, from Boone’s point of view, of trespassing in forbidden territory. He doesn’t come right out and say it, but the author seems to think that going into space gets us that much closer to God’s abode in heave (Psalm 11:4), but without going through the proper channels—some kind of cosmic-spiritual loophole. Therefore, we’re in danger of following the path of Satan. To quote The Bible and Rockets to the Moon, “Every time a Sputnik or Explorer circles this globe with its ‘beep beep,’ it is . . . declaring that judgment is soon to visit . . . the whole WORLD.” (Emphasis original)
This desire to ignore God’s “No Trespassing” sign and thrust our way into his sacred backyard is anything but new, though. No, Boone sees this as the same prideful, man-centered spirit that led to the rebellion and disobedience present in the building of the Tower of Babel. In making this case, he selectively buys into certain Targums (Jewish interpretive translations) and makes bizarre leaps to try and paint a striking similarity between the Tower of Babel’s construction—in direct defiance of God—and those evil rockets to the moon, also in direct defiance of God.
Both projects are all about humans patting themselves on the back for what they’ve accomplished in order make a great name for mankind. Just like no one acknowledged the One True God in building the Tower (and subsequent empire) of Babylon, no one is acknowledging God in this race to the moon.
Continue reading below…