The day was 20th July 1969 when the entire western civilization came to a standstill. Millions were glued to their televisions to see a man named Armstrong land on the moon and walk that legendary walk “a small step for a man but a giant leap for mankind”. At the start of that decade, US President JF Kennedy had declared that America would put a man on the moon before the end of the decade and he inspired a generation by saying that they would do it not because it would be easy but because it would be hard. Though Kennedy did not live to see the historic event, the process which his government initiated ultimately came to pass on that fateful July afternoon. Though Armstrong took the limelight, he was only a part of the whole daring mission as they were thousands who worked behind the scene to make this a success.
Today history is divided as BC (Before Christ) and AD (Anno Domino). If there could be another way to classify history it could have been easily “Before Man walked on the Moon” and “After Man Walked on the Moon”. Really it is such an awe inspiring feeling to know that a mere mortal in flesh and blood could be taken up into space thousands of miles above the earth and made to walk on the moon. Surely this could not be the handiwork of a single man or small group of men. Millions of dollars went into this project and thousands of scientists and experts gave their inputs into making this mission a success. No doubt it was a mission undertaken by the American government and the astronauts themselves were all Americans. Therefore it was no surprise that Armstrong and his companions planted an American flag on the moon basically to convey the message that Americans have reached even the moon.
But over time, this event, though it was an American undertaking, has come to transcend boundaries, cultures, societies, people and races. We do not view Armstrong as the first American on the moon but as the first man on the moon and all (whether American or not) feel a sense of pride and achievement. It was all in all a proof of the amazing intellectual potential of man and the progress he had achieved in the field of science and technology. But it also brought out the bitter disparity in the lifestyles, economic status, intellectual progress and agendas of people around the world. When millions of people in many third world countries were still starving and struggling to meet their daily needs, America reached the moon by spending millions of dollars and resources on this mega-project. When India was still making plans to control and feed her ever growing population, millions of people in the western hemisphere were glued to their TV sets with popcorns in their hands to watch man walk on the moon. And when the Nagas were still enjoying the taste of their home-brewed rice beer and walking bare-footed to the paddy fields, a mere mortal named Armstrong was looking down at the earth from space. Yes, in a way when our forefathers were still looking up to the skies to determine the sowing and harvesting season, a man named Armstrong was looking down at them from the moon.
This article is not against the moon-landing. Far from it, I acknowledge the splendid achievement of man in general and America in particular. However, through this article, I wish to bring to the forefront some of the fallouts of this amazing achievement. Today we make a great deal about man walking on the moon. There are songs, poems and movies composed and made as tributes to this amazing achievement. But in the process, we seem to have totally taken for granted the first steps taken by a man named Adam on the planet called earth thousands of years before Armstrong was even born. I guess we have had enough of the first walk on the moon and so today I want to ponder over the first walk on the earth.
We naturally make a great deal about the first walk on the moon because it was an amazing achievement. But I feel compelled to think that when the first man Adam took his first steps on earth, it also must have been a sight. Nobody was watching him on TVs, no news reporter was covering this story and nobody was applauding and cheering on as Adam walked his first steps. All those who were watching silently were probably the stars, the planets and the other celestial bodies besides, of course, the Creator God. And as Adam took his first steps on earth, the one who felt the happiest and the proudest was God because He had created a masterpiece out of nothing. God saw that it was good and complimented Himself over his wondrous creation.
The first man on the moon Armstrong was elevated from one celestial body to another and no doubt it was a marvelous achievement. But the first man Adam was not transferred from anywhere but was created out of nothing and made to walk on a planet where no being had ever treaded before. Everything was new for Adam. He was the first one created in the image of God and he was the first one who could think, feel, talk and walk like God Himself. In a way, it was like God had created another God when He created Adam because He put all His ingredients in him. God wanted Adam to have an independent existence and think and comprehend independently. And this was where the potential fallout also lies.
Armstrong was not supposed to stay on or live on in the moon. But Adam was initially created to live on forever as long as he understood the purpose of his creation and paid the due respect and reverence to his Creator. But Adam being created in the image of God with the ability to think, feel and communicate independently like God Himself, pride, arrogance, ambition and selfishness crept into his heart and he began to think that he might even be able to survive without his creator. He began to think that God was being a stumbling block to his dreams and aspirations and that as long as God was there he might not be able to live life on his own terms. Thus he committed the gravest mistake of thinking and working to do away with his own Creator and he rebelled against his Creator by eating the forbidden food. He thought God was forbidding him from eating the forbidden fruit because God did not want him to become like Him. And when the created being in this way rebelled against the Creator and tried to do away with his own Creator, the bond that was meant to be eternal was broken and the first man who was created out of dust had to be sent back to the dust.
But since the first man to walk on the earth was created in the image of God Himself, the Creator did not wish his most priced creation to just disappear into the dust without any chance of reunion with the Creator. And so the Creator Himself took the form of a man, came into the world and walked upon the planet earth as a man 2000 years ago and changed the course of human history. This walk of the creator on the earth has the potential to bring about total transformation in the mindset, beliefs and lives of people even today. Yes indeed, it is astonishing to know that a mere mortal was able to walk on the moon in 1969. But it is much more awe inspiring to know that man was created in the image of God out of nothing and was given the opportunity to walk on the planet earth with the stars, the planets, the celestial bodies, the angels and God as witnesses. But the wonder of wonders is to know that the Creator God Himself took the form of a man and walked upon this planet some 2000 years ago to bring light and life back into a fallen world.
So rather than focusing on and talking about the first walk of man on moon even though it was a remarkable achievement of man and science, I prefer to meditate on the first man to walk on the earth because it takes my imagination to a whole new arena with which I can connect myself. Similarly rather than spending myself focusing on the success of a man-made mission in 1969, I prefer to spend my time and energy meditating on the walk that the Creator Himself took on planet earth some 2000 years ago because I feel enriched, enlightened and fulfilled whenever I do so…and so, which one is actually more inspiring and touching, man walking on the moon in 1969 or God walking on earth 2000 years ago?…