December 24th, 2022

Bible reading from the moon: 1968


It was the night before Christmas in 1968 when the Apollo 8 astronauts beamed back a message for “the good Earth” while circling the moon. NASA Apollo 8 astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders became the first to orbit the moon on Dec. 24, 1968. NASA managers had told the Apollo 8 astronauts to prepare to share some words with the world that would be broadcast around the globe. The crew was given the creative freedom to choose what to say but were told “to do something appropriate,” Borman said in a 2008 interview. With that in mind, they chose to read the first 10 verses of the Book of Genesis from the Bible:

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. And the earth was a formless and desolate emptiness, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness He called “night.” And there was evening and there was morning, one day.
Then God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” God made the expanse, and separated the waters that were below the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse; and it was so. God called the expanse “heaven.” And there was evening and there was morning, a second day. Then God said, “Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so. And God called the dry land “earth,” and the gathering of the waters He called “seas”; and God saw that it was good.”

USAF Maj. Gen. (ret) Anders now calls Anacortes home. He is founder of the Heritage Flight Museum in Burlington.

Photo: Astronauts James (Jim) Lovell, Frank Borman, and William (Bill) Anders pose for a portrait in their space suits on November 22, 1968, just less than a month before they would orbit the Moon.
Credits: NASA

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About Photographer Steve Berentson

A fourth generation Skagit County native who was moved kicking and screaming from this island community in 1960. I finally reclaimed an Anacortes address in 1980, and I have been in constant celebration of my return since that time. Many of us who call Anacortes home love Fidalgo Island for its natural assets: among them are rugged beaches, pristine lakes, thousands of acres of forestland and some awesome views of the Skagit Valley and surrounding islands. Another element of my love affair with this community is its people, both natives and immigrants. They will “star” in many of my journal entries.

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