"Our Only Hope!"

Sometimes when I am reading or watching television, one phrase will stick in my mind. This is what happened Christmas Day as I watched the launching of the James Webb Space Telescope and then followed the event by reading around it in the news. The Webb Space Telescope was named after the second administrator of NASA, James Webb, who was appointed to his position by President John F. Kennedy. Webb guided the agency during the Apollo era.

James Webb Space Telescope
Image credit: iStock.com

The launch of the J.W. Telescope is sure to eclipse the innovation and importance of its enduring predecessor, Hubble, back in April of 1990. This innovative and costly ten-billion-dollar space observatory has a unique purpose as it orbits our sun. The goal of its mission is to study infrared light in deep space. It is expected to be able to “look” 13.7 billion years back in time! Scientists hope that this telescope will give insights into the origins and beginnings of the universe.

This Christmas season will soon be past and the end of the year is nearly upon us. Christmas is a season in which the Scripture lessons of Advent retell the story of the long-hoped-for Messiah of God’s people. We also sing such inspiring carols as O Little Town of Bethlehem that remind us how the Christ-Child fulfilled humanity’s longings throughout history. During seasonal worship services, we are comforted by the truth that in the Coming Christ, “The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.”

In the hoopla and excitement of the J.W.S.T. Christmas Day launch, Dr. Paul Sutter, an Ohio State University astrophysicist, wrote an op-ed leading up to the launch event in Space.com’s Expert Voices (December 19, 2021).  Dr. Sutter attempted to answer critics of this mission who would say it is too costly in time and money. He remarked, “This observatory will be the premiere and undisputed champion of infrared wavelengths, giving us unparalleled access to corners of the universe currently inaccessible. If we want to learn new things about everything from the first galaxies to the chance for life on other planets, the roughly $9.7 billion James Webb is our only hope.”

There it is… “Our only hope!” Since my teenage years, I have always been fascinated with outer space and travel throughout the stars. I used to obsessively watch Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the USS Enterprise of the Star Trek television series! It was captivating to consider the mission of those starship voyages “To boldly go where no one has gone before.” While I loved this series, I understood that it was fantasy and entertainment! As a person of faith I cannot conclude that space observation and exploration in any form is “our only hope!”

I know that I am speaking more from an existential perspective founded in the Bible, but I do believe that the Word of God better informs us of the One behind Creation and what His hope-filled purpose is when revealing Himself through Jesus Christ. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1) and “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God” (John 1:1) offer sufficient answers for what this world is all about! That's why I believe that there is abundant hope in these verses for me, this galaxy, this universe and anything out there beyond “where no one has gone before!”

Mike Keppler, retired pastor,

active churchman and
doting grandparent.
Contact: drmjkeppler@gmail.com


  1. In counseling new believers, I give Strong emphasis on 1) Read the Bible through Twice before you read ANY book "about the Bible" to establish roots in Truth. 2). Then read the first 2 chapters of Genesis and the last 2 chapter of Revelation to see the whole plan of God.

    All who have followed this have established their Hope in the Glorious return of our Lord!

    Great pundantry, loved it!


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