In defense of “God of Earth and Outer Space”

February 18, 2013


johnathan_pritchettby Jonathan Pritchett

God of earth and outer space, God of love and God of grace, Bless the astronauts who fly. As they soar beyond the sky. God who flung the stars in space, God who set the sun ablaze, Fling the spacecraft thro the air, Let man know your presence there.

God of atmosphere and air, God of life and planets bare, Use man’s courage and his skill As he seeks your holy will. God of depth and God of height, God of darkness, God of light, As man walks in outer space, Teach him how to walk in grace.

God of man’s exploring mind, God of wisdom, God of time, Launch us from complacency To a world in need of thee. God of power, God of might, God of rockets firing bright. Hearts ignite and thrust within, Love for Christ to share with men.

God of earth and outer space, God who guides the human race, Guide the lives of seeking youth In their search for heavnly truth. God who reigns below, above, God of universal love, Love that gave Nativity, Love that gave us Calvary.

It is very popular for people to bag on this wonderful gem of a song from the older Baptist hymnals. It has been labeled the “worst hymn ever”, “stupidest hymn ever”, etc. Actually, it is nothing of the sort…

Not by a long shot.

I am hereby setting out to defend “God of Earth and Outer Space” as a fantastic piece of Biblical, “practical”, “relevant”, and “modern” theology. So, I will examine it in hopes to silence the “haters”, and demonstrate once and for all why it not only should still be in the hymnal even though it isn’t anymore, it should still be sung with some sort or regularity over and against some of the more inane praise choruses of recent years.

God of earth and outer space,

Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

John 1:3 “All things were created through Him, and apart from Him not one thing was created that has been created.”

Colossians 1:16 “…because by Him everything was created, in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him.”

Hebrews 11:3 “By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen has been made from things that are not visible.”

God of love and God of grace,

Zephaniah 3:17 “The LORD your God is among you a warrior who saves. He will rejoice over you with gladness. He will bring you quietness with His love. He will delight in you with shouts of joy.”

John 3:16 “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.”

Ephesians 2:8 “For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift—”

Titus 2:11 “For the grace of God has appeared, with salvation for all people,”

Bless the astronauts who fly. As they soar beyond the sky.

When I think of astronauts, I think of science. 90% of all Scientists in the National Academy are atheists. This is odd. Without God’s infinite, eternal mind ontologically grounding reason, logic, and mathematics, (things that science presupposes) science would be impossible. Scientists that are atheists must presuppose theism in order to do their job because God makes the universe rational and able to be comprehended. This totally smacks the so-called post-Enlightenment, modernist view right in the face and focuses the “astronaut” (read scientist) back to reality. This is the Sovereign Creator God’s universe.

God who flung the stars in space, God who set the sun ablaze, Fling the spacecraft thro the air,

Genesis 1:16 “God made the two great lights—the greater light to have dominion over the day and the lesser light to have dominion over the night—as well as the stars.”

Psalm 33:6 “The heavens were made by the word of the LORD, and all the stars, by the breath of His mouth.”

Isaiah 40:26 “Look up and see: who created these? He brings out the starry host by number; He calls all of them by name. Because of His great power and strength, not one of them is missing.”

Let man know your presence there.

Psalm 139:7?Where can I go to escape Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence?

Jeremiah 23:24 “Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the Lord.”

God of atmosphere and air, God of life and planets bare,

Genesis 1:6-8 “Then God said, ‘Let there be an expanse between the waters, separating water from water.’ So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above the expanse. And it was so. 8 God called the expanse ‘sky.’ Evening came, and then morning: the second day.”

Genesis 1:11 “Then God said, ‘Let the earth produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants, and fruit trees on the earth bearing fruit with seed in it, according to their kinds.‘ And it was so.”

Genesis 1:20 “Then God said, ‘Let the water swarm with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky’”

Genesis 1:24 “Then God said, ‘Let the earth produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that crawl, and the wildlife of the earth according to their kinds.’ And it was so.”

Genesis 1:2 “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness. They will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the animals, all the earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth.’”

Acts 17:24-25 “The God who made the world and everything in it —He is Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in shrines made by hands. Neither is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives everyone life and breath and all things”

Use man’s courage and his skill

Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and courageous; don’t be terrified or afraid of them. For it is the LORD your God who goes with you; He will not leave you or forsake you.”

Psalm 27:1 “The LORD is my light and my salvation—whom should I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life—of whom should I be afraid?”

Romans 8:15 “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.”

1 Corinthians 16:13 “Be alert, stand firm in the faith, be brave and strong.”

Isaiah 54:16 “Look, I have created the craftsman who blows on the charcoal fire and produces a weapon suitable for its task; and I have created the destroyer to work havoc.”

As he seeks your holy will.

Isaiah 46: 10?I declare the end from the beginning, and from long ago what is not yet done, saying: My plan will take place, and I will do all My will.”

Ephesians 1: 11?In Him we were also made His inheritance, predestined according to the purpose of the One who works out everything in agreement with the decision of His will,”

James 4:16 “Instead, you should say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.’”

God of depth and God of height,

Job 22:12 “Isn’t God as high as the heavens? And look at the highest stars—how lofty they are!”

Job 25:2 “Dominion and dread belong to Him, the One who establishes harmony in the heavens.”

Psalm 148:1 “Hallelujah! Praise the LORD from the heavens; praise Him in the heights.”

Job 41:31 “He makes the depths seethe like a caldron he makes the sea like an ointment jar.”

Isaiah 7:11 “‘Ask for a sign from the LORD your God—from the depths of Sheol to the heights of heaven.’”

Romans 8:39 “nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing will have the power to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!”

God of darkness, God of light, 

Genesis 1:4 “God saw that the light was good, and God separated the light from the darkness.”

Isaiah 45:7 “I form light and create darkness, I make success and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things.”

As man walks in outer space, Teach him how to walk in grace.

Matthew 28:20 “…teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Psalm 86:11 “Teach me Your way, LORD, and I will live by Your truth. Give me an undivided mind to fear Your name.”

Ephesians 2:10 For we are His creation—created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.”

Titus 2:12 “…instructing us to deny godlessness and worldly lusts and to live in a sensible, righteous, and godly way in the present age,”

God of man’s exploring mind,

Genesis 1: 27?So God created man in His own image; He created him in the image of God; He created them male and female.”

Luke 10:27 “He answered: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.”

Romans 12:2 “Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.”

Numbers 13:1-2 “The LORD spoke to Moses: ‘Send men to scout out the land of Canaan I am giving to the Israelites. Send one man who is a leader among them from each of their ancestral tribes.’”

Ecclesiastes 1:13 “I applied my mind to seek and explore through wisdom all that is done under heaven. God has given people this miserable task to keep them occupied.”

God of wisdom, God of time,

Psalm 147:5 “Our Lord is great, vast in power; His understanding is infinite.”

Romans 11:33 “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God! How unsearchable His judgments and untraceable His ways!”

Ecclesiastes 3:11 “He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also put eternity in their hearts, but man cannot discover the work God has done from beginning to end.”

Isaiah 41:4 “Who has performed and done this, calling the generations from the beginning? I, the LORD, am the first, and with the last —I am He.”

Galatians 4:4 “But when the completion of the time came, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law,”

Revelation 22:13 “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”

Launch us from complacency To a world in need of thee.

Matthew 28:19 “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, ”

James 2: 20 “Foolish man! Are you willing to learn that faith without works is useless?”

God of power, God of might,

Psalm 89:13 “You have a mighty arm; Your hand is powerful; Your right hand is lifted high.”

Psalm 21:13?Be exalted, LORD, in Your strength; we will sing and praise Your might.”

Nahum 1:3 The LORD is slow to anger but great in power; the LORD will never leave the guilty unpunished. His path is in the whirlwind and storm, and clouds are the dust beneath His feet.”

God of rockets firing bright.

1 Chronicles 29:11?Yours, LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the splendor and the majesty, for everything in the heavens and on earth belongs to You. Yours, LORD, is the kingdom, and You are exalted as head over all.”

Deuteronomy 10:14 “The heavens, indeed the highest heavens, belong to the LORD your God, as does the earth and everything in it.” (including rockets!)

Hearts ignite and thrust within, Love for Christ to share with men.

Ezekiel 36:26 “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.“

Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

God of earth and outer space, God who guides the human race,

 See above…

Acts 17: 26 “From one man He has made every nation of men to live all over the earth and has determined their appointed times and the boundaries of where they live”

Guide the lives of seeking youth In their search for heavenly truth.

 Psalm 119:105 “Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path.”

John 16:13 “When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth.”

God who reigns below, above, God of universal love,

Jeremiah 10:12 “He made the earth by His power, established the world by His wisdom, and spread out the heavens by His understanding.”

1 John 4:8 “The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”

Love that gave Nativity, Love that gave us Calvary.

1 John 4:9 “God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent His One and Only Son into the world so that we might live through Him.”

Romans 5:8 “But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us!”

Ahem…far from being the “worst” or “stupidest” hymn ever, it seems that it is chock full of sound Biblical theology and doctrine. Thad Roberts Jr. has written a powerful hymn here filled with content that calls for deep reflection.

Not only should this song be sang more often, but we need more songs that combine themes of faith and science, creation, the sovereignty of God and His love revealed in Jesus Christ. After all, God created this universe. We need science to return to its origins as a Christian discipline. We have the only solid foundation for it. Furthermore, the theme of “outer space” reminds us that the Sovereign God of creation is God of the entire universe…and that we mere humans are NOT at the center of it. We are but specks of dust, totally dependent on God for our hearts to even beat and our lungs to gather air.

Consider the following verses:

Psalm 8:3-4 “When I observe Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You set in place,what is man that You remember him, the son of man that You look after him?”

Psalm 19:1 “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky proclaims the work of His hands.”

Isaiah 40:17 “All the nations are as nothing before Him; they are considered by Him
as nothingness and emptiness.”

Songs like “God of Earth and Outer Space” serve as wonderful reminders that God is so infinite and majestic, and we are but nothing before Him. He created an enormous universe that declares His glory to remind us of who and how puny we are, and who and how great, gigantic, powerful, and sovereign He is. God is God over all.


God Bless,

Johnathan Pritchett

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John H. Gregory.

Love your article. Being 67 years old, I do love the old hymns. That does not mean that I shun new hymns. If the words are Scripturial & the melody is worshipful I love them all. Thanks for sharing this one.
God bless, John G.

    Johnathan Pritchett

    Agreed. I love old hymns and some new choruses. Sadly,too many of the praise choruses and contemporary music has little by way of theological content in their lyrics. Even the most “hated” hymns, like this one, fare better, lyrically speaking. In many cases anyway.

    I have been to many services that are contemporary or blended, and it never fails that the majority of men do not sing…that is, until the token hymn gets tossed in the setlist. Then, more of the men start singing. Go figure. And I love when the hymns get the full band arrangement just like the modern songs. Sounds good to me anyway.

the Old Adam

Great post!

“He created an enormous universe that declares His glory to remind us of who and how puny we are, and who and how great, gigantic, powerful, and sovereign He is. God is God over all.” …


Johnathan, to be perfectly honest with you, I don’t recall this hymn ever making the Sunday bulletin in churches we have attended. But, you have done a fantastic job in your Biblical defense of its lyrics! We do indeed serve a God which is God over all – we are but specks in the universe, but He loves us all!

As I’m sure you know “God of Earth and Outer Space” didn’t make the cut during Lifeway’s last two revisions of the Baptist Hymnal. Actually, there were some other omissions in the 2008 revision that I am more concerned about. Songs referring to Christ’s death as an atonement for everyone and not just the elect – like “Whosoever Will” and “Whosoever Meaneth Me” didn’t make the cut. Neither did “Oh What a Wonder It Is”, with its “all who would believe in Him, He’d save them every one” or “Holy Bible, Book of Love”, which proclaims that Christ “died for everyone.” Reckon why Lifeway’s hymn committee chose to drop those particular songs?

    Norm Miller

    Careful, Max, we wouldn’t want to give any indication of a Calvinistic influence at LW!! — Norm


      SBTS (check), SEBTS (check), MBTS (check), NAMB (check) … LifeWay (check)

    Ben Simpson (@JBenSimpson)

    To stave off any Calvinist conspiracy theories, notice that “My Lord, I Did Not Choose You” didn’t make the 2008 cut either.


Johnathan. I have been surrounded by Baptist Hymnals even ones from the 1920’s and this is a new one on me. Maybe my mom did not like the arrangement so it never got played?. I would have thought it very cool to sing about God of earth and outer space and man’s exploring mind…. as a kid. :o)


Johnathan, a song can be perfectly fine theologically and still be bad. This one fits that category. Singing a song of blessing on space travelers will kill a service. We tried it back in the day when churches still practiced hymn calling from the floor every now and then on Sunday night. It never produced good results. I’m also not a fan of The Great Speckled Bird.

    Johnathan Pritchett

    If by “bad”, you mean lacks beauty, I agree. But this isn’t the worst hymn ever in that sense either, and that was my point along with highlighting the great lyrics that address themes sorely lacking in Christian circles.

    Arguments regarding origins, I.D. or Y.E.C. creationism, or the like, seem to be the extent of the Christian vision for science. Sad.

    Anyway, given space shuttle tragedies, blessings and prayers for space travelers (should we take to the stars again) is as appropriate as all the deference given to soldiers in our worship services in my opinion.

    In any case, I just wanted to rebuff the popular notion that this is the worst hymn ever. Neither lyrically, nor musically, for that matter.

    Bill Mac

    I also don’t see anything particularly wrong with this hymn, but at our church we could never quite get through it without laughing.

      Johnathan Pritchett



There’s no question that this hymn is theologically sound. The references to rockets and astronauts makes it seem dated, however, which is why it evokes laughter. However — I am a historian and as a primary source for cultural history of the space age, this hymn is awesome! I referred a student to it just last semester to use for a research paper he was writing about popular attitudes toward space travel in the 1960s & 1970s.


I’m not sure that this is true, but I was told that this song was written during (or maybe right after) the Apollo 13 flight. Many believe that its safe landing was a miracle.

Luann Nelson

Something can be theologically defensible and still be unutterably clunky in execution.


@BillMack gets at the heart of why people mock this song. Everything you pointed out doctrinally/biblically is absolutely true. In fact, much of your support for the song stems from some of the most awe-inspiring truths of Scripture.

Shouldn’t a song that focuses on subjects of that nature inspire awe and admiration of God? This song instead make us laugh. And it’s not intended to be funny. Which makes it worse. “What if Cartoons Got Saved” makes decent theological points, but its whimsical tone ensures its omission from any serious song list. “God of Earth and Outerspace” is omitted for creating a similar effect in the heart of the congregation.

“God of Earth and Outerspace” is indefensible specifically because it fails so miserably in its purpose-to make us reflect deeply on the person of God. It takes all the amazing truth you unpack in your article an makes it laughable.

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