Do the James Webb Telescope’s First Images of Deep Space Challenge the Bible?

By Kris W. Sky | Posted July 19, 2022

In 1996, plans for “the ‘Next Generation Space Telescope,’” the future successor of the mighty Hubble Space Telescope, were born. Twenty-five years later; $9 billion over its initial budget; and after several unexpected delays, including the COVID-19 pandemic, that far-off dream became a reality. On December 25, 2021, Christmas day, the James Webb Space Telescope launched into orbit from the Spaceport in French Guiana.

Named after James E. Webb, NASA’s second-ever administrator, this optical behemoth, “an international collaboration between NASA, ESA (the European Space Agency), and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA),” is “the most powerful space telescope ever.

After launching, Webb took the next 29 days to travel—literally—a million miles to its destination, Lagrange point L2. Once in outer space, Webb gradually deployed its state-of-the-art features, including a “five-layer sunshield” the size of “a tennis court” and 18 “ultra-lightweight beryllium” mirrors, which unfolded in sections, assembling into a giant honeycomb. It took another six months before Webb was in working order. The mirrors alone took “several months to align … properly, to a precision of one-5,000th the diameter of a human hair.”

More than Just an Infrared Lens

Then finally, on Monday, July 11, NASA revealed Webb’s first image, a cluster of “thousands of distant galaxies” called SMACS 0723, via President Joe Biden’s White House press conference. Some of the objects captured “have never been seen before.”

The next day, Tuesday, July 12, NASA shared several more images. Three of the subjects taken, the Southern Ring Nebula, Stephan’s Quintet, and the Carina Nebula, can be compared to older images produced by Hubble—and the difference is striking. And it’s all due to the type of telescope Webb is. It’s an infrared telescope.

Infrared light is essentially heat,” outside our natural human visibility. And since every object radiates some amount of heat, an infrared telescope like Webb would, for instance, be able to detect a person behind a wooden door—or stars and planets in the middle of a cosmic dust cloud. Objects that are far away from us also fall into that infrared spectrum. Though they are “very dim (or invisible)” to our eyes, they can be clearly viewed through an infrared lens like Webb.

And Webb was built with exactly this goal in mind: to study objects at a great distance. The reason is fascinating. According to NASA, Webb’s purpose is to “examine every phase of cosmic history: from the first luminous glows after the Big Bang to the formation of galaxies, stars, and planets to the evolution of our own solar system.” NASA designed Webb from a construct that assumes the veracity of the Big Bang.

The Big Bang theory says that the universe began coincidentally from a giant explosion in outer space. NASA treats this origin story as uncontested truth. This evolutionary model conflates distance with time; it declares that the further away an object in space, the earlier it was formed. Thus, NASA believes that when Webb is viewing those distant planets and stars, it is actually “[peering] back over 13.5 billion years,” further back in time than anyone has ever seen. NASA believes that Webb will help us to discover how stars are formed, how life on Earth developed, and if there is life elsewhere.


But the fact is that Webb’s epic mission has already been achieved. The Bible has recorded God’s plain proclamation: “I am the LORD, who makes all things, who stretches out the heavens all alone, who spreads abroad the earth by Myself” (Isaiah 44:24).

The Bible’s first chapter tells us that God created our world in only six days. On day four, He created the sun, moon, and stars (Genesis 1:14–19). On days five and six, God created the animals (vv. 20–25). Lastly, God made man and woman (vv. 26–31; 2:21–23). We humans were the culminating feat of God’s creation, for we were made “in the image of God,” “in His own image” (1:27).

The Bible has the answers NASA desperately wants to know, not only the deep mysteries of the universe but the great longing in every human heart: What is our true purpose in life?

One of the scientists behind Webb shared, “A lot of people sometimes see pictures of space and they think it makes them feel small. … When I see these pictures, they make me feel powerful[,] … that when we want to, we can do that.”

Is that our purpose in life, to be great in our own eyes, to amass power, wealth, fame, knowledge?

King David, who could arguably rival the great men of today, wrote this praise to God, “When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, what is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him?” (Psalm 8:3, 4).

When David looked at the world around him, he didn’t see his own greatness; he saw the greatness—the love—of God Almighty. He saw himself in relation to God. And the Bible says that when we truly see God, when “we all, with unveiled face, [are] beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, [we] are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Learn about this beautiful truth in Pastor Doug Batchelor’s presentation “Mankind: God’s Handiwork.” That is our great purpose in life—to be restored to the image of our Creator. 

Kris W. Sky
Kris W. Sky is a writer and editor for Amazing Facts International and other online and print publications.

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