Avalon Chronicles #103: "Science and Faith-Wernher von Braun"
By the Honorable Allen B. Clark firstname.lastname@example.org
https://ifhpc.wordpress.com/2016/06/23. "Nazi Rocket Scientist Wernher von Braun Converted to Christ," Interviewed by C.M. Ward (May 9, 1966). This week in A.G. History June 26, 1966. By Darin J. Rodgers. (accessed 6/10/2019).
http://www.adherents.com/people/pv/wernher_von_braun. The Religious Affiliation of Rocket Engineer and Inventor Wernher von Braun. (accessed 6/10/2019).
My wife Linda was doing some internet searching and came across an article by Assemblies of God radio preacher C.M. Ward and his 1966 interview of Wernher von Braun (1912-1977). Von Braun had been a developer during World War II of the German V-1 and V-2 rockets, which were built by slave labor and were launched by the Nazis, causing thousands of deaths. The deaths caused significant anguish to von Braun, instigating his arrest by the Gestapo with an accusation of disloyalty. Only intervention by Nazi leader Albert Speer reinstated von Braun.
At the end of WWII von Braun arranged for 500 highly-valuable German scientists to be available to be captured by the Americans rather than by any of the other Allies or by Russia. Von Braun and his scientists were relocated to El Paso, Texas, where they became the core group for advancement of American space programs, especially for military applications.
Ward reported, "In Germany, von Braun had been nominally Lutheran, but functionally atheist. He had no interest in religion or God." However, in Texas he visited a church and his life changed forever. "...he found a small white frame building with a vibrant congregation of people, who loved the Lord. He realized that he had been morally adrift and that he needed to surrender himself to God. He converted to Christ and, over the coming years, became quite outspoken in his evangelical faith and frequently addressed the complementarity of faith and science."
The adherents article referenced above has some very compelling writings about von Braun. A major source was from: Ernest Stuhlinger and Frederick I. Ordway III book Wernher von Braun: Crusader for Space: A Biographical Memoir. Krieger Publishing Company. Malabar, Florida (1994). For 34 years Stuhlingen was associated with von Braun as was Ordway for 25 years.
On a visit to the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City, von Braun sat down and played "A Mighty Fortress is Our God" on their famous organ. (Crusader: 11).
Von Braun became the head of NASA, but "Among the many projects that von Braun led to success, the most demanding and impressive was the Saturn V rocket that launched astronauts on their way to the moon." After the astronauts had returned safely, von Braun was asked what he thought after he had given the "go" order. He answered, "I said the Lord's Prayer." (Crusader: 269-273).
Stuhlinger and Ordway wrote in pages 269-273:
He had delved deeper into the world of engineering and science, and he had become familiar with economical problems, diplomatic activities, educational systems, even military planning, than most other people; now he wished to round off his view of the world by integrating also the basic elements of religious thought into the far-reaching concept of our earthly existence.
He read the writings of Immanuel Kant and therein found the link between that which may be seen in the world and the world not seen, and he became convinced that our incredible existence must be a result of some master plan. He became convinced that there had to be a unique design to it all. frequently he would be asked if he believed in God. He always answered, "Yes absolutely."
The authors reported his own words about his belief: "To me it would be incomprehensible that there should be a gigantic master plan without a master planner behind it. This master planner is He whom we call the Creator of the Universe....One cannot be exposed to the law and order of the universe without concluding that there must be a Divine intent behind it all."
Von Braun had a very fascinating opinion of the interrelationship of science and religion: "Theologians are trying to describe the Creator, scientists are trying to describe His creation...While, through science, man tries to harness the forces of nature around him, through religion he tries to harness the forces of nature within him...We have learned that God does not interfere in the free order of life and nature which he created."
When once asked about his opinion of the afterlife, he replied, "I believe in an immortal soul that can cherish the rewards or suffer the penalty decreed in the Last Judgment."
Von Braun declared: "We cannot live without ethical laws and some belief in a Last Judgment, where every one of us has to account for what he did with God's precious gift of life on Earth...More than ever, mankind's survival depends on adherence to some basic ethical principles. Our adherence to such principles alone will decide whether our new inventions in the field of atomic energy will provide mankind with an inexhaustible supply of energy and wealth, or whether mankind will perish by its abuse...."
Stuhlinger and Ordway wrote of the death of von Braun on June 16, 1977. (pgs. 329-332). His faith was deep and strong. He said, "The natural sciences deal with creation; religion deals with the Creator. The two are really complementing each other perfectly....It is inconceivable to me that there should not be something else for us after we have finished our earthly voyage."
There could be little doubt that one of the greatest scientists of all time, Wernher von Braun, was also a man, who knew that there was a Creator, who brought forth His creation, which scientists from time immemorial have attempted to describe. He described and believed in the world of the spirit, which remains after our body has finished its course on our planet. He knew all he needed to know about the created, then he got to know the Creator.
P.S. Speaking of space, I know I am treading into controversial subjects by suggesting the following three authors, but I have viewed their You Tube videos and read their books. In my opinion they are very credible:
Corso, Col. Philip J. (Ret.). The Day After Roswell. New York: Harper. 1998.
Hellyer, Paul T. The Money Mafia. Walterville, OR: Trine Day LLC. 2016.
Marrs, Jim. Alien Agenda. New York: Harper. 1998.