Apollo 8′s Genesis Reading
On Christmas Eve, 1968, the three Apollo 8 astronauts read aloud from the creation account in Genesis, using the King James Bible text, while in orbit around the Moon. Apollo 8 included the first lunar orbits, which meant that the astronauts were completely out of touch with Earth for 45 minutes every time their craft passed behind the Moon. By the time of the Genesis reading, the crew had circled the Moon nine times and had one more revolution to complete. A global audience estimated at half a billion heard and watched their live television broadcast, making it the most-watched broadcast in history at that time.
Lunar Module Pilot William Anders
We are now approaching lunar sunrise, and for all the people back on Earth, the crew of Apollo 8 has a message that we would like to send to you.
“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, ‘Let there be light’: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.”
Command Module Pilot James Lovell
“And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. And God said, ‘Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.’ And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.”
Commander Frank Borman
“And God said, ‘Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear’: and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.”
And from the crew of Apollo 8, we close with good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas, and God bless all of you—all of you on the good Earth.