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First feature-length film to be shot in space

Ryan Denison is the Senior Fellow for Theology at Denison Forum, where he contributes writing and research to many of the ministry’s productions.

He is in the final stages of earning his PhD in church history at BH Carroll Theological Institute after having earned his MDiv at Truett Seminary. Ryan has also taught at BH Carroll and Dallas Baptist University.

He and his wife, Candice, live in East Texas and have two children.

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In this handout photo released by Roscosmos, actress Yulia Peresild, left, film director Klim Shipenko, right, and cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov speak with their relatives through a safety glass prior the launch at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021.
In this handout photo released by Roscosmos, actress Yulia Peresild, left, film director Klim Shipenko, right, and cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov speak with their relatives through a safety glass prior the launch at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021. Actress Yulia Peresild and film director Klim Shipenko blasted off Tuesday for the International Space Station in a Russian Soyuz spacecraft together with cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, a veteran of three space missions, to make a feature film in orbit. (Roscosmos Space Agency via AP)

Earlier this week, Russian actor Yulia Peresild and producer Klim Shipenko, along with Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, traveled to the International Space Station, where they will spend twelve days filming scenes for the first feature-length movie to be shot in space.

Prior to the launch, both spent time training for their voyage with the Russian space agency Roscosmos. While abord the ISS, they will work alongside the other cosmonauts, several of whom are standing in as part of the film crew since sending a full team of producers, camera operators, and others was not feasible. 

As Roscosmos stated, “The project will become a clear example of the fact that spaceflights are gradually becoming available not only for professionals, but also for an increasingly wider range of those interested.” 

Tom Cruise and director Doug Liman plan to follow suit in the near future in cooperation with NASA and Elon Musk’s SpaceX program to film their own movie in space. 

Your testimony doesn’t need to be novel

In the first Jurassic Park movie, Dr. Ian Malcolm warns: “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.” 

While it’s possible that everything will go well with the filming and with the trip back, the only real reason to film in space rather than in a studio on Earth is that the former is a novel experience. The added costs and environment are unlikely to substantially alter the final product, but it’s new and challenging, which means it appeals to the part of us that craves those sensations. 

There’s nothing inherently wrong with that. After all, we were created in the image of the God who created everything that exists out of nothing and tasked us with joining him in taking care of it (Genesis 1:26–27). Part of that calling entails testing our limits and seeing what we’re really capable of. Some of the greatest discoveries in our history were the result of that drive. 

But just because we’re wired to push the boundaries doesn’t mean that it’s always a good idea.

One of the places where this tendency can get us into the most trouble is when it comes to sharing the gospel. Novelty for novelty’s sake is a dangerous motivation, especially when it comes to sharing God’s word. 

Creativity, when inspired and guided by the Holy Spirit, can be vital for finding ways to help others understand what it means to be saved and to embrace biblical truth. But when creating something new becomes more important than remaining faithful to the core message that has been passed down through Scripture, then we’re likely to stray into some dangerous territory. 

So take Dr. Malcolm’s advice and don’t forget to ask God if you should when you’re tempted to see if you could. The Lord will let you know where that line is so long as you remember to check for it.

Where do you need that word of caution today?