Friday, December 23, 2016

Star Struck, by David Bradstreet and Steve Rabey

There is a popular perception that science and religion are at odds, that believers in God are anti-scientific.  We can, of course, find religious people who hold anti-scientific views, but if you spend time talking with Christians, as well as with practicing scientists, you will find a large number of Christians who are scientifically knowledgeable and scientists who are practicing Christians.  A great place to start is David Bradstreet and Steve Rabey's Star Struck: Seeing the Creator in the Wonders of the Cosmos.

Bradstreet, who holds a PhD in astronomy and astrophysics from the University of Pennsylvania, teaches astronomy and physics at Eastern University.  Bradstreet is a theistic creationist, which he describes as meaning that as he studies the heavens, he sees "the work of a divine Creator."  He says that "belief in a Creator God makes more sense than believing that everything happened through impersonal processes of time and chance."  Bradstreet has nothing bad to say about six-day creationists, but he makes it clear that he believes they are wrong about the time frames of creation.

Star Struck is much more than an argument against six-day creationism (that's actually only a passing concern).  Bradstreet's mission, not just in Star Struck but in all of his writing and teaching, is to encourage Christians to broaden their understanding of the physical world and God's majesty expressed in it.  We need to get beyond a "Sunday school comprehension of science" and look to all that is revealed about God's creation in astronomy.

Bradstreet has no doubt that the Bible does not contradict the findings of modern science, and that modern science does not necessitate a non-theistic worldview.  He doesn't talk down to the non-scientist reader, but makes it readable, bringing in scripture and science fiction to relate to the lay reader.  I may never get time on a large telescope to study the heavens and heavenly bodies.  But Bradstreet has encouraged me to take time to "consider all the worlds Thy hand has made . . . to see the stars . . . Thy power throughout the universe displayed . . . and there proclaim, 'My God, how great thou art!'"

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the complimentary electronic review copy!

2016 Reading Challenge: A book about astronomy

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