In a world in which scientists such as Sagan and Dawkins have set forth a view of the universe devoid of God, The Story of the Cosmos provides a different—and fascinating—scientific perspective that compellingly and intimately connects the Maker with all He has made.
One of the two general editors, Daniel Ray, hosts the “Good Heavens” podcast; the other, Paul M. Gould, teaches philosophy and apologetics at Oklahoma Baptist University. Together they have brought together a group of respected men and women, all scholars and experts. And the contributions fall neatly into three parts: Exploration of the Cosmos; Expressions of the Cosmos in Art and Literature; and Evidence Pointing to the Creation of the Cosmos.
Of special merit are a witty chapter from the director of the Vatican Observatory titled “The Stones Cry Glory”; and Dr. Sarah Salviander’s compelling wrestlings with why God is so subtle in “God, Black Holes, and the End of the Universe.” Paul Gould’s section on the fittingness of the universe and the argument for why theism is rationally preferable to naturalism is also noteworthy. Each chapter can stand alone, but together they offer not only a convincing but also a beautiful read.
The book presents science as happily married to the arts. In one photo Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” (through the magic of computer technology) receives a new sky via a photo that NASA’s Juno probe captured, fitting with surprising similarity. Glossy pages, four-color photos, and drawings sprinkled throughout display the glory of the heavens as seen through the Hubble telescope but also through the paintings of artists such as Frederic Church and Thomas Cole. Examples range from the stars in Giotto’s Scrovegni Chapel, to plays such as “Waiting for Godot” and “Our Town,” quotes from Victorian poet and novelist Diana Maria Craik, and other literary minds ranging from Dante to Keats and Longfellow to Lewis and Tolkien. In drawing on these sources, contributors take what is usually a left-brained topic and weave in right-brained analogies in their explorations of complex, intellectually honest questions. So while The Story of the Cosmos is a good read for any religious person seeking better to understand the natural world, the work is also accessible for the seeker wanting better to understand the cosmos.
The scholars go far beyond “Can religion and science mix?” to consider such topics as the logic of an uncaused cause, whether and how the Bible is compatible with evidence, the ramifications of an expanding universe, and the odds of human flourishing happening by chance. As one reader aptly said about the book, “It gives you the feel of being around a table at a cosmic dinner party with brilliant minds, each sharing their fascinating expertise and insights to weave a cohesive and powerful story.”
Cover images taken by Radha Vyas.