Book Review – The Wonder of the Universe

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Books (February 2012)
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  • Imagine reading a book about science . . . and liking it.

    The Wonder of the Universe (Karl W. Giberson, IVP Books, 2012) offers a clear exploration of scientific discovery from the understanding the ancients had to the knowledge we have today to discoveries yet to be made.

    And yet as I read the words just penned—or computered—I realize they certainly do not reflect the wonder and joy I knew as I read this book.

    The book is about how science explores.

    The subtitle, Hints of God in Our Fine-Tuned World, might evoke from a Christian an expectation of a book about weird bugs, the eyesight of owls, whale song, how our bodies work just right. But instead, readers of this book are treated to a real discussion of how scientists learn, how they go “where the evidence leads,” how scientists want to get it right, that they are looking for truth.

    A Christian expecting validation of certain responses to some of the “I think I’m supposed to believe . . .” hot-button issues won’t find them here. Age of the universe? More than a cool billion, Giberson declares. Evolution? He states, “I argue that the history of life on this planet is neither random nor purposeless. In doing so, I start by accepting that the biological theory of evolution is basically true.” Climate change? Just a “handful of climate scientists . . . deny global warming.”

    Surprised? Read the book anyway. The Wonder of the Universe was not written to discuss the particulars of any given issue. It’s broader, and more inviting, than that.

    This book instead discusses how science works. At once interesting to a nonscientifically minded person like me and challenging enough for those who are of this bent, Giberson assures us that science does not constantly change, as some religious skeptics accuse. Rather, the “typical scientific advance is one that extends, encompasses, and absorbs rather than refutes old understandings.”

    The author is a scientist who is solidly Christian. What I gained from this book—besides the pleasure of reading something I usually wouldn’t and liking it—is that science is not to be feared, nor must it be either defended or denigrated. And thanks to this book, I’ve decided to stretch. I’ve got on reserve at the public library the author’s The Language of Science and Faith: Straight Answers to Genuine Questions.

    Imagine reading a book about science, liking it, and trying to review it. I wouldn’t know what angle to take, other than to absolutely recommend this one.

    Reviewed by Pam Pugh, General Project Editor, Moody Publishers

    * Thanks to InterVarsity Press for providing a review copy.

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2 thoughts on “Book Review – The Wonder of the Universe

  1. Never mind that the world/universe as “described” by the propoenents of conventional reductionist science, and the advocates of conventional whats-in-it-for-me Christianity, is essentially a totally dead realm of flying rocks.
    Which is also to ask, do any of the usual dreadfully sane Christian poropaganda hacks ever write or talk about Consciousness with a capital C. or that ALL of this is is a beginningless and endless play/dance of Energy or Conscious-Feelng-Energy.
    Which is to say that ALL of the usual dreadfully sane Christian propaganda hacks are totally convicted of the entirely mortalistic paradigm that now opatterns every minute fraction of the modern world.

    • Hi Fred,

      I’m not sure who you’re referring to as “hacks,” or why you choose that label. This label doesn’t fit the author, Karl Giberson, in any sense.

      You mention the people you have in mind are “dreadfully sane.” Isn’t being sane a good thing?

      I’m not sure what Consciousness (with a capital “C”) would refer to, other than God–although it has a pantheistic ring to it. About everything being beginningless and endless, I accept the findings of science that the universe began with the Big Bang and will end with its eventual heat death (if it were to play out to the end). But the Big Bang requires an explanation, and the best explanation is God.

      This God has revealed Himself by becoming incarnate in the person of Jesus Christ. He’s got to be the one you look to for answers to the Big Questions–why does the universe exist, why am I here, what is my purpose in life?

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