BOOK RECOMMENDATION: THE CREATOR AND THE COSMOS – FOURTH EDITION
If you are interested in the relationship between science and faith, this book is for you! Astronomer Hugh Ross shows how 20th and 21st-century scientific discoveries, particularly in astronomy and cosmology, display excellent consistency with biblical teaching. The initial focus of the book is on the Bible’s teaching that the universe had a distinct beginning and continues to expand. While the scientific consensus at the beginning of the 20th century was that the universe was static and eternal, the work of physicist Albert Einstein, astronomer Edwin Hubble, and others showed that the universe is expanding from a distinct beginning. While many resisted this finding because of its theological implications, data from NASA’s Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) satellite provided hard scientific evidence of the cosmic beginning. When the findings were announced in 1992 the COBE project director commented on them with these words: “What we have found is evidence for the birth of the universe” and “It’s like looking at God.” In this edition of his book, Ross adds to the evidence for the creation event, and also provides good answers to those who attempt to find a loophole to escape the theological implications by appealing to quantum effects during the first instant of the universe, the “quantum era.”
The other focus of the book is on the fine-tuning evident at all levels of the universe that enables life, in particular, advanced life on Earth, to be possible. In this edition, Ross adds to the long list of fine-tuning examples. To illustrate how overwhelming the evidence for fine-tuning has become, on page 213 he cites a 2013 Nature article in which a scientist commented that the degree of fine-tuning needed to explain lunar formation “led to philosophical disquiet.” Ross argues that this “disquiet” arises from the inescapable evidence of supernatural design in the Earth-Moon system enabling life to flourish on Earth. He also gives some good responses to the “multiverse” argument, a popular strategy to avoid the theological implications of fine-tuning by appealing to an infinite number of possible universes.
Even if you have read an earlier edition of this book, I encourage you to read this edition. It gives the reader a convenient summary of the growing mountain of scientific evidence for the supernatural origin and design of the universe and provides references for additional reading and research on these topics. A feature of this edition is the addition of discussion questions at the conclusion of each chapter. These help the reader process the material, and can serve as good discussion prompts for small group studies/reading clubs.