God and Galileo
What a 400 Year Old Letter Teaches us about Faith and Science
“A devastating attack upon the dominance of atheism in science today.”
Giovanni Fazio, Senior Physicist, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
The debate over the ultimate source of truth in our world often pits science against faith.
In fact, some high-profile scientists today would have us abandon God entirely as a source of truth about the universe.
In this book, two professional astronomers push back against this notion, arguing that the science of today is not in a position to pronounce on the existence of God—rather, our notion of truth must include both the physical and spiritual domains.
Incorporating excerpts from a letter written in 1615 by famed astronomer Galileo Galilei, the authors explore the relationship between science and faith, critiquing atheistic and secular understandings of science while reminding believers that science is an important source of truth about the physical world that God created.
“These two eminent astronomers, one from Australia and one from South Africa, bring a unique perspective to the faith and science arena. What they reveal about Galileo—who is often cited as an example of the great divide—demonstrates instead that strong faith and expert science can go together. Indeed, the authors themselves follow in Galileo’s path, approaching both fields with a spirit of humility and wonder.”
— Philip Yancey, author, What’s So Amazing About Grace? and The Jesus I Never Knew
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
Part 1: Grace and Space
Setting the Stage
- Is There Grace in Space?
- Misunderstanding Truth
- Understanding the Universe and Scripture
- What Grace and Space Cannot Tell Us
- The Fraud of Scientism
- An Illusion of Conflict
- Discerning the Truth
- The Two Cathedrals
Part 2: Historical Vignettes
- A Moon of Glass from Murano, Venice
- A Troubled Dinner in Tuscany
- Winning Back Trust: Astronomy and the Vatican
Part 3: Personal Experiences of Grace
- Grace in the Life of Blaise Pascal
- Grace alongside a Telescope in South Africa
Appendix: Galileo’s Letter to the Grand Duchess Christina of Tuscany
Bibliography and Additional Readings
“Galileo showed us how to write in the book of nature, but his world read only from the book of Scripture—thus descended a debate that tore Galileo’s world apart and has never been reconciled, even to our time. God and Galileo is a personal journey through the world of two books, nature and Scripture, guided by leading astronomers who have wondered, like many others, why we cannot seem to read clearly from both books at the same time. Their conclusion is that we can and, to reach our fullest understanding, we should. Galileo concluded the same but was not allowed to speak it. God and Galileo finally gives him a voice.”
— Bruce Elmegreen, Astrophysicist, Thomas J. Watson Research Center, IBM; recipient, Dannie Heineman Prize for Astrophysics (2001)