Book Review: Beyond the Cosmos: What Recent Discoveries in Astrophysics Reveal About the Glory and Love of God
Hugh Ross, president and founder of Reasons To Believe, has published an updated, third edition of Beyond the Cosmos, originally published in 1996. Since the publication year was the year before I began GodAndScience.org, I never did publish a review of the book. However, it remains one of my favorite books on theology and science.
Beyond the Cosmos is based upon biblical theology and the scientific theories about string theory and extra dimensions of space and time. According to string theory, the universe consists of at least nine dimensions of space, three of which make up the vast amount of the volume of the universe, with the remaining six dimensions relegated to minimal volume. The theory is based upon observations in particle physics that predict such dimensions. In addition, numerous observations from Big Bang cosmology indicate that the universe first began to exist 13.8 billion years ago. The implication is that not only space, but time itself began only 13.8 billion years ago. The first two chapters give an introduction into the concepts of strings and extra dimensions of space and time. Chapters 3 and 4 provide experimental evidence for their existence, which is part of the book that has been updated to reflect the latest scientific research. Those who are not into the science can skip those two chapters and trust that Dr. Ross knows what he is talking about.
Chapter 5 is an introduction into what the Bible says about extra dimensions of space and time. It also includes a discussion of some of the implications of this theology on some of the miracles described in the Bible. Chapter 6 includes a discussion of biblical doctrines that are dependent upon extra dimensions of space and time. Spend enough time in these two chapters to make sure you get the concepts, since the rest of the book is dependent upon this understanding.
God and extra dimensions
The next 11 chapter provide specific examples of how God can be understood in terms of these extra dimensions. They answer questions such as:
- How can my choices be totally "free" if God is in control of all things?
- How can God hear my prayers while listening to the prayers of billions of other beings at the same time?
- How can God be forever alive and yet suffer death on a cross?
- How can God be all-powerful and all-loving and yet allow so much evil and suffering in the world?
- How can God be both three and one?
- How can God subject someone to eternal torment and call that an act of love?
If you have never thought deeply about these questions, you are going to be amazed at some of the answers and how all these paradoxes are easily resolved.
Beyond the Cosmos is an examination of how Christian theology can be true within the framework of modern scientific theories of cosmology. The book does not require a degree in science to understand, but it does require the reader to think deeply about the content that is being explained. If you are a Christian who is content with "the Bible says it, I believe it" then this book is not for you. However, if you want to understand biblical principles at a deeper level and take your faith to the next tier, you will want to read this book. Although parts of the book are speculative, they provide a context for understanding possible ways God is able to do what He does. The book will inspire you to look on the glory of God in a whole new way while increasing your faith. It is a must-read for the thinking Christian.
- The Extradimensional Nature of God - How can God be three-in-one?
Creator and the Cosmos by
A classic book for modern Christian apologetics and science. Dr. Ross presents the scientific evidence for intelligent design of our world and an easy to understand introduction to modern cosmology. This is a great book to give agnostics, who have an interest in cosmology and astronomy.
Today's New Reason to Believe
Integrating Science and Faith
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Last Modified February 22, 2011