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God and the Astronomers

Robert Jastrow

W.W. Norton & Company, paperback, 160 pp., 1992/2000

Item# B043
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New and Expanded 2nd Edition!

If you are working your way through the ARN cosmological product line, God and the Astronomers would be your second stop after reading On the Cosmic Horizon by Jeffrey Bennett. Bennett does a good job of explaining the fundamental workings of the cosmos while working his way through a list of unsolved mysteries. Robert Jastrow, a world renown astrophysicist and agnostic, takes an honest and inquisitive look at the theological implications of recent astronomical discoveries. Every effect in science has a cause, so what caused the Big Bang and the birth of the universe?

Many scientists would have us believe that science and religion are two different worlds that mix like oil and water. Jastrow, however, focuses on several points where the two disciplines converge and inform each other. He concludes his book with this often quoted statement: "For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries."

This book focuses primarily on the Big Bang, how scientists discovered the evidence for it, how they reluctantly gave up alternative theories, and what the philosophical and theological implications might be. Originally published in 1978, this second edition includes an appendix presentation by Catholic and Jewish theologians. They attempt to sooth the Darwinian establishment feathers that have been ruffled by the first edition of this book, arguing that just because the Big Bang took place does not mean that God and evolution cannot coexist. The position for theistic evolution is poorly argued, but it does not detract from the theological impact of Jastrow's original text.

Table of Contents

  • Preface to the Second Edition
  • 1 In the Beginning
  • 2 Slipher, de Sitter and Einstein
  • 3 Hubble and Humason
    Illustrated Section: Architects of the Universe
    Edwin Powell Hubble
    Albert Einstein
  • 4 The Law of the Expanding Universe
  • 5 Discovery of the Primordial Fireball
  • 6 More Evidence for the Big Bang
  • 7 Questions Raised by the New Cosmology
  • 8 The Fate of the Universe
  • 9 The Religion of Science
  • Afterword
    The Theological Impact of the New Cosmology
    Judaism, God and the Astronomers
  • Sources
  • Picture credits
  • Index

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