Taking Back Astronomy: Part I
This month’s book review is for the book “Taking Back Astronomy” written by Jason Lisle. I have divided this book review into three parts. Part One, looks at the Introduction and Chapter One.
What is the book about?
The back cover says the following: This book is meant to be an introduction only - a starting point to a biblical world view of the universe…Who knows what amazing truths are waiting to be discovered if only the shackles of secular thinking are removed. Now is the time of discovery…
Take a breathtaking look at the universe in this comprehensive guide to the heavens! Sit back and explore the world at your fingertips in this book which:
Explains the scale and size of the universe that is hard for our minds to imagine - yet can indicate the Master’s hand at work.
Over 50 full-colour, rarely seen photos of stars, nebulas, and galaxies.
Filled with facts that challenge secular theories and models of the universe - how it began and how it continues to amaze the scientific community.
Explores numerous evidences that point to a young universe: magnetic poles of planets, the spiral shape of galaxies, comets and how long scientists think they can last, and much more.
With a doctorate in astrophysics from the University of Colorado, Dr Jason Lisle is your guide to the universe beyond our world in this remarkable book. Step out among the stars and experience the truly awesome power of God through this glimpse of His vast creation.
The front cover has the sub-heading, The heavens Declare Creation and Science Confirms It.
This heading speaks volumes! It encompasses the whole idea behind the book. Science has become a tool for evolutionists to bend and manipulate in order to try and disprove the existence of God and His creation. This book’s aim is to “take astronomy back” by using the foundation of truth- the Word of God and what we see - what God has created..
Jason Lisle asks familiar questions, such as: What is the purpose of our existence? How did this world come about? What happens when we die? Why is there death and suffering? How should we live? He explains the difference between a world view based on the wisdom of man or the biblical worldview, that has its foundation on the Bible, the Word of God. Lisle explains that it comes down to a choice. We can choose to base our beliefs on the Word of God, the dine being who created the universe and who was there, or the speculations of man.
The introduction makes it clear that the aim of Taking Back Astronomy is to look at astronomy through scripture and to show how the observations of astronomy are consistent with what the Bible teaches. Subjects such as the age of the universe, the distant starlight problem, extra terrestrial life and other topics that critics use to try and disprove the Bible, are addressed by looking at what scripture says. The introduction is thorough, inviting and inspiring.
Chapter One starts with acknowledgement of God as the Creator, his majesty and power, by referencing Psalm 19:1 - The heavens declare the glory of God; and the skies proclaim the work of His hands (NIV).
Lisle asks: Why does the Bible single out the heavens as declaring His glory? His thought is: Perhaps the heavens declare God’s glory in a special way or to a greater extent. My thought - looking around , it is easy to see the objects that man claims as his creative works. Man adds and takes away from landscapes, etc. However, the sky contains no man-made work. It is God’s alone.
Jason Lisle documents the connection between the moon, the lesser light and the scripture in the book of Genesis that describes Day 4 of the creation of the heavens and the earth. He does the same thing for the greater light, the sun. He goes on to speak about the vast size of the universe, the little we know about it and the hundreds of billion of galaxies out there that declare God’s amazing power. One thing he said that caught my attention was: When we consider the power of the Lord who made all this, we cannot help but feel humbled. Truly, the God who created this universe is glorious and worthy of praise.” Amen!
Lisle continues to guide us through a wealth of information in the first chapter. We look at the moon, read fascinating facts about its distance, size, orbit and how scripture confirms that the moon is used for seasons, time and to provide light. This can be found in Genesis 1:14-18
And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night, and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years. 15 and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. 16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. 17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth. 18 and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.
As you might have noticed, we have had a full moon the past few days and it is spectacular to look at! Just hanging there in the night sky - so bright and beautiful! Here in Norway, the night sky has also been clear enough to see many stars. Simply breathtaking! One of these days, I want to lay on my back and stare up at the night sky for hours - even fall asleep that way. If you have done this, I am very happy for you - it must be incredible!
Lisle moves on to look at the sun, the greater light, as described in Genesis 1:15. We read about what it is composed of, its distance from the earth, and how it is located close enough to provide the right amount of heat and light, but far enough away not to burn up the earth. There are more interesting facts about how the sun appears to be the same exact same size as the moon, even though it is much bigger. Why does it appear to be the same size? Lisle points us to Jeremiah 32:17: Ah Lord God! Behold, thou has made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee.
Just as I am trying to wrap my mind around what I have read so far, Jason Lisle delves into attributes of our nearest star system: Alpha Centauri, which has two suns. Thankfully, Lisle is very good at giving concrete examples to help us grasp the otherwise incomprehensible distances of objects in the universe.
But then I read this - our galaxy contains over 100 billion stars. The Bible says God calls them all by their names. (POW! My mind exploding!)
Psalm 147:4 says: He telleth the numbers of stars; he calleth them all by their names.
Isaiah 40:26: Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number; he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth.
We see beautiful pictures of nebulae, which are apparently made out of the same stuff as stars, but just spread out over a large region. I look at it all and see that God is the perfect artist!
All this would have been more than enough to appreciate who we have as our Creator. But then Lisle goes a bit further into galaxies, clusters of galaxies and superclusters! The only thing I am able to think at this point is that we have a God with an immense amount of power that I simply cannot fathom!
Did you know that the sun gives off more energy per second than one billion major cities would produce in one year? Yes - enough said! Or maybe not - Lisle gives an estimate of how many galaxies are in the universe and Genesis 1:16 says, he made the stars also. A “by the way” statement at the end of verse 16 - showing how easy it was for God to make something so vast and intricate that we cannot begin to wrap our minds around it! And it’s mentioned as a “by the way, I did this too.”
While we are hurtling towards becoming overwhelmed with how great God is - which we simply can’t understand anyway, Lisle references Psalm 8:3-4: When I consider the heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou has ordained. 4 what is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visited him? A critic would probably try to imply that we are insignificant to God - considering all He was made and His ultimate power. But Genesis 1:27 says, God created man in His own image, in the image of God created he him, male and female created He them. Genesis 2:7 says, And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul. 8 And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man who he had formed. John 3:16-17 says, For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
And there are so many other verses in scripture that tell us how valuable we are to God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.
God loves and knows us, and we can know God by speaking to Him, and studying His word and His creation. Romans 1:19-20 says - Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20 For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.
The Introduction and first chapter of Taking Back Astronomy left me with some questions about solar systems that I look forward to researching. I was also filled with joy reading about our Creator and the unimaginable things He has done - to provide us with a spectacular universe, that reflects His character.
The introduction and first chapter of Taking Back Astronomy, not only gives you a solid introduction to facts about the universe, but it uses scripture to point us to the Lord, the divine being who created it all.
I bought Taking Back Astronomy on www.bookdepository.com
Thank you for reading this review. Until next time, peace be with you.
NB! The link I list for the book review is not an endorsement of the publisher, bookshop, book club, etc.
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