Thursday, April 12, 2012

Galileo by Mitch Stokes, a Review


Galileo, by Mitch Stokes.

This book is one in the Christian Encounters series.  From the front cover flap:  We learn about life through the lives of others.  Their experiences, their trials, their adventures become our schools, our chapels, our playground.  Christian Encounters, a series of biographies from Thomas Nelson Publishers, highlights important lives from all ages and areas of the Church through prose as accessible and concise as it is personal and engaging.

And from the back cover:  It’s no mystery how profound a role Galileo Galilei played in the Scientific Revolution.  Less explored is the Italian innovator’s sincere, guiding faith in God.  In this exhaustively researched biography that reads like a page-turning novel, Mitch Stokes draws on his expertise in philosophy, logic, math, and science to attune modern ears with Galileo’s controversial genius.

This book was sent to be for review, and I was very excited to receive it.  But to be honest, I have struggled through the book.  Rather than reading like a page-turning novel, I found myself very distracted by all of the annotations and index references.  It felt that much of the story was left for the reader to discover by gathering the resources listed in the index.

After reading Galileo I do have a little more knowledge of the Catholic Church’s counter reformation and the Inquisition which finally did condemn Galileo.  There are thoughts expressed in this book which have helped me put into words some of what I am hoping to communicate as I look to teaching some science classes in the next year.

                “In 1605, Francis Bacon had famously said that God gave us two books to study: his world and his Word.  Because God is the author of both books, they can never-when properly interpreted-conflict.”

And

                “…science as a natural outworking of a Christian desire to know God and his creation”

There are others who I know that have read this book and did not find it a troublesome read at all, and it may be that in another season of life I could have a seat and enjoy this story.  So, while I have not enjoyed this book, and it has been a labor to read, I am thankful for what I have been able to glean and feel confident that it can join other reliable resources on our science book shelves.

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