You can quickly spot the influential people throughout history: they typically only need one name to distinguish them from all others. And Mitch Stokes does a masterful job showing why this noted scientist/mathematician/philosopher deserves the one-name designation in Galileo.
The first thing that stood out to me was how Galileo “found his way.” As the son of a musician, the field of science was never on his horizon. In fact, the start of his university career was in medicine. But as he quickly showed no aptitude nor passion for these pursuits, it was refreshing to see how his father let Galileo explore other areas of study to find his niche.
The next thing that amazed me was how Galileo’s new study and future employment in mathematics quickly evolved and expanded into areas such as philosophy, and later in life, astronomy and cosmology. Although Galileo is known today for his studies of the heavens through his improved telescope, those discoveries were only pursued to bolster his mathematic hypotheses.
Then it was amazing to see how deftly Galileo handled himself when he foresaw that his new discoveries that supported Copernicus’ claims of a heliocentric universe would upset those in the Catholic Church. Galileo said and wrote often that he was not trying to make new theology or correct old theology, but was simply trying to show how the Bible and science fit together. It was really the politically-minded (and Inquisition-minded) Cardinals in the Church that stirred up trouble for Galileo, but never the other way around.
Galileo demonstrated so beautifully through his observations and careful mathematic theorems how God had created an orderly and wonderfully-made universe. He believed that scientists had the responsibility to use their skills of observation and calculation to show how God and science are companions and not adversaries.
This is a part of Thomas Nelson’s Christian Encounters Series, and I not only highly recommend this book, but I’m looking forward to reading others in the series as well.
I am a Thomas Nelson book reviewer.