God and Galileo: What a 400-Year-Old Letter Teaches Us about Faith and Science By David L. Block, Kenneth C. Freeman


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"A devastating attack upon the dominance of atheism in science today."

Giovanni Fazio, Senior Physicist, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics


The debate over the ultimate source of truth in our world often pits science against faith.

In fact, some high-profile scientists today would have us abandon God entirely as a source of truth about the universe.

In this book, two professional astronomers push back against this notion, arguing that the science of today is not in a position to pronounce on the existence of God—rather, our notion of truth must include both the physical and spiritual domains.

Incorporating excerpts from a letter written in 1615 by famed astronomer Galileo Galilei, the authors explore the relationship between science and faith, critiquing atheistic and secular understandings of science while reminding believers that science is an important source of truth about the physical world that God created

Format: Hardcover w/ Jacket
Page Count: 224 + 12p Insert

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

Part 1: Grace and Space
Setting the Stage 

  1. Is There Grace in Space?
  2. Misunderstanding Truth
  3. Understanding the Universe and Scripture
  4. What Grace and Space Cannot Tell Us
  5. The Fraud of Scientism
  6. An Illusion of Conflict
  7. Discerning the Truth
  8. The Two Cathedrals

Part 2: Historical Vignettes

  1. A Moon of Glass from Murano, Venice 
  2. A Troubled Dinner in Tuscany 
  3. Winning Back Trust: Astronomy and the Vatican 

Part 3: Personal Experiences of Grace

  1. Grace in the Life of Blaise Pascal 
  2. Grace alongside a Telescope in South Africa 

Appendix: Galileo’s Letter to the Grand Duchess Christina of Tuscany
Bibliography and Additional Readings
General Index
Scripture Index

Read Chapter 1


David L. Block

David L. Block (PhD, University of Cape Town) is a professor in the School of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. His research has twice been featured on the cover of Nature, the world's most prestigious scientific journal. He is the author of several books, including Starwatch and Shrouds of the Night. He has been a visiting research astronomer at Harvard University, the Australian National University, and the European Southern Observatory, among other institutes.

Kenneth C. Freeman

Kenneth C. Freeman (PhD, Cambridge University) is Duffield Professor of Astronomy in the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the Australian National University in Canberra. He is a Fellow of the UK Royal Society and the Australian Academy of Science, a Foreign Associate of the US National Academy of Sciences, and one of the first to discover that spiral galaxies contain a large fraction of dark matter.


“These two eminent astronomers, one from Australia and one from South Africa, bring a unique perspective to the faith and science arena. What they reveal about Galileo—who is often cited as an example of the great divide—demonstrates instead that strong faith and expert science can go together. Indeed, the authors themselves follow in Galileo’s path, approaching both fields with a spirit of humility and wonder.”
Philip Yancey, author, What’s So Amazing About Grace? and The Jesus I Never Knew

“Galileo showed us how to write in the book of nature, but his world read only from the book of Scripture—thus descended a debate that tore Galileo’s world apart and has never been reconciled, even to our time. God and Galileo is a personal journey through the world of two books, nature and Scripture, guided by leading astronomers who have wondered, like many others, why we cannot seem to read clearly from both books at the same time. Their conclusion is that we can and, to reach our fullest understanding, we should. Galileo concluded the same but was not allowed to speak it. God and Galileo finally gives him a voice.”
Bruce Elmegreen, Astrophysicist, Thomas J. Watson Research Center, IBM; recipient, Dannie Heineman Prize for Astrophysics (2001)

“With so many scientists seeing Christian faith as irrelevant to scientific truth and so many Christians seeing science as contradictory to Christian truth, this unique, groundbreaking, and deeply researched book by two believing, distinguished, and top-drawer astronomers is one that had to be written. It makes clear that the totality of truth has to be drawn on the one hand from the book of Scripture, with its story of grace and incarnation, and on the other hand from the book of nature, with its story of space and matter. Both books are vital to the full comprehension of reality, and the authors show this with convincing clarity. We dare not be blind either to nature or Scripture, whose respective truths are complementary, not contradictory, because both have the same author. God and Galileo brings us unique perspectives and insights related to faith, grace, and astronomy not evident in any other contemporary writing. My prayer is that it will be a landmark contribution to this debate and a classic both for today and for generations to come.”
Michael Cassidy, Founder, African Enterprise; Honorary Cochair, Lausanne Movement; author, The Church Jesus Prayed For