Book Review: The Elegant Universe

200px-TheElegantUniverseThe Elegant Universe by Brian Greene is a fascinating, albeit, intellectual read. Greene seeks to explain Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, and then String Theory’s attempt to merge the two seemingly irreconcilable ideas.

I won’t bore you with the details, but basically Theory of Relativity deals with the macro-universe and Quantum Mechanics deals with the micro-universe and when you try and use one theory for the opposite (macro or micro) everything breaks down. String Theory is an attempt to find a Theory of Everything (TOE) that explains the universe in its entirety.

Greene does an excellent job explaining both Theory of Relativity and Quantum Mechanics in layman’s terms. The detail and intricacy of each theory screams of an intelligent creator. At one point, Greene muses on the possibility, but it is more a passing nod than an actual claim to be explored.

The book begins to break down once String Theory is discussed. I imagine this is due in part to my lack of ability to understand the science, but also because the most brilliant scientists and mathematicians in the world have only an approximation of what they think part of the theory might be. It’s kinda hard to thoroughly and clearly explain an approximation of a guess of a part.

More than anything, however, I loved how the pure science of the book and the reality of our universe scream that God is at work. I was constantly blown away at the creativity and minutia of the God of the universe even when explained mathematically. I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in science, math, or to someone with a desire to be awed by God’s majesty.

Through all of this though, I was reminded as great as it is that God reveals himself to us through his creation, that is not the most important thing. Our God is personally knowable. He desires a relationship, not just knowledge. Even if I understood all the details of string theory and could explain the universe in its entirety, if I am not drawing life and purpose from the One who created it, then I am without hope.

“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” (Psalm 19:1)

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