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17th November 2021

I have been watching the BBC2 series Universe presented by Professor Brian Cox. The first episode on 27 October was entitled ‘The Sun – God Star’. A somewhat challenging title! It dealt with some very big numbers – trillions of miles, 400 billion stars – concepts totally beyond my comprehension. The programme was largely about the origin of the universe and its evolution leading up to the creation of the earth and its relation with its ‘God Star’ – the sun. While I found the story Cox had to tell absorbing, I found this title rather unfortunate. In a later programme he referred to the human race as ‘an accidental by-product’ – a conclusion for which he offered no scientific reasoning!

One TV critic, reviewing the first programme, commented: ‘If I were going to church tomorrow I’d feel vaguely insulted’. Well, I didn’t feel ‘insulted’, but I did feel saddened. It is well known that Cox is not a man of faith – Christian or otherwise. Nevertheless his language could be seen as perpetuating the perceived conflict, which some still see, between science and religion. While there are still people who question the truth of such scientific revelations as these, unable to reconcile them with the simple narrative in the Old Testament, I believe I am among the majority of Christians today who do not see this as a conflict.

For me the more the story of the universe is revealed, the more I find to wonder at and for which to praise God. We always knew that God’s creation was a marvellous thing, increasingly we are learning just how wonderful it is.

David T Roberts