"This book will appeal to religious and nonreligious people alike. The Hand of God is essentially a compilation of the most beautiful astrophotos ever taken. The 100 or so images are from the Hubble Space Telescope, Europe's Very Large Telescope, the Anglo-Australian Observatory, NASA spacecraft, amateur astronomers, and many other resources." —Astronomy
The Hand of God combines inspiration for the mind and spirit by juxtaposing majestic photographs of the cosmos next to illuminating words of scientists, poets, and theologians. It was once believed that to look into the heavens was to look into the face of God. The first Hubble telescope images from space, which appeared in 1990, confirmed that sentiment in ways beyond imagination. These eerily luminous landscapes, splendid with color and motion, gave us a glimpse into the outermost reaches of the universe—a vast, unexplored realm where spiraling galaxies cartwheeled, nebulae shimmered, and stars were born.
Throughout history, scientists and theologians, artists and writers, poets and philosophers have struggled eloquently to make sense of the universe and God's part in it. Together the images in The Hand of God and the accompanying reflections encourage a sense of awe and, perhaps, purpose in an age often hostile to both.
"This little book uses gorgeous pictures of astronomical phenomena and words from scientists, philosophers and authors to provoke thought on the subject of science and faith." —The Seattle Times
"The Hand of God is filled with the most astonishing full color photos from deep space courtesy of the Hubble Space Telescope and is filled with quotes from men like John Glenn and Nobel Prize winner Charles Townes, among many others. This would make a great gift for both those interested in science and its spiritual implications." —Bookviews
Awe-inspiring photographs with comments from history's great thinkers of science, religion, and the arts
Reflections that encourage a sense of purpose and wonder
Excellent gift for readers interested in science or spirituality
The book centers on 100 stunning color photographs of stars, planets, star clouds, nebulae galaxies, supernovae, and other stellar phenomena. Many of the pictures were taken with the Hubble telescope. Each has a descriptive caption. Interspersed among the pictures are quotations from scientists, poets, theologians, and other writers.
Once in a while a book comes along that literally sets us on a high. Such a book is The Hand of God with an introductory essay by Sharon Begley and by Michael Reagan. The book pairs some remarkable photographs of our universe with some thought-provoking observations of distinguished authors from all walks and disciplines of life.
The Hand of God is a unique book that may never become a bestseller because it touches the core of our being and that is scary stuff. The authors have done a tremendous job of selecting the outstanding photographs and garnering quotes from such diverse sources in literature and history.
In the western world, religion and science have been at odds for centutires except that the gap has been narrowing, says Sharon Begley in The Hand of God. Now, thanks to ever-closer examination by astronomers and other scientists, the wonders of the universe are becoming more apparent. The Hand of God juxtaposes tryly spectacular Hubble telescope photography of space with quotations from astronauts, authors, Einstein and Ecclesiastes. Alongside awe-inspiring images of the birth of a star and a black hole feeding on a smaller galaxy (as well as photos of the Earth seen from space), the reader will find thought-provoking concepts from some of the world’s great minds. It is the scientists
voices that are most convincing that there just might be a God, after all.
It has been a week of fear, grief, anger and suspicion, but also a week when
the best in human beings, their courage and compassion, has made itself
known. At times like these we seek consolation wherever we can—in family
and friends and work. And some of us seek it in books.
A book has lain on my desk for several weeks, occasionally drawing me to it
with the beauty of its images and words. The Hand of God: Thoughts and
Images Reflecting the Spirit of the Universe is a collection of photographs of the dazzling depths of space, many of them taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, accompanied by quotations that express the awe that people have felt through the centuries at contemplating their fragile and tenuous place in the universe. This week
I found the words and pictures deeply haunting.
Scientific and Medical Network, The—Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
A companion volume to the previous one and designed along the same lines: a combination of breathtaking photographs with uplifting quotations from great thinkers on facing pages. Many of the images come from the Hubble telescope and represent immensities (200,000 light years across a galaxy) on a scale that simply beggars the human imagination. A quotation from Schopenhauer strikes a cautionary note: ’everyone takes the limits of his own vision for the limits of the world’. A magnificent book.
Arts & Literature Views and Review - The Episcopal New Yorker
Yet valuable though Begley’s essay and the anthology are, they are not, really, the main feature of The Hand of God. They are not the primary thing. That, rather, is a series of full-color photographs taken through the Hubble telescope. These illustrate Jastrow’s point and the main point of Begley’s essay as only images can: images of the sheer artistry of God.
The Hand of God, suggests an exacting eye, a powerful intelligence, and a sensitive heart behind the visible universe - indeed, infinitely exacting, sensitive, and powerful. Great theologians from the first century Clement of Rome to the 20th century H. U. von Balthasar have imaged a Deus faber: God as artist. —Rev. Dr. Clair McPherson
“We cannot take a single step toward heaven,” French mystic Simone Weil once said. “If, however, we look heavenward for a long time, God comes and takes up up.” Perhaps it is time to look up once again.
In The Hand of God, stunning photographs of planets and stars, galaxies and nebulae are juxtaposed with reflections of faith, science, and the meaning and purpose of human life as it flickers beneath the eternal majesties of the sky. The result is a volume which, in an age that is often hostile to awe and wonder, inspires both.
Includes numerous full-color photographs, and excerpts from the writing of Albert Einstein, Jane Goodall, Stephen Hawking, Oscar Wilde, Walt Whitman, Dr. Seuss, Carl Sagan, Mark Twain, Annie Dillard, John Glenn, and others.
"Everyone takes the limits of his own vision for the limits of the world," said Arthur Schopenhauer. If seeing is believing, these two small-format coffee-table books will measurably expand those limits, even at a moment’s glance. Pairing cutting-edge photography with provocative quotations by everyone from Albert Einstein to Annie Dillard, Herman Melville to Dr. Seuss and the Pope, they are visual and philosophical odes to the furthest reaches of scientific knowledge - and by extension, odes to the sacred.
The Hand of God is the first and better of the two. Many of its images of outer space are so spare, elegant, and overwhelming, they brought tears to my eyes. Planetary nebula NGC 3132, for example, looks like a glossy geode or divine eye floating in black space, half an incomprehensible light year in diameter. Best savored like wine or poetry, just a page or two will send your imagination reeling across the universe, there to behold both the mystery of creativity and the awesomeness of human purpose. Inside the Mind of God, on the other hand, inverts its lens into the deceptively enormous landscape of molecular biology, presenting microscopic shots of neurons, hormones and viruses, cancer drugs, heart valves, and cybernetic circuits. Like a combination science lab and art show, it both educates and impresses.
Too many coffee-table books just sit there; these, like stars or microscopes, will brighten your vision of reality.
This special book is a collection of images from the Hubble telescope. These awe-inspiring images truly reflect the "hand of God" at work within the universe through the vastness and splendour of their beauty. These images bring home to us the infinitesimal nature of both our Earth and of ourselves. This sense of divine proportion at once humbles and astounds us. The images are accompanied by beautiful aphorisms from scientists, artists, and thinkers. All in all, this book could not help but inspire awe in all who view it.
The idea behind this magnificent book is to pair stunning images from outer
space alongside meaningful spiritual quotes from here on earth. Ultimately,
the two work well together, suggesting the presence of a divine hand, or at
least a divine order in the universe. Editor Michael Reagan deserves much praise
for his keen visual eye, as well as his selection of quotes from the likes of
Albert Einstein, Jane Goodall, Stephen Hawking, Dr. Seuss, Theodore Roethke,
Carl Sagan, Mark Twain, and Annie Dillard.
Many of the photos were taken from the Hubble Space Telescope, offering fascinating
glimpses into distant black holes and galaxies. Some images are vivid and romantic
like a Renaissance painting. Some (such as the Voyager I photo of Jupiter) seem
to suggest that Vincent van Gogh had a hand in painting the universe. Each photo
has a concrete caption and clearly explains what is happening and where the
image comes from.
With a hint of irony, Reagan placed the following quote beside the explosive,
womb web photo of "Star Birth Region NGC 604": "Stars are like
animals in the wild. We may see the young but never the actual birth, which
is a veiled and secret event." - Heinz Pagels, Perfect Symmetry
It is quotes such as these that make readers feel especially blessed. If not
yet true voyagers, we can at least become voyeurs into space and spirituality--the
far reaches of our final frontiers.
Stars bursting with colors, exotic shapes ebbing and flowing, sun-speckled
farmland and tumbling waterfalls. The beauty of creation and the beauty of
Confronted by the 16-acre graveyard of what was once the World Trade Center,
Americans determined to believe in themselves and something greater than
themselves can find much to celebrate in two recent books.
The first, "The Hand of God: Thoughts and Images Reflecting the Spirit of
the Universe", is a magical mystery tour through the vibrant images captured
by our most advanced telescopes. Incorporation the words of theologians,
poets and scientists, this new book reminds readers of the enormity and
complexity of the universe.
The book is a welcome alternative to the "me-centered" focus of so many
spiritual and religious books today. Readers see a star formed 13 million
light-years from Earth and can gasp in wonder at a fireworks display better
than anything offered up at the Fourth of July. And they will be astonished
at the color, clarity and exquisite form of the ringed planet of Saturn as
depicted in an infrared view.
Readers may also puzzle over Spiral Galaxy NGC 4603, an image from the
Hubble space Telescope. It shows the most distant galaxy in which Cepheid
variable stars, a new class of pulsating stars that are used to determine
distances, have been found.
In keeping with the Templeton Foundation’s determination to show the
commonalities present in the ongoing dialogue between science and religion,
the book also records the intense reflection such images provoke in the
minds of hard scientists.
"Instead of an intellectual search, there was suddenly a very deep gut
feeling that something was different… seeing that sun", says U.S astronaut
Edgar Mitchell in a lengthy quote. "On the return trip home, gazing through
240,000 miles of space toward the stars and the planet from which I had
come, I suddenly experienced the universe as intelligent, loving,
But then thinker Annie Dillard already knew that. Quoting from Dillard’s
famous book, "Pilgrim at Tinker Creek," the Templeton work reminds us that:
"Divinity is not playful. The universe was not mad in jest but in solemn,
incomprehensible earnest. By a power that is unfathomably secret, and holy,
and fleet. There is nothing to be done about it, but ignore it, or see."
With an introduction by Sharon Begley, the book was edited by Michael
Reagan. He notes, "When I look at this material I have a great sense of
relief, an almost surreal sense that it’s all going to be OK> We are not
alone, and there is a God."
Research News & Opportunities in Science and Theology
The Hand of God is a small coffee table book that fully lives up to its
subtitle Thoughts and Images Reflecting the Spirit of the Universe.
Virtually every page contains a breathtakingly beautiful photograph of
something from the night sky, and the book contains a significant fraction
of the best astronomical photographs that have been taken to date. The
beautiful color plates are complemented by short, pithy commentary from some
of our more poetic souls, like Thoreau, Van Gogh, Paul Davies, Kierkegaard,
and a host of others. There is no real text in the book to read, but the
pictures are reproduced with such vivid clarity that they pull the reader
in, and I found myself enthusiastically looking at the commentary in the
The Hand of God, at one level, is a book of beautiful pictures and nice
quotes. At another level, it’s an introduction to the spiritual dimension of
science and the importance of maintaining an open and reflective stance
toward the significance of our extraordinary contemporary picture of the
Founder of Lionheart Books, Reagan has produced the ideal smaller
coffee-table book for the 21st century. The Hand of God combines dozens of
dazzling images of starscapes and far planets captured by the Hubble
telescope with reflections on the self, the stars, and the universe, from
writers as various as Oscar Wilde, Albert Einstein, Annie Dillard, and
Edward Taylor. To Reagan’s credit, the writers selected are admirable, and
the quotations from their works are well chosen, but the images alone are
worth the price of admission and are as profound as the writings that
surround them. Highly recommended.
Maybe it’s millennial longing, but numerous authors have recently attempted
to bridge the chasm (real or imagined) between science and faith. This little
book uses gorgeous pictures of astronomical phenomena and words from scientists,
philosophers and authors to provoke thought on the subject.
If it was once believed that to look into the heavens was to look into the
face of God, then the first Hubble space-based telescope images that appears
in 1990 echoed that sentiment. These eerily luminous landscapes, resplendent
with color and motion, gave us a glimpse into the outermost reaches of the universe,
a vast, unexplored realm where spiraling galaxies cart wheeled, nebulae shimmered,
stars were born, where dark clouds parted like gauzy curtains and allowed us
to peer directly into the heart of a mystery. Since then, the cameras have continued
to click, and the images sent back are simultaneously wondrous and troubling,
restoring to our lives that very mystery it seems human beings cannot do without.
Throughout history, scientists and theologians, artists and writers, poets and
philosophers all have struggled eloquently to make sense of the universe and
God’s part in it. Together, the images in The Hand of God and the accompanying
thoughts and reflections encourage a sense of awe, and even perhaps of purpose,
in an age of hostile to both.