The clash between Christianity and science has been as teeth-gnashing as that which divides the glory of heaven and fire of hell.
But the relationship need not be adversarial, says Colorado Springs theological writer Steve Rabey, who puts a new spin on the age-old debate in "Star Struck: Seeing the Creator in the Wonders of Our Cosmos."
Rabey co-authored the book, published last month by Zondervan, with Eastern University professor and astronomer David Bradstreet.
"The war between religion and science is over," said Rabey, who has written 35 books on subjects ranging from Celtic spirituality to the 1999 Columbine High School shooting to Pentecostal revivalism.
The unprecedented astronomical exploration and discovery of the 21st century shouldn't discount Christian praise, wonder and gratitude of God's power and eternal nature, according to the book.
"No astronomical finding will diminish your belief in God's role as Creator and sustainer of the universe," the authors write.
Christians have fought against scholarly findings for centuries, in an attempt to "protect God" from the seeming elevation of science over the Creator, Rabey said.
In fact, religion is often viewed as a conservative force that preserves traditions, values and understanding, while science is seen as a progressive, radical force that reveals shocking new discoveries, Rabey said.
But science and religion can peacefully co-exist because they have different functions, he said: "One tells us about what's seen and the other about largely what's unseen."
The book relates in layman's terms the stories of science, astrology and cosmology, for Christian readers who have been ill-served by other attempts to reconcile the two. Twenty-three chapters, such as "The Age of the Earth," "Biologist Charles Darwin" and "The Space Race," travel through the discoveries of ancient stargazers, who turned to the heavens for more than farming and fishing guides, to milestones such as Apollo 8's lunar mission in 1968, during which astronauts beamed back images of the moon and Earth on Christmas Eve and took turns reading the first 10 verses of the Book of Genesis.
The authors detail how many astronomers of the present and past have recognized God's hand while at the same time acknowledging scientific advances that have helped unravel the mysteries of the universe.
For example, Johannes Kepler, a 17th-century German mathematician who taught at a seminary, incorporated religious arguments and reasoning into his work, based on the conviction that God had created the world according to an intelligible plan accessible through the natural light of reason.
"History holds the answers to things contemporary Christians have forgotten about," Rabey said.
The more a Christian delves into the cosmos - the stars, planets, asteroids, nebula, comets, dark matters and other fingerprints of God - the more he or she realizes that the explanation of the origins of the earth and sky do not refute Christian teachings and beliefs, the authors say.
Biblical passages are interwoven throughout for spiritual insight, including Psalm 19:1, "The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands." A 16-page color photo section is included, and black-and-white photos interspersed.
In doing research, Rabey said he realized the vastness of God's creation - "the kind of things that make you stop and go 'Hmmm' and look up and marvel and wonder."