Dr. David Bradstreet is many things: a world-class scientist, a faithful follower of Christ, a devoted teacher, a husband, father and playful grandfather, and a collector of stuffed cows (that all jumped over the moon, of course). As Provost Dr. Keith Iddings puts it—and popular opinion confirms—he is truly “an astronomy rock star.”
Dr. Bradstreet, or “Dr. B” as his students affectionately refer to him, has been studying stars since he was a boy but continues to be amazed by the artistry of the Creator as evidenced in the heavens. As many generations of cosmology and astronomy students at Eastern University will attest, Dr. Bradstreet’s sense of amazement is highly contagious. Few students pass through his classes without being infected by a sense of wonder at the universe and an increased reverence for its Creator and Sustainer.
A few weeks ago, at the Honors College’s annual matriculation ceremony, Dr. Bradstreet shared a message entitled, “God’s Incredible Promises to Abraham” that offered the Templeton community a lovely glimpse of that sense of wonder. Focusing on God’s promise in Genesis to make Abraham’s descendants as numerous as the grains of sand on the shore and the stars in the sky, he explained how scientific discoveries about the mind-boggling number of stars in the universe only enhances our understanding of this promise. Dr. Bradstreet also reminded us of the deep way that God cares for each person and just how incredible this is in light of the sheer vastness of the universe. He explained, “There are about thirteen sextillion stars (13 x 1021) in the universe. Yet, there are almost exactly the same number of water molecules in one tear drop. Your God knows exactly what’s happening in every single one, and they obey him at all times . . . Yet think about what he wants; he wants a personal relationship with you, just you . . . and he has the time and makes the time to seek you out, and he wants you to come home.” As a whole, the message was not only a moving testimony to the astounding love of God, but also a powerful example of the way that people in a community can learn from one another—and Dr. Bradstreet has certainly taught us a great deal.
Dr. Bradstreet is committed to helping others appreciate God’s handiwork through the lens of astronomy, and has done so on a wide scale with his recently published book, entitled Star Struck: Seeing the Creator in the Wonders of Our Cosmos. The book, which was co-written with Steve Rabey and widely released a few weeks ago, is intended to help Christians with zero knowledge of astronomy navigate the complex interplay between scientific and theological pursuits of knowledge, and understand more fully just how amazing our world is. The project started roughly two years ago when Dr. Tony Campolo learned that Steve Rabey was looking for a Christian astronomer to co-write a book for Zondervan: Dr. Campolo quickly recommended Dr. Bradstreet, who accepted Rabey’s offer after prayerfully considering the matter and discerning that God called him to this.
The book not only offers helpful scientific insight into the major areas of astronomy, but also allows the reader to catch the glimpses of wonder that almost inevitably come as one studies the mind-boggling intricacy and immensity of the universe. Dr. Bradstreet explains to the reader in Chapter 1 of Star Struck, “I’m writing this book in the hope that you can experience some of the delight and fascination I first knew as a star-struck child examining this magnificent universe that God has created.” As Bradstreet notes, the media often portrays science and faith as being at odds with each other—and indeed, some Christian traditions are hesitant or even fearful about science. Yet, for Bradstreet, faith and science have always gone hand in hand and this harmony is beautifully expressed in the book. He writes, “As an astronomer and follower of Jesus, I’m regularly amazed at our Creator’s role in our wonderful planet. The more I learn about Earth, the more I want to praise God for creating our unique haven, and the more I want to be a good steward of this amazing gift until Christ returns.”
Like the cosmology and astronomy classes that Dr. Bradstreet has been teaching for four decades, his book is a rich source of insight for anyone interested in better understanding the beauty and mystery of the physical world and its Creator. There is much to be learned, and the Templeton community is highly grateful for the presence of an “astronomy rock star” like Dr. Bradstreet to guide us through that learning process.
– Jordan Kolb (’17)