The author made a life-determining decision while on holiday as a travelling student. Lying down on Moroccan sands under an immense starry sky, he experienced a lifetime call to become an astrophysicist. He shares similar experiences of two well-known individuals, Blaise Pascal and Walt Whitman, who had "aha" moments when gazing into the heavens. Benz could easily have chosen to become a teacher based on the easily understood explanations he gives on how stars and planets are formed and what likely is a black hole. The formation of the sun and its continuing process of solar flares is awe-inspiring. The shaping of our planet and moon he simplifies as many strokes of good luck (collisions).
According to Benz, it is not necessary to claim God's intervention for every unexplained event. Research has made obsolete older concepts, such as our solar system being the center of the universe or the heavens a clockwork needing a maker. Although the mystery remains of what happened barely seconds before the event called the Big Bang, there may yet be an explanation.
What makes this book singular is the author's unbiased presentation of arguments pro and con evolution, creation, and the significance of mankind in relation to these theories. He asks the tough questions of whether this universe, with its space and time, was especially created for mankind's existence, or are humans the chance product of the birth and death of stars over billions of years? One may wonder whether Benz is trying to convince readers or himself. He admits that perceptions which shape a person's life must be considered real… at least as real as what he sees every day through his telescope. The book is full of magnificent color photos of distant stars, remote galaxies, and our solar system.
RECOMMENDED by the US Review