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Deborah Haarsma
 on October 24, 2022

From the "Dawn" of Time: A New Story

The new book "Dawn" weaves together the big theological story of creation-fall-redemption with the sweep of natural history. Your view of God will be greater after reading this imaginative story told through the eyes of a proton.

Abstract photos of electricity

Dawn: A Proton’s Tale of All That Came to Be is a newly released book from IVP that follows the beginning of the universe till today through the perspective of a tiny molecule called a proton. It is a creative retelling of our ancient history and the biblical story with the help of science and fiction. Deb Haarsma wrote the Afterword for the book, and briefly introduces it to our audience here. In her own words, “Sometimes our view of God is too small.  If you read Dawn, I guarantee that your view of the Creator will expand!” You can checkout more BioLogos books on Science and Christianity here

When I taught physics, I’d often use phrases like “the proton wants to move this way” or “the electron hangs out with its friends here.” Of course these tiny particles don’t have feelings or friends! But imagining the motives of particles made it easier for my students to get an initial grasp of the science. In fact, I would have my astronomy students write out the story of an atom as it travels through interstellar space to end up on our planet.

In Dawn, a tiny particle named “Pro” tells the story of its experiences from the beginning of the universe until today. Yes, this is fiction—an individual proton doesn’t ponder the Creator! But we humans love stories, and here we get to imagine the “tale of all that came to be” through the eyes of a character.

This book is accessible for everyone. One fifteen-year-old who read it said “I love Jesus and I love science, but I never saw so clearly before how the two fit together!” If you struggled with science in school, fear not—this book makes the science easy to follow. And if you already know a lot about science and theology, you should still read this book—the completely original approach will spark your thinking and inspire your worship.

The story covers all of natural history over nearly 14 billion years, from the big bang, formation of the solar system, evolution of the species, the first Homo sapiens, to today. I know that some of these scientific terms raise concerns for many Christians, as they did for me in years past. But you don’t have to have a faith crisis over any of them; I’m a testimony of that. If you want to dig into the issues raised by natural history, our Common Questions explain multiple ways to uphold the authority of scripture and Christian theology while seeing the Creator at work over billions of years. Also check out the personal stories of others who have reconciled their faith with science.

If you’d rather ponder what this natural history might be telling us about God, read Dawn. The book weaves together the big theological story of creation-fall-redemption with the sweep of natural history, all in 150 pages. Yet the narrative gives you space to reflect. At each stage, we wonder along with Pro what the Creator might do next.

Through Pro’s eyes, we see a Creator full of surprises, yet a Creator who is driven by love and “has given his heart to Homo sapiens.”  The biggest surprise is that the Creator comes to dwell among us, a “reverse Big Bang” in which God enters his creation as a vulnerable human being, even dying and rising to redeem us.

I’m delighted to see how my friends Cees Dekker and Gijsbert van den Brink have brought together their scientific and theological expertise with the literary talents of Corien Orange. They tell a story that is scientifically accurate and inspiringly imaginative, all while holding true to the core of our faith. Dawn makes a great addition to our series with InterVarsity Press, BioLogos Books on Science and Christianity.

Sometimes our view of God is too small.  If you read Dawn, I guarantee that your view of the Creator will expand!

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About the author

Deb Haarsma

Deborah Haarsma

Deborah Haarsma is President of BioLogos. She is an astrophysicist and frequent speaker on modern science and Christian faith at research universities, churches, and public venues like the National Press Club. Her work appears in several recent books, including Four Views on Creation, Evolution, and Design and Christ and the Created Order.  She wrote the book Origins with her husband and fellow physicist, Loren Haarsma, presenting the agreements and disagreements among Christians regarding the history of life and the universe.  She edited the anthology Delight in Creation: Scientists Share Their Work with the Church with Rev. Scott Hoezee. Previously, Haarsma served as professor and chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Calvin University. She is an experienced research scientist, with several publications in the Astrophysical Journal and the Astronomical Journal on extragalactic astronomy and cosmology. She has studied large galaxies, galaxy clusters, the curvature of space, and the expansion of the universe using telescopes around the world and in orbit.  Haarsma completed her doctoral work in astrophysics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and her undergraduate work in physics and music at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota. She and Loren enjoy science fiction and classical music, and live in Grand Rapids, Michigan.