UNIVERSE – review of the TV series – Andrea McConchie & David Watts

UNIVERSE – review of the TV series – Andrea McConchie & David Watts

From a Christian perspective, the domain of
science is the exploration of the secondary
causes established by God in creation.
Science, as such, can neither prove nor deny
the existence of God, the eternal Prime cause.
Scientists as normal human beings, however,
usually do either affirm or – simply by default
– deny God’s existence. In many cases, the
latter outlook often arises from a deficient
concept of “god” – as some kind of “super
engineer” that tinkers around with cosmos
from time-to-time and is perceived as

Professor Brian Cox, a physicist from
Manchester University, is a highly competent
communicator well known for his rather
unique style of TV science programmes. His
approach is secular and at least mildly
atheistic in that he indirectly affirms that,
however beautiful and amazing, the universe
is ultimately impersonal and pointless – it just
exists without any ultimate explanation or
purpose. At the private level, he is not overtly
hostile to Christians and has given invited
presentations to Anglican clergy to great

In the present TV series, we see Prof. Cox’s
typical enthusiasm, with emotive music, and
stunning images and videos of galaxies from
the Hubble space telescope. These are subtly
combined with computer generated
animation (CGA) models such that it
becomes difficult to discern where the
original images end and the CGA takes over.

Whatever we may think of the subtle
combination of science and the atheistic
worldview that is communicated by Prof. Cox,
a Christian viewer can greatly benefit from
viewing this series for two primary reasons.
Firstly, its popularity means that many of our
neighbours may be influenced by its core
message that only life gives the universe
meaning. This may provide the opportunity
to talk about the alternative Christian belief,
that the universe is meaningful not because
of life, but because it is upheld by God’s
continuous work. God declared the world as
‘very good’ not because of human presence,
but because the ordering of creation is
complete. Secondly, watching this series, and
the ones before it, provides the opportunity
to rejoice in the reflection of God’s glory and
majesty seen in the vastness and beauty of
the heavens above. As the apostle Paul stated
the universe declares God’s eternal power –

For since the creation of the world God’s
invisible qualities—his eternal power and
divine nature—have been clearly seen, being
understood from what has been made, so
that people are without excuse. (Romans

Universe is available on BBC iPlayer or DVD.