Customer Review

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars excellent resource, November 12, 2007
This review is from: A Secret of the Universe: A Story of Love, Loss, and the Discovery of an Eternal Truth (Hardcover)
My, oh my. What a unique and enthralling book. As many of you know, over recent years there have been a spate of "apocalyptic" fiction novels by Tim Lehay and Jerry Jenkins, once serious writers. These novels pretend that a certain end of times will come and play out various adventures against this backdrop.
This book by Stephen L. Gibson is perhaps a much more thoughtful and honest addition to the genre. In this case, the story is not according to a fanciful script designed to appeal to true believers that already buy the "case" outlined in the backdrop. Instead, Gibson presents a novel whose two primary characters, close friends, begin from the same spiritual place, shift to divergent views, and then through the unfolding of the story come to a place of mutual acceptance and respect for each other's beliefs. Beyond that perhaps, they come to somewhat of a unification of those beliefs, though each from a differing perspective.

I suppose this is the Holy Grail of much of the spiritual community. Can their be a unified theory of religion that transcends tribal fundamentalism, and thereby makes our world a more peaceful and safer place? The book opens the door a crack to that possibility with its promise of opening a portal to free discussion and debate.

In the course of the novel, Gibson takes the reader through a primer of current thoughts by both christians and atheists. (Atheist is a challenging word to use because it conjures up certain images which do not adequately describe it. An atheist can be spiritual and very comfortable in Eastern and New Age philosophy which have fabulous and generous value systems). In the novel, he provides sufficient detail to build a general understanding of the differing stances and provides enough names and reference materials to give the reader a road-map for further exploration. The "story" of the novel is sufficiently interesting to keep the reader engaged.

Cameo appearances by such luminaries as Bishop John Shelby Spong provide opportunity for dialog in which inquiring minds have access to many answers in keeping with these thinker's philosophies. These passages can be somewhat lengthly but it is here that the nuggets are found. Gibson also injects many passages of Christian scripture with some textual scholarship, pointing out error or matters of uncertainty or alternative interpretation.

The truth is that there is a Secret of the Universe. No one knows what it is, all we can be certain of is that it is beyond our experience and therefore our limited ability to comprehend. Gibson provides some thoughts on what it might be.

While the conclusion leaves many questions unanswered, perhaps that is the point. It attempts to draw a cozy ending where love is what matters most and the parties to the story come together in that spirit of love around the death of one protagonist. While this could certainly happen in real life, it does not resolve anything. Yes, peace is at hand for the few in that room, but war still rages for the millions out here.

I recommend this book not for it's poetry or prose, nor for it's throat grabbing suspense, but for it's honest and thorough addressing of contemporary issues in the context of "story". The world could not help but be a better place if we and our children read more books like this and fewer trivial, materialistic, megalomaniacal, or meaningless fantasies.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Be the first person to comment on this review.

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
 


Review Details

Item

Reviewer


Location: Texas, USA

Top Reviewer Ranking: 26,374,431