Review

PUBLICATION DATE: NOVEMBER 1, 2011

W

e’ve all heard the song “Indescribable.” When it first hit the airwaves and most of our worship services, it could have also been called “Inescapable.” Many of us have seen the video sermon, gifted orator Louie Giglio passionately describing how “The heavens are telling the story of God, their expanse declares the work of His hands.” (author’s paraphrase) Now, comes the book where Giglio has teamed with longtime worship leader Matt Redman to pair text with pictures, the poetry of God with the prose of man. Indescribable is the end result and it is a moving and inspirational piece of writing, inviting readers to “discover the wonder of the cosmos and the intimacy of the Creator who loves you like no other.” (back cover copy)

After brief forewords by former astronaut Joe Tanner and astronomer Jennifer Wiseman, Giglio and Redman take turns writing every other chapter of the book. Each chapter is a bite-sized morsel of thoughts and concepts of that particular author’s understanding of God discovered via a love for astronomy. Offering devotional thoughts on the significance of man amidst the expanse of the universe, embracing death and Jesus, how God cares for us, and so on, the authors find the universe to be fertile ground for their faith to grow.

Giglio writes, “The glorious darkness that so accentuates the lights of heaven lifts us upward and draws us into its chorus. The longer we look up, the freer we become, lost in the wonder and mystery that surrounds us, lost in praise of the One who set each star in place.” (27)

Redman offers a contemplation about stars and galaxies beyond what we can see: “But why create stretches of the universe that will never be seen? Why be content for distant galaxies to go completely unnoticed for thousands and thousands of years? It is a mark of extravagance in our Creator God…He has stretched out the universe, creating beauty in places our eyes—not even our telescopes—will likely never have the privilege of gazing upon. He is a God of extravagance—unimaginably glorious, completely off the charts of our understanding, and way beyond the power of our description.” (47)

Interspersed throughout the book are various quotes from individuals commenting on the wonder of God’s stellar creations—from philosophers like Plato and Socrates to theologians like Augustine to poets like Ralph Waldo Emerson. These are beautifully paired with NASA photography of galaxies near and far, making the book both concrete and abstract. There are deep words to contemplate late into the starry night and pictures of indescribable beauty, which we will never begin to truly fathom. Thus, in one respect, Giglio and Redman offer up something wonderful, and in another, their words fail them.

The only difficulty I have is that the authors seem to run out of words halfway through the book, so what comes in the latter half of the book is what you’ve already been told in the first half. I suppose that’s the difficulty. If this God we’re attempting to describe is, in fact, indescribable, then we’re going to eventually run out of words to describe him. Still, the devotional thoughts offered are worth the reader’s time.

Indescribable is available in an illustrated coffee table edition and in paperback.

–C. E’Jon Moore

Review title provided courtesy of David C. Cook Publishers