The Sparrow

I finished The Sparrow yesterday, a sci-fi and theology book I borrowed from Melissa F.  I was riveted to the story.  I've been keeping a Google Doc "Book Notes" log that I've found very rewarding and here are my notes:

  • Story was a unique combination of science fiction and theology:  party of Jesuits and scientists travel to a different planet.
  • Reinforced the complexity, sorrow, suffering, love and beauty of life.
  • Author converted to Judaism as an adult and is also a PhD in anthropology. In the notes, she sees no inherent contradiction between science and religion.
  • Story set forth view that God most likely steps back after creating world; loves us in our suffering and joy, but doesn't "micromanage" such events.
  • Priest thinks he has the following dilemma as he experiences immense, overwhelming suffering and loss: (i) adopt view that the universe is random, as is his suffering, which makes it more acceptable (ii) or adopt view that God can be harsh, cruel or "vicious."
  • "The Sparrow" refers to verse in Matthew that says such a bird won't fall to the ground without the Father's will.  And the main character falls hard--brutally so.  Book questions how God could allow such suffering.  But what's not emphasized--and should be kept in mind--is who gave the sparrow life and the ability to fly to begin with?  That's a key issue with all such "problem of evil" complaints.  What about the "problem of good?"

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