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SEVEN DAYS THAT DIVIDE THE WORLD Paperback – 1 Aug 2011
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About the Author
John C. Lennox (PhD, DPhil, DSc) is Professor of Mathematics in the University of Oxford, Fellow in Mathematics and the Philosophy of Science, and Pastoral Advisor at Green Templeton College, Oxford. He is author of God's Undertaker: Has Science Buried God? on the interface between science, philosophy, and theology. He lectures extensively in North America and in Eastern and Western Europe on mathematics, the philosophy of science, and the intellectual defense of Christianity, and he has publicly debated New Atheists Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens. John is married to Sally; they have three grown children and four grandchildren and live near Oxford.
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Top customer reviews
Presents a strong case for the Conservative old earth creationist view
Doesn't engage though with the young earth views specifically, just seems to dismisses them as ignoring the evidence.
So one would need to look elsewhere to find their arguments for ayoung earth
1. But does it move? A Lesson from history.
2. But does it move? A lesson from scripture.
3. But is it old? The days of creation.
4. Human beings: a special creation?
5. The message of Genesis 1
A. A brief background to Genesis.
B. The cosmic temple view
C. The beginning according to Genesis and science.
D. Two accounts of creation?
E. Theistic evolution and the God of the gaps.
The book is also endorsed by Alvin Plantinga, Ravi Zacharias and Paul Copan among others. This book will suit Christians who have a science background and/or have an interest in science and religion.
NB. Appendix E has an extended discussion on theistic evolution. I would regard myself as a theist evolutionist and Lennox discusses this issue at length. He does refer to Paul Davies, Dennis Alexander and Francis Collins. His analysis on theistic evolution is worth the price of this book.
Appendix B. On the cosmic temple view on Gen 1-3, i.e. it is God's sanctuary. I think that there is some truth to this, in that Rev 21-22 shows the New Jerusalem as a place in which God dwells. The parallels with Eden should be obvious.
1) Begins by considering the whole historical argument (Galileo affair) of whether the earth revolves around the sun or whether the sun revolves around the earth.
2) Carrying on from chapter 1 - John then assesses how the bible was used back then to confirm the so called `scientific view' that the sun travelled around the earth (it was more a philosophical argument than scientific - it wasn't religious). He then argues that this was making the bible say something it was not intended to say and warns people against making the mistake in future (evolution vs old earth arguments) because if it the arguments are proved wrong they'll make the bible look stupid.
3) Looks at the whole 6 day creation account and basically comes to the conclusion that the days, in actual reality, are indeterminate. He notes that on day 1 there was no sun - hence day itself was indistinguishable. He then considers the young vs old earth arguments and rejects both. He says that what Genesis intends to say is that there is a chronological order of events, i.e. that life/the universe is logical and moves towards a goal - i.e. a degree of telos.
4) Moving slightly away from the 6 day controversy, John considers the whole `special creation of humanity' issue. The upshot of this chapter is that whilst man maybe related to other creatures, but he is not other creatures and therefore remains separate from them. In short this chapter disputes the reductionist views to man as just another animal.
5) What's the point of genesis then? - So far we know that it shows us that the universe is logical, has order and that man is far more than just an animal - nothing special so far. So John says, the basic up shot of the Genesis story is that God exists (metaphysical starting point). As can be seen, each act of creation begins: `and God said' - therefore God must exist in order to say what he has said. So the upshot of Genesis is to proclaim that God exists, that he created the universe and has endowed it with the properties necessary for life to begin (i.e. the fine tuning argument).
6) Considers the argument that Genesis is just another prehistoric mythology trying to give an account of how life and the universe began (i.e. the primitive science argument Dawkins loves so much). However, John disputes this and says that actually mythologies usually have the universe starting from a God or being of some kind dying and the universe coming out of that event. Genesis holds no such similarity in that it proclaims that God created a natural-logical universe, which is completely separate from God and in turn is not God.
7) Considers the cosmic temple model in which Genesis is used as a form of science. Basically John rejects this - this chapter basically looked at or responded to other people's thoughts and comments on Genesis.
8) Really short chapter on Genesis and Science. Basically says that Genesis agrees that the universe was created by an act of God. It supports the ex-nihilo model of creation and says that this agrees with Big Bang Cosmology. One has to raise a question how long this will last if Roger Penrose's idea of the recycled universe begins to hold sway, which so far it hasn't.
9) Considers Genesis 1 vs Genesis 2. It basically argues that the two are not contrary but instead tell different stories with different focuses. As both are stories with points to convey they cannot be used as strict science, as the same would be illogical. The story of Genesis 1 is detailed above and the story is Genesis 2 is that man was an intended outcome of the whole creative process.
10) Is an assessment of Francis Collin's and C.S.Lewis' ideas regarding Theistic Evolution. It basically defines what this is and how it works, in principle. It argues that the current problems are not with evolution as a concept but rather with natural selection, which is used as an all encompassing paradigm. He does however say that God's special intervention may have been involved in the creation of life, and perhaps nudged humanity on its way (special creation of humanity). However, how he does this he doesn't know or say. Is this a God of the Gaps - he argues not and that we should beware of an Evolution in the Gaps counter issue.
So what to give the book? I wanted to give it 3 stars, but that seems a little low after writing this review and rethinking about what the book actually said. So, I'm going to give it 4 stars, but really I wanted to give it 3 and a half. Why? Well, the book read severely disjointedly. It's basically a bash against 6 day creationists and how their story is simply not science (I've got a Masters in Theology, this hardly comes as a surprise to me). It then looked at other peoples work and made random comments on the same. In this respect it felt like a massive pat on the back of other like minded authors, but saying: good job guys but don't forget X also. The logical progression of the book just didn't seem to be there. Apart from the first 2 chapters every other chapter was basically just an essay on a specific point in question.
Look, I might be being a little too severe on the book. Perhaps I know too much about the topic for this book to be useful. Perhaps the writing style of this specific book just didn't do it for me. Nevertheless, if you don't have a similar degree of knowledge on the topic to me and fancy a read on the whole creation issue and why 6 day creationism is simply false, and how Genesis can be read in other ways - then perhaps this book would be a good book for you. If you're over read on the topic then this book is highly unlikely to say anything that Alister McGrath and Francis Collins haven't already said in their respective books.
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