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Customer Review

35 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A valuable contribution to the debate, 3 Oct. 2011
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This review is from: Seven Days That Divide the World (Hardcover)
This book focuses on the creation account given in the early part of the book of Genesis and seeks to interpret it treating the text as authoritative scripture. Professor John Lennox makes the case for allowing scientific knowledge to influence this, where different interpretations are possible. To illustrate this he spends a couple of chapters covering the historic case of how opinion changed to accept that the earth is not fixed in space and that this is consistent with scripture even though many people initially thought not. He then goes on to explain different models of how Genesis has been interpreted and to argue which view fits both science and the biblical text the best. He argues for old earth creationism with progressive literal 24 hour creation days separated by long periods in between. On these days he sees God as providing information and energy to get life started and cause major changes followed by periods of micro-evolution with human beings created as an act of special creation. His position therefore seems to be one of 'intelligent design.' He then goes on to give the theological message of Genesis 1. The main part of the book is then followed by 5 annexes covering some issues in more detail. The book is short and concise at 192 pages (smaller pages then normal) including the annexes and is easy to read and clear. In my opinion he certainly says a lot of wise and insightful things and I think most people would learn something from reading his book. However, I wasn't convinced by some of his arguments. One of the key problems with his interpretation is Origen's observation that the Sun was created/made on day 4. This is a problem for 'days' 1 to 3. As Henri Blocher points out in his book 'In the beginning' (p45-46) 'made' should not be changed into revealed just to fit an interpretive scheme when the Hebrew of Genesis has a perfectly good word for appear. Also, God commands the land to produce all the different types of plants and animals (1:11-12, 24). God empowers the land to do all this and this fits well with the modern theory of evolution (See John Hartley, 'New International Biblical Commentary - Genesis', p57). So the Genesis text seems to be consistent with macro as well as micro evolution by unthinking material process. Perhaps God had already supplied the 'information' required? Lennox does not explain how his model accommodates the several mass extinctions throughout the history of life on earth or the fact that most species are extinct. In stating a case for a special creation of human beings he does not explain what causes humans to have fossilized genes or why retroviruses are inserted at specific places in the human genome which are at the same place as lower life forms. Perhaps this is too much to expect in a short book like this. For those who wish to read more widely on this subject I recommend Denis Alexander's 'Creation or Evolution - do we have to choose' and Henri Blocher's book 'In the Beginning' (first 2 Chapters) both of which I learned a lot from. In summary, Professor Lennox's book is well worth reading but I'd recommend reading some other books on this subject as well and then critically reflecting on what you have read.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 12 Oct 2011, 08:38:27 BST
Last edited by the author on 12 Oct 2011, 08:53:07 BST
rossuk says:
Kindly put some line breaks into your review, it was very difficult to read. I have this book on order, so I am interested in what you have to say, but you make it hard for us to digest your thoughts.

Line breaks please.

NB. You forgot to mention the 'framework' view (days 1-3 vs. days 4-6)

----------------------------------

This book focuses on the creation account given in the early part of the book of Genesis and seeks to interpret it treating the text as authoritative scripture.

Professor John Lennox makes the case for allowing scientific knowledge to influence this, where different interpretations are possible. To illustrate this he spends a couple of chapters covering the historic case of how opinion changed to accept that the earth is not fixed in space and that this is consistent with scripture even though many people initially thought not. He then goes on to explain different models of how Genesis has been interpreted and to argue which view fits both science and the biblical text the best.

He argues for old earth creationism with progressive literal 24 hour creation days separated by long periods in between. On these days he sees God as providing information and energy to get life started and cause major changes followed by periods of micro-evolution with human beings created as an act of special creation. His position therefore seems to be one of 'intelligent design.' He then goes on to give the theological message of Genesis 1.

The main part of the book is then followed by 5 annexes covering some issues in more detail. The book is short and concise at 192 pages (smaller pages then normal) including the annexes and is easy to read and clear.

In my opinion he certainly says a lot of wise and insightful things and I think most people would learn something from reading his book. However, I wasn't convinced by some of his arguments. One of the key problems with his interpretation is Origen's observation that the Sun was created/made on day 4. This is a problem for 'days' 1 to 3.

As Henri Blocher points out in his book 'In the beginning' (p45-46) 'made' should not be changed into revealed just to fit an interpretive scheme when the Hebrew of Genesis has a perfectly good word for appear. Also, God commands the land to produce all the different types of plants and animals (1:11-12, 24). God empowers the land to do all this and this fits well with the modern theory of evolution (See John Hartley, 'New International Biblical Commentary - Genesis', p57).

So the Genesis text seems to be consistent with macro as well as micro evolution by unthinking material process. Perhaps God had already supplied the 'information' required?

Lennox does not explain how his model accommodates the several mass extinctions throughout the history of life on earth or the fact that most species are extinct. In stating a case for a special creation of human beings he does not explain what causes humans to have fossilized genes or why retroviruses are inserted at specific places in the human genome which are at the same place as lower life forms. Perhaps this is too much to expect in a short book like this.

For those who wish to read more widely on this subject I recommend Denis Alexander's 'Creation or Evolution - do we have to choose' and Henri Blocher's book 'In the Beginning' (first 2 Chapters) both of which I learned a lot from.

In summary, Professor Lennox's book is well worth reading but I'd recommend reading some other books on this subject as well and then critically reflecting on what you have read.

In reply to an earlier post on 12 Oct 2011, 18:54:17 BST
RMB says:
thanks for your interest, suggestions noted
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