His writing brims with interesting information and argumentation, and his tone is just right: confident, but also humble; assertive, but also receptive; adversarial at times, but collegial throughout. This book, along with others of his on similar themes such as "God's Undertaker" are exactly what Christians need to respond to Dawkins and Hawking and the other not-so-New Atheists, but also, and more importantly, to the honest questions every thoughtful and informed person--including Christian persons--asks about God and the natural world.
View all 4 comments. Mar 29, Philip rated it did not like it Shelves: science , non-fiction , christian. Lennox seeks to present a "scientifically savvy, theologically astute, and scripturally faithful interpretation of Genesis" back cover. He does this cautioning us to i take care to interpret Biblical passages in their proper context p , ii ensure we neither tie scripture too closely to science nor ignore science entirely p36 , and iii to approach the task with humility p He applies this principle to the Galilean fixed-Earth controversy of the early 17th century.
Then things st Lennox seeks to present a "scientifically savvy, theologically astute, and scripturally faithful interpretation of Genesis" back cover. Then things start to fall apart. In Appendix A he notes the analysis of the first chapters of Genesis being written in elevated prose not a strict narrative and not poetic but with elements of both. However, when examining Genesis in the main text of his book Lennox ignores this and instead treats the creation account as a narrative describing real historical events.
In doing so he undermines point i above. His response to the idea of the Genesis creation account as a myth is an ad hominem p In Appendix B he berates a writer for making sweeping statements without any sort of citation p , yet when Lennox makes grand sweeping statements about how scientific evidence supports his view he provides no evidence. He also formulates his ideas based entirely on scripture, almost entirely ignoring what science says - a violation of point ii. Towards the end of the book he quotes three biologists to try and give the impression that there is still some debate in the mainstream biology community about the validity of evolutionary theory.
But it turns out only one of these three is a biologist the other two are a philosopher and a linguist. When Lennox calls names, applies double standards and lies to his readers he is surely greatly lacking in humility point iii. Therefore, Lennox fails to live up to his own standards. The result is a book of broken arguments, absent logic, Bible verses taken hugely out of context and vague appeals to emotion and evidence that he never presents to us.
Seven Days That Divide The World: The Beginning According To Genesis & Science by John C. Lennox
There are other problems. Lennox is never clear on what his definition of "science" is. This is particularly problematic when he tries to argue against the idea that science and religion are non-overlapping magisteria p He repeatedly refers to himself as a "scientist" throughout the book. John Lennox is by trade a pure mathematician. Most people would not describe pure mathematics as "science" and Lennox makes no attempt to justify why mathematics is a branch of science. More worryingly, he describes taxonomy as a branch of science and later equates the two p29, That is like saying the organisation of books on your shelf is a branch of the study of literature.
For a book subtitled "The Beginning According to Genesis and Science" there is very, very little actual science content - did Lennox forget his own book's title? Scientific ideas, when they appear, are discussed in the vaguest of terms. I was expecting at least a brief description of the idea of the Big Bang or evolution by natural selection. His treatment of both ideas is unsatisfactory. Lennox shows that he has some understanding of the difference between the roles of science and religion when, in a discussion on the Big Bang, he criticises the idea that we must choose between science and God.
Lennox writes that positing such a choice is "on the same foolish level as insisting we should choose between Henry Ford and a car-production line to explain the origin of the Ford Galaxy" p This is similar to the famous quote attributed to Galileo: "The Bible teaches how to go to heaven, not how the heavens go.
Religion tries to understand why these things happen. Lennox is quite happy for the Big Bang, expansion of the universe and creation of the stars over billions of years to be a mechanism by which God creates his cosmos. In the end he somewhat arbitrarily declares his support for the Day-Age theory, vaguely making reference to "fossil evidence" that supports his view p55 , but never actually citing any data.
Unfortunately Lennox is somehow incapable of accepting evolution by natural selection as a mechanism through which God can act. Any time evolution is mentioned in the main body of text it is accompanied by words like "unguided" p70 and "materialistic" p86 in an attempt to discredit it. This is essentially name-calling. This is because he insists that the creation of Adam from dust must be a literal historical event. I have already mentioned that Lennox supplies us with the arguments against treating the creation accounts as purely narrative texts in Appendix A but fails to realise how this undermines his position.
But setting this aside, why does Lennox think Adam-from-dust was a historical event? Because Man was created in the image of God. Once again, Lennox's analysis falls apart because he has failed to adequately define what being created in the image of God actually means. He argues that because Man was created in the image of God he must have been made in "a direct special creation act" p The logical argument he presents for this is incomplete. Instead, he justifies the literal Adam-from-dust theory with three New Testament verses.
This is problematic because i these verses are referencing the Genesis account, making them circular citations, and ii only one of these verses actually makes reference to Adam-from-dust 1 Cor , and it is in relation to the theological distinction between Man and Jesus. It is not trying to argue that Adam was literally created from dust. Lennox believes that the creation of Adam was "a direct special creation act" p69 and regards evolution as an "unguided natural process" p70 ; therefore, the two ideas must be incompatible. However, if Lennox is indeed a Bible-believing Christian p12 , then he will no doubt believe God is sovereign over all of his creation Eph , Dan , Is , etc etc etc.
In which case, in the same way that God has authority over every dice roll, he will also have authority over all natural processes. Even if an event or process appears random to us i. Thus Lennox's objection to evolution is unfounded. Lennox attempts to understand and refute "theistic evolution" in the final appendix of his book, but because he doesn't understand that God guides all processes in the universe and that the conflict he presents is a false one, the best he can do is dismiss the idea as "very hard to imagine" p Many of Lennox's other arguments are similarly weak.
In addressing the idea that Adam and Eve were not the first hominids he makes a straw man out of Denis Alexander, nitpicking the wording of his ideas instead of answering the fundamentals of his argument p His response to the creation-as-myth camp is first an ad hominem, then to repeat a quote from the Fall passage and, without any explanation, say that this quote means it must be a real historical event p Reiterating a Biblical quote is not the same as making an argument.
Lennox thinks that because humans are the only creatures described in the Bible as being made in the image of God, there must therefore be no other creatures made in the image of God p This is clearly poor logic. He takes the "and he saw that it was good" refrain and says this means God made his creation with "the joy and enthusiasm of a skilful artist" p This is unfounded extrapolation. From this quote all we know is he saw creation was good; it says nothing about if he enjoyed creating it.
This is a minor point, but it clearly illustrates the lack of logic in Lennox's arguments. In Appendix D he tries to resolve the two creation stories in Genesis, but makes no mention of the other 20 or so creation stories that appear throughout the Bible. Perhaps must ludicrously he says that the blame for the breakdown of marriage in modern Western culture should fundamentally lie with scientists because the root cause of this breakdown is the theory of evolution p This is a particularly ignorant and slanderous comment.
Lennox argues that there are two types of God-of-the-gaps theories: the bad caused by ignorance and the good found by discovery that we know we can't fill p He cites the singularity at the Big Bang as an example of a gap we know we can't fill with science, but this is untrue. Indeed, cosmologists are currently trying to address this issue with e. His other appeals for us to accept his God of the gaps fallacies I can't believe I'm writing that are emotional p and tu quoque fallacies p There are numerous other problems, errors and half-hearted attempts at logic littered throughout the books, but I will stop here.
The discord between the evident poor quality of the arguments in this book and the glowing reviews it has received deeply trouble me. The start of this book, where Lennox gives the impression of respecting both scientific and theological thought, filled me with great hope. Yet in this book he is unwilling or incapable? It also becomes clear as the book goes on and is stated more overtly in some of his other works that he has little respect for biology as a discipline.
Others still have praised him for his humble tone. While I agree that his prose is generally well-written, I found the veneer of good nature gradually peel away with the various oversimplifications, personal attacks, misleading quotes and false appeals to authority. It felt like Lennox was deliberately or unintentionally trying to mislead me. There are a few points in this book where Lennox makes respectful arguments, but the fact that they are made against the backdrop of such poor scholarship means that even if this book does contain some points of value I would not dare recommend it to others.
Nov 26, Kris rated it liked it Shelves: religion-christianity. I was torn between two and three stars for this one. In the end, I decided to go with three stars, just because I love Lennox and there are some good thoughts in here. But man, was this book a mess.
See a Problem?
Lennox, as always, has great ideas, but the organization and depth of this book is lacking in so many ways. First, I have to get this initial annoyance out of the way: the heliocentric vs. Lennox connects this example to the current "c I was torn between two and three stars for this one. Lennox connects this example to the current "creation" vs.
I see why he does this, and it makes sense. But is this the only reason for the analogy? It can only go so far. We can literally send people into space to watch the earth rotate around the sun. This is something one can observe and test in multiple different ways, in many scientific fields. But this analogy doesn't work in comparison to creation theories, because there's no way to observe or test creation. We can't go back to the beginning of time and watch how God created the earth. The only thing we can ever do is add up the little evidence we have, and choose the best theory to believe.
Our thoughts about what the Bible says about creation can never be proven wrong or right, purely scientifically, because we can never observe it happening in our universe. Okay, now that that's out of the way, let me get to the basic problem with this book: organization and quality of writing. Lennox seems to love the topic, but this book never seems to coherently organize and present his own ideas. He loves to wash over things, glance at them, but never draw any conclusions. His two main points which I scrounged out of this book seem to be: 1 there is a beginning to the universe; 2 the first seven 'days' which make up the first week of creation in Genesis didn't have to be 24 hour days.
Okay, fine, I can agree with you that they weren't exactly 24 hour days sure, the universe has changed some since then.
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But the problem comes when you don't draw a line between exact 24 hour days of creation, and humans originating from Darwinian macro-evolution. There's some huge gaps in there, with many details to address, and Lennox doesn't draw this line and define these details clearly. He bit off more than he could chew. He sort of, kinda, halfheartedly tries to address some of these problems in chapter four.
But he never actually gives answers. And that's the whole problem with the book: in general, the most he ever seemed to do was present potential problems, discuss potential responses, but he could never round up his thoughts into coherent answers. I mean, I realize that Lennox can't write an exhaustive page investigation here, but come on -- at least try to meet me half way! What's even the point of this book?
It felt like he was throwing out ideas and hoped they'd come together before his manuscript deadline. The sad thing is, he's smart enough to address all the details here! I'd love to hear him investigate this, but he doesn't do it in an organized fashion. The whole structure of the entire book leaves much to be desired. Not only are the actual chapters inconsistent, roughly structured, and leave me wanting more, but the appendix makes up half the book. Lennox tries so hard to limit his explanations and keep the writing small in scope, which is understandable, but holds it back so much that he ends up shortchanging himself in the process.
He barely ends up saying anything at all. I can understand how he's drawing a line between believing the earth is old, and believing in macro-evolution as an explanation for human existence.
See a Problem?
There is a distinction there that I'd love to explore. But what else? What are its implications? He barely scratches the surface, and it's a shame. I might come back and edit this review again later, but I had to get my thoughts down tonight. Dec 14, Mary rated it it was amazing Shelves: science , bible , christianity , genesis , hermeneutics.
An insightful, engaging, fascinating read. John Lennox addresses a thorny issue with intelligence and grace. Highly recommended. Nov 26, Brian Chilton rated it it was amazing. Lennox did an amazing job examining what is known as "Old Earth Creationism. Lennox shows in a thrilling manner that the Genesis account does not necessitate a young earth view. Lennox shows that cosmology belief does not demand a biological belief as some Young Earth Creationists believe.
Lennox believes in six historical days, but shows the six historical days occurring within the time-frame of a six epoch time frame of an indeterminate time. With Lennox's interpretation, one could adhere to a literalist interpretation of the Bible along with the acceptance of the 11 billion year history that scientific data tends to show. Lennox also deals with the creation of humanity which he shows as a special act of God. Lennox quotes C. Lewis to clear up a discrepancy upon which I have thought intensely.
If the universe and earth are old, then why was it that some animals seemed to prey upon other animals and why was there death before humanity entered the scene? Lennox, alluding to Lewis, shows that there is not a discrepancy after all. Scripture shows that in Romans , Paul refers to human death entering the scene by human sin.
However, sin may have been already been present because there was a rebellious person already present So according to Lennox's interpretation, sin entered creation by the fall of Satan and sin entered humanity by the choice of Adam and Eve. Therefore, there is no discrepancy after all. It appears from the onset, that Lennox clarifies why there could be death in the natural world before sin entered the human world.
This would also explain why God created a special garden to create Adam and Eve. From Lennox's own testimony, he does not give an exhaustive exposition of this issue, but from my perspective, he clarifies a lot of misunderstanding for those who oppose Old Earth Creationism. If you are open to examine Old Earth Creationism and how creation and science can be blended, then I would highly recommend this book to you.
I conclude this review of Lennox's book with some insights given by Lennox himself. There seem to me to be four salient considerations: The current scientific evidence for an ancient earth. The honest and admirable admission of prominent young-earth creationists that "recent creationists should humbly agree that their view is, at the moment, implausible on purely scientific grounds.
They can make common cause with those who reject naturalism, like old earth creationists, to establish their most basic beliefs. There are other possible interpretations in terms of an ancient earth that do not compromise the authority of Scripture. The fact that we do not know everything.
Humility is often seen in the greatest scientists. It is also a Christian virtue" Lennox, Nov 02, Paul Bruggink rated it really liked it. This book primarily makes a biblically based case for an old earth, or at least that the Bible does not preclude an old earth. He concludes this portion of the book with a final lesson from the Galileo affair: "The Galileo incident teaches us that we should be humble enough to distinguish between what the Bible says and our interpretations of it.
Th This book primarily makes a biblically based case for an old earth, or at least that the Bible does not preclude an old earth. The biblical text might just be more sophisticated than we first imagined, and we might therefore be in danger of using it to support ideas that it never intended to teach. The Bible could be understood to teach that the earth was fixed. But it does not have to be understood that way. At least, Galileo thought so in his day, and history has subsequently proved him right.
Here we see that, although Scripture could be understood as teaching that the earth is young, it does not have to be interpreted in this way. Lennox has a nice, brief summary of the three main interpretations of the days of Genesis 1: the hour view, the day-age view, and the framework view. He then presents his case for the fiat days view, a variation of the day-age view in which "the six creation days themselves could well have been days of normal length While he accepts biological evolution, he makes a case for the special creation of Adam and Eve as another intervention singularity in history, along with the Big Bang, life from nonlife, the Incarnation and the Resurrection.
He winds up by suggesting that, just as science and the Bible have converged on the beginning of the universe, science and the Bible may also converge on the origin of life. All in all, this is a very worthwhile book, both for non-Christians who has been put off by the young earth creationism of some Christians and for Christians "who are disturbed not only by the controversy but also by the fact that even those who take the Bible seriously do not agree on the interpretation of the creation account.
By Lennox. In general a great read. The book makes some interesting points that lead us to more confidence in our Lord and savior. Well worth the time to read. Not sure this book answers many questions about the days of creation and if they are 24 hrs days or ages but still very good. Most of the books seems to deal more with the relationship of modern science and religion. On page at the bottom of page says that DNA or the information it contains is not physical.
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What does he mean by this? Isn By Lennox. Another key point that comes from the book is that we know so little about the beginning and its timing. This should lead Christians of all folks most of all to be humble. See page 87 top. Page note the back and forth with a noted physicist. So many things we cannot explain. What is energy? What is consciousness? This too leads me to humility. Page middle. Note how author points out how we try with our minds to make sense of things that happen to us but cannot without something or someone from outside us.
This is an amazing truth. Page bottom note how author feels about mans responsibility to earth. It shows some of the weakness of past evolutionary thought and how some modern scientists are admitting it. Jan 16, Ryan Manns rated it it was amazing Shelves: science , religion. Probably my favourite author on science and faith. I had been looking forward to reading this book for months. Chapter 3 and Appendix E were excellent reads and the tipping point in my choosing to give the book 5 stars. Feb 17, Laurie rated it really liked it Shelves: nook. An excellent, accessible and brief treatment of the subject, heavily footnoted and indexed.
The author has obviously read widely the varied contemporary views on this subject. Apr 05, Emily rated it really liked it Shelves: non-fiction. I did not agree with everything John Lennox said but he made some good points, gave some good quotes and asked some very good questions! Mar 10, David rated it really liked it. Overall I have to say that he is quickly becoming my favourite Christian apologist author. Lennox is to-the-point and makes his points very powerfully.
And, judging by the amount of quoting he does from other prominent writers, very well read, drawing his conclusions from an array of sources. That being said this book was not what I was expecting. It is small in width and height, some pages or so, about half of which is appendix. And Lennox does not state his own personal position on the seven day creation week of Genesis 1.
Which I wish I had known up front so as to stop looking for it as I read. Overall though I must say I really enjoyed the book. I audio-booked it, then bought the book, and re-read certain portions. Lennox brings a powerful point to bear in the beginning chapters of his book — that this type of apparent conflict between interpretations of the Bible as it relates to new scientific discoveries is not something new. Copernicus had suggested that the earth revolved around the sun and Galileo subsequently supported it.
This was apparently supported by the Bible 1 Chron , Ps. Even prominent theologians such as Luther and Calvin spoke out against this new scientific discovery. Now in the present-day you obviously can not find anyone who still believes that the earth is fixed. And no-one would say that present-day there are any issues with those texts.
Lennox moves on from this point to discuss: - How we derive meaning from scriptures. What scripture says is truth, however, our understanding of what the scripture says may not be. We must be humble in our interpretation and understanding. If this artificial link is created, and the scientific view changes or is updated, the scriptures can be discarded in the process even though what the scripture says does not require a direct link.
Literalistic seven hour periods, the day-age view, and the framework view. Lennox seems to favour hour periods of creative actions, however, punctuated by unspecified periods of time. This view seems to explain better the geological record. Interpretation of the creation week is not as important as some of the other themes of Genesis.
Lennox does not want to take a hard stance on anything other than that scripture is divinely inspired and must be taken seriously. However, it is apparent that he favours punctuated creation as it seems to explain scientific findings for the moment. His interpretation of Ex. Six days you shall labor and do all your work , but the seventh-day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God… For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth , the sea, and all that is in them, but He rested on the seventh day.
Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. Thus Ex does not demand that the days of Genesis 1 be the days of a single week, although it could of course be interpreted that way. One is that while it is true that the creation week and our work week are not exactly the same, it seems to me that this text IS drawing a straight line. Six days is for working, the seventh is to rest from working.
Maybe another way to think about it is to ask the question; if the author was TRYING to draw the straight line what could he have said that would make you interpret it as such? I suspect none. The next issue I have builds on the first in that I believe this text needs to be taken very seriously. The description of how a suicide bomber is recruited, Seven Days and finally discharged is Difference Does masterpiece. Book was very good, enjoyed it very much. Like Penelope Kingston, Chrissie believes its great to aim for excellence.
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