Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Reading

Schools out and various industries are in the midst of Christmas shutdowns. You might find yourself with a little extra time on your hands this time of year. You also might find yourself lacking regular internet access, and be looking for some good reading material.
This year my Christmas present to you is a book recommendation. The book I'm recommending you read over your Holiday break is call The Science of God: The Convergence of Scientific and Biblical Wisdom.
Schroeder is a physicist and Bible scholar. His previous work was called Genesis and the Big Bang. In The Science of God, he compares the Genesis account of creation with current scientific knowledge about the origin of life. No doubt he is well versed in both the Bible and biology; he's also a skilled pedagogue, explaining abstract or counterintuitive concepts in lay terms.
Some of his arguments (for instance, that the sequence of Genesis creation is congruent with evolution's progression from prokaryotic to human life) are compelling.
He demonstrates how some of the issues between the Church and the scientific community were not actually Biblically based at all. For example, the Church fought against the scientific discovery of elliptical orbits because they believed a perfect God would use perfect circular orbits, but no where in the Bible does it talk about Circular or Explical orbits at all. It wasn’t an issue of Science versus the Bible, but Science versus the Church.
I loved his turn of the phrase "Render undo Einstein, that which is Einstein’s, and render unto God that which is God's"
Schroeder is very lucid in explaining difficult scientific concepts, such as the passage of time according to the theory of relativity, and religious data, such as the original Hebrew words.
I'm finding this book truly fascinating. Whether you are a skeptic, or a believer, I think you will find the book an interesting read.
Highly recommended.
You could also check out some of the books I recommended last year. You can see them here: http://honorscode.blogspot.com/2008/12/holiday-reading.html

10 comments:

Adlib said...

Thank you, Honors! I love stuff like this and was just wondering where I could find good reading material that covers both subjects like that. I'll have to pick up a copy to read between my adventures in WoW. :)

Smashie said...

The book you recommended seems like a great read. I think I will order it from barnes and noble and give it a read when I finish my current. Thanks!

Daxenos said...

After reading some of the beginning on Google books, I have to wonder if the author is trying to reconcile the theory of evolution with the Biblical account of creation.

It doesn't work due to one fact:
Rom. 5:12 (NASB)- Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned.

Before man came on the scene, there was no death, but evolution teaches that through death, came man. So either man came first or death did. Evolution and Creationism are mutually exclusive.

A better resource for biblical science might be Answers in Genesis or the Institute for Creation Research or many of Ken Ham's books.

Dax

Honors Code said...

One things I will point out is that Schroeder, the author of the book, is not a Christian. I find it all the more facinating how this non Christian finds a correlation between Science and the Bible.

Now to your point.

I find no indication in the Genesis account that no animal or plant died prior to the Fall. We know Adam and Eve ate. Therefore the plant they ate 'died'. This happened before the Fall.

Actually, this is the essence of Schroeder's point. We try to make the Bible say things it doesn't say.

Also, couldn't Paul have been referring to Spiritual Death, rather than physical death, in his letter to the Romans.

I recommend you read the book, you might find it a fascinating read.

Daxenos said...

I disagree that the plant died. One can eat any manner of fruit of a plant without the plant dying; in fact, God gave the plants for food, so a plant's "death" was not a factor.

I did not know that the author was not a christian; this changes everything as the book doesn't have to pass muster in correlation to scripture. I thought that he was a christian that was trying to reconcile the two major theories of origins.

Sorry for the misunderstanding. 8~)

Dax

Honors Code said...

I fail to see how his being a Christian or not has any bearing on the accuracy of his findings. He uses what science says and what the Bible says and finds a remarkable agreement between the two.

I think the fact he isn't a Christian only strengthens his case. I wouldn't dismiss the book out of hand simply because it wasn't written by a Christian. If you read it, you'll he has done his research on what the Bible actually says.

Daxenos said...

The author's status as a non-believer tells me from where he is coming.

As a christian, I take the Bible as fact and work on understanding what man has discovered about science from there. When man's knowledge does not square with what the Bible has to say, I accept what the Bible says.

Usually non-christians take the opposite approach, ie take science for fact and see how the Bible may or may not agree.

It is useful to know what the author's world view is to know his assumptions and possible biases.

I'm really sorry for hijacking this thread; please feel free to email me if you'd rather we discuss this in another venue.

Dax

Honors Code said...

I don't think you're hijacking the thread at all. It's a good discussion.

I understand where you are coming from, and I agree with you.

However, I'm also trying to look at this from the perspective of a Skeptic. There would be unsatisfied with an answer of we believe it because we believe it. They would, rightly, want more.

We are called to 'rightly divide the Word of Truth'. That means sometimes we have to dig back into the orginal Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic to find the what the writers of the Bible were trying to communicate. For instance, the Romans example you cited. Were there different Greek words for physical death and spiritual death? Which Greek word did Paul use in his writing.

Daxenos said...

John MacArthur has this to say on Rom. 5:12:

http://www.gty.org/Resources/Sermons/45-43.

I highly encourage you to read the whole thing as there is a wealth of information related to this discussion.

MacArthur notes that the death in question is actually both physical and spiritual. He puts forth the idea that man was not created to die and that mankind's death is a consequence of sin.

The phrase in Genesis 2:17, translated into English as "you shall surely die" by nearly all English translations is translated by Young's Literal Translation as "dying, thou dost die" (http://yltbible.com/genesis/2.htm and http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2007/05/02/dying-you-shall-die) or to paraphrase Ken Ham: "you will start dying, and all your life you will continue dying until you are dead."

MacArthur includes an aside in his sermon that is very interesting:

"In order to make this analogy work, in order for it to have any validity, since Christ is a historical figure, what must Adam be? An historical figure. I think this is one passage that strikes a fierce blow to the evolutionary hypothesis and to all of those people who say that Adam is representative of some sort of mystical pre‑historic drama made up by men and so forth and so on. Listen, if Adam is not a real one man whose one deed corrupted the whole race, then Christ is not a real one man whose one deed gives righteousness to those who believe."

Dax

Capn Skillet said...

One interesting thing in Genesis is that God said, "Let the ground bring forth vegetation." He says the same to the sea when he says for it to bring forth fish and again to the land to bring forth living creatures.

The language there is of a God empowering his creation to also create. In fact, the only creature Genesis really talks about God molding with his own hands is the human.

For this reason, I believe creation has the ability to evolve, simply because God gave it that ability. However, if we are to believe the Genesis account, then human beings are created directly by God and are set apart from the rest of creation at the beginning.

Yes, there is still some evolution among humans. For example, some have darker skin to adapt to hotter climates while some have more hair to adapt to colder climates. However, to say that human beings evolved from apes is a contradiction to God's intentional creating and setting apart humans as the caretakers of the rest of creation.