The fine staff of Evangelical Press gave me this excellent new book by scientist and theologian Edgar Andrews – Who Made God: Searching for a Theory of Everything (2009). I’m nearly finished with it, and have been quite impressed with it.
To be honest, I’ve never read anything like it before. Andrews is an experienced and distinguished scientist who is also a biblical scholar. In a level-headed and sometimes humorous way, Andrews digs deeply into the “New Atheism” of Richard Dawkins, Stephen Gould, Victor Stenger, and the like. He talks about how science often over steps its bounds by making speculations about non-material entities. “Science can describe the fundamental structures of matter, energy, space, and time but can hardly be said to explain them” (p. 27).
Andrews also jumps right in and talks about quantum mechanics, string theory, good v poor syllogism, deism, idolatry, the big bang, the expanding universe, entropy, natural law, miracles, Augustine, DNA, mRNA, intelligent design, evolution, and alleles. Though quite a few of these terms and concepts were new and difficult to me, for the most part Andrews explained them well enough. I’m glad Andrews didn’t just throw the stock biblicist answers at these deep scientific questions. For example, he’s not a big fan of what some call Intelligent Design, nor is he a fan of ignoring the scientific findings of unbelievers. Further, he doesn’t treat Genesis 1-3 as a science textbook as I’ve seen some creationists do (i.e. he advocates the phenomenological aspect of the creation narrative as well as the poetic aspect of other scripture texts – i.e. p 74, 106).
Here are a few of my favorite quotes so far.
“To invoke [as some scientists do] an invisible, inaccessible, eternal and totally unknowable prior universe as the material cause of the one we know, can hardly be dignified as a ‘scientific’ account of origins. Science fiction and pop-science can get away with such speculations but real science demands a little more evidence” (p. 121).
“The laws of nature constitute unchanging reality whereas the laws of science are frequently imperfect attempts to describe reality. It is the business of science to discover laws that describe, more or less accurately, how the universe works. Such discoveries not only deepen our understanding of the cosmos but can often be exploited for man’s benefit in what we call ‘technology’. But neither science nor technology would be possible without the unchanging substratum of natural law – the ultimate physical reality that science strives to probe and understand” (p. 141).
I’ll post more on this later, DV. For now, if these kinds of books are up your alley, you may want to check this one out! The book is very readable, with good illustrations, short chapters (not overwhelming!), and it even has a helpful topical index in the back.