God's Undertaker Book Review
Has Science Buried God?
John Lennox On Life, The Universe And Everything
God's Undertaker, by Professor John Lennox asks the question "Has science buried God?"
He weighs in to the God and Science debate with thought provoking questions:
Where did life, the universe and everything come from?
Was it made by some intelligent being, or did it happen by accident?
Will science eventually give us all the answers to these questions?
Read on to find out more.
God And Science
Science Versus Religion?
John C. Lennox, a Professor of Mathematics, presents a fascinating book, on this question of "Has science buried God?" (which forms the book’s subtitle).
This has become one of my favourite books about science and religion, and indeed, one of my favourite books, full stop.
I have read various books, articles and websites over the years, regarding the whole "science versus religion" issue, but this is one of the best that I have found.
-Not necessarily because it answers questions that the others don't, but because John Lennox deals with a lot of myths about both 'sides' of the argument.
He is also speaking into the current culture of "popular" science and the seemingly aggressive, atheistic stance, of some present day naturalists.
It has helped to crystallise many of my thoughts, whilst challenging me in other areas, and I keep re-reading it, to find out more.
There is a popular belief that science and religion (particularly Christianity), don't mix.
It is thought that there is a war going on between them, and you can believe one or the other, but not both.
Some scientists say that the Bible is 'wrong' and that science is 'right', while some Christians say the complete opposite.
I think both those views are incorrect and this book gives a clearer illumination of the subject than I have come across elsewhere.
Science And God
Shaken, But Not Stirred
I grew up loving science.
Later, I became a Christian and started to question some of the ideas I had grown up with, but I didn't go to either of the above extremes.
Now I love both God and science.
I have been concerned for a long time, that the press sets this up purely as a battle between Atheists and Christians, and made it the realm of ‘experts’, so that ordinary people cannot take part in the debate.
While I have always got on very well with professed Atheists in my workplace, there seems to be an implication in the public eye, that Christians don't believe in science and are either mad, or deluded, in some way.
However, this book has helped me make sense out of the arguments, on both sides of the fence.
Lennox presents a logical argument which is clear and concise, without so much technical detail as to be overwhelming.
However, there is also enough in there to stimulate our own thinking.
In fact, one of the main points Dr. Lennox makes, is that the battle is not about “science versus religion”, but atheism versus theism within science.
From there, the reader is taken through the relationship of Christianity/religion to science, and the scope and limits of science, and then through a series of scientific areas including:
- Biology (including evolution and molecular biology)
- Chemistry (including DNA)
- Mathematics and Information Theory
In each section, he quotes and comments on the worldviews of prominent scientists and evidence that can be found for, or against, an outside source for the universe and everything in it.
I say 'outside source' advisedly because Lennox is careful to distance himself and his arguments from creationism, and specifically, Intelligent Design - while also allowing for the myths that have grown up around *that* (you'll have to read it, to see what I mean).
Of course, he then spends much of the book, attempting to show that the evidence points towards a universe that *is* designed, and that design by it's nature, denotes intelligence!
He specifically uses scientific arguments to make his point, but quotes the bible when needed (which is not very often IMO).
Can Christians be scientists (or can scientists be Christians)?
John Lennox And Richard Dawkins
I Infer That Cake Is Needed
John Lennox is a professor of Mathematics and also teaches Science and Religion at Oxford University.
Dr. Lennox is a Christian, but the majority of the book focuses on science itself, rather than what might be perceived as “religious” arguments or rhetoric.
As he takes us through the above mentioned disciplines, he discusses subjects as diverse as the fine-tuned nature of the universe and whether evolution can account for *all* the species of life on earth.
In each case, he asks whether the evidence of science infers the existence of God - something that prominent Atheists, such as Richard Dawkins, explicitly refute.
For example, when considering the physical universe, he points to a large body of evidence, that shows life could not exist at all without many parameters being “just so”, with incredible degrees of precision.
- Everything from the distance of the Earth from the Sun, to the number and size of the stars in the universe, affects whether life can be present.
Lennox infers from this evidence, that it must have been designed.
He quotes several eminent scientists (sone, former atheists) who have been persuaded of this viewpoint, on the basis of the fine-tuning evidence alone.
Lennox also addresses a number of arguments that atheists (including Professor Dawkins) often cite against Christian or religious views.
One of these arguments is "God of the gaps", the idea that it is simple superstition that calls on a "God" or "gods" to explain any phenomena that cannot be described currently by natural processes.
Lennox makes a special point of showing that he is using inference - a scientific method - to show the presence of an intelligent source, and not just "filling in" such gaps, with what cannot be known.
He also singles out Prof. Dawkin's assertions that all faith is “blind faith”, with no concrete evidence to it.
Lennox asks "where is his [Dawkins] evidence, that faith is not based on evidence?"
During his discussion about the scope and limits of science, he calls on an amusing allegory titled, “Aunt Matilda's Cake".
I particularly like this section, as I think it is an excellent explanation, in metaphor/parable form, of why science can't answer everything - and how some things have to be revealed.
I'll leave it up to you to decide whether his arguments hold water or not.
If you want to read the opposite viewpoint, then this book by Richard Dawkins is for you.
A number of books have been written (including by John Lennox) to refute what Dr. Dawkins says in this volume and others.
However, why not read it for yourself and make up your own mind?
The Science Of God
In reading this book, I've found that I am in good company.
There are many scientists (including some very eminent ones) who also believe in God, not just through history, but in the present day too.
We're not mad, we're not deluded - although in my case, perhaps that could be debated ;) - and we think deeply about the world (and universe) around us.
I have seen the odd comment about John Lennox, saying that he sounds ridiculous, but I have found him to be remarkably lucid.
Overall, I think it is fair to say that the author presents a moderate viewpoint which looks at both sides of the 'fence'.
Throughout, he gives quotes from prominent scientists on all sides of the discussion (and believe me, it's not a simple 2-sided argument), using some of these as initial thought provokers at the beginning of each chapter.
I've found the book to be exciting and, like a detective novel, revealing, and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to anyone interested in the subject.
Reading it has stimulated me to worship and to lead some sessions on it in my church home group.
Whether or not you believe in a Creator God, whatever your views on the universe, I am sure that God's Undertaker will give you something to think about - and what better time to think about it than now?
Prof vs Prof
Professor John Lennox has had public debates with Professor Richard Dawkins.
The video below shows one such discussion.
John Lennox vs Richard Dawkins
If you have something to say then let us know in the comments.
I'm aware that this subject can elicit strong feelings ...so let's keep it clean folks!
© 2013 Tim Bader