Truth and Beauty

Book Review

The Genesis Enigma by Andrew Parker

 Evolution AND God
  Andrew Parker, a broad-based biological scientist, who is up-to-date on the latest understanding of evolutionary evidence, proposes that yes, there is room for both – evolution and God. Scientists and theologians don’t need to fight and argue any longer. The Bible isn’t at odds with scientific findings after all, and therefore can be trusted.

  Some of Parker’s professional colleagues, including Professors John Lennox, Alister McGrath, and Alan Millard at Green Templeton College, Oxford University, all well-versed in religion, inspired him to further explore the science versus theology controversy.

       In the Genesis Enigma, Parker weaves together his insights from Christian art, biblical archaeology, development of the biblical texts, and evolutionary science to arrive at a stunning conclusion: The Old Testament is true, and more specifically, the Genesis 1 creation sequence corresponds to the current scientific understanding of life’s evolutionary history.

 After establishing the validity of the Old Testament through archaeological findings in Chapter 1, Parker devotes each of Chapters 2-8 to the main events of Genesis 1. He carefully documents the history of the various fossil discoveries and the resultant evolutionary thought and conclusions regarding the stages of life on earth. To his own surprise, he discovers a match between the sequence of creation events in Genesis and the modern scientific account of how the universe and life came to be. It needs to be mentioned, however, that in some cases the correspondence between the Genesis creation account and scientific understanding of origins is not as clear cut as Parker tries to convince the reader.

  In the last chapter, Parker examines the place of God amidst the scientific evidence. In a middle-ground solution, he proposes God to be the entity behind the Big Bang and the creator of the initial energy which gave rise to the material universe.

  Drawing on the thoughts of C.S. Lewis and others, Parker observes that a universal moral law has existed in the various civilizations throughout human history. In addition, the sense of beauty and spirituality is almost universally integrated into the human psyche. These realities point to the existence of a Higher Power.

  Another fact that Parker points out is that we live in a virtual reality world – an enormous amount of data about what exists is simply unavailable to us. Furthermore, our sensory system distorts the information that we do collect. Since our senses are extremely limited, we must accept that we’ll never fully understand the universe. There are indeed mysterious elements that are outside or even beyond scientific explanation, one of which is the question of origins.

  Because of the limitations of our senses and brains, it can be concluded that there is the potential for God’s existence – the possibility of an intelligent, complex, and to us incomprehensible, Force behind all that exist is very real. C.S. Lewis, and before him the first-century Jewish philosopher Philo of Alexandria, postulates that “God” may be more like a mind behind the universe – something unknowable and beyond human comprehension.

  Parker’s conclusion is that the Bible is a metaphorical text as only metaphor can express what literal language cannot. The “writer” of Genesis didn’t have the understanding of modern science and yet was able to record events so that they seem to match with today’s scientific discoveries. This is strong evidence for God and divine inspiration.

  The Genesis Enigma will not please conservative Christians who believe in a literal interpretation of the Creation account and a young Earth, because Parker rejects this thinking without much justification. The book may, however, be enjoyed by those who like science and already feel that parts of the Bible are written in metaphoric language. They may find the systematic description of the various scientific discoveries and their possible biblical parallels of interest.  

 Parker broadens the traditional Christian concept of God by pointing out new possibilities for life’s origins. All in all, however, any book of this nature is of necessity speculative because human limitations prevent both scientists and theologians to ever arrive at the full knowledge of what happened at the beginning and how it all came together. 


© 2010 Eva Peck 


A Second Chicken Soup for the Woman’s Soul

  Editors: Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Jennifer Read Hawthorne and Marci Shimoff

     This is another anthology in the Chicken Soup series that touches the soul and warms the heart. More than one hundred stories are grouped under ten headings. The subjects are dealing with love, attitude, living one’s dreams, marriage, motherhood, making a difference, overcoming obstacles, special moments, miracles, and bridging the generations. 

  Written in a readable style, many of the stories lend themselves to reading in spare moments, such as while waiting. Ideal for relaxation before going to bed. Whichever story you pick – read in their book order or selected randomly – you can’t help ending up moved, inspired and edified.


 © 2010 Eva Peck


 Long-Life Prescription – Your Key to Ageing Well

Published by the Readers Digest, this is a book I would highly recommend to anyone who is health conscious and wants to remain in good health into their latter years. It is quite thick and contains many excellent principles. 

Encouragingly, it shows that ageing doesn’t have to mean many of the unpleasant symptoms traditionally associated with it, such as infirmity and dementia. There is such a thing as a healthy life style that significantly contributes to ageing gracefully. Another encouraging fact is that damage done to our bodies in the past can often be reversed through life style changes. This is because the body has a tremendous power to regenerate. Strategies that promote healing regeneration include exercise, stress control, social connections, diet consisting of lean protein, oily fish, complex carbohydrates, nuts, fruits and vegetables, as well as avoiding harmful practises such as smoking and heavy drinking. These strategies would also help maintain optimal health. 

On the sobering side, smoking, chronic anger, stress or worry, and feeling out of control in various aspects of one’s life are highly damaging to health. Also damaging is living in an unhappy relationship. Tips for relationship repair include not expecting perfection, being accepting, listening, resolving issues in a calm, level-headed manner, as well as avoiding criticism, contempt and hostility. Experts say that it takes several positive statements to outweigh the damage wrought by one negative remark. 

So, a reader-friendly book packed with tons of good, practical information. If you are health conscious, this is a book for you.

 © 2011 Eva Peck



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