Have you ever been in a room or a conversation where a discussion is taking place and the others involved in it look at you, and you can read from their faces, that they think that you are not intelligent enough to join in?
Have you ever been in a conversation where you’re asked a question and you panic, you don’t know the answer, and so the cold sweat starts and you just freeze.
This can be often be the case for people when it comes to the whole Science vs Religion debate. Christians can be looked down on as being silly or weak because of their believe in God, or they can shrink away from such conversations because they don’t know the answers.
But, as Christians we are called to always be ready to give an answer for our hope in Jesus (1 Peter 3:15). This is why I thank God that He has called and equipped gifted people, more intelligent and more academically able people than I to assist me in my answers. John Lennox is one of those people.
Lennox is Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford, he is a Christian and widely known for his debates with leading atheists. I have read a number of his books and I always find him to be an insightful, logical and well-argued writer.
One of the things that I enjoy about Lennox’s books is that they don’t shy away from the big questions that many Christians are asking, this book is no different.
One of the biggest areas today that causes people to doubt the validity of Christianity is science. This is probably a result of pupils being taught from an early age that science and Christianity don’t mix but rather science has disproved the existence of God. Is this true? Has science delivered the last blow? Is it the final nail in the coffin of the God debate? Lennox, who is far smarter and more learned than I, says no, he exposes what he calls the ‘Dark side of academia’…
“There are some scientists who set out with preconceived ideas, do not really wish to discuss evidence, and appear to be fixated not on the pursuit of truth but on propagating the notions that science and God do not mix and that those who believe in God are simply ignorant. This is simply not true.”
He describes how early on in his studies some professors sat him down and told him to forget about God if he wanted any kind of career in science. Lennox rightly points out that if the situation was flipped with Christian professors pressuring an atheist to give up their beliefs then there would have been repercussions and disciplinary hearings. But who really cares about Christians and their faith, it’s unreasonable isn’t it?
No, it isn’t.
Lennox draws on long lists of scientists who have won awards and achieved great feats for science who were also Christians. He also lists people who are not Christians but who say that science leads one to understand that there must be some higher power.
If this is the case, why then are so many people adamant that science has disproved God?
“The problem is, many people give to all statements by scientists the authority rightly due to science, simply because they are stated by a scientist.”
Lennox says that a person can be the best scientist in their field, but go outside of that field and they’re just as dumb as the next guy.
Lennox walks through some of the misconceptions and objections to the existence of God and puts them to rest, because many of them are founded on a false understanding of who God is. Scientists can be tempted to think that science has disproved the existence of God, not because it has, but because they see God as the ‘god of the gaps’. Meaning that where ‘gaps’ exist in our understanding of the world, that is the only place a person can have faith because it is unknown. But this is such a false view of God, as Lennox rightfully states
“The God of the Bible is not a god of the gaps. He is the God of the whole show. He is the God of the bits of the universe we don’t understand and the bits we do.”
He then goes on to debunk two myths about Christianity; 1) that religion depends on faith but science doesn’t, and 2) that science depends on reason but Christianity doesn’t. As I read these chapters I found myself being so thankful that God has equipped learned men and women who are academically gifted and still able to ‘dumb it down’ for people like me. Lennox and others have the ability to teach us about complex issues whilst also filling us with a deeper sense of confidence in God.
Lennox devotes the next part of the book to the accuracy of the Bible, but instead of approaching it like many do, simply by stating that the Bible is true and accurate, Lennox comes at it scientifically. He looks at the overwhelming evidence that we have of early manuscripts and how the Bible is better preserved, historically, than many other documents that we deem trustworthy.
He goes on to speak about miracles and brings it home to the resurrection of Jesus and says
“Disprove the resurrection, and the whole of Christianity would disappear in a puff of smoke. Unlike most other religions and worldviews which are based on ideas or theories, Christianity claims to be falsifiable, based on this single historical claim. Disprove the resurrection of Jesus, and Christianity is dead.”
Lennox draws the book to a close by asking about your experience. This book draws you in and is complex yet a simple read, full of great knowledge yet easy to understand and follow. If you have questions about the Christianity vs science debate, or if you want to be able to argue for Christianity this book will be very helpful to you.
I devoured it in an afternoon, but find myself still mulling it over in my mind two weeks later.
This book is great for all Christians (young, old, new and mature), it is great for those asking questions about Christianity and it would be a great gift for that person who is always arguing ‘science’ with you.
John Lennox is Professor of Mathematics Emeritus at the University of Oxford. He lectures on Faith and Science for the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics. He is particularly interested in the interface of Science, Philosophy and Theology. Lennox has been part of numerous public debates defending the Christian faith, including Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and Peter Singer. John is the author of a number of books on the relationship between science, religion and ethics.