Friday, September 21, 2007

Book Review: Beyond the Firmament

“Why another book on science and faith?” Gordon Glover poses the question himself in the preface of Beyond the Firmament, his first book, released earlier this month by Watertree Press. While Glover offers his owns reasons, I would like to add a few of my own.

The motto of the publisher Watertree Press (also new) is Read. Think. Grow. With this book, their first release, readers will likely do all three. Glover challenges us to step outside our comfortable paradigms and think about issues like the big bang and evolution in new and fresh ways. He takes the reader on a journey of discovery to answer such questions as: What do we know, and how do we know it? What can the Bible tell us about nature? What can nature tell us about itself? What about evolution?

Glover's approach to this subject matter is unique. He does not write from the perspective of a trained scientist. This, I believe, is to his advantage. The reader will not be bogged down in the arcane language of the lab or technical terminology. (When it is necessary to introduce terms which might be unfamiliar, Glover defines those terms in simple language using footnotes on the same page.) Instead, Glover employs entertaining analogies and a bit of humor to shake us out of our comfort zones and compel us to think clearly! While Glover is not a trained scientist, he does not lack understanding of the technical issues at hand. But his presentation of those issue to the untrained reader is clear, straightforward and to the point. The result is a book that is easy to read, informative, and enjoyable. I recommend it to all my readers who wish to have a clearer world-view when it comes to the sciences of origins and the Bible.

Glover’s forte is analogy. His analogies open up delightful windows upon the truth. They yield up opportunities to look at things from completely new and fresh angles. This sometimes indirect approach catches us off guard, and gently dismantles our faulty preconceived notions without attacking them head-on. It is hard to be defensive and argumentative when we are smiling! Whether Glover is imagining a fleet of levitating snow machines or exposing the folly of a Christian insistence upon “theistic meteorology”, even the resistant reader will be disarmed and forced to rethink his cherished assumptions.

Another strength of Glover’s is his understanding of ancient Near-Eastern world-views, and how they impacted the writing of the Old Testament. Every believer who struggles with early Genesis and Inspiration should read this book. Glover, a committed Bible believer, makes a strong case that those who would defend the Scriptures must do so with an understanding of the world in which they were written. His approach brings clarity to many of the riddles of Biblical interpretation, especially as they relate to modern science.

Reading Beyond the Firmament was a pleasure for me. I shared most of Glover’s views before I read his book, and he introduced little information with which I was not already familiar. Still, his unique and fresh approach captivated me and gave me an enjoyable experience.

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