Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Review of "The Genesis Enigma" – Conclusion

As I said in previous posts, The Genesis Enigma explains how science and God are not incompatible. Scientific advances have described how life and its diversity have happened, and how the first chapter of the book of Genesis exactly follows the scientific discoveries. One only needs to read that chapter without the word "day" meaning 24 hours, and it all works.

Andrew Parker also says that animal life, from the earliest single-cell animal, can be explained without any input from God. But, it is energy that resulted in the conditions that allowed those single-cell animals to come into being and then to differentiate themselves over several billion years, or maybe just a billion. But, there is no explanation of where that energy came from except for the big bang, and that big bang has no explanation except God.

God, though, deals with humans in non-scientific areas of their lives: the intellect, the emotions, etc. But creation, diversity, and sustaining of life? No, God had and has nothing to do with that.

Parker tried to write a popular book, rather than a scholarly book. He doesn't give a lot of documentation, and he doesn't fully explain the why behind his statements. That left me kind of flat. I'd like to have footnotes, I'd like to have better explanations. So from that standpoint I lower my rating of the book.

I found his explanation of the so-called Cambrian Explosion, wherein all the 37 phyla of animals showed up at more or less the same time, to be insufficient. He said it was the acquisition of sight that allowed the diversity explosion to take place, and that the eye suddenly appeared more or less intact. I'm sorry, but he didn't make the case. Maybe there's more to the story than he included in the book. But in the book he didn't make the case.

The appendix, wherein Parker explores who wrote Genesis—which I guess he thinks he must do since he believes whoever wrote the first chapter must have had knowledge that can't be explained by intellectual development—is woefully lacking. As I said in a previous post he seems to be echoing the work of a religious scholar, but the various statements in the appendix really don't prove anything and are not documented. Again, that's causing me to mark down the book.

I am not a young earth person. I see no reason to believe in the six days of Genesis chapter 1 to be literal 24 hour days. They surely refer to epochs of development, to steps that God used in the creation of everything.

Yes, I believe in God and that He did it; he created life. He set the phyla in place, probably in one event, probably 500+ million years ago if not before that. I believe God was an integral part of this, not a bystander after having created the energy that set everything else in motion.

So, I give The Genesis Enigma only three stars. While I agree with a lot of Parker's conclusions, the book doesn't make the case, and leaves me somewhat flat.

No comments: