Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Fingerprint of God

Book: The Fingerprint of God by Hugh Ross

Description: Dr. Hugh Ross, astromomer, tells the fascinating story of how the latest research into origins not only has sealed the case for divine creation, but has revealed the identity of the Creator Himself. (from

Overall, I found this book to be a very worthwhile read. Ross attempts to prove with science why God must have created the universe and life, rather than seeing science and religion as polar opposites--a refreshing change, I must say. He also discusses, much more briefly, reasons why Scripture does not actually conflict with the scientific evidence for how the universe was created.

Honestly, those parts of the books were the parts that I enjoyed the most. I love biology, but I get sick of the assumptions that evolution and Creation are two mutually exclusive ideas. They are not. After all, 
it is also safe to assume that physical evidence will not lie, because God created the evidence and God can't lie (although misinterpretations could of course still happen). Ross even goes so far as to argue that one can only reach the fullest understanding of God through a combined knowledge of Scripture and nature.

I will admit, however, that I had some problems with this book. The first half at least of the book was about astrophysical proof for God, and was written in a way that I couldn't understand most of the proofs or why they were so impressive. Too much math and quantum mechanics for me! So I didn't exactly feel convinced by the end of it.


My favorite quote: "One further consideration [of the reasons for creation] from an altogether different perspective concerns the nature of creativity itself. Observe any skilled sculptor, painter, or poet, a craftsman of any kind. Observe the painstaking, yet joyful labor poured into each object of his design. Examine the creation on any scale, from a massive galaxy to the interior of an atom, from a whale to an amoeba. The splendor of each item, its beauty of form as well as of function, speaks not of instantaneous mass production, but rather of time and attention to detail, of infinite care and delight. Such delight is expressed throughout Genesis 1 in the oft-repeated statement, 'And God saw that it was good.'" (160)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Great Quote

I ran across this quote in The Craft of Research, by Wayne C. Booth, Gregory G. Colomb, and Joseph M. Williams:
No place is more filled with imagined voices than a library or lab. Whether you read a book or a lab report, you silently converse with its writer--and through her with everyone else she has read. In fact, every time you go to a written source of information, you join a conversation between writers and readers that began more than five thousand years ago. (p. 16)
And that pretty much sums up why I read.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Is God a Moral Monster?

Book: Is God a Moral Monster?: Making Sense of the Old Testament God by Paul Copan

Description:  A recent string of popular-level books written by the New Atheists have leveled the accusation that the God of the Old Testament is nothing but a bully, a murderer, and a cosmic child abuser. This viewpoint is even making inroads into the church. How are Christians to respond to such accusations? And how are we to reconcile the seemingly disconnected natures of God portrayed in the two testaments?

In this timely and readable book, apologist Paul Copan takes on some of the most vexing accusations of our time, including:

God is arrogant and jealous
God punishes people too harshly
God is guilty of ethnic cleansing
God oppresses women
God endorses slavery
Christianity causes violence
and more

Copan not only answers God's critics, he also shows how to read both the Old and New Testaments faithfully, seeing an unchanging, righteous, and loving God in both.

This book was very enlightening for me. The seeming differences between the God of the Old Testament, who at the very least seems much more legalistic and violent than the God of the New Testament, are something that I've had questions about for a long time. I was therefore pretty excited about reading this book, and I wasn't disappointed. 

Copan did a very good job explaining why God seems the way that He did in the Old Testament. He mostly focused on the Law and explaining how and why they came to be. He also talked, surprisingly a lot, about how those laws apply to us today. I'm not saying Copan calls for us to follow the Law today, because he definitely doesn't. Instead, he examines what aspects of God made Him create the Law the way He did. One example that really struck me was the food laws, about unclean and clean animals. Copan argued that these laws were so all-encompassing to remind the Israelites that God should be everywhere in their life. A reminder we could all use, huh?

Although I have no background in Biblical scholarship or anything of that kind, I found Is God a Moral Monster? easy to read and understand. Copan's knowledge of and use of Scripture was also extremely impressive. My one complaint was that Copan's chapters became repetitive at times, as he seemed to be making the same point over and over. But it was a small problem for me as a reader, and I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone who's interested in the topic.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Book: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (anonymous)

Time: Written sometime in the late 14th century

Description: Written by an anonymous fourteenth-century poet, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is recognized as an equal to Chaucer’s masterworks and to the great Old English poems, Beowulf included. A green-skinned knight offers the Knights of the Round Table a simple but deadly challenge—a challenge taken on by the brave Sir Gawain. A challenge that will force him to choose between his honor and his life... (from

I enjoyed this book, very much. Firstly, the poetry was very cool. It didn't rhyme (except for the last five lines of each stanza), but rather there were three or four words in each line that began with the same sound.

I really enjoyed the descriptions--they were very vivid. I'm not sure why that surprised me, but it did. The descriptions of the seasons and of Sir Gawain's journey were especially vivid and enjoyable for me.

This was very much a Christian book/poem throughout: Gawain is very Christian, tries hard not to sin (which (not sinning, I mean) he does a bit too much to feel realistic, but anyway. The narrator will only admit that he sinned once in the entire year that the narrative spans and, let's face it, if that were true than there wouldn't be quite as much of a need for Jesus), prays a lot. When his host's wife literally throws herself at him, he doesn't even think about doing anything with her. Good for him! He does, in the end, do something else instead, which brough up an interesting point--at the end it was decided that that sin wasn't "too big". But sin is sin, period. I loved Gawain's reaction to the realization that he'd sinned, though--he admits it and repents, straight up. From Gawain I just very much got the feel of someone trying hard to strive for God and His perfection. Also loved his faith: almost always he was determined to do what was right, no matter what the consequences might be. 

Overall, this book had a great Christian world-view and was a very enjoyable read.