My new book, The Works of His Hands: A Scientist’s Journey from Atheism to Faith is now in the final editorial stage, and the Publisher (Kregel Publications) has been working on starting the marketing and promotion process. The book is a first-person account of how I, formerly an atheist scientist, came to embrace Christianity while maintaining my scientific worldview. It includes several chapters on modern science and its compatibility with faith in a creator God.
You can find a link to a new website for the book by clicking on the “My Book” tab above. That site will contain updates as the book goes through the publishing process up to and beyond its release date of November 19, 2019.
I am honored and blessed to announce that famed theologian (and scientist) Alister McGrath from Oxford University has written a wonderful Foreword for the book, and a final cover design has been crafted and approved, as shown below.
When the book is available for pre-order, I will be sure to post that here, as well as on my Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Speaking of books, I wanted to take the opportunity to highlight two other books that I have recently had the pleasure to read, written by fellow bloggers (and friends).
Jon Garvey’s God’s Good Earth: The Case for an Unfallen Creation (Cascade Books, 2019) is a beautifully written book that can be read for pure enjoyment and enlightenment, and/or used as a scholarly resource on the essential problem of evil in God’s creation.
Jon, a retired physician and the blogger behind “The Hump of the Camel” (and a frequent commenter on this blog) uses historical scholarship to argue that neither Scripture nor the early Church fathers maintain the view that the world was perfect before the sin of Adam and Eve. He presents a convincing case that the modern Christian concept of a curse on creation itself (not just the original sin of human beings) is not rooted in traditional orthodoxy nor in the Biblical text. The chapters on science are a powerful antidote to the prevailing popular view of evolution as a violent deadly struggle. In all of this, Garvey speaks to his readers in terms that all can understand.
The optimistic theme of the book, while controversial, is a rare commodity in the modern marketplace of ideas. This book is full of new ideas, fresh approaches, and profound insights. I strongly recommend it.
Joel Edmund Anderson, whose blog is “Resurrecting Orthodoxy,” is a religious scholar and the author of the highly regarded book The Heresy of Ham about the extreme young-earth creationist views of Ken Ham. Joel has now published a new book, entitled Christianity and the (R)evolution in Worldviews in Western Culture: A brief review of Christianity and the development of western civilization…and why it is important to understand if one is to make sense of our world today (Archdeacon Books, 2019).
This is a delightfully written and comprehensive but also highly accessible treatise on philosophical ideas regarding Christianity and religious faith and the historical contexts in which they arose. Anderson covers pretty much all the main threads in Western philosophy and historical viewpoints, going back to ancient Greece. His chapters on the “so-called” Enlightenment and the 19th century contain valuable insights into the origins of many of our modern ideas about the place of religion and Christianity in particular.
I found the descriptions of the major philosophical views and their authors to be refreshingly candid, highly readable, and engaging. If you (like me) tend to fall asleep at the mere mention of the name Kant or Hegel, this book is for you. Not only is the writing clear and jargon-free, but the essences of the ideas are presented in a way that allows for easy understanding of often difficult concepts.
The book also goes into scientific history and the relationship of science with the historical and philosophical trends in Europe.
This is a book for everyone, especially those who are looking for an accurate and insightful depiction of how our worldviews emerged from the thinking of the best and brightest philosophers throughout the ages.
Here in New Zealand, I am pleased to be a representative of “the uttermost ends of the earth”, interested in your and Jon’s book, and will be in the queue for one of the first copies of both.
Thank you Stuart. Jon’s book is available now on Amazon. And be assured I will announce as soon as mine becomes available.
Congratulations on your progress towards publishing. I have journeyed in the opposite direction from you, but you are doing good work if you can persuade any people who currently think that their faith in God requires them to reject modern science that this is not the case.
Meanwhile, Jon Garvie’s book sounds very interesting. I certainly don’t think that the earth was cursed as a result of Adam and Eve’s sin, or was perfect before this, since I don’t believe that they ever existed. Nor do I believe that EVOLUTION as such is a violent deadly struggle. But that there IS a struggle to survive that most organisms that come into existence lose at a very early stage of their lives is simple fact, surely. (And this is one of the driving forces BEHIND evolution.) Tonight I watched the latest episode of the BBC wildlife series Springwatch. We were shown film footage of the first hatched chick in a golden eagle’s nest harrying its younger sibling to death over two weeks or so, to the complete indifference of the parent. We were told that this is the usual pattern for golden eagles, two chicks hatched and almost invariably only the elder surviving. (From previous series we have seen similar patterns of siblingcide for most other birds of prey.) We watched delightful footage of pine martens visiting a garden where food was regularly put out for them and playfully relaxing in family groups of mother, elder and younger offspring. We were reshown footage of the different family of mother and two youngsters we had seen on Autumn watch last year and new footage of the mother. No youngsters now. As we were informed, mothers drive the youngsters out of their territory in the spring, and it is estimated that sixty per cent of them at that stage fail to establish a new territory of their own and die. Those that survive do it of course by predating other creatures. We saw spawning fish, and other fish hoovering up as many of the newly fertilised eggs as fast as they could. We saw caterpillars being fed by blue tits to their young. And of course we saw parents of every sort taking precautions to avoid the predation of their young, because if they didn’t the young would invariably be predated.Lampreys hid their eggs among stones. Roe deer hid their twin fawns separately, and suckled them separately, so that if one was found the other might still survive. Meadow pipits and other ground nesting birds landed some distance from their nest and then crept through the grass, so as not to give away its location. Birds with nests in hedges perched at a distance and looked carefully around to check they were unobserved before flying in with their food. All this in just one programme, and a programme that is upbeat and positive in tone, celebrates wildlife, and encourages all its viewers to do the same, and to observe and protect it. To say that living things in the natural world are engaged in a struggle to survive, where only a small proportion of those that are born or germinate succeed in reaching maturity and reproducing before they die, is not pessimistic. It’s a true description of how things are.
Yes, its how things are. And has been pretty much the same for us for most of our existence. But not as much more recently, at least in parts of the world. In fact human flourishing has been increasing for quite some time (the subject of my first book, now out of print). My perspective is a bit different. I dont think its at all remarkable that animals die so often and so “unfairly”. To what’s remarkable to the point of being miraculous, is that there is any life at all. My wife came home with some photos and videos of a family of foxes who have moved into a graveyard near our house. Deer are everywhere, and we have seen beavers, groundhogs, deer galore, rabbits all over, night and day. And no we dont live in the country but in a suburb of Washington DC. Life will always it seems, find a way.
Yes, life does always seem to find a way – quite often of course the life that we are less keen on being so persistent, like the ants that are busily attacking my lintel and the garden weeds sprouting up in front of it, whose seeds the ants have doubtless carried down into their colony there.
And yes, I too live in the suburbs, and have very frequent encounters with suburban foxes, though beavers and groundhogs are not to be expected, in Britain. As for deer, though they don’t visit my garden, I don’t have to travel very far to see them. And I’m currently staying with a friend living on the edge of the city of Worcester. Last night we stood in her garden listening to a muntjac deer barking not very far away.
All of which is very pleasant, and though we have cause to worry about the decline in numbers of certain of our migrant birds we still get a lively dawn chorus and plenty of birds feeding and nesting in our gardens for us to enjoy.
I don’t see it as remarkable either that animals die so frequently or so “unfairly” – or only remarkable in the sense that I feel it needs to be remarked on if someone were to maintain that life is NOT a struggle for all organisms in the natural world. But a struggle worth pursuing. Better, for the organism itself, and for the rich and diverse web of life, a short life, and some suffering, than no life at all.As to whether it is miraculous that life exists at all, that depends, IMO, on the sense in which we use “miraculous”. From the little we know of the whole universe, life is very unusual. it may be unique to this planet. But then the universe is very big, and our knowledge of it small. Maybe there is, or was, or will be, life elsewhere in it. But if there isn’t, though that would make humans causing such a disaster as to wipe out all life on earth even more disastrous than if there were other living ecosystems, I still don’t think I would interpret life existing here and now as a sign that Something had taken steps to bring about what would otherwise be impossibly unlikely, (another meaning of the word “miraculous”). How can we tell how unlikely it was that some sort of life should come into existence somewhere? And once it had done so, wasn’t it striving, unconsciously at first, to survive and propagate itself inevitable?
I saw that Springwatch piece too. And I resonated with the bit on lampreys, because my son and I caught a couple in our local brook a couple of months ago: a rare sight.
In my book I point out that nature contains a rich mix of both competition and cooperation. Robins will fight to the death for territory (at my place including one example of mutually assured destruction – two robins dead from one struggle), whereas long-tailed tits whose nests have been predated will help feed their neighbour’s brood instead.
Cuckoos dispose of the young of another species to get food from the adults – but so do dairy farmers, which is seldom considered a desperate evil.
Maybe the most productive view is that each of these creatures has its own “law” from God, including eagles dealing with surplus young, which need have no relationship to the law God has given us in our dealings with each other (or with wildlife, come to that). Those “laws” include competition direct or indirect, but also examples of cooperation and self sacrifice, and are more instructively seen as examples of God’s mysterious wisdom (and perhapes explored individually) than as a one-size fits all Malthusian “survival of the fittest.”
Three books I must look out for. Thank you. And it’s great to have a cover and possible date for The Works of His Hands. Congratulations!
Thanks, Sheila. I hope you will enjoy my book. You might especially like the Acknowledgments section.