Review of “What is Man? Adam, alien or ape?” By Professor Edgar Andrews

Elm Hill (HarperCollins Christian Publishing) 2018 (339 pages)

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In this book, Professor Edgar Andrews distills a lifetime of meditation on the question “What is Man?” into fourteen rich and readable chapters.  He unpacks the issues behind what scholars have called “hard problems” and shows us how biblical revelation brings understanding to our minds and gives humans a meaningful and purposeful place in our World.

The first two sections of the book examine responses to the question coming from people speaking in the name of science, including cosmology, neuroscience, psychology and evolutionary biology. This critical scrutiny reveals a fundamental disparity between modern secular intellectuals and Christian apologists.

The contrast is between Man as a product of blind evolutionary mechanisms, and Man as a creation wonderfully made by an intelligent and purposeful Designer; between Man as a meat robot with an illusion of freedom, and Man as a unified spiritual/material being with genuine free agency; between a world that is without purpose, and a planetary home that is designed for human existence; between a universe where there is no right and wrong, and one where moral values are fundamental. These contrasting perspectives are traced to the worldviews of their advocates: the materialistic perspectives of public intellectuals and the theistic/biblical perspectives of Christians. Materialism does not have convincing answers, and there are frequent contradictions, with a tendency for people who claim science is on their side to end up advancing ideas that are anti-science. Without an appreciation of the worldviews underpinning scholarly work, questioners can become seriously confused about the responses they receive.

Andrews’ incisive analysis reveals the bankruptcy of much that is presented as scholarship and sets out biblical teaching that illuminates the gloom and warms the heart. To have the issues analysed so clearly by an experienced professional scientist and Christian is invaluable. Biblical teaching is presented in an informative and engaging way, as one might expect from a former editor of “Evangelical Times”.

The biblical hope for the future of mankind in Christ provides yet another striking contrast with the materialist worldview.  Professor Andrews takes us to the fulfillment of human destiny in Revelation 22 and asks us to consider that here is to be found the final answer to the question, “What is Man?”

This is a book to be prized by parents, students, teachers and pastors.  It is a valuable resource to pass on to friends who have been influenced by the dominant materialistic worldview of our culture.  Most people will acknowledge the importance of having clarity about who we are and how we fit into the big picture of life on Earth, and this book certainly meets that need.

Professor David J. Tyler
Trustee, The Biblical Creation Trust.
Recommendation: 5 stars

CONTENTS

Author’s preface and acknowledgements

Part 1. MAN AND THE COSMOS
Ch.1. Who do you think you are? (What is Man? A summary)
Ch.2. The Cheshire cat cosmos (Can a universe create itself from nothing?)
Ch.3. Small flat bugs (Exo-planets and the search for extraterrestrial life)
Ch.4. The cosmic cook-book (The fine-tuned cosmos)
Ch.5. Deutsch’s dauntless dinosaurs (Exploring the multiverse)

PART 2. MAN AND THE BIOSPHERE
Ch.6. Death and Taxes (Human uniqueness)
Ch.7. The devil in the details (digging deeper into genes and genomes)
Ch.8. Dem dry bones (what fossils really tell us about the rise of man)
Ch.9. Aristotle and the snowball (The enigma of human consciousness)

PART 3. MAN AND THE BIBLE
Ch.10. Worldviews at war (on the nature of reality)
Ch.11. Adam and the apple (the historicity and fall of Adam and Eve)
Ch.12. The image of God (Why Man is unique)
Ch.13. The second Adam (Jesus Christ, the perfect man)
Ch.14. The resurrection; fact or fiction? (The claim, the evidence, and the implications)

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