Seven Days That Divide The World
John C. Lennox, Seven Days That Divide The World (Grand Rapids: Zondervan) 2011.
A few weeks ago a friend put this helpful book in my hands. John Lennox is a mathematician who has his feet in the world of science and the world of pastoral ministry. His book was born out of a burden to address the controversies that surround how Christians understand and use the beginning chapters of Genesis. To Lennox, controversy is at an all-time high in our culture and among the people of God as it relates to the teaching of creationism and evolution. There is a widespread perception of Christianity as either un-scientific or anti-scientific. This book was written for people who have been resistant to faith because they perceive that it begins with a silly, unscientific story about origins.
A side purpose of the book has to do with healing the breach that has existed between many believers on the subject of the age of the earth. Some are convinced that the earth is young; others think that an old earth fits best with the language of Genesis. It is the author’s conviction that God is the author of both the Bible and the universe, and that there must ultimately be harmony between a correct interpretation of the biblical material and of scientific data.
The first chapter of the book describes the challenge which science brought to biblical interpretation in the 16th Century with reference to whether the earth was rotating in space. The second chapter talks about the principles of biblical interpretation relative to the issues described in the first chapter. The third chapter describes the various positions held by evangelicals on the meaning of the word “day” in Genesis. The fourth chapter discusses the origin of human beings, their antiquity, and related discussions about the potential existence of death before the fall. The fifth chapter brings forward the leading principles surrounding origins into our modern world.
If one is looking for a book that advances a particular interpretation of the first chapter(s) in Genesis, he or she will not find it here. Lennox is a mathematician who brings his perspective to pastoral work, so the strength of this book is not in its theological weight. However, this is a helpful look at tensions that exist within the evangelical world surrounding this subject. The author brings a commitment to view Scripture as God’s inerrant word. He reminds us that there are different and valid ways to understand the Book of Genesis, and different conclusions regarding the issues that appear to divide and Scripture. The book provides helpful discussion about how to relate our faith to a skeptical world, especially in matters of faith and science.