Science Fiction? by John Blanchard, 2016; published by Evangelical Press, EP Books, and available from John Ritchie Ltd; 126 pages. Price £5.99. (9781783971671)
The clever title of this book draws attention to the fictional notion that science has disproved the existence of God. The book is an abbreviated version of Blanchard’s 2004 book, Has Science Got Rid of God? In both he clearly showed that the answer is “No!”
There is really nothing new in this one, but it is a more manageable size, with arguments restated briefly and persuasively. Chapter titles are: Scientism: the godless god; Science and its limits; Faith and facts; Evolution: proof or prejudice; Beyond science. The chapter on evolution is the longest, clearly showing how so many facts of science discredit evolution theory, for example, the fossil record, the origin of life, and the ‘everything from nothing’ idea.
The statements of big names in the atheistic camp are shown to be both seriously prejudiced and illogical. Real Christian faith is founded on facts, in spite of the sarcastic assertions made by atheistic opponents. Atheism and evolution are both belief-based systems. Everyone can choose what to believe, but not whether to believe.
Science cannot answer all the questions. Blanchard says “We do not honour science by ignoring its intrinsic limitations and pretending that it can explain everything.” His last chapter, “Beyond Science”, sums up these limitations with some admirable quotes, then describes God’s revelation of Himself in Creation, in the Bible, and in Christ. This leads into a lucid and unambiguous declaration of the Gospel, and a call to repentance and personal faith. At the beginning of the book the author states his own position: “I am writing as a committed Christian, convinced intellectually, emotionally and experientially that the entire Bible is ‘God-breathed’, an inerrant revelation of God’s nature and will.”
The book is a brief summary of the present state of the long debate over science and its relationship to the Christian faith.
Analytical Studies in The Psalms by Arthur G Clarke, 2012; published by, and available from, John Ritchie Ltd; 372 pages. Price £10.99. (9781907731679)
In the Foreword of this classic book, W E Vine observes that “The brightest and best steel comes through the hottest furnace. The beauty of the pearl is the result of the bitterness of pain. The most gorgeous butterflies gain their freedom by means of a struggle through the thickest cocoons.”
The book is the result of an experience of solitary confinement, when the author, who was serving God as a missionary in North China, was imprisoned by the Japanese during World War II. During that difficult period, until his release in 1945, he derived much comfort from the Psalms.
He commences his book with ‘Introductory Notes’, containing helpful instruction on: The Psalms and their Order; Date and Authorship; Titles; Forms of Hebrew Poetry; Interpretation. The author establishes that to truly understand the Psalms, it is necessary to study them from three viewpoints: “(a) the Primary Association or Historical Aspect; (b) the Prophetic Anticipation, or Typical Aspect; and (c) the Personal Application, or Devotional Aspect.”
Although the author is fond of alliteration, and employs it extensively throughout the book, his method never appears to be overstretched. As an example, Psalm 95 is entitled “Reaching Redemption Rest.” He divides the psalm into three sections: The glad worship of the people (1-7b); The great wish for the people (7c); The grave warning to the people (8-11), and then considers it in the three ways suggested in the Introductory Notes.
The study of each psalm concludes with a section of ‘Verse Notes’, and the book closes with 12 helpful appendices, including “Poetic Figures of Speech”.