Mar 27

The Prodigal God, by Tim Keller ????

This book was read at the recommendation of Pastor David Scott, and a good recommendation it was. I had already read another book by Tim Keller, and found this text about as enjoyable. Keller takes the parable of the Prodigal Son, and expounds on the two sons and the nature of God in both instances. The nature of the sons are discussed as fitting the character of many that we find in church, yet both are offensive to God. Interestingly, both are offensive to those who are exploring the nature of Christianity, and happen to visit a church. This book is a lesson in our attitude toward God, not expecting God to bless us simply because we serve him better than others, or because we deserve it. Keller starts the book out slow, and builds steam, taking until the last chapter to discuss the true implications to the Prodigal Son narrative. In that chapter, he details how God has a great feast preserved for us, and welcomes us. Yet, this feast will be enjoyed by neither the younger nor elder son, but by those who come to the feast on God’s terms for His sake, and not ours. This is a short book, that can be read in 1-2 sittings, and a worthy volume to have digested.

 

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Mar 26

Intelligent Design 101 – General Editor H. Wayne House ?????

This was a delightful compendium of various authors in the Intelligent Design movement, displaying a broad summary, from the science to legal aspects of what is occurring in ID. The writing was quite variable, but still broadly high quality. Most the writing was a re-hash of writings I’ve read before, some of which was very readable, such as Michael Behe’s chapter, others a little more ponderous, such as Casey Luskin delving into the science of evolution vs. ID. I had not read Luskin before, and found him to be rather perceptive, offering new insights. Luskin was able to discuss beyond the issues of irreducible complexity, to discuss the issue of convergence, where similar functions co-develop independent of each other, a event with prohibitively low probability of happening just by accident. He also discussed issues arising from the crisis of Linnean (morphological) and genetic family trees being moderately dissimilar, suggestive that perhaps it is not a tree-like evolutionary scheme, but rather parallel developmental processes from various species to the next. The writers never lapse into the Creation Science Research mold of a young earth, but remain independent of the exact nature of the intelligence that may have brought about the world that we see. The final appendix was a rebuttal of Francis Collin’s text on random evolution of monkeys into man, pointing out his errors in suggesting that such evolution was only accidental. All in all, a worthy read.

 

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Mar 21

The Color of Paradise  Directed Majid Majidi ? ? ? ?

We’re in Bangladesh, at the Kelley’s. We wanted to watch “What about Bob?”. We can’t get the system working. So, we put on an Iranian film, with English subtitles. At first I was a bit skeptical. What decent film could come out of Iran? This film was superb. The cinemetography was first class. The story is about a young blind child, finishing a year of school in Teheran, and going home with his widowered father to the hills outside of Teheran. I had no idea as to the beauty of Iran. It was quite nice, and quite rugged. The story discusses the dilemma of a father trying to find a life for his child, first by attempting to re-marry, later, by attempting to get his son to work with another blind wood craftsman. Ultimately the film has a tragic end. I was very tempted to give this film five-stars, but knocked it down, only because I didn’t appreciate the director trying to be too artistic with the story line, by leaving mystery such as at the end as to whether the boy met a tragic versus fortunate end. It was more a story line that you might expect from the avant-garde French directors, and while leaving a sympathy for the handicapped, failed to make a strong moral or philosophical statement, but left one hanging. One aside… if I would have seen this film several weeks ago, I would have been fairly annoyed by the dress of the women. Now that we’ve been in Bangladesh for a week, I am appreciating the (usually) colorful though fully-covered dress that is found in this part of the world.

 

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Mar 20

Why the Universe is the Way it Is, the Hugh Ross ???

Hugh Ross is the founding father of the organization called Reasons to Believe, and has training as an astronomer. In this text, he details the immense precision of multiple variables required in the founding of the universe following the big bang that would have permitted an environment that was favorable for life. Ross discusses in broad terms the mathematical possibility of the current universe. He details the size, age, and other characteristics of the current universe, identifying only a narrow window of “opportunity” for life to have arisen in the universe. Through it all, he concludes for the extreme unlikeliness that such an event could have happened solely by chance. Unfortunately, most of the evidence given was discussed in very broad, non-scientific terms, and that reference was made that the evidence was detailed on a web-site. That’s fair, but I had expected a touch better discussion than he offers in the book. This book is an “ok” read for a non-scientific mind, but for the one searching for a touch more detailed explanation, this book fails. Ross does offer discussion at the end of the book on the theological implications of the current creation, as to why we are not in a perfect universe, but that we can expect one to come. Based on descriptions in Revelations, Ross offers conjectures as to the nature and physics of the new heaven and earth.

 

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Mar 18

The Cell’s Design, by Fazale Rana ? ? ? ?

In this book, Rana details how various complexities in cell design and function suggest most strongly for an intelligent designer. Rana takes a different approach from classic intelligent design pundits by not quoting probabilities and statistics, but rather, by looking at various nuances in our biological knowledge to argue against an accidental origin to like. An example of what he gives is the prolific observation of convergence. This is where certain enzymes have “evolved” at least twice by different pathways, and yet perform similar functions. This would be considered highly unlikely to occur by accident. Rana speaks about how various pathways that were thought to be highly inefficient and thus suggestive against an intelligent designer, where actually shown to be pathways that were the best design. This is perhaps an opposite analogy to the “god-of-the-gaps” explanation which fills God into unexplained scientific knowledge. Rana’s writing style is at times quite simplistic, but at times, he does pass me by briefly, even though I am rather knowledgeable in cell biology. Thus, I’m not entirely sure who would make the best audience for this book. It is unlike the bookDarwin’s Black Box, which can be read by lay and biological scientist alike with full understanding of the argument. Rana makes excellent arguments for the plausibility of intelligent design. Thus, he proves a reasonable argument for a Creator that demands answer from those who suggest life to be an entirely random process.

 

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