Monday, October 24, 2016

God and Cosmos, by John Byl

Mathematician and astronomer John Byl has looked into the void of space, and has seen the revelation of God.  In God and Cosmos: A Christian View of Time, Space, and the Universe, Byl challenges some of the dogmas of modern cosmology and challenges Christians to give priority to biblical teaching  as they formulate their own cosmological views.

Byl debunks the Big Bang theory.  He's not even favorable toward Christian thinkers who see the Big Bang as reconcilable with the biblical account of creation.  The "concordist" position, which attempts to reconcile the biblical account with modern cosmology, tends to neglect the biblical reading.  Byl's position is that Christians should take the Bible seriously, and reject cosmologies that contradict the Bible.

He argues for a six-day creation.  This alone will turn off many readers.  But as biblical believer who is comfortable with concordism, I was forced to consider his arguments from the perspective of a high view of biblical authority.  One of his large points is that much of cosmology is theoretical, such as the Big Bang theory.  This is not observable or falsifiable; he calls it "the creation myth of naturalism."  When considering such theories, we must evaluate the cosmological, philosophical presumptions on which they are based.  What we may find is a foundation of speculation and, frankly, science fiction.

Even something as seemingly established as a geocentric or heliocentric universe can be challenged.  I did not read Byl as affirming heliocentrism or geocentrism, but he does point out the limitations of our perspective:  "The question of absolute motion can hardly be answered on scientific grounds. . . . all we can ever observe is relative motion, not absolute motion. . . . To see whether the earth is 'really' moving we must step outside the physical universe on to a fixed resting point.  This only God can do.  Hence, ultimately, it is only God who can adequately answer the question of absolute motion. . . . In short, the question as to whether it is really the earth or the sun that moves cannot be answered through scientific investigation."

Byl's persecutive probably will not persuade those who do not believe the Bible.  He may not even persuade biblical Christians.  I'm not sure I am persuaded to embrace six-day creationism, but I can certainly acknowledge that it's not an unreasonable position to hold.  Despite what you may think of his conclusions, I think one must acknowledge his admonition not to too quickly or fully embrace theoretical cosmological models, and to ensure that one is relying on that which can be observed and tested.  "The speculative nature of scientific theorizing cautions against placing undue trust in any particular model."  If the reader can overcome his biases against six-day creationism or someone who holds a high view of biblical authority, he will be rewarded with a thoughtful reflection on cosmology and the presumptions we bring to cosmological arguments.

2016 Reading Challenge: A book published by The Banner of Truth

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