Book Review: What Is Man? Adam, Alien or Ape?

What Is Man?: Adam, Alien or Ape? (Elm Hill, 2018) by Dr. Edgar Andrews is definitely a must-have addition to any Christian apologist’s personal library. I would expand that to say it is a must-have book for any Christian interested in understanding the truth about the origin of the human race.

Dr. Andrews is in a unique position to write such a book and we can all be thankful that he did.  He is also the author of Who Made God? Searching For A Theory Of Everything (Evangelical Press, 2009, 2012).

Dr. Andrews’ new book addresses a deep and important topic in an easy-to-read style. Non-scientists, like myself, will find it helpful in understanding much of the debate about human origins without having to get a degree in science. Dr. Andrews does that for us.

What Is Man? looks at a multitude of scientific arguments concerning the origin of the universe and human beings including cosmology, astronomy, physics, anthropology, chemistry, palaeontology, genetics, archaeology, biology and quantum mechanics.

Fortunately for us, Dr. Andrews does a superb job using language and illustrations that make understanding complex science easy. He also ventures into some of the science “fiction” that has made its way into human origin discussions.

Scientific evidence for the creation of the universe and humanity is one of the primary reasons I left atheism for Christianity almost five decades ago. I know the power it has to convince people who honestly search through the evidence for the purpose of learning what’s true.

Dr. Andrews does a wonderful job of presenting the evidence for both creation and evolution. His understanding of the arguments for both sides will help you to appreciate how unique you are and the wonderful gift God has given you. You will also learn how to share the evidence with people who are confused or have been misled about the science.

Some of my favorite topics in What Is Man? are about the primary theories of human origin, whether the universe can create itself from nothing, the fine tuning of the universe, exploring mega-universes, the uniqueness of human beings, genes and genomes, what we learn from fossils (including various testing processes), the nature of reality, the historicity and fall of Adam and Eve, why humans are unique, Jesus Christ the perfect Man, and evidence for the Resurrection of Christ.

I highly recommend What Is Man? Adam, Alien or Ape? for your library .. and to give a friend!

From Author’s Preface

“In 1906, American humorist Mark Twain published a sixty-page essay entitled “What is man?” Consisting of an interminable dialogue between a senior citizen (who believes that man is just a machine) and a young man (who believes nothing in particular but is open to persuasion), it wasn’t one of his finest books. But at least he tried. Authors since then seem to have avoided the subject like the plague, often tackling the respective roles of men and women in society but seldom asking deeper questions about what it means to be human. When the psalmist asked, “What is man?” (Psalm 8 v.4) he was, I think, seeking an altogether more profound answer.

Avoidance of the subject is all the more strange because there has never been a time like our own when curiosity about human origins and destiny has been greater, or the answers on offer more hotly disputed. It’s a safe bet that any attempt to give the “big picture” on the origin, nature and specialness of mankind will be contentious —which might explain why writers have generally fought shy of it. Yet at heart it is the question most of us really do want answered, because the answer defines that precious thing we call our identity, both personally and as a race.

The Psalmist did, of course, offer his own answer three millennia ago. Man, he claimed, was created by God for a clearly defined purpose — to exercise dominion over planet earth and (by implication) to ultimately share something of the glory of the divine nature. The rest, as they say, is history, but it’s not a happy tale. As Mark Twain says in another essay; “I can’t help being disappointed with Adam and Eve”. Not surprisingly, then, a large proportion of humanity today are looking for alternative solutions, accepting the challenge of the Psalmist’s question without embracing the optimism of his answer.

In this book we are going to consider the alternative solutions on offer by considering what it means to be human against the backgrounds of cosmology (man’s place in the universe), biology (man’s place in the animal kingdom), and psychology (man’s consciousness and mind). Finally, we return to the biblical context, arguing that the Psalmist got it right after all.

  • Don’t let the science-sounding stuff put you off. Like its popular prequel, ‘Who made God? Searching for a theory of everything’, this book is written with a light touch in a reader-friendly and often humorous style. It is intended specifically for the non-expert, with homely verbal illustrations designed to explain and unpack the technicalities for the lay-person. As Dr. Paul Copan (Pledger Family Chair of Philosophy and Ethics, Palm Beach Atlantic University) says, “Edgar Andrews has a way of making the profound accessible. His scholarship informs the reader about key questions of our time, offering wise guidance and illumination.”

Endorsements

“The question of human identity is one of the most pressing issues facing this generation. Edgar Andrews employs his scientific understanding to respond to some of the key humanistic and evolutionary answers provided to that question, and then sets out the biblical case for humanity as made in the image of God, with Jesus Christ as the perfect exemplar. Professor Andrews has a rare ability to make complex scientific issues plain to nonspecialists without dumbing down his explanations, and that ability is on full display in this book.” Robert Strivens, Formerly Principal of The London Theological Seminary

“In What Is Man? (a sequel to his excellent book Who Made God?), Prof Andrews tackles another great question we all ask. Next to a true knowledge of God, a true knowledge of ourselves remains critical. With his usual combination of reliable and helpfully explained science, biblical knowledge, cultural awareness, good humor and rapier-sharp reasoning, the author covers virtually every important aspect of the question. Would that every young person could read this book, which offers such clear direction amidst the many voices calling for their attention.” Steven Bowers, Director, European Missions Fellowship and Former Pastor

“This engaging book, written by an accomplished scientist and easily digestible by a general readership, succeeds splendidly in breaking down into ‘bite-sized’ pieces complex ideas about the origin, constitution, significance, and final destiny of mankind–offering a sometimes humorous but still profound critique of the claims of secularists. Apt analogies taken from everyday life are an outstanding feature of the book.” Martin Erdmann, Theologian, Author, and Director of the Verax Institute

About the Author

Edgar Andrews is Emeritus Professor of Materials Science in the University of London, England, and a former Head of Department and Dean of Engineering. He holds a BSc in theoretical physics and a PhD and DSc (higher doctorate) in Solid State Physics. He is a Fellow of the British Institute of Physics and a Chartered Physicist and Chartered Engineer. He has published over 100 scientific research papers in leading peer-reviewed Physics and General Science Journals.

As a distinguished expert in polymer science, he served as an International Consultant for the Dow Chemical Company (USA) for over 30 years and for the 3M Company USA) for some 20 years. He also served on the Scientific Advisory Council of the National Oil Company of Finland for five years and was an Expert Witness in a variety of long-running trials in the British High Court for over 20 years.

He became a Christian during his student days and has been active in a several Christian churches and ministries for over 60 years. He was Chairman of Evangelical Press, UK, for 20 years and Editor of the monthly newspaper Evangelical Times for ten years. He is currently co-pastor of the Campus Church in Welwyn Garden City, England. His published books include four works on science and faith, two Bible Commentaries and a book on the theology of the Holy Spirit. He debated Richard Dawkins at the 1986 Huxley Memorial Debate at the Oxford Union, UK.

What Is Man?: Adam, Alien or Ape? (Elm Hill, 2018, 340 pages)

Faith&SelfDefense

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