Templeton Press produces very academic books by writers well thought of in the academic community, and this book is no exception. Ted Burge is an emeritus professor at the University of London with a Ph.D. in physics and a degree in theology from Oxford. He is a member of the Church of England, and has written other books on theology. This book is subtitled "Evidence-Based Christian Belief" and is an attempt to bring an academic approach to the evidences field.
What Burge does is to take all current thinking in the academic world and uncritically apply it to Christian apologetics. Let me give you a quote from chapter 10 that shows his approach:
"In the beginning God said 'Let there be...' and he created the unified forces of physics, with perfect symmetry, and prescient precision. And out of nothing and into nothing, God, by free decision, set up the spontaneous production of particles, in newborn space and time, producing a silent, seething sphere, infinitesimally small, and unimaginably hot. There was evolution and emergence the first stage of creation."
This chapter is titled "Today's Creation Story, January 1, 2000." This is pretty much what this book does on all issues--to take the current scientific thinking and conform the understanding of the Bible to that thinking.
The book covers a wide range of subjects, from biblical evidence, to evolution, to theological issues like miracles and suffering, prayer, incarnation, and the resurrection. Burge is very knowledgeable, but the book tries to cover too much ground, and so no depth is given in any of the areas he considers. His writing is very non-confrontational and will not be objectionable to most scientists, but will be very objectionable to fundamentalists. If you are interested in a modern theistic-evolutionary approach to apologetics, you will like this book. If you are looking for something that will meet the needs of teenagers and provide faith in a literal understanding of the Bible, this book will not be useful.
Burge is rather uncritical of scientific theories, and in fact many of the things that he accepts in science and theology are quite debatable. This is very much in tune with the Church of England and liberal theology. Many of his ideas are very useful, and he has a wealth of information in the book for people in the academic community. It will be helpful to people studying modern apologetics and the relativism that permeates our culture. For most readers in the general public it will not be that useful.
Back to Contents Does God Exist?, JanFeb07.