BEYOND THE COSMOS
Those of you who follow the Does God Exist? lectures and videos of John Clayton are familiar with the materials which deal with how science can help us understand the nature of God and how God does and has done things humans find difficult to understand. We have used the book Flatland by Edwin Abbott to introduce the concept of God as a being outside of time and space, a Being who functions in and from dimensions beyond the three dimensions plus time in which we function.
This book deals with the above concepts in much more depth and thoroughness than we have attempted in our discussions. Dr. Ross is an astronomer and founder of the Reasons to Believe program--an apologetics outreach of the Congregational Church. His materials are particularly useful with college students and professional scientists, and this book certainly reflects the needs of those groups.
Ross begins his material by listing the kinds of things dimensional understandings of God can help us understand. These include things like the origin of God and the cosmos, the existence of evil and suffering, the trinity of God, and man's purpose in being and how free will works as well as a variety of lesser issues. Ross begins his discussion by explaining what dimensions are and how we deal with them. This discussion is very brief and will leave some holes in understanding in this reader's view. There is no attempt to separate spacial dimensions from mathematically theoretical possible dimensions, and that leaves some problem areas in understanding. Ross then develops string theory and ties God and man to the string concept. Ross' sources are valid and the concepts are developed in an interesting way, but the discussion is very abstract. Most readers are going to struggle since spacial dimensions are not what Ross is dealing with.
After developing this complex dimensional structure, Ross devotes the rest of the book to using it to explain such issues as the triune nature of God, why there is suffering, how God could be flesh in Christ and yet divine, and how man's will and God's foreknowledge work. There are places where Ross' doctrinal views lead him to a conclusion which, in this reviewer's view, are not biblically valid--such as his "once saved, always saved" belief. This weakens the usefulness of the book, but for a critical reader it is not an overriding problem.
We recommend this book as a good challenge to people with strong math and science backgrounds. We doubt its usefulness to the general audience due to its complexity, but it will be helpful with college students and professors.