Seven Days That Divide The World
John C. Lennox, Seven
Days That Divide The World (Grand Rapids: Zondervan) 2011.
A few weeks ago a friend put this helpful book in my
hands. John Lennox is a mathematician
who has his feet in the world of science and the world of pastoral ministry. His book was born out of a burden to address
the controversies that surround how Christians understand and use the beginning
chapters of Genesis. To Lennox, controversy
is at an all-time high in our culture and among the people of God as it relates
to the teaching of creationism and evolution.
There is a widespread perception of Christianity as either un-scientific
or anti-scientific. This book was
written for people who have been resistant to faith because they perceive that
it begins with a silly, unscientific story about origins.
A side purpose of the book has to do with healing the breach
that has existed between many believers on the subject of the age of the earth. Some are convinced that the earth is young;
others think that an old earth fits best with the language of Genesis. It is the author’s conviction that God is the
author of both the Bible and the universe, and that there must ultimately be
harmony between a correct interpretation of the biblical material and of
The first chapter of the book describes the challenge which
science brought to biblical interpretation in the 16th Century with
reference to whether the earth was rotating in space. The second chapter talks about the principles
of biblical interpretation relative to the issues described in the first
chapter. The third chapter describes the
various positions held by evangelicals on the meaning of the word “day” in
Genesis. The fourth chapter discusses
the origin of human beings, their antiquity, and related discussions about the
potential existence of death before the fall.
The fifth chapter brings forward the leading principles surrounding
origins into our modern world.
If one is looking for a book that advances a particular
interpretation of the first chapter(s) in Genesis, he or she will not find it
here. Lennox is a mathematician who
brings his perspective to pastoral work, so the strength of this book is not in
its theological weight. However, this is
a helpful look at tensions that exist within the evangelical world surrounding
this subject. The author brings a
commitment to view Scripture as God’s inerrant word. He reminds us that there are different and
valid ways to understand the Book of Genesis, and different conclusions
regarding the issues that appear to divide and Scripture. The book provides helpful discussion about
how to relate our faith to a skeptical world, especially in matters of faith