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God and Cosmos: A Christian View of Time, Space, and the Universe Paperback – April 20, 2001

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 243 pages
  • Publisher: Banner of Truth (April 20, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0851518001
  • ISBN-13: 978-0851518008
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,157,088 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By J. F Foster on April 15, 2002
Format: Paperback
John Byl has written an interesting book on cosmology here. This is a book that I would consider to be introductory in nature, and I would recommend it for readers who are interested in cosmology but have not been extensively exposed to the topic. Cosmology is an area of thought ripe with complex theories, abstractions, concepts, and assorted disciplines. This is a book that does a good job of getting a person's feet wet in this area without being overwhelming.
As best I can tell, Byl is basically trying to arrive at two conclusions. First, that scientific theorizing about the existence of the universe is not the same as scientific fact. He attempts to argue that much of cosmology is based on unverifiable speculations that are based more on the philosophical and/or religious presuppositions of the cosmologist than on verifiable scientific fact. Secondly, that much of both medieval and present age cosmology is problematic in terms of adequately explaining the origins of the universe or what the future of the universe may look like. In many ways, I found this book to be an anti-cosmology book, which makes it unique relative to other works on the subject.
But when I say that the book struck me as being anti-cosmology, that doesn't mean that the book is anti-intellectual. Byl spends a large amount of time in this book critiquing big bang cosmology and in the process, takes on the views of a number of heavy hitters both in theistic and non-theistic thought. I thought he did a pretty good job of pointing out a number of problems in big bang cosmology which at the very least, cast doubt on the ability of current big bang cosmology to accurately and COMPLETELY explain the creation of the universe.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 31, 2002
Format: Paperback
John Byl has written a fine work on the subject of Christianity and astronomy. At the time of its writing, it was almost certainly the finest work on astronomy and Christianity from a young Earth perspective. (I cannot comment on all more recent works.) Anyone interested in science and religion from an orthodox Christian or Jewish perspective should read the book. Even deciding on the criteria to measure success in this subject is no small task, but Byl is theologically and philosophically astute enough to do a credible job.

Unlike so many writers on science and religion, Byl doesn't try to jam either science or theology into an ill-fitting pre-fabricated box. He knows astronomy well enough to understand that any empirically adequate story will involve much more than some millennia of physical processes, real or apparent. Thus he not only avoids positing overly simple science-Scripture reconciliation schemes that fail to achieve their stated goals or radically disagree with experiment, but also usefully critiques a number of such efforts. His rejection of the knee-jerk scientific realism that one finds in some Christians is crucial in letting him take both Scriptural and empirical information at full strength. His presuppositional rather than evidentialist tendency in apologetics frees him of the need to make triumphal claims that the scientific data confirm his theology. Byl's Reformed flavor of Christianity plays a role here. While an element of scientific anti-realism does useful work for him in reconciling science and Scripture, his instrumentalism is more anti-realistic than he really needs.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By torowan on January 3, 2004
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It seems that everyone with a primary education has a cosmological "position" to defend, but many who do so are not really able to properly defend it. Byl addresses that by presenting a framework for how we know anything, and challenging concepts that have been taken in common culture as "scientific truth". This includes two main areas:
(a) beliefs that were once "the established truth" of the scientific world, and which remain accepted as such in the popular world even though they have subsequently been shown irrelevant by science, e.g. the debate over the heliocentric vs. earth-centric universes (where in fact, it is scientifically irrelevant to consider the anything "centric" in a real way).
(b) beliefs that are based on assumptions that by their very nature can never be scientifically tested, but that are commonly accepted as fact anyway.
This book is written in accessible English, but deals with concepts in a way that assumes some knowledge in the philosophy of science. Byl surveys cosmology that in a way that presents concepts in an English paragraph that take hundreds of pages of maths to explain exhaustively; this is great for the arm-chair philosopher, but carries the risk that the survey may seem too simple and therefore less credible to the less educated. The book is written clearly for people reasonably up-to-date with scientific thought, but true-believers in Newtonian mechanics (as is still taught in primary school!) may think he's off the wall.
I include this book on my small "must-read" list for Christians, "Essentials for a balanced Christian faith & world view" for two reasons:
(a) Dr. Byl presents a valid framework for how we know what we know -- a framework that has unfortunately fallen from common use during the last century.
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