Book Review: What Is Man? Adam, Alien or Ape?
by Faith&SelfDefense (Mark McGee)
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.”