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Interview with Scott Petty about the Little Black Books series.

Little Black Books: Science and God

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  1. Science and God: still playing on the same team Review / Tip by Rozzy B

    While the “new athiest” movement is doing its best to persuade people otherwise, there remains an incredible amount of harmony between the world of scientific knowledge and the Christian faith. The main reason why this (perhaps unrecognised) harmony is possible is that science and faith are really asking different types of questions about the universe. This means that ultimately we don’t have to pick one team or the other! These thoughts are the subject of Scott Petty’s most engaging Little Black Book “Science and God” (part of a series published by Matthias Media, 2011).

    Petty begins by asking us to consider whether or not fact and faith really are locked in a tenacious battle to the death, which is by and large the way popular culture presents the issue. And the winner of this battle, we are told, will be Science! with Faith backed only by rigid conservative moralists – and stupid people! We need to look beyond these popular portrayals of the issue to see that science and Christianity have in fact enjoyed a long friendship stretching back centuries. Petty cites evidence of many science-focused Christians, past and present, who have advanced scientific research and knowledge. And such findings in no way contradict the claims of the Bible.

    This is the heart of the matter: science and faith are answering different questions. One answers the question of how the universe works – the other answers the question of why the universe exists. “Just because we think we have understood the mechanism or operation of something in the universe without bring in God does not mean that there was no God who designed the universe in the beginning.” Petty uses a great illustration of the Ford motor car: gaining knowledge of the workings of the car does not negate the fact that Ford designed it, even though, within the car, Henry Ford is no where to be found. God may not visible to the human eye, but it would be a big mistake to dismiss the Him as designer, without precious scientific evidence to prove his non-existence (if that is what you are placing your faith in).

    This book has a great deal more to offer, particularly regarding how the Big Bang theory (not the TV show) matches well with God’s explanation for the Creation moment, that single definite point at which the universe was created, out of nothing! Petty shares recent evidence from Hubble telescope and other research to back this. “It denies plain reason to say that no-one created something out of nothing, and it demolishes the building blocks of science to say that when it comes to the universe, there is no cause”.

    Chapter 3 of this little book explores all the factors which work together to support life on the planet, things like gravity and the atmosphere. Petty then moves onto the ultimate chicken and egg problem of human DNA: “if you believe life emerged from non-living things like chemicals and such” you have problem, says Petty. “DNA relies on proteins for its production. But proteins rely on DNA for their existence. So which came first? Each must be present for the other to be made. It seems neither proteins nor DNA could create themselves”.

    Petty deals with each of these points in good detail and with appropriate references to reputable studies. He also tackles the big “challenge” of evolution in a clear and effective manner, diffusing the bomb that some people see it to be. He also discusses the language and purpose of the biblical Creation account in a refreshing way, offering perspectives you may not have previously considered. But rather than give all that away, I’ll leave it with you to get a hold of the book and read it for yourself. Make sure you then pass it on to someone who finds the whole Science/Faith debate to be a real challenge. It would be a great book for your church or council library, for youth groups, university or highschool students – or anyone like you or me who live on this planet and must wrestle with these issues. There are only 96 pages of reading (and the pages are small, size of a CD case), with a helpful Q and A section at the end. Petty concludes with a friendly challenge to the reader, to consider that while scientific knowledge is useful, it is the personal and relational knowledge of God, through his Son, that counts most.
    “God is not afraid of science, and he also knows that it’s not enough if we are to know him. In the past he spoke through the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by His Son”. (Posted on 4/11/2012)

  2. Good Reading Review / Tip by Jenna Priest

    I thoroughly enjoyed this little black book and found it really easy to digest. It was to the point, short and sweet and cut right to the heart of the matter. I like that the author used a casual, conversational style with some humour thrown in there. I would recommend it to anyone who isn't science minded or for people who are trying to evangelise their atheist friends. Very enjoyable.

    Full review at: (Posted on 30/05/2012)

  3. See for yourself Review / Tip by Tony Payne, Publishing Director, MM

    Just wanted to do something a little unusual and post a quick response to John Brand's review below.

    John of course is entitled to his view, and we're glad for people to post their thoughts and reactions here on the book's home page, whether positive or negative. However, given that John's is so far the only review of Scott’s book, I just wanted to reassure potential readers of the book that:

    - Scott does not adopt or promote the 'theistic evolution' position in the book; in fact he is quite critical of evolutionary thought at different points

    - he acknowledges that Christians have different views of Genesis 1, of which the 6 x 24-hour day creation is one (and a perfectly legitimate one)

    - he asks (rightly and carefully, in my view) whether establishing that the earth was created in 144 hours is what the Genesis account is trying to do, especially given the kind of writing it is; and

    - he affirms (in word and practice) the authority of Scripture as God’s word for us today.

    Some of these issues are of course controversial, and the Little Black Books are, after all, only ‘little’ -- so not every issue will be covered, and some questions will remain to be answered. All the same, I think Scott has done a superb job of informing, encouraging and helping young people to come to terms with science and understand its relationship to God and the Bible.

    But don’t take my word for it. Have a read for yourself! (Posted on 22/03/2012)

  4. Entertaining but Disappointing Review / Tip by John Brand

    There's no question but that Scott Petty writes well, with a style and a passion that is engaging. Neither is there any question that he is up for a challenge. Here, in this addition to the Little Black Book series from Matthias, he takes on the relationship between Science and God and much of it is informative, entertaining and enlightening. He debunks the idea that science and religion are incompatible; he persuasively argues for design rather than chance and shows how just as there are many sceintists who sometimes get it wrong there are also plenty of intellectually credible scientists who believe in a Creator God. It's good as far as it goes, but then it fails miserably.

    He doesn't actually use the term, but Petty is clearly a theistic evolutionist who does not believe in the biblical record of itn six 24 hour periods as taught by Genesis. He argues that sometimes, even within Genesis 1, the Hebrew word yom can mean a period of time rather than a 24 hour period, failing to recognise that when accompanied by a number, as in "1st" and "2nd", yom only and always ever means a 24 hour period. He fails to take into account the repeated pattern of "morning and evening" which is undoubtedly meant to make us think of a normal 24 hour day, and he fails to see the necessity of a 24 hour period in the context of the broader Scriptural principle of the Sabbath which makes absolutely no sense if the Genesis 'days' are simply periods of time, even possibly millenia.

    Petty also allows for a 'Big Bang' beginning to the universe, albeit caused by God, but there's no reference to everything in the universe coming into existence by the spoken word of God. Most interesting by its absence is any reference to the special creation of humans by God. Genesis 2 is completely ignored and Genesis 1 is described as "expressing...truths about God and his relationship to creation in dramatic poetic ways" (p95).

    For all the good in the book I wouldn't recommend it because of its failings in this vitally important aspect which questions the ultimate authority of Scripture. (Posted on 8/03/2012)

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