In this book, Professor Andrews (see article on page 3 of this ET issue) distils a lifetime of meditation on the titular question into 14 rich and readable chapters. He unpacks the issues behind what scholars have called ‘hard problems’ and shows us how biblical revelation brings understanding to our minds and gives humans a meaningful place in our world.
The first section examines responses to the question from people speaking in the name of various scientific fields. These include neuroscience, psychology and evolutionary biology.
This critical scrutiny reveals a fundamental disparity between modern secular intellectuals and Christian apologists. The contrast is between seeing man as a product of blind evolutionary mechanisms and seeing him as a creation wonderfully made by an intelligent and purposeful designer.
It is between man as a meat robot with an illusion of freedom and man as a unified spiritual/material being with genuine free agency. It is between a world that is without purpose and a planetary home that was designed for human existence. It is between a universe where there is no right and wrong and one where moral values are fundamental.
These contrasting perspectives are traced to the worldviews of their advocates: the materialistic perspectives of public intellectuals or the theistic/biblical perspectives of Christians.
Materialism offers unconvincing answers; there are frequent contradictions and there is a tendency for people who claim to have science on their side ending up advancing ideas that are, in fact, anti-science. Without an appreciation of the worldviews underpinning scholarly work, questioners can become seriously confused about the responses they receive.
Andrews’ incisive analysis reveals the bankruptcy of much that is presented as scholarship and sets out biblical teaching that illuminates the gloom and warms the heart. To have the issues analysed so clearly by an experienced professional scientist and Christian is invaluable. Biblical teaching is presented in an informative and engaging way, as one might expect from a former editor of Evangelical Times.
The biblical hope for the future of mankind in Christ provides yet another striking contrast with the materialist worldview. Prof. Andrews takes us to the fulfilment of human destiny in Revelation 22 and asks us to consider that here is to be found the final answer to the question, ‘What is Man?’.
This is a book to be prized by parents, students, teachers and pastors. It is a valuable resource to pass on to friends who have been influenced by the dominant materialistic worldview of our culture. Most people will acknowledge the importance of having clarity about who we are and how we fit into the big picture of life on earth. This book certainly meets that need.
Professor David J. Tyler
Trustee of the Biblical Creation Trust