What Is Man? Adam, Alien or Ape?by Edgar Andrews (Elm Hill, 2018).
a review by Richard Klaus
Edgar Andrews’ book, What Is Man? Adam, Alien or Ape?is study from a Christian perspective on the nature of humanity. Andrews brings a specialized background in science with advanced degrees in Physics. This background allows him to speak with authority and precision to specific naturalistic alternatives to understanding humanity.
Andrews structures the book around three main divisions:
“Part 1: Man and the Cosmos” comprises five chapters. The discussion is largely concerned with the larger issues of cosmology. I particularly enjoyed his discussion in chapter five where he examined in some detail the idea of a “multiverse.” Andrews notes that “there are at least five different versions of the multiverse and they are by no means mutually compatible.” (p. 92) He looks at a number of these variations and critiques each one. In general, he notes the following, which applies to all versions of the multiverse:
“What we shall see in this chapter is that the MV [multiverse] concept is a bit like a get-out-of-jail-free card in the game of Monopoly—an escape route or bolt hole from various unwelcome difficulties and implications thrown up by modern physics and cosmology. Instead of struggling with the intransigent realities of the one universe we actually know, we can explain away these difficulties by invoking the MV. It intrigues me that some of the MV’s greatest enthusiasts accuse theists of appealing to a ‘God of the gaps’ to account for things that science cannot explain, while they themselves claim that one or more inaccessible multiverses can explain otherwise inexplicable scientific observations… In reality, the MV is the ultimate speculation-of-the-gaps, being (almost by definition) that which lies beyond the reach of science.” (p. 93)
A nice touch for ease of following Andrews’ argumentation is that for each multiverse theory he appends a short summary of the problems at the end of each of the discussions. This would have been helpful for other topics in other chapters (e.g., chapter nine and its discussion of theories of human consciousness).
“Part 2: Man and the Biosphere” gets into the details of human uniqueness (ch. 6), the human genome (ch. 7), fossils remains (ch. 8), and the nature of human consciousness (ch. 9). For the size of the book and the intended audience, the discussions on these issues need to be basic and concise. This does not stop Andrews from tackling some difficult topics. In his chapter on the human genome he has a number of pages devoted to the topic of epigenetics and helpfully explains how this is relevant to understanding the function of molecular genetics.
“Part 3: Man and the Bible” covers a number of biblical and theological topics. He looks at the following topics: a basic Christian worldview primer (ch. 10), the historicity of Adam and Eve (ch. 11), the image of God (ch. 12), Jesus Christ as the perfect Man (ch. 13), and the resurrection of Jesus (ch. 14). The discussions here were basic and, at times, bordered on simplistic. His discussion of the resurrection of Jesus was too quick.