Book Review: Improbable Planet

Improbable Plane: How Earth Became Humanity’s Home by Hugh Ross is a marvelous journey through the story of the development of the Earth told in the language of astrophysics. The author takes the reader step by step through the science of the creation of the world in a way that helps a person understand the awe of the improbability of an animal-inhabitable planet emerging from the chaos of the building blocks of the universe; all while encouraging a deeper study and pursuit of science.

planetWith the last 10% of the book encompassing links to primary scientific articles and well-respected journals, Ross demonstrates his determination to present a solidly scientific book that can be researched and critiqued and validated by anyone who would like to do so. Some may find the science of the book a bit overwhelming, but overall the writing is done so in a way that the reader does not have to be a physicist to understand what is being communicated, but a background in the sciences is certainly helpful when reading Improbable Planet.

As for the Christian nature of the book, Ross doesn’t directly pursue the goal of saying, “God did this” chapter after chapter. Instead, he subtly encourages the reader to not put blind faith in the god of Random Chance but to also consider other possibilities while doing solid scientific study. In the final chapter, “Why We’re Here,” the author explicitly talks about God but is also careful to do so in the following ways:

The preceding chapters describe many new, and some not-so-new, observations concerning Earth’s prehistory and origin and the origin and history of life on Earth – all of which combined to represent a potent challenge to the naturalistic view. I cannot say these observations “prove” in any absolute sense that the biblical God planned and prepared Earth as a home for humans, but what explanation offers a more reasonable assessment of the data? Do we owe our existence at this time and in this place to a nearly infinite web of intricately intertwined coincidences that just happened to all come together of their own accord?

As a vocal advocate for advancing scientific research that yields deeper understanding of nature’s magnificence, I simply want to encourage deep thought and a reasonable evaluation of the data. The Bible tells us that the more we investigate the record of nature, the more evidence we will find of God’s existence, for his handiwork in preparing the natural realm for our benefit, and for his purposeful involvement in our lives (Job 9; 36:22-39:30; Ps. 104) (p221).

This holy book (the Bible) makes sense of what was, what is, and what will be. It anticipates what each generation of humanity, including our own, needs to know in order to discover our origin and fulfill our destiny. It identifies a reasonable Source for nature and nature’s laws, as well as for humans and their capabilities – including the compulsion to reason. Just as importantly, it identifies the ultimate aim of the created realm…All of God’s works of creation are in the context of his greater works of redemption (pp 225-226).

Disclosure: I received this book free from Baker Books through the Baker Books Bloggers http://www.bakerbooks.com/bakerbooksbloggers program. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html.

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