John Lennox has impressive credentials. He holds a MA, PhD, Phil, DSc, and is currently Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford. He is also an outspoken Christian who has debated some of the top Atheist minds in the world. His book God’s Undertaker: Has Science Buried God? is an extension of his theistic activism. In the work, Lennox exposes the philosophical, historical, scientific, and mathematical fallacies of staunch intellectual Atheists – especially those of Richard Dawkins, who is featured throughout.
Lennox shows that all beliefs are, in one sense or another, based on a priori assumptions – concepts not informed by experience. He argues that Atheists possess an a priori belief in the nonexistence of God, and thus seek to confirm this belief in their work, even when the evidence may suggest otherwise. Lennox spends much of the book poking holes, sometimes gaping ones, in the various supports for secular humanism. Naturalistic explanations for the creation of the universe, the origin of life, and evolution undervalue the extraordinary complexity – and of particular interest to Lennox – probability, of these processes. To Lennox, it is the high complexity and low probability of these events that actually point to the existence of a creator God. He writes, “Indeed, faith is a response to evidence, not a rejoicing in the absence of evidence.”
Lennox’s attack on secular humanism and his defense of theism is strong. Christians can find comfort in the intellectual weight that his arguments hold. However, many Christians may find that while Lennox attacks and defends with efficiency and vigor, very little is mentioned regarding what Lennox himself actually believes – particularly regarding the origins of life. While he exposes some of the flaws of macro-evolutionary theory, it seems that his own disagreements mainly hinge on the naturalistic explanation. Readers are left to assume, for better or worse, that Lennox holds to an evolutionary theory himself, albeit a theistic one. He fails to engage with the Genesis narrative in a hermeneutical way, although this is perhaps asking too much from a scholar who is already more well-versed than most.
Nevertheless, Lennox’s book is a worthy read for Christians and skeptics alike. Reader’s may find that his scholarly engagement with reason, probability, and scientific discovery speaks as much to the Christian as it does to the Atheist. God’s Undertaker is worth careful (and cautious) consideration for the extremists on all sides.