4 out of 4 stars
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Growing up I was taught a very literal belief in the Bible. In school, I was taught a scientific way of interpreting the world. There seemed to be a giant chasm between the two teachings. I have met many religious people who believe science is a hoax, and I have met many scientists who think the Bible is a myth. But I have also met a few people who are able to see how the two viewpoints can fit together and complement each other. Daniel Friedman is one of these people. In his book, The Biblical Clock, he tackles the tough subject of the creation of the world, and he skillfully builds a bridge between the Bible and scientific knowledge.
The author starts by tackling the questions of creation. Did God create the earth? Did it really only take six days? How old is the earth? He looks at texts from scientists and theologians alike. Much of his theory hinges on Kabbalist teaching that the world runs in cycles of 7000 years each. They believed all of human history would exist in 7 of these cycles. He combines this with the scripture that says one day for God is one thousand years for mankind. This formula results in an age for the earth of 2.5 billion years which is very closely matched to the research done by the Hubble telescope and the big bang theory. In the second half of the book, Friedman uses these calculations to predict the timeline of the end of the world.
I was impressed with the author’s knowledge of history and multiple religious and scientific texts. His writing is clear and intelligent. I enjoyed the personalized stories included in the book. They made the historical figures being studied more personal. I found much of his research enlightening. I especially liked the theory that man’s purpose is to improve the world thus restoring the original perfection of creation. This led to his theory that there had been several possible timelines for the End of Days, but it would not happen until mankind was ready.
The one thing that I did not like was the way the book was organized. I felt like the first half jumped around in time. I would have preferred if the theories and discoveries being discussed were presented in chronological order. I also found it unlikely that any text could accurately tell us what time of each creation day different events happened.
I give this book a rating of 4 out of 4 stars. It is well-written and researched. It was also extremely well-edited. I did not find any errors. I highly recommend it for anyone who is interested in seeing how religion and science can walk side by side. The research comes mainly from scientific discovery and the Jewish religion, so it might not appeal to readers who are not open to those ideas. Despite the slightly disjointed timeline, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.
The Biblical Clock
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