Define Universe and Give Two Examples: A Comparison of Scientific and Christian Belief

As one might deduce from its title, this is a very unusual book. In the first five hundred pages, the author includes three sections: (1) Perception of Reality, (2) Material-Universe Science, and (3) Total-Universe Christianity. Following these sections are approximately one hundred pages of appendices. After the first section’s wordy and detailed account of the philosophies associated with science and the search for truth, the second section deals with the way science has developed and how absolute truth is difficult to find from observations and deductions based on natural science. The third section gives a detailed account of the doctrine of Christ and how this can lead to absolute truth. Each section has a huge number of extensive and sometimes very interesting endnotes, and the book as a whole is a wealth of knowledge on specific topics.

The purview of the book is enormous, and it is to Dr. Dahneke’s credit that he discusses aspects of philosophy, science, and religion in a very knowledgeable way. Dahneke states in the preface that he wrote the book primarily for his extended family and friends so that they can better understand his beliefs and convictions. He also comments that he has written the book for readers who have no special preparation in science and mathematics; however, without some interest and background in those subjects the text will make very heavy reading. The contents of this book come under the general umbrella of natural philosophy. Whereas the original doctors of natural philosophy were considered experts in virtually all known science and philosophy, these days very few PhDs study deeply outside their own narrow area of research. Consequently, the number of people who will read and enjoy all the material covered in this book is somewhat limited, although I think that the text might be of considerable value to philosophy of science teachers. Despite the all-encompassing title, the author has self-imposed restrictions on both the science and the religious aspects of the book. He has deliberately chosen the field of physics (and especially mechanics) as the most appropriate representation of science, and only Christianity (with special emphasis on Mormonism) is included in the discussion of religion.

Published in BYU Studies Quarterly 46:3
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