Friday, March 25, 2011

Book Review: After the Flood by Bill Cooper

Throughout history knowledge of God has been challenged and these challenges have been overcome by believers.  The book After the Flood by Bill Cooper sheds some wonderful light on the theological attacks and advancements among early pegans. In the Introduction - In the Beginning Bill Coper talks about his questions about the Bible and how he resolved them.
On the one hand I had the Bible itself claiming to be the very Word of God, and on the other I was presented with numerous commentaries that spoke with one voice in telling me that the Bible was nothing of the kind. It was merely a hotch-potch collection of middle- eastern myths and fables that sought to explain the world in primitive terms, whose parts had been patched together by a series of later editors. 
 In Chapter 1 The Knowledge of God amongst the early Pagans Bill Cooper examins the early Pagans beliefs in God.  The most interesting thing learned in this chapter is that the arguments of today have been used against belivers of God in the past.
Popular thought seems never to have considered the possibility that pagan man was indeed aware of God and of His attributes and power, and that this awareness had existed and flourished for centuries without any recourse at all to the scriptures. So it is with something of a surprise that we meet with exactly that, a profound knowledge and appreciation of an eternal and almighty Creator God, His fatherhood of the human race and His infinite attributes in the writings of various historians in the ancient world and amongst the teachings of the earliest philosophers.

So profound was the concept and knowledge of God amongst certain pagan peoples in the ancient world, and in particular the Greek and Roman worlds, that a controversy eventually arose and was to rage for many centuries between those who propagated and preserved that knowledge of God as the Creator, and those who sought to destroy it by attributing the creation of the universe to purely natural forces. The marked similarity between that pagan controversy and the controversy that rages today between creationists and evolutionists is surprising...
Here is an example of similar arguments between creationiss and evolutionists from Bill Cooper.
Plato's model was of a higher concept altogether. For him, the Creator turned chaos into order simply because it was His good nature, and His good pleasure, so to do. He loved order rather than chaos, and to ensure the maintenance of that order everything He created was made according to an eternal and flawless pattern, Plato's justly famous Theory of Forms.
Epicurus argued that it was insufficient to contend for the divine creation of the universe, as Plato did, from the assumption of a well-ordered cosmos, simply because the cosmos, in Epicurus' eyes, was not well-ordered. (16) It had culminated from a long, perhaps infinite, series of accidents resulting from the random jostling of atoms.
In my earlier post Religion, History and Education I discuss my own process of finding truth in God and in the scriptures.
Thankfully I was learning about ancient history at this time in school.    It fascinated me, I loved learning what ancient cultures were like.  I started to realise a pattern.  Every ancient culture we learned about believed in the existence of a God or Gods.  In fact I could not find any society that ever existed where the culture of people did not have some sort of belief in a Deity.  I concluded that the belief in God or Gods is ingrained in us, something we know, lets say instinctively.
This is just the same conclusion that Bill Cooper comes to
the knowledge of God is in fact and indeed innate within the human soul.  It is a built-in awareness that may well be awakened and perfected with the reception of God's Word, but it is certainly something that exists quite independently of a knowledge of scripture.
In this chapter Bill points out this pattern, as the Pagan belief in the one true God is challenged the believers have to adapt and overcome the challenge.  As the believers adapt they learn even more fundamental truths about God.

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