I first came across Dr. Schroeder's work back in my teens, when I read an article of his on a aish.com - a popular jewish website - titled "Age of theI first came across Dr. Schroeder's work back in my teens, when I read an article of his on a aish.com - a popular jewish website - titled "Age of the Universe". Schroeder had new theory that the 6 days of creation referred to in Genesis, and the 15billion year figure quoted by modern science as the age of the universe, were not totally irreconcilable. In fact, using einstein's theories of special and general relativity, Dr. Schroeder made the case that these two figures are both entirely correct, but merely measured from different frames of reference.
Schroeder's article really astounded me back then, and the thought of it stuck with me for years. Even later after I had a chance to study relativity in depth at university, and failed to find any flaws in the physics behind his argument. When I realised Schroeder had written books aswell as articles, I decided I had to get hold of one, hoping to hear more of his theories.
Genesis and the Big Bang puts forward essentially the same points as Schroeder's article that I fell in love with years ago: That the biblical creation story can be shown to agree with modern day scientific theories of the creation of the universe, the big bang, and the origins of life on earth.
Schroeder apparently has a double phd in 'Nuclear Physics and Earth and Planetary Sciences', and he really does seem to know his stuff. I can't speak completely for the archeology/paleontology topics that he covers but certainly I have found his physics to be correct, interesting and reasonably easy to understand. Some of the topics Shroeder touches upon, in his main theories and in background explanations include the wave-particle duality of light, general and special relativity, the expansion of the universe and doppler shifts. I would say that you'd probably need some background knowledge of the science to make reading the novel worthwhile, as he doesn't cover the topics quite thoroughly enough to teach a complete novice.
Of course since he's relating scientific theories to biblical scripture, Schroeder does also quote a lot of scripture. He also refers often to Nahmanides and Maimonides, 12th century jewish scholars who are two of the most influential commentors on the Torah. Turns out that these two were seriously ahead of the times in their interpretation of scripture, I'm willing to bet certain modern day christians would be picketing their gravesides if they'd heard some of their ideas.
I honestly find it a breath of fresh air to come across a science writer that doesn't believe that science and religion always have to be in competition with eachother. I know that religious scientist are out there, Hell einstein and most of his contemporaries were christian. But these days it seems like its taboo to bring up your religion whilst practicing science.
Unfortunately, I didn't realise that Genesis and the Big Bang was published several years earlier than the article I originally fell for. So while it does cover several of Schroeders ideas in more detail it doesn't go as far as his article did in actually trying to covert the biblical 6 days into our inertial reference frame. Which was a little bit of downer. I'll probably have to pick up his more recent work in order to read more about that precise theory.
I suppose the question now is, after being so fascinated by his theories am I convinced? Well in a way I think I am; I find his arguments utterly plausible aswell as astoundingly interesting. Like I said before, I don't believe faith and science need to be at odds with one another, and I do think there is much more to the book of Genesis than can be read at surface value. But unlike Schroeder I would have to say that I don't think that the abrahamic religions are the only ones to hold a grain of truth.
All in all though, this book is a fascinating read, even if you don't find yourself convinced by his theories in the end.