Dawn – Cees Dekker, Corien Oranje, Gijsbert van den Brink

Dawn, or “Dawn: A Proton’s Tale of All That Came to Be” to give it the full title, is such an intriguing, quirky concept for a story, telling the history of the universe from the point of creation to the present day, from the point of view of a proton.

As every proton was there from just after the big bang to witness it all, it offers a unique insight into the creation story.

The proton starts as an innocent, naïve “being”, not understanding much of what is happening, but as time passes it develops and matures in wisdom, observing the history of all time. It works well as a way of explaining some complex scientific concepts in unscientific language.

Right from the point of the Big Bang, the balance that exists amongst the enormous forces of nature exposes the guiding hand of a Creator. Initially at the subatomic and atomic level, then planetary, as the guiding hand of creation works over millions of years. Finally, that hand guides biological creation.

It may not sit comfortably with some Christian’s views of the creation story, but it does combine the wealth of scientific discoveries with the Biblical creative process, showing a tight continuity between what are sometimes seen as opposing narratives, but can in fact be seen as complementary.

The book includes an overview of the evolutionary process, presenting it as the way that life persists and endures, getting cleverer and increasingly adapted for survival. Again, matching the scientific theories of evolution to the creation narrative, caused by a Creator.

The book includes a challenging account of the Garden of Eden and the fall. It moves away from the Biblical storyline, but takes the essence of the Bible teaching and presents it in a way that could fit with science. It may upset some purists but I feel it is important to read with an open mind and know that this way of presenting it may well help others to glean some answers to the difficult questions that the Bible narrative leaves unanswered. It looks to fill in some of the gaps, with the best of intentions.

I saw it as a creative explanation, that helps to put the pieces of the mystery together. But we also need to always have the humility to admit that we don’t have all the answers. We can’t offer a full and precise explanation or all the details. One day, when we are face to face with the Creator, we may get that sort of insight, but whilst we are here, and He has made us curious, then it is right that our minds are applied to the “how” questions… how did He do it.

The proton’s story criss-crosses the Bible story offering interesting insights, as an informed observer. One of them being a shift in the Creator’s objectives when dealing with people. With the rest of creation, the strongest and fittest find survival, whereas when people are involved His desire is to support all, especially the weakest, driven by love and compassion for those created in His image.

Ultimately it tells the gospel story, the good news of how Jesus’s life and death reconciles us with the Creator.

The book uses uncomplicated language, suitable for all adults but also younger readers too, and it will certainly prompt thought, discussion and debate, whilst helping many to get a clearer comprehension of what can be a difficult subject.

Dawn, by Cees Dekker, Corien Oranje; Gijsbert van den Brink, is available here.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, but was under no pressure to provide a favourable review.