John Lennox: 7 Days That Divide the World (Transcript)

Full text of John Lennox’s talk titled ‘Seven Days That Divide the World’.

Eric Metaxas and Socrates in the City present an evening with John Lennox, Professor of Mathematics at Oxford University, at the Union Club in New York City on January 31, 2013.

Listen to the MP3 Audio here:


ERIC METAXAS: Well, good evening, and welcome to Socrates in the City. You can applaud. It’s great to see—no, no, that’s really not appropriate, please.

But it’s great to see so many of you here. As you know, we were totally sold out for this event, in fact, just because of sheer stupidity on the part of my staff. Not me. No. All right. I admit it. It was I who was sheerly stupid.

And I have to tell you, we oversold this to the extent that you got an email yesterday, I think, saying if some people wouldn’t mind staying home, we’d be very, very grateful. So anyway, you know that we tried to tempt a number of you, like the airlines, to sort of trade your seat for a meal voucher or something like that. And obviously, a number of people took us up on that. We really have no intention of honoring that, but we’re just glad that they didn’t show up. We just go on to the next town. They’ll never hear from us again.

Now, seriously, some of you were turned away mostly because there was simply no room. Others—and we won’t say who, but we just dislike you. But because everyone who wanted to be here could not be here, we promised we would get the video of this evening online as soon as possible. So hopefully in the next few days, it’s our intention to get these evenings out to a wider group than can fit in these wonderful rooms. And we are happy to do that with this talk as soon as we can.

So stay tuned to or for a video of this event as soon as we put it up. And by the way, if you are watching me say these words on video right now, there’s no need to stay tuned.

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Yeah, because you’ve already found the video, I think.

All right. Anyway, happy that many of you will be watching this online and that some of you are watching it online right now. We know that you are. We hope that you’re watching this online. And we will try to approximate in the video what it is like to physically be in this room right now to the extent that we can. Of course, if you are watching this online, you cannot possibly smell the lovely smell filling this room right now. I believe that’s corned beef and cabbage. Am I getting that right? That’s in honor of our Irish-born speaker. It’s just lovely. And those of you watching this online, you couldn’t possibly pick that up.

Now, I know that’s a cheap ethnic stereotype, but you really can’t have an Irish speaker with lots and lots of green beer, and that also is the smell filling the room. Isn’t it lovely, though, ladies and gentlemen? It’s lovely. Yes, yes. And some of you have drunk a wee bit too much, and we can smell that some people have gotten sick. It’s very embarrassing. So maybe you’re glad that you’re only watching this online. Yes, yes.

We want to bring in the cheap Irish ethnic stereotypes. We’re very used in New York to a homogenous group. So when foreign Irish people and so on and so forth, people born in Ireland, it’s just very exotic for us. Most of us are of simple Dutch stock in this room, and we’re just… we don’t know where to go. Yes.

Anyway, I have to explain this to Dr. Lennox. He’s never been insulted in that way before, and I do apologize in advance. Most of us have literally never seen an Irishman before. That’s just the way it is in this room. We expected a big six-foot-five, called a big shocker, red hair and freckles all the way back to Killarney, don’t you know? And so that’s just who we are. We’re simple New Yorkers.

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A quick word about who we are at Socrates in the City. Let me say that Socrates in the City is a UFO cult. We’re proud to be a UFO cult, and anyone having a problem with that will be vaporized by the time this video airs online. We don’t normally, of course, admit that we’re a UFO cult publicly, so let’s please keep that in this room if you don’t mind. The people watching this event online will not hear me say what I just said. Instead, for those sentences, we will dub in an audio of Beyonce singing the Star-Spangled Banner, or Danny Boy, as the case may be. Faith & Begorra. Yes.

Seriously, seriously, Socrates in the City takes its cue from Socrates’ famous maxim that the unexamined life is not worth living, so we gather now and again to hear speakers deal with the so-called big questions, what we like to call life, God, and other small topics. In the past, we’ve heard from speakers who’ve dealt with the interface between faith and science, as we will tonight. We’ve heard from Sir John Polkinghorne, from Dr. Francis Collins, and of course, from Criss Angel MINDFREAK.

The interface between faith and culture is at the heart of the big questions in our own culture because, of course, a false wall has been set up between them, we get the idea that we have to make a choice, either faith or science. That’s wrong on a number of levels, and I hope Dr. Lennox will help us think that through a bit tonight.

He will, of course, be talking about the creation account in Genesis and how that does or does not comport with what we know from science. He will also be proving the existence of leprechauns. I didn’t write this, I assure you. This is just unbelievable. It’s unbelievable. I’m not even going to read the rest of this.

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A quick word on our format. Dr. Lennox, about whom I shall furiously tell you in a moment, will speak for approximately 45 minutes. We’ll then have time for Q&A, and he’s got a special treat for the Q&A. And then we’ll stop at 8:25, 8:30 promptly, as we always do, and then we’ll have time for Dr. Lennox to sign books.

Okay, so Dr. John C. Lennox, PhD, DPhil, DSC, Notorious B.I.G., is a professor of mathematics at the University of Oxford. He is the author of many books, including God’s Undertaker: Has Science Buried God? He’s written several other books on the interface between science, philosophy, and theology, the most recent being the one he’ll speak on tonight, Seven Days That Divide the World.

Many of you thought John Lennox, some of you thought, some of my less thoughtful friends thought John Lennox was a typo, and that tonight we would hear from John Lennon. I’m happy to say that’s not the case, although I’m thrilled to say that Yoko Ono will be at the Patreon’s dinner. She’ll be singing — I think I mentioned several of our emails.

One of the reasons that I’m particularly excited for us to hear from Dr. Lennox tonight is that he was a student at Cambridge, and he was a student under C.S. Lewis. And C.S. Lewis is last year there in 1962, and maybe he’ll share a little bit about that with us tonight. He is, as I mentioned, I think, a professor of mathematics at the University of Oxford, a fellow in mathematics and the philosophy of science, and pastoral advisor at Green Templeton College, Oxford. He’s also an adjunct lecturer at Wickliffe Hall, Oxford University, at the Oxford Center for Christian Apologetics, and is a senior fellow of the Trinity Forum.

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