Updated: Jul 9
As with all reviews on this website, our goal is not to provide a complete overview of the book; rather, it is to examine how the book relates to the meaning of life.
Your Origin and Destiny: Explore the Meaning of Life, Time and Creation, is an upcoming book written by Ivan Rudolph. The estimated release date, as per Ivan, is in April 2020. An early release edition was provided to endev42 in exchange for an honest review. Ivan also has previously published 12 books, one of which was turned into a TV movie according to his website.
Early in Ivan's book, Your Origin and Destiny, as the title suggests, he examines abiogenesis and evolution, on which, unscientific Creationist arguments are presented, e.g., a dog can never be anything other than a dog, a human can only be a human (unless, of course, we are selected for heavenly endeavors in the afterlife where we blossom into something greater)—speciation is bunk because no human alive today has ever witnessed a dinosaur transforming into a chicken, or vice versa. Gaps in the fossil record and eyeball complexity are among other examples presented against evolution. Here it should be noted, like many modern Christians, evolution is not necessarily thrown out, but instead replaced with an old Earth guided evolution theory, guided without speciation, that is. We won't dive into these topics here, but if you are interested, you can watch the Bill Nye vs. Ken Ham debate.
Countless times throughout the book, it is mentioned that Time, Energy, Consciousness, and Love all exist outside of the universe. Ivan even goes so far as to note that towards the end of Stephen Hawking's life, he also came to the same conclusion, at least about time. On this, I think it is essential to understand what Hawking actually said.
In short, the idea that time exists outside the universe is just as absurd as stating that space exists outside of the spacetime of the universe. Hawking's approach, was to propose a no boundaries theory on space and time, similar to that of the North or South pole not having any boundaries. Naturally, this is hard to conceptualize, but it is not saying that spacetime exists outside of the universe.
Now, I think in purely a religious or spiritual sense, one could argue that there exists realms or dimensions in some fashion outside of our universe, of which we don't have any evidence of. But one should not submit junk science to support these fantasies. To fully understand Hawking's thoughts read our blog post on his multiverse theory on the meaning of life.
In another scientific, or rather mathematical mishap, the author hinges an argument on a supposed prediction from the Bible regarding downfall of Tyre and how there was only a 1 in 75,000,000 chance of that prediction coming true. The odds being so astronomical that it must prove God has infallible prophetic foresight, and secondly, that the Bible is foolproof. Let's assume for a second that Ivan got the odds right for the downfall of Tyre. The odds of winning the Powerball are 1 in 292,201,338, and yet, since 2003, there have been nearly 200 winners. The point being is that a 1 in 75,000,000 chance of being right is not so significant in the grand scheme of things, in the scheme of millennia, in the scheme of billions of people.
One important note is that the author sites an AWARE study dealing with Near Death Experiences (NDEs), which proves there is an afterlife. But what the author does not cite are other studies that show why people have NDE experiences. For example, one such study shows that the brain can continue to be active for up to 10-minutes after death. James Randi may have been one of the first to criticize the AWARE results. In addition, there was quite a significant bias on behalf of the author noting that only Jesus, Christian figures, and an individual's ancestors appear in NDEs—that is, there are no recorded NDE experiences with the Prophet Muhammed, Buddha, Xemu, etc., of which, a quick Google search would dispel this bias. Also, unlike in Christianity, where one would hope to see Jesus, in Islam, one would likely not expect to see the Prophet Muhammed, as the Prophet Muhammed is not to be worshipped, or prayed too, or idolized.
Okay, so not to get bogged down in more bad science presented in the book, e.g., 2D vs. 3D shadows, let's get back to examining what the text tells us about meaning in life. Here the book leaves readers somewhat confused in regards to our supposed "purpose," which as it turns out, is whatever God wants it to be. That purpose however, may not always be clear. Near the end of the book, Ivan partially explains why. We cannot, after all, know or understand God's plan for us, just that there is one, and we should have faith. Or, as Ivan puts it, the ultimate purpose ... is kept mysterious.
The book frequently talks about God's purpose and his plans for us, but as suspected, there is little illumination as to what that purpose or plan is. Sure, there is New Heaven for all the believers after judgment day, but beyond that, we don't know. God's plan gives God purpose, but we are in the dark as to what that plan is. Just that it was decided before we were born. There is some sense as well that God created the universe just for us, which would seem a bit egocentric and a vast waste of space. Some Christians I have met counter this by stating there are likely many other planets which inhabit intelligent beings like us. Ivan doesn't go in that direction though.
The author does do an excellent job of examining different uses of the word "creation" throughout the Bible. This was the one eye-opening surprise throughout the book. Eventually though, the book divulges into personal stories of God intervening in the lives of people, often through NDEs. One individual's NDE conversation with God went as follows:
Person: Why are we here?
God: To learn.
Person: What’s the purpose of our life?
God: To love.
Overall, despite what is listed above, I wouldn't necessarily say the book was a bad read. It was enjoyable and kept me interested throughout. The science is biased and flawed, as is so often found with Creationists trying to fit the theories into preconceived beliefs, which is disappointing—but it is what it is. This didn't work out in the past when the Holy Office sought to convict Galileo for heresy, or in light of Darwin's revelations on evolution, but again, it is what it is.
Overall - 5
MOL Relevance - 3
Uniqueness - 5