30/01/2007

In the Likeness of God (by Dr Paul Brand and Philip Yancey)

'In the Likeness of God' is one of the best and most thought-provoking books I have ever read! It actually contains two works: 'Fearfully and Wonderfully Made', and 'In His Image'; the volume was made as a tribute to the main author, the surgeon Dr Paul Brand, who died in 2004. The writing was edited and turned into book form by Philip Yancey, one of my favourite modern Christian authors.

Paul Brand spent most of his adult life working with leprosy patients in India. He was the person who first suggested that leprosy itself didn't cause deformities: it caused the loss of pain sensation which in turn stopped people from realising when they were in danger. He thus realised how remarkable the body's pain mechanism is, warning us (for instance) when we need to turn over at night, or when we've trodden on something sharp.

This book is basically an entire analogy; it takes the concept of the Body of Christ as used in the New Testament, and then moves it a level further, looking from the perspective of individual cells.

The writing is lively and interesting, peppered with anecdotes and personal thoughts, and I found it absolutely mind-blowing in places. Brand's medical expertise is such that he clearly knows what he's talking about, yet he gives his explanations in ways that are clear to the layman without being at all condescending.

I took several weeks to finish this, just reading a short bit at a time as there was so much on every page. Probably the best book I've read in the past year. Highly recommended to anyone. I'm disappointed to see that it's now out of print in the UK.

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