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Adventures in the Spirit: God, World, Divine Action Paperback – October 1, 2008

3.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Philip Clayton is Ingraham Professor of Theology at Claremont School of Theology and Professor of Religion and Philosophy at Claremont Graduate University.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Fortress Press (October 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0800663187
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800663186
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,259,597 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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After reading Philip Clayton's most recent book, "Transforming Christian Theology", I turned to this one, his previous book that he says represents perhaps the last of his books aimed at the academy. Right up front, I want to make clear that my area of intellectual competence is not in the natural sciences (which this book discusses extensively). As a religious studies major in college, I of course took basic general education courses in biology and physics, but this book went far beyond what I learned from those introductory courses. I am grateful for my inquisitive mind though, because if it weren't for my extracurricular readings in the religion/science debate, as well as in philosophy and theology, I would have given up on this extremely dense book within the first few chapters. Clayton is clearly blessed with a sharp mind, which is an observation that kept me reading. Anybody who reads the book need not have an advanced understanding of religion, theology, science, and philosophy, but an understanding/expertise in one or more is definitely needed to grasp what is going here.

Even when I felt overwhelmed by the heavy ideas of this book, I was propelled forward by the challenge, by the questions, and by the momentum Clayton infuses this book with. I frequently thought to myself, "This is a book filled with challenging and fresh ideas. Just keep reading." By the last half of the book, I realized my intuition was correct and the pieces started coming together. This book is absolutely stellar for those willing to take the plunge, posing profound challenges to the reductionistic neo-Darwinism of Dawkins, but also to rigid Christian traditionalism entrenched in outworn theologies. By the end of the book, emergent complexity makes a lot of sense about the world as we know it today.
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Reading this book, I kept thinking of the conclusion of C.S. Lewis in his great essay "Fernseeds and Elephants" - try being critical of your criticism for a change. Clayton is the type of Christian theologian happy to question the physical resurrection of Jesus. But he seems to have little or no interest in criticizing the pet theories of university academics. The idea that truth should be based on "intersubjective discourse" (i.e., what university professors think) is not only foolish, it is dangerous.
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If Christianity is to have a future in the 21st Century it will have to look something like the vision Clayton sets forth in this book, Adventures in the Spirit. Clayton's position is friendly to both science and religion in a way which is elegant and graceful but rigorous and systematic at the same time. Highly recommended!
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