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Origins: A Reformed Look at Creation, Design, and Evolution Paperback – October, 2007

4.8 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


This book is an absolute must-read book for every young-earth creationist speaker before he steps into the pulpit of another church with non-scientists in the pews. The authors are well-trained scientists, and passionate about their view of the inerrancy of Scripture. --Dr. Ken Wolgenmuth

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Faith Alive Christian Resources (October 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592552277
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592552276
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,306,642 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Deborah B. Haarsma is a professor of Physics and Astronomy at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where she has been on the faculty since 1999. She earned a Ph.D. in astrophysics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and undergraduate degrees in physics and music from Bethel College. Deborah studies galaxies and the universe using telescopes in New Mexico, Hawaii, Chile, and earth orbit. Her work on gravitational lenses and galaxy clusters has been published in "The Astrophysical Journal" and "The Astronomical Journal." Deborah often speaks and writes on astronomy and Christian faith, equipping pastors and churches to engage science.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book summarizes the various positions that Bible-believing Christians take on such questions as creation, evolution, common ancestry, Intelligent Design, human evolution, and Adam and Eve. The authors attempt to present an unbiased survey of all sides of the debates, but it becomes clear by the end what their positions are on certain issues. They are "evolutionary creationists," referring to the belief that God worked through ordinary, natural means to produce the diversity of life (including humans) on earth.

They establish very convincing arguments for an old earth, common ancestry, and (perhaps most controversially) the evolution of humans from primate ancestors. I must admit that I found their case extremely persuasive. As a Christian, I was initially reluctant to entertain the possibility that we humans have descended from apes, since it goes against centuries of theological teaching. But the science that the authors present--including such evidences as hominid fossils and genetic comparisons--is solid enough to make me change my mind.

My one reservation about their position is over how evolutionary creationism would affect natural theology. The Bible teaches that God's existence and power are clearly and inexcusably evident in creation (Rom. 1:20). In other words, on the Day of Judgment, no one can plead ignorance, because there is sufficient evidence for God in the natural world. Evolutionary creation seems to undercut that biblical teaching by presenting a view of creation that looks indistinguishable from an atheistic view. Although the authors address that very question (pp. 234-236), their response is rather unsatisfying. They almost make it sound as if we Christians have no choice but to retreat into fideism.
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This book is for Christians who are seeking a better understanding of the spectrum of views that Christians hold on how to relate the findings of science with interpretation of the Bible. In presenting and discussing the spectrum of views, "Origins" makes a useful distinction, not often seen, between "Interpretations of Genesis" and "Views on Origins," and includes nice summary tables of each.

Under Interpretations of Genesis, the Haarsmas (professors in the Physics and Astronomy Department at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan) present and discuss Young Earth, Gap, Day-Age, Appearance of Age, Visionary Day, Proclamation Day and Ancient Near East Cosmology interpretations, along with "Creation Poem" and "Kingdom-Covenant" interpretations. The latter two interpretations both seem to be virtually identical to the Framework Interpretation of Meredith Kline et al., yet there is no reference to the Framework Interpretation, either in the text, the table or the bibliography, which I find surprising and unnecssarily confusing.

Under Views on Origins, the Haarsmas present and discuss Young Earth Creation, several flavors of Progressive Creation, and several flavors of Evolutionary Creation, as well as Intelligent Design.

The book has questions for reflection and discussion and a brief bibliography at the end of each chapter, but no index. It contains numerous references to short supplemental articles or additional examples located on a particular web site. Personally, I would have greatly preferred that this material be included as sidebars or additional appendices.

Overall, I found "Origins" to be a good introduction to the wide spectrum of Christian views, although, compared to other books on the same subject, it does have a relatively weak treatment of the implications of original sin on the various views presented.
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Format: Paperback
This book is recommended reading for anyone interested in the debates in contemporary Christian circles over the origins of the cosmos. It is highly readable, informative, and gracious. The authors have managed to touch nearly every view and not be vacuous. Indeed, any reader should be able to appreciate their deep commitment to Theism and science, and their desire to harmonize a clear and articulate reading of Scripture (the book of Revelation) with what 3500 years of research and investigation have given us (the book of Nature). Step aside Ken Ham, you have met your dialectical better.
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Format: Paperback
ORIGINS is a refreshing and thought-provoking look at the often controversial topic of how the cosmos began. Being written by two physics professors, who are scientists and Christians, gives the book a hefty helping of validity. The book gives both science and Scripture the respect they deserve and, using scientific and scriptural examples, builds a logical case for the reconciliation of the two.
We found the text to be well written, but dense, and almost too scientifically technical for our adult ed. class. There are discussion questions at the end of each chapter, but it would be very helpful to have a leader's guide that could help the leader guide the class through the material.
All in all, excellent book.
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Format: Paperback
This is a bold and necessary foray into the complex and contentious subject of science and faith, tailored to a discussion group format. The authors move in a systematic fashion, explaining how since God is the author of both Scripture and nature, what seem to be tensions between the two are only apparent. They gradually set the stage so that a discussion group consisting of participants of mixed persuasions can engage the final topic of human origins without generating more heat than light.

The conclusion they seem to come to is that human beings probably have come about as the theory of evolution says they did (ie. by strictly material processes). There are a number of Christians, myself among them, who disagree with this conclusion for reasons not discussed in the book. That we disagree is fine, but it is unfortunate that the broader reason of why we disagree is left unaddressed.

I believe the authors underestimate the role that the worldview of naturalism plays in the background assumptions of evolutionary science, and are unaware that its rules have been changed to suit this anti-Christian worldview. Naturalism is the belief that nature is a closed system of natural causes and effects, and that if there is a God we know from the outset that he was not involved in the history of nature in any way that is empirically (scientifically) detectable. The authors seem to believe that naturalistic influences on science are external to the essence of modern science itself, and thus that the illegitimate pronouncements of "evolutionism" are easily distinguished from the honest, rigorous conclusions of science.

We agree that God's revelation in nature is truthful.
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