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The Patristic Understanding of Creation: An Anthology of Writings from the Church Fathers on Creation and Design Paperback – June 11, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0981520407 ISBN-10: 0981520405

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Paperback, June 11, 2008
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 612 pages
  • Publisher: Erasmus Press (June 11, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0981520405
  • ISBN-13: 978-0981520407
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,907,421 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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21 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Fritz R. Ward VINE VOICE on July 26, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The story of creation has always been at the heart of the Christian story. Indeed, one can argue that creation stories are at the heart of most religious traditions because they offer us a vision of where we are coming from and frame a vision of where we might go. But in our culture, the Genesis version of the story is often cited as an alternative to Darwinism, the creation myth embraced by many materialists, so it has more than usual relevance in the political and social discourse of the United States. Of course, the problem is, how does one interpret the story as set down in Genesis? For fundamentalists, both atheist and Christian alike, the answer is pretty easy. It is the story of Genesis as it literally appears. For the rest of us, however, the problem is a little more complex. Indeed, some scientists, notably Howard van Till, claim to have found in patristic writings on Genesis ideas that resemble theological evolution. This book edited by Dembski, Downs and Frederick, attempts to rebut this approach by allowing the church fathers to speak for themselves in extended passages.

On the whole, I think the editors accomplished what they set out to do. They effectively established the claim that the church fathers believed God created the world "ex nihilo" and that creation is not sufficient unto itself. Creation is, to borrow a common metaphor of the fathers, like a musical instrument, incomplete no matter how finely tuned, in the absence of the player. Those who believe God created the world and then let it run, an essentially Deistic position, will find little support in the writings of these early fathers.
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More About the Author

A mathematician and philosopher, William A. Dembski is Research Professor in Philosophy at Southwestern Seminary in Ft. Worth, where he directs its Center for Cultural Engagement. He is also a senior fellow with Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture in Seattle. Previously he was the Carl F. H. Henry Professor of Theology and Science at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, where he founded its Center for Theology and Science. Before that he was Associate Research Professor in the Conceptual Foundations of Science at Baylor University, where he headed the first intelligent design think-tank at a major research university: The Michael Polanyi Center.

Dr. Dembski has taught at Northwestern University, the University of Notre Dame, and the University of Dallas. He has done postdoctoral work in mathematics at MIT, in physics at the University of Chicago, and in computer science at Princeton University. A graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago where he earned a B.A. in psychology, an M.S. in statistics, and a Ph.D. in philosophy, he also received a doctorate in mathematics from the University of Chicago in 1988 and a master of divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1996. He has held National Science Foundation graduate and postdoctoral fellowships.

Dr. Dembski has published articles in mathematics, engineering, philosophy, and theology journals and is the author/editor of more than a dozen books. In The Design Inference: Eliminating Chance Through Small Probabilities (Cambridge University Press, 1998), he examines the design argument in a post-Darwinian context and analyzes the connections linking chance, probability, and intelligent causation. The sequel to The Design Inference appeared with Rowman & Littlefield in 2002 and critiques Darwinian and other naturalistic accounts of evolution. It is titled No Free Lunch: Why Specified Complexity Cannot Be Purchased without Intelligence. Dr. Dembski has edited several influential anthologies, including Uncommon Dissent: Intellectuals Who Find Darwinism Unconvincing (ISI, 2004) and Debating Design: From Darwin to DNA (Cambridge University Press, 2004, co-edited with Michael Ruse). His newest book, The End of Christianity, differs markedly from his others, attempting to understand how the Fall of humanity can be real in light of modern science.

As interest in intelligent design has grown in the wider culture, Dr. Dembski has assumed the role of public intellectual. In addition to lecturing around the world at colleges and universities, he is frequently interviewed on the radio and television. His work has been cited in numerous newspaper and magazine articles, including three front page stories in the New York Times as well as the August 15, 2005 Time magazine cover story on intelligent design. He has appeared on the BBC, NPR (Diane Rehm, etc.), PBS (Inside the Law with Jack Ford; Uncommon Knowledge with Peter Robinson), CSPAN2, CNN, Fox News, ABC Nightline, and the Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

[Photo by Laszlo Bencze]