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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent philosophical debate; short on science and Bible
"Three Views on Creation and Evolution" provides an excellent and professional philosophical/theological discussion on Christian views relating to origins. Three major essays are presented, each by a different author or authors. Each essay provides a different perspective on how the Biblical account of origins relates to the mainstream scientific account (and,...
Published on January 11, 2001 by Scott Jorgenson

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97 of 100 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good essays, poor commentary
This book consists of essays by proponents of each of the three views (Young Earth Creationism, Old Earth Creationism, and Theistic Evolution) and commentaries by practitioners of four disciplines: Biblical studies, theology, philosophy, and science. The entire discussion is concluded by summaries by Philip Johnson, an advocate of intelligent design, and Richard Bube,...
Published on March 1, 2000 by Michael Tice


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97 of 100 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good essays, poor commentary, March 1, 2000
This review is from: Three Views on Creation and Evolution (Counterpoints) (Paperback)
This book consists of essays by proponents of each of the three views (Young Earth Creationism, Old Earth Creationism, and Theistic Evolution) and commentaries by practitioners of four disciplines: Biblical studies, theology, philosophy, and science. The entire discussion is concluded by summaries by Philip Johnson, an advocate of intelligent design, and Richard Bube, an advocate of theistic evolution.
The result is only partially successful. I am particularly impressed with the essays by Paul Nelson and John Mark Reynolds (Young Earth Creationism) and Howard J. Van Till (Theistic Evolution). Both give lucid and reasoned presentations of their views. I was pleasantly surprised to see Nelson and Reynolds, neither of whom I have read before, forego some of the more common but already discredited scientific arguments for a young Earth. Van Till presents a well thought-out and challenging integration of science and theology.
I am very disappointed by the commentaries, however. My first complaint is that the commentators sometimes seem unwilling to critique the essays primarily within their own expertises. For instance, John Jefferson Davis spends much of his space discussing the fossil record. On the one hand, none of the other commentators talk about this important piece of evidence. On the other hand, I wish the editors could have found someone other than a theologian to do this.
My second, more serious complaint is that each of the four commentators speaks entirely from an Old Earth Creationist perspective. In fact, Walter Bradley (who is supposed to provide criticism from a scientific perspective) uses the space allotted for commentary on the Old Earth Creationist perspective to attack the positions later presented in the Theistic Evolution essay. The reader is deprived of any scientific critique of the Old Earth Creationist view and instead finds a philosophical objection to a view not even presented yet. I find that entirely inappropriate.
As a brief introduction to the thinking in the three perspectives on creation and evolution, the primary essays in this book are very good. They each present some of the strengths and weaknesses of their own positions. These are not explored fully, but each essay is well referenced for further reading. The commentaries could have benefited by a better selection of commentators, however.
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent philosophical debate; short on science and Bible, January 11, 2001
This review is from: Three Views on Creation and Evolution (Counterpoints) (Paperback)
"Three Views on Creation and Evolution" provides an excellent and professional philosophical/theological discussion on Christian views relating to origins. Three major essays are presented, each by a different author or authors. Each essay provides a different perspective on how the Biblical account of origins relates to the mainstream scientific account (and, more generally, how Biblical interpretation and Christian theology relate to the scientific method). Each essay in turn is critiqued by four other scholars, to which the essay's author(s) are given opportunity to respond. Finally, two other scholars' essays conclude the book.
Young-earth creationism (YEC) is presented by Paul Nelson and John Mark Reynolds. YEC is the classic literalistic approach to Genesis, in which adherence to the plain meaning of the Genesis text is the epistemological imperative, no matter what the divergence with mainstream science (and the divergence is radical). Thus it is strange that so little time is spent on Biblical interpretation in this essay. Science, too, is largely ignored (except for some surprisingly glib concessions that you might think would be quite damaging to YEC, such as "Natural science at the moment seems to overwhelmingly point to an old cosmos", p. 49). Instead, the presentation is largely philosophical - a tack I personally found quite interesting, but unconvincing (offering "recent creationism is intellectually interesting", p. 50, as a major reason in support of YEC just doesn't cut it).
This general approach - heavy on the philosophy and theology, while light on science and Biblical interpretation - is repeated throughout the book. Old-earth, or progressive, creationism (OEC) is a view which generally accepts the conclusions of the mainstream physical sciences on the age and development of the cosmos and the Earth (while stipulating that certain causative factors in this development may have been miraculous). But OEC generally rejects large-scale biological evolution and abiogenesis, and insists on numerous miraculous creation events instead. Robert Newman propounds this view in his essay, the shortest of the three. To his credit, he addresses Scripture and scientific evidence more than anyone else in this book.
The longest essay, and most compelling, is for theistic evolution (TE). This is the view that God expressed his creativeness providentially through the laws and properties of nature. The conclusions of mainstream science, including abiogenesis and large-scale biological evolution, are thus merely a recognition of how His providence worked. And, since mainstream science is clearly inconsistent with a plainly-literal reading of Genesis, some form of allegorical/mythological interpretation of Genesis is to be adopted. Howard Van Till presents this chapter powerfully and effectively in what struck me as an almost-airtight argument from a philosophical/theological standpoint. But again, specific scientific arguments for why the conclusions of mainstream science are so compelling, are absent. So too are specific hermeneutical arguments for why it is permissible to read Genesis in such a way.
The responses to each essay, unfortunately, are less satisfying than the essays themselves. It would have been interesting had the authors been allowed to critique each others' views. But instead, four other scholars get that role, and it is clear that all of them essentially conform to the OEC view. This makes for a rather predictable series of responses to each essay - with Van Till getting the liveliest criticism as expected (OEC and YEC, after all, are both forms of creationism in that they say there is scientific evidence for God the Creator; while TE claims science is incapable of such, and thus remains scientifically indistinguishable from the dreaded atheistic evolution).
The wrap-up essays are supposed to summarize the book, but in practice they also double as further presentations of TE (Richard Bube) and OEC (Phillip Johnson). Again, the closing essays are philosophical in nature, and while Bube's especially is tightly argued (if a bit redundant of Van Till's), the overall lack of Biblical exegesis and scientific presentation from this book is its greatest weakness. After all, most of Zondervan's audience is evangelical Christians who place a great premium on the Bible. Viewpoints on what Genesis is really saying are very important, if not most important, to these believers. At the same time, most evangelical Christians who have any interest at all in the creation/evolution debate do so because they have an interest in science. Scientific arguments hold weight with them, but such arguments aren't common in this book.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing..., June 23, 2003
By 
Daryl R. Budd (Chesterfield, MO United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Three Views on Creation and Evolution (Counterpoints) (Paperback)
I bought this book expecting a real debate between the three views mentioned, namely, Young Earth Creation, Old Earth Creation, and Theistic Evolution. The reason I found it disappointing is for two main reasons. None of the contributors really talk about the evidences for their position, but instead ramble on about their philosophy of science. Van Till spends most of his time trying to convince people to call his perspective the "fully-gifted creation perspective" instead of theistic evolution. To me, it really was just playing with words in order to avoid the negative Christian response to evolution. Does Van Till believe in Darwinian evolution or not? He says he does, so why not Theistic evolution? His view, as he expresses it, is really Deism, although he protests that it isn't. Read what he says and decide for yourself. My other major complaint with the book was that instead of the proponent of each view responding to the other two views, the responses were made by a third party "panel". I found this to be extremely unsatisfying.
The book wasn't totally without merit, and all three perspectives had some good things to say - but it got lost in a lot of wordiness about "words" which really took away from the book as a whole.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not Very Helpful, September 19, 2007
By 
Kyle Demming "skepticalchristian.com" (Freeland, Michigan United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Three Views on Creation and Evolution (Counterpoints) (Paperback)
In "Three Views on Creation and Evolution," several Christian thinkers defend differing approaches to the integration of science and theology, particularly with regards to Genesis and God's method of creation.

Paul Nelson and John Mark Reynolds support Young-Earth Creation, which argues that the account in Genesis should be taken literally and the `days' actual twenty-four hour periods of creation six to ten thousand years ago. Robert Newman defends the Progressive Creation view, which contends that the universe and the earth are very old, and the `days' referred to in Genesis are not to be taken as literal twenty-four hour periods, but rather as unspecified periods of time. Howard Van Til defends Theistic Evolution (or, Fully-Gifted Creation), whereby God created the universe with the capability to develop life. Additionally, a host of commentators, including J.P. Moreland, Philip Johnson, and Walter Bradley, offer responses to the individual essays or to the exchange as a whole.

Unfortunately, while I view the topic as a worthwhile one, I simply felt that this book did not contain enough meat to be valuable. Most of the authors spend the time trying to show that their view is consistent with a solid Christian faith or that it is, for some theological or practical reason, preferable. However, this does not really resolve the debate. The authors should have spent more time analyzing the relevant Bible verses and, especially, discussing the scientific evidence. This book does establish that all of the views, including theistic evolution, are quite compatible with a Christian faith and worldview, but it does not really advance the issue much further. Moreover, the authors of each section are not given the chance to respond to their colleague's essays. Instead, four separate authors offer responses. However, all of these reviewers are Progressive Creation advocates, which leads to a slightly biased presentation. If you are interested in the creation/evolution debate with regards to Christian theism, then Three Views on Creation and Evolution may be of some use, but is not highly recommended.
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a place to start, January 17, 2003
This review is from: Three Views on Creation and Evolution (Counterpoints) (Paperback)
i've read in the field of creation-evolution for nearly 30 years now, from the _genesis flood_ to _darwin's dangerous idea_. that certainly doesn't make me an expert, only a concerned layman. this book is addressed by christian's to christian's, not that anyone outside of that community won't get a great deal out of the discussion only that the emotional desire/impetus to seek answers pushes christian's with a high view of scripture to try to reconcile the two biggies in their lives: science looking at general revelation and theology looking at scriptures. if you're not part of this community it is much easier just to ask "so what?" and not to understand why this is such a personal topic.
this is a first book, that is suitable for educated people to delve into a topic where many of the other books in this field/topic presume a background in either science or theology, or where the books are so stridently biased as to be "preaching to the choir" and put off 'newbies' with their presentation.
the issues are presented well enough that i think if someone finishes the book they will have a reasonable idea of what the problems are and where the different parts are most concerned in the discussion. it is not a scientific or theologically based book but rather philosophic. it presents concerns from each viewpoint, thus showing relative priorities in what each person discusses first and critisies as lacking emphasis in the other viewpoints. this is one value in a debate type of format, it can leave you with a prioritized idea of what people find important in the issues.
one problem however with this debate framework is that each person reading the book who already have committments to issues or positions tend to cheer for their side and boo down the opposing sides. this is evident from the reviews posted here, the young earth creation team is not the big names in the field, so it looks like in suffers from lack of heroes. nay, the two philosophers defend the position well given the page constraints they faced.
there is one issue running through the book i wished everyone had addressed in a more explicit matter, that is the difference in accepting the functional materialism of science versus the uncritical acceptance of a materialist world and life view of scientism. there is much confusion between the two, you can see it in much YEC criticism, in this book as well, of both progressive creationism and theistic evolution. naturalism is the idea that what we see is what we get, no god's behind the curtain, no skyhooks to come down and rescue us. there must be a distinction between how science uses this idea as a working hypothesis, as a functional means to an end, versus how a philosophy uses it as an axiom. of the 3 viewpoints, only vantil talks to the separation of the two. the YEC's fault the other two positions as if they accepted the materialism/naturalism as a deep committment in their systems. which as christian's is simply unacceptable from the beginning.
i liked the book. i think if you need a place to start it supplies one. however if you are already committed to a position you would be better off served by jumping straight to one of the major works in each viewpoint. and interact with that author without the polemics that form the debate structure of the book.
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20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An attempt at openness in the Creation debate!, June 13, 2000
This review is from: Three Views on Creation and Evolution (Counterpoints) (Paperback)
Over the past thirty-plus years I have struggled with trying to find a book that honestly dealt with all sides the creation debate. Too many times books are written is such a way as to demean the other viewpoint and especially the person who holds that viewpoint. This is the first book, in my perspective, that attempts an honest examination of three major Christian viewpoints on creation.
The book, although written from an obvious bias, allows for honest dialog between the different viewpoints. I thoroughly enjoyed the format: A presentation of a view of creation by an individual who is competent in that standpoint, several critiques of the viewpoint by competent reviewers, and a rebuttal of the critiques by the author of the creation viewpoint.
If you are serious about learning and understanding several of the viewpoints on creation without most of the derogatory and belittling rhetoric, then this book is excellent. However, if you are looking for a book that will answer your questions on creation then you will need to read deeper into each of the areas. That information is provided in each of the sections
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22 of 28 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing: avoids some of the major issues, January 12, 2000
This review is from: Three Views on Creation and Evolution (Counterpoints) (Paperback)
Initially I thought that this book was just what I wanted: a careful presentation of the 'young earth' and 'old earth' creationist positions and of the 'theistic evolution' position. Really, though, the fundamental problems with each view do not seem to be addressed.
The young earth defendants don't justify their viewpoint very well at all. They don't present the Biblical case for recent creationism convincingly -- a case which seems to me to be incredibly weighty; neither do they provide any serious answers to the problem of squaring recent creationism with the generally-accepted results of scientific research.
The old-earth creationist and theistic evolution positions are presented more convincingly from a scientific point of view. But neither author properly addresses the basic problem that, although in isolation from the rest of the Bible, the first few chapters of Genesis could be interpreted as meaning quite a few different things, it is really difficult to sustain anything other than a young-earth creationist position as being consistent with the ways in which the Bible refers back to creation in later books. At least, I think it's difficult, but I am open to persuasion -- that's one reason why I bought the book!
Van Till's presentation of Theistic Evolution, the responses to his presentation and his response to the responses are intriguing, because it seems to descend into a mutual mud-slinging match. It seems to me that behind the responses are two unspoken (but valid!) reservations, which would have been best made explicit. The one reservation is that Van Till doesn't seem to BELIEVE the Bible in the same way as evangelicals do. The other reservation is that Van Till uses some rather odd terminology such as 'fully gifted creation' and 'creaturely' (in reference to matter). I suspect the reviewers avoided using Van Till's terms because, like me, they thought these terms were a bit silly. But the reviewers were too polite to say this.
It's a big relief at the end of the book to find Phillip Johnson's honest appraisal of the current situation. Indeed, he admits he's not quite sure which interpretation to commit to. But I was quite disappointed with the book as a whole.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An interesting book on a controversial topic, June 5, 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Three Views on Creation and Evolution (Counterpoints) (Paperback)
I am currently finishing up the book. I must be very frank and admit that I do not know much about this issue. Much of what has been disscussed is not sinking in. However it has helped me better understand the 3 positions (particularly theistic evolution) much better. The two well known young earth advocates that have reviewed this book are right in saying that there are strong biases among the commentators. They are also right in pointing out that the two essay writers for the young earth position are not the best qualified to do so. In my opinion they provide the least convincing arguments and do not adequately deal with the real issues (science and biblical interprtation). The best explanation they propose to explain away the empirical evidence for an old universe is the "God made it look older" argument. Of course this explanation is thought provoking in my mind. It would seem that all special creation theories would have to hold to some variation of this argument.
Though I am the most skeptical of his position, I must say that Van Til's essay on theistic evolution was very well written. He comunicates his position well, but I just do not find any scriptural basis for such a position. It seems that if we are to take scripture for what it is worth, some sort of special creation model must be the most plausible. Be that as it may, I think this book would be helpful for those who want to become more informed about the topic. The thing that has struck me the most is that the evidence (at least from more of a scientific standpoint) is inconlusive. You have some of the contributors dissmissing macroevolution because of the lack of evidence in the fossil record to support transitions and you have others that believe a strong case for transitions can be made by the fossil record. This seems to be the case among some evolutionary naturalists as well (Gould and others that propose the "graduated equilibrium" model are even quoted in this book). All and all the book has been interesting and has encouraged me to become more educated with this issue.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Views to Oblivion (-YES), April 1, 2012
This review is from: Three Views on Creation and Evolution (Counterpoints) (Paperback)
J. P. Moreland and John Mark Reynolds provide a thoughtful tome with a great variety of perspectives. Philosophers Paul Nelson and John Mark Reynolds provide the Young Earth defense. Better qualified for this task would have been John Sanford (Genetic Entropy author and the inventor of the widely used gene gun to genetically modify foods to make them more productive), Raymond Damadian (MRI inventor and who many hold deserved a Nobel prize for this achievement) or John Baumgardner (who created the TERRA plate tectonics simulation program). Other possibilities are John Morris (The Young Earth), Russell Humphreys (Starlight and Time, 1994) or Terry Mortenson (Ph.D., History of Geology). The Genesis Debate ed. by Ronald Youngblood provides a much more balanced counterpoint on creation and the Global Flood.

In the book "Thousands ... Not Billions" ed. by Don DeYoung, Steven Boyd has shown that Ge 1:1-2:3 is historical narrative based on a statistical analysis. This collapses many of the arguments in this "3 Views" volume.

Walter Bradley provides responses to the various positions on origins. His critiques of creationism are flawed (Adams Lost Dream blog, ALD).

A large portion of the book is allotted to Howard Van Till, who essentially provide a Deistic view. Traditional theistic evolution is hardly discussed in the book.

John Jefferson Davis also responds to the various camps and posits that Adam did not know what death was. Adam could speak, read and write about death and other topics (ALD).

Phillip Johnson, the father of ID, provides the very last reflection to this debate and highlights Richard Lewontin's admission that Big Science is totally committed to anti-supernaturalism. Johnson states, "Young earth creationism honors the Scriptures and gives specific content to the biblical doctrine that death and suffering entered the word through human sin." He calls progressive creation "awkward" with it's multiple creations through millions of years. Johnson, along with other ID leaders, have become more sympathetic to creationism recently (ALD, "ID the Future").

Overall, Moreland and Reynolds offer much food for thought, but do not give Young Earth Science (YES) a fair shake. Ken Ham is only mentioned on one page. The book that started modern creationism, The Genesis Flood (now available in its 50th Anniversary Ed.) by John Whitcomb and Henry Morris, is not referenced in the bibliography.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Somewhat informative but there must be better out there, April 6, 2009
By 
J. SHARP (Alabama - United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Three Views on Creation and Evolution (Counterpoints) (Paperback)
A good and necessary book with lots of food for thought but it sometimes seems more like a precursor to a real debate - defining terms and worldviews - versus an argument for each position. Or perhaps it's rather like a post-debate conversation. The arguments have been hashed out for decades and are taken as givens by the writers, so they're moving on to philosophical topics. But the average reader would like to hear the evidence, please!

I also miss the round-robin rebuttal system used in the other books in this terrific series. The third party panel of critics are a distraction and are not clearly identified or categorized. They take up useful space that could used by the primary essayists to, well, present their case!
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Three Views on Creation and Evolution (Counterpoints)
Three Views on Creation and Evolution (Counterpoints) by J. P. Moreland (Paperback - March 1, 1999)
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