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Ultimate Proof of Creation
Ultimate Proof of Creation
by Jason Lisle
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.21
74 used & new from $3.94

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Popular Treatment of Presuppositional Apologetics, February 22, 2015
This book provides, in my judgment, the best popular treatment of presuppositional apologetics I have encountered. The author has done a masterful job presenting the biblical method of defense in simple and clear language. In two chapters on logic and logical fallacies, he has managed to communicate some complex ideas in an attainable way. (He has written two additional books on logical argumentation that expand on the two logic chapters in this book, and these are also models of clarity.) This book is a great teaching tool as well as a competent defense of the Christian faith beginning with its basis in creation.

Some will find the author's commitment to young-earth creationism objectionable, but in fairness to the author, his main purpose in this book is not to defend that perspective by providing a detailed justification based on the biblical and scientific evidence. Rather, he points the reader to other resources that attempt to provide that support. He is really taking that position for granted as the biblical view, but he does not do so by simply asserting it dogmatically. To understand his case for young-earth creationism, you must go to other sources. While some will disagree with his specific position on creationism, a different position on the subject does not invalidate the defense of Christianity provided here. Even old-earth creationists who are opposed to Darwinism should find nothing objectionable in the method of defense recommended by this book, although the author does affirm the idea that rejecting a literal interpretation of Genesis is ultimately a rejection of the Bible's teaching on creation. While I disagree with him on that point, it would be too bad if someone chose not to read this book simply due to a difference of interpretation on the days of creation or on whether the flood of Genesis is global or local. The proof for creation is ably made by this book; the proof for a specific interpretation of creation and flood is argued elsewhere.
Comment Comments (16) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 6, 2015 5:35 PM PDT

Beyond Creation Science
Beyond Creation Science
by Timothy P. Martin
Edition: Perfect Paperback
17 used & new from $39.00

5.0 out of 5 stars The Most Important Book on Creationism Since Bernard Ramm's Book?, September 29, 2014
This book--in my opinion--is the most important book written on Creationism since Bernard Ramm's book, A Christian View of Science and Scripture. It is controversial because it brings a relatively new biblical world-picture to the forefront of the debate on science and scripture over the last 100 years. Martin and Vaughn have taken the seminal work on Biblical Apocalyptics, by Milton Terry, and applied it to current discussions of creation, flood, and prophecy. What is especially helpful in this treatment is their elaboration of the connection between the apocalypse of covenant creation and flood in Genesis 1-11 and the Apocalypse of John at the end of the Bible. Their elaboration of the language of "covenant creationism" throughout the Bible is clear and compelling, showing that the literalism at the heart of the modern Bible and Science debate is simply wrongheaded, misleading, and detrimental to the witness of the gospel in the modern world. If readers are not convinced, it's only because the current bias toward physical interpretations of the Bible's apocalyptic creation language are habitual and well established among Bible believers. This book provides a therapeutic to reshape your biblical world-picture--if, that is, you are willing to give it a patient hearing.

Natural Signs and Knowledge of God: A New Look at Theistic Arguments
Natural Signs and Knowledge of God: A New Look at Theistic Arguments
by C. Stephen Evans
Edition: Paperback
Price: $37.62
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Blockbuster in Philosophy of Religion, July 31, 2014
This is the most important book in the philosophy of religion I have read in ten years. Evans argues something I have never seen anyone argue before. He says that all theistic arguments are framed on the basis of “natural signs” that are simply experienced. The four “signs” he mentions are “cosmic wonder,” “purposive order,” “moral obligation,” and “human worth/dignity.” Evans argues that these are powerful human experiences that form the basis for cosmological arguments (cosmic wonder), teleological arguments (purposive order), and moral arguments (moral obligation/human dignity). Evans puts these “signs” under Pascalian constraints: They are both “widely accessible” and “easily resistible.” All are merely “pointers” to the existence of God; they do not convey enough information to lead individuals to errorless conclusions (or arguments) about God and his nature. In fact, they can be easily resisted, which is why an atheist may deny the existence of God while affirming moral obligations and human worth. Theistic arguments, then, are attempts to give rational form to the experience of the natural signs, but there is no philosophical argument that simply expresses the experience of the sign. As signs, they are subject to better and worse interpretations, which also explains the many different types of cosmological, teleological, and moral arguments being made on the basis of the signs.

Evans assumes with Pascal that natural signs must be widely accessible but are often embraced or resisted apart from any specific philosophical sophistication or background. This is a great book for anyone who thinks that belief in God is based primarily on intuitions of God’s existence grounded in experiences of cosmic wonder, purposive order, moral obligation, and human dignity. These experiences are the ground of all the arguments that proceed from them—the good, the bad, and the best. This book is a blockbuster and explains why theistic reasoning remains alive and well despite the modern bias against it from atheists and from theists who just don’t like the traditional formulations of the arguments. It also explains people like Plantinga, who continue to examine various forms of theistic argument but at the same time don’t take any argument that seriously. As I have noticed in Plantinga, he is more focused on the experiences that led him to believe in God than in any specific arguments that may warrant it. The arguments are okay if they are helpful, but you really don’t need an argument since belief in God is “basic” due to the widely accessible experience of the natural signs. This is really a liberating book and points the way—I think—to a gentler approach to theistic argumentation based on very common religious experiences.

The Journey of Modern Theology: From Reconstruction to Deconstruction
The Journey of Modern Theology: From Reconstruction to Deconstruction
by Roger E. Olson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $30.89
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All I Was Looking For--And More, December 16, 2013
I think that the greatest value of Olson's magnum opus--for most people--will be to confirm the best reading of many of these theologians. Given the complexity of these thinkers, it helps to have confirmation that you are reading them correctly. If you have the opportunity to sample only some of their work, which is the case with most of us not teaching this material on a daily basis, you really need a compass to help with the larger corpus you don't have time to read. This book is a great compass. I waited patiently for this book for over a year after hearing from the author that he was working on it; after reading it, I can say that my patience has been well rewarded. The book performs that rare function that most books don't: It bridges the gap between general summaries and detailed treatments. That's really what most need, but few scholars achieve that goal. Writers either like to keep it general and simple for the lay reader, or they write a 700-page tome on one or a few theologians. Dr. Olson covers the middle of the academic spectrum, and that--I think--is the appeal of this fine work.

The book is also a great complement to the author's previous book, The Story of Christian Theology, adding additional depth to that part of the history of most interest to many of us today. So the book is most definitely a big cut above a survey--in fact, it's much more than that. If clarity, accuracy, and fairness are your highest academic values, as they are for me, Olson is the scholar for you. For me, the chapter on Horace Bushnell was worth the price of the book. This chapter and others have led me to read more of Bushnell and a few others whose contributions are either forgotten, unknown, or under appreciated. Highly recommended.

Freedom and Circumstance: Philosophy in Ortega y Gasset
Freedom and Circumstance: Philosophy in Ortega y Gasset
by Oswald Sobrino
Edition: Paperback
Price: $5.99
17 used & new from $3.97

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Basic Introduction to Ortega, May 1, 2013
I found this concise work to be a very clear and helpful summary of Ortega's philosophy. The chapter on Augustine's contribution to Ortega's work was very helpful in explaining the appeal of Ortega's philosophy to to Christian philosophers. I also appreciated the care with which the author observed the finer distinctions in Ortega. I have also been reading Pedro Blas Gonzalez's fine work on Ortega (Human Existence as Radical Reality), and I noticed that Dobrino was well aware of the importance of many of the same distinctions that Gonzalez elaborates in his more detailed work on Ortega. I also think the author presented the important sources on Ortega, which is helpful in directing further reading in this exciting philosopher. Getting a feel for the essential corpus of Ortega's work is somewhat challenging, since he wrote so much, but Dobrino provides a basic map.

Really, Really Big Questions
Really, Really Big Questions
by Stephen Law
Edition: Hardcover
53 used & new from $0.01

10 of 32 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Catechism for Secular Humanist Kids, April 14, 2010
What a great idea gone wrong! The artwork in this book beautifully illustrates the author's ideas in a way that would clearly be engaging to young readers. The philosophy presented in this book, however, is clearly designed to develop--not critical thinkers--but secular thinkers.

For example, in dealing with where everything came from, the author presents the Big Bang as the general explanation. Now while many of us hold something like the Big Bang theory of origins, not everyone believes--as the author says, that the big bang "must have come from nothing." He does raise the next logical question: "how did nothing produce the big bang?" As it turns out, this question ends up being trivialized because "absolute nothing" may not be something we can think about anyway--at least the author is not sure he can do it. Somehow a very good philosophical question ends up on the trash heap, since we supposedly cannot think about absolute nothing. If that were the case, however, then why has this question made sense to most people over the centuries--even children?

The author then goes on to consider whether someone designed the universe, even referring to William Paley's Watchmaker argument and his argument from the complexity of the eye to a Designer. But again, Law decides that this idea of design is also unintelligible, for after all, "if a designer designed the universe, who designed the designer?" Apparently Law did not want kids to know that his childish question has been answered soundly by philosophers for centuries: If a Designer is eternal by nature, the issue of his being designed is irrelevant, since an eternal being does not come to be in the first place. Law trivializes the question of design using a story about a puddle who mistakenly concludes that the hole it occupies must have been designed, since it fits the puddle so well. Talk about a false analogy! The form and complexity of our universe and human beings can hardly be compared with a puddle fitting a hole in the ground. But then our author is addressing children, and they would not likely catch this kind of philosophical subtlety. Obviously, that fact doesn't seem to bother a Ph.D. philosopher--but it should. He knows enough to take advantage of what kids don't know, and it often appears that he does.

The origin of the universe gives way to the question of the origin of living things. On this issue, Law teaches our kids that naturalistic evolution alone can account for where all living things came from. The author says "there were only simple life forms on our planet" at first. These then gradually led to the biological complexity of our present world. He takes for granted the two biggest problems with this account of origins, namely, abiogenesis (the spontaneous generation of life from non-living matter) and chemical predestination, which has even been rejected by the biochemist who originated the idea. He doesn't even mention the origin of the first DNA as an amazing puzzle; after all, to get DNA, you have to have DNA to make it--there's a chicken and egg problem for young philosophers to scratch their heads on. Perhaps all that would be just too complicated for kids, so I guess there is no harm in not telling our kids that there are other options or problems with the naturalistic scheme. As it turns out, everything in this book finds its explanation in the purely physical. Whether discussing ethics, epistemology, or the mind-body problem, it is clear that matter is all there is, and every philosophical position boils down (reduces to) an implication of materialism. Epicurus would be proud.

As a philosopher, I appreciate this author's desire to present basic philosophical concepts in order to stimulate critical thinking in kids. The problem, however, is that this book does not accomplish this worthy goal. If you are looking for a good book to introduce kids to the really big, big questions, this book is not it. If you are looking for a catechism to indoctrinate your children in secular humanism, this book is definitely it.
Comment Comments (8) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 29, 2014 5:08 PM PST

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