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Evolving out of Eden: Christian Responses to Evolution Paperback – March 15, 2013
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About the Author
This book began as a collaboration between Robert M. Price, an atheist, and Edwin A. Suominen, then a believing but troubled Christian who was wrestling with what he perceived as a grave conflict between evolution and his inherited faith. Having both accepted the reality of evolution, they agreed to research its theological implications and the various ways that Christian writers have tried to smooth things over. Bob holds a PhD in systematic theology from Drew University (1981) and a PhD in New Testament from Drew (1993). He is the author of over a dozen books and his own New Testament translation. He occasionally attends Episcopalian services where he sings, enjoys the stained glass, and keeps his mouth shut. Ed holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Washington (1995), where his senior project wound up being the subject of fourteen U.S. patents, among several others he holds. He has retired from practice as a registered patent agent to write books rather than patents, for this one devoting himself to a year of personal study about evolutionary science and its intersection with theology.
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Top customer reviews
Price's coauthor is one Edwin Suominen whom I had never heard of before. His contributions to the book seem to have been twofold. Firstly, he seems to have done the technical and scientific heavy lifting. Price, by his own admission, is not the most scientifically or mathematically gifted of men, so he seems to have leaned heavily on Suominen for the discussions of evolutionary and quantum theory. Secondly, he is a former evangelical who came to reluctantly accept the truth of evolution and the fatal effect it had on his faith. Thus, his personal insights inform the discussion about the effects of evolution on Christians as a group.
Despite being a coauthor one gets the impression that the bulk of the book took form on Price's computer. The book reads like a typical Price book. It has all the humor, biting sarcasm (sometimes a little too biting), and various pop culture references like Star Trek and Superman. In other words, quite accessible to the intelligent layman.
The book deals primarily with the threat that evolution poses for the Christian faith and why Christians have reacted in the ways they have. Interestingly, the book deals almost exclusively with *informed* Christian reaction, that is by Christians that actually understand the concepts of evolutionary theory. Thus, we are treated to the attempts of sophisticated theologians and believing scientists to square the overwhelming evidence for evolution with their Christian faith. Outright deniers of evolution are dismissed, well, outright.
The authors put their cards squarely on the table. They do not believe that Christianity and evolution are compatible and have abandoned the former as a result. Despite this the reader gets the impression that they are giving the other side a fair hearing.
The book is highly recommended whichever side the reader comes down on. The Christian will come away with a much better understanding of the challenge evolution poses for his faith while the non-believer will be exposed to, perhaps for the first time, much more sophisticated efforts to make Christianity and evolution compatible.
The Kindle edition is first rate with a few flaws, one minor, one major. Firstly, the progress bar is a little sparse; it should have had the sub-chapters as well as the chapters marked on it. Secondly, although the explanatory footnotes are linked, the references are not. This will be a big annoyance for someone who wants to follow the references.
The book details the theological issues raised by evolution, and critically examines attempts to harmonize evolutionary theory and Christianity. The book is scholarly in its thoroughness, is extensively footnoted and referenced, but at the same time is fascinating and readable. I even learned a few things about the biology that I did not know. Price and Suominen have written a wonderful book.
While this book's intended audience seems to be curious Christians, I think that atheists who are curious to know more about our intellectual opponents' positions would benefit from reading the book.