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I Love Jesus & I Accept Evolution: Paperback – March 4, 2009
"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Pre-order today
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About the Author
Denis O. Lamoureux is Associate Professor of Science and Religion at St. Joseph's College in the University of Alberta. He holds three doctoral degrees--dentistry, theology, and biology--and has written two books: Darwinism Defeated? The Johnson-Lamoureux Debate on Biological Origins (co-authored with Philip E. Johnson, 1999) and Evolutionary Creation: A Christian Approach to Evolution (Wipf & Stock, 2008).
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It's time Christians get with the program and accept that it's possible God decided to create us through evolution, we are starting to look very stupid by denying the evidence of it. As the book here states "The Bible isn't a science book."
One caveat. I really appreciate the response he gives to the questions "WHY did God create through evolution?" and "What about suffering and death in evolution?" in the final chapter. In fact, these two questions were why I picked up the book in the first place. Unbeknownst to me, Lamoureux heads in the same direction that I have been leaning for a while (although there are some significant nuanced differences in our approaches to these questions). We travel on the same path but end up at different points. My only critique is that there seems to be an indescribable depth of theological resources for answering these questions in 1 Corinthians 1-3, which the author does not tap into. He uses a passage from Hebrews, which is also great, but neglects to draw from 1 Corinthians 1-3--a passage that definitely adds rock-solid and wide theological foundation to the very tricky questions Lamoureux is brazen enough tackle. I wish I could meet with him to discuss these passages. In fact, I plan to write a Ph.D dissertation on these passages as they relate to questions of biblical criticism (which includes considerations of evolution), epistemology, faith, and dependence on God rather than self--and how this dependence is indispensable for a healthy spiritual life, and therefore one of God's choicest means of grace.
All-in-all, the book is wonderful, clear, compelling, and short. What more could you ask? I am also doing chaplaincy work in a hospital, a very "scientific" setting. In our cultural context, I believe it is so important for the church to not appear to be just ignoring hard questions and what seems to be clear fact. If the church is to survive the discoveries of the richness of God's world, which do not always have a one-to-one correlation with the Bible (i.e. "scientific" and "historical" exactitudes), we need more great thinkers like Lamoureux to step up to the mic, and be heard!
Lamoureux's books (Evolutionary Creation and this one) appeal to honest intelligent Christians who want to know the truth about origins. He teaches that the story of Adam and Eve and the Flood cannot be literally true. There is so much support in the book it would take me all day to explain. The book contains many pictures, charts, etc. that show, for example, fin to limb evolution. This book is an easier and better read than the 450+ page Evolutionary Creation. Not counting the index, this book is only 168 pages.
One of the main points in the book is that there is a false dichotomy regarding atheism and evolution. Lamoureux explains that you can believe in evolution while being a follower of Christ. Simply because atheists believe in evolution does not mean that evolution is evil, wrong, or untrue. Atheists believe that there is no God, while evolutionists may or may not believe in God. Young earth creationists slander Christian evolutionists by associating evolution with atheism. They do not think with their brains. Lamoureux encourages them to do so, and makes it easy with this gem of a book.
The book teaches that the Earth is not less than 10 thousand years old, as young-earth creationists falsely teach in the church. (Among other errors such as dispensationalism, this is a biggy that Lamoureux tackles head on). Lamoureux discusses what the Ancient Near Eastern biblical authors believed regarding a 3-tier universe. For example, Lamoureux explains that there is no firmament or underworld as the biblical writers describe. Lamoureux provides strong biblical support with sound exegesis. He accurately handles the word of God.
The ancient views of science incorporated in the Bible do not accord with present-day scientific facts, says Lamoureux. The purpose of the Bible is to reveal spiritual truth, not scientific truth. The Bible is inerrant in reference to spiritual truths. However, the Bible is not inerrant when the human authors of scripture write about the structure, operation, and origin of the universe, "the 3-tiered universe" phrase he uses throughout the book.
He discusses the doctrine of accommodation which states that God descended to the level of human beings to reveal Himself by allowing the Biblical writers to incorporate their ancient ideas regarding the structure of the universe in scripture, while at the same time providing for us a message that like Jesus, is both human and Divine. Often we as Christians look too much at the Divine nature of Scripture while overlooking the human nature of the Bible.
Lamoureux shows that "scientific concordism fails", in his own words. In other words, those that believe the Bible is scientifically accurate fail in their understanding of this important topic. For example, in Scripture the earth is referred to as a flat circular object, not a sphere. Isaiah wrote, "It is He who sits above the circle of the earth" (Isaiah 40:22). This was the understanding of science in the Ancient Near East. Lamoureux explains that in Isaiah 40:22, after describing a flat circular earth, Isaiah says that God "stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in." Isaiah is using the shape of a tent to describe the shape of the earth and the heavens. In other words, Isaiah believed that the earth has a flat floor like a tent. Isaiah explains that God looks down from heaven and sees a circular earth with the ends of the earth located at the shore of a great sea surrounding the dry land, so that the flat earth was completely surrounded by the sea.
The notion of a spherical earth began to emerge with the Greeks in the 4th century BC, well after the writing of the Old Testament. In addition, when it comes to the earlier views of nature, the Mesopotamians and Egyptians for example, their maps and diagrams clearly show that they believed the earth is a flat disk. The New Testament writers simply followed what the Old Testament writers believed (an ancient 3-tiered universe).
The writers of the Bible believed false things about the earth and the universe, showing that the creation account in the opening chapters of Genesis were not historical events and are not to be interpreted literally. You will discover that the Adam and Eve story is not an actual historical event. There was no snake talking to them. There were no giants in the land. People did not live hundreds of years. God was not regretful of His action regarding creation, etc. These statements give us spiritual truths, but not actual historical events.
You need to read this book. Diligent Christians seeking the truth will be forced to take evolutionary creation seriously and relook at these glorious passages of scripture at the beginning of the Bible. It is God who commands us to test all things and hold on to what is good. Therefore, I encourage you also to take evolution seriously, and trust that you will discover that God has created all things by way of His own supernatural evolutionary process.
For us pastors who feel the responsibility of leading the next generation to Christ in light of new scientific discoveries, we must dialogue even if it is uncomfortable. Bridging the gap between Scripture and science is the inevitable task of future pastors because Christian prospects will not be afraid to ask the tough questions. Truth and awareness, then, must compel church leaders to enter the discussion even if traditional beliefs are ultimately retained. This book's weakness is its lack of footnotes and bibliography for further research.
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I am thinking of translating it into Japanese.