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Origins: Christian Perspectives on Creation, Evolution, and Intelligent Design Paperback – August 2, 2011
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"The Haarsmas approach this very controversial topic with a perfect mix of scientifically and biblically accurate information, theological depth, intellectual modesty, and a charitable spirit toward views they do not share themselves. Pastors, laypeople, and scientists will all find much to value here." --Edward B. Davis, Distinguished Professor of the History of Science, Messiah College<br \><br \>"Origins, Revised presents a perspective on origins of the universe, the earth, life on earth, and of humans that is faithful to the Bible and to science. In an easy to understand style of writing, the Haarsmas' provide a valuable resource for schools, churches, and anyone interested in origins." --Randall D Isaac, Executive Director, American Scientific Affiliation<br \><br \>"The Haarsmas provide a comprehensive perspective on science and its challenges viewed through a lens of firm belief in God, which illuminates the issues and offers straight ways forward. Christians will be encouraged by their faithful and convincing approach." --Daniel M. Harrell, PhD, Senior minister of Colonial Church, Edina, Minnesota, Author of "Nature's Witness: How Evolution Can Inspire Faith"
"Origins, Revised presents a perspective on origins of the universe, the earth, life on earth, and of humans that is faithful to the Bible and to science. In an easy to understand style of writing, the Haarsmas' provide a valuable resource for schools, churches, and anyone interested in origins." --Randall D Isaac, Executive Director, American Scientific Affiliation
"The Haarsmas provide a comprehensive perspective on science and its challenges viewed through a lens of firm belief in God, which illuminates the issues and offers straight ways forward. Christians will be encouraged by their faithful and convincing approach." --Daniel M. Harrell, PhD, Senior minister of Colonial Church, Edina, Minnesota, Author of "Nature's Witness: How Evolution Can Inspire Faith"
From the Inside Flap
When it comes to the history of the universe, many believe that science and faith are mutually exclusive. But in this revised version of Origins, physics professors Loren and Deborah Haarsma explore what God's Word and God's world teach us about creation, evolution, and intelligent design.
Clearly explaining the science, the authors focus on areas where Christians agree. They also present the strengths and weaknesses of areas where Christians differ.
Origins helps you develop a deeper understanding of the origins of the universe and sort out your own views on faith and science. Small group discussion questions follow each chapter.
Top Customer Reviews
I used to be an ardent young-earth creationist, but after some pre-med courses and one genetics course in particular, I realized that it just wasn't correct. By the grace of God the foundational shift that came from that realization didn't break my faith or cause me to stumble. I worked along with a hodge podge understanding of evolution and the Bible, but didn't have any sort of coherent theory or understanding that tied everything together. I knew that God's word and the truths he reveals through his creation didn't (and couldn't!) conflict, but that was about it.
A conversation with a guy at my church who reminds me a lot of myself earlier on recently made me realize a lot of the gaps in my own understanding. After a brief thought that I would try and write a small paper on the topic myself to help organize my thoughts, I came to Amazon looking for and hoping that someone else had beat me to it. And they had! Praise the Lord!
The Haarsma's are demonstratedly capable scientists, teachers, and Christians. Very hard to find all three of those things in the Church these days. They humbly, gently, intelligently, and skillfully work their way through the different beliefs that Christians have regarding where humans (and the world, for that matter) came from.
Again, this is an excellent book. It requires a good bit of careful consideration, Bible reading, and reliance on God to work through, but it's well worth it!
Assoc. Prof. of Chemistry (retired)
Grand Valley State University
I'll offer a few things I liked about the book, and some ways I thought it missed the mark.
1. The authors really do want you to accept the "Common Ancestor" theory of evolution.
They do a good job laying out the most common views held by Christians, and describing the theological and scientific strengths and weaknesses of each one. However, they make it clear that "Common Ancestor" evolution is, in their view, the most scientifically sound understanding of the history of life on Earth. Early on in my reading, I thought their primary focus was to show that Christians really don't have to be afraid of evolution because it doesn't undermine God's sovereignty. And they do say that. But ultimately, they want to you see that evolution is compatible with Christianity so that you will allow yourself to accept "Common Ancestor" evolution.
2. Their argument for "CA" evolution is not convincing, even though it ends up being the point of the book.
After reading the book, I am not persuaded that humans evolved from an ancestor common to all species. Yes, the Haarsmas make it clear that even though they think we did evolve from a CA, they believe we are still the crown of creation, bearing the image of God. That's fine. To me, the gap between humanity and all other creatures is so enormous as to be unbridgeable. I'm sure someone in the comments will bring up all the biological traits we share with other primates (body shape, DNA, whatever). Yeah, I got it. It's the non-physical difference that is so astounding. Evolution just simply can't account for it.
3. The authors explain how a non-literal Creation story makes a lot of sense.
Evolution aside, it is very hard to reconcile a literal interpretation of the Creation story with geology. The earth does seem to be much older than some thousands of years. And Genesis 1 and 2 completely contradict each other, if one takes them as literal histories. The Haarsmas effectively explain why it makes sense that God would give us a non-literal account of Creation. I thought this was the best part of the book.
4. The authors handle the discussion of the cosmos well.
I still don't really get how scientists truly know that some observed stars are billions of light-years away. But, assuming light travels at the same speed everywhere in the universe and has always done so, it would take billions of years for that light to get to us from those stars. So the universe must be billions of years old. Again, I'm not totally sure we can truly know how far away every star is, but that is a sound argument.
Anyway, this book won't change your world. I think you'd have to spend a lot of time on the Faith Alive website (which the authors make reference to on almost every page of the book) to see the science the authors use to come to their conclusions. That might make the arguments in the book more convincing. By itself, though, the book is just okay. I got it for free, so I'm glad I read it. If I'd spent $15 on it, I'd probably be disappointed.