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The Origins Solution: An Answer in the Creation-Evolution Debate Paperback – August 1, 1996
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By Dick Fischer
Lima, Ohio, Fairway Press 1996
Dick Fischer received a Bachelor of Science degree and a commission in the Air Force in 1961. He flew 164 combat missions in Viet Nam. After the service he earned a masters degree in theology. He is listed in Who's Who in Theology and Science.
Fischer tackles the difficult issue of reconciling science and the Bible, specifically with regard to the origin of the human race.
By comparing the Genesis record to archaeological findings from the Middle East he concludes that Adam and his descendents lived in southern Mesopotamia ca 5000 BC. Since this is too late a date for Adam to be the progenitor of all mankind, he concludes that men already populated the earth by the time Adam arrived on the scene. The men who predated Adam evolved, while Adam and Eve were specially created. With this conclusion a number of conundrums in Scripture are solved: The Nephilim, who were "of old" in Gen 6, Cain's lament that anyone who found him would kill him, and indeed the provenance of Cain's wife.
By similar comparisons of the Genesis account to archaeological findings he concludes that the Genesis flood was local in extent and intended to destroy those of Adam's descendents who had slipped into immorality.
The Tower of Babel incident is explained as the result of Ziggurat building competition among the cities of southern Mesopotamia. When the descendents of Shem tried their hand at building a Ziggurat to honor the one true God, God was not impressed, confused their language and scattered them.
If Adam was created in the midst of an existing society, what was God's purpose in creating him? Fischer points out that the image of God can mean a representative of God. That is, Adam and his descendants were to represent God to humanity.
Throughout, Fischer shows relentless logic, extensive research and a serious Christianity. While he relies extensively on archaeology to establish his historical insights, he always corroborates his findings with Scripture.
You may not like his conclusions, but you will have difficulty refuting his logic.
First, it is a layman, both in religion and science doing the writing and the thinking behind it. I started the book, wishing him the best in the endeavor and hoping that he was successful. But the book is not persuasive and drags the last half so that really isn't even interesting.
Second, the old earth-young Adam position is very uncommon. Looking at his references his book is one of perhaps 5 in the last 400 years that strongly proposes this. Now this is not an argument against the ideas, i don't believe truth is accounted for by counting noses, but it is a point of concern and awareness. Why would this significant truth be lost, undiscovered, untaught for so long?
Third, his lack of depth is discouraging at several critical junctions, the chapter on theistic evolution is simply a straw man argument and an argument from personal incredulity. He misses all the big points in this position and his persuasiveness never got back the strength it had in the earlier chapters.
However he does attempt to systematically present both his position, starting about 1/2 through the book, the first half is a quick analysis of the debate and the major positions and themes within it. This first 1/2 is better than average, but doesn't help the last half which is his unique contribution to the discussion.
Those 'bad' things being said, i have no doubt as to his sincerity and strength of conviction. Of his desire to reconcile Scripture and Science while doing justice to both, his fundamental allegience to a conservative, however not a fundamentalist high view of Scripture and the orthodox Christian God. There are paragraphs to page length expositions that are excellent, clustered in the first half of the book, that are worth the reading; however of the last half, only the last few summary pages struck me as worth the time.
As to the position, that Adam was the progenitor not of the human race, but of the covenant line. I like the basic shape of the theme, his argument is pointing the way but not persuasive. I only wish i had access to several more of the authors who write similiarly. I appreciate the fact that Scripture can be interpreted along these lines without doing injustice to the text but i would have appreciated a theological discussion of the ramifications of the position to systematic theology, especially the idea of the federal headship of Adam. His writing on this was only a few pages, certainly not sufficent to overturn a doctrine with such magnitude and scope. But the potential is there for someone else to pickup the idea and run with it.
I think the old earth-young Adam position is getting more eyeball time on the net via discussion groups, which is how i was recommended the text. I think this book is a primary source of the idea but the proposition can probably be summed up in a short essay without the necessity of reading this entire book to get up to speed on it. So as far as a recommendation, just the very hard core, must know types will benefit for a reading, the rest of us can read their essays about the book online....
Thanks for reading this review, i would like to have thought higher of the book, however my respect for the integrity and thoughtfulness of the author is not diminished in the least, it is a good try.
As for the valley between Science and the Bible, I think I will stay in the valley instead of in the fantasy and science fiction world. Some people need more study on geology and the world of rocks also.
I think we can go too far in taking Genesis literally and maybe the author does. But, this book is a giant leap forward for people like me who suddenly discover their 6-day creation view just doesn't make sense in light of current scientific understanding. I also found it reassuring to know the theories being presented are not new, but are hundreds of years old. So, it's not as though this theory was concocted as a reaction to recent scientific discoveries.