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4.4 out of 5 stars
Perspectives on an Evolving Creation
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on July 26, 2017
I appreciated the perspectives of each essayist. The copy arrived in good condition.
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on November 11, 2009
This is an extremely well organized and well written collection of essays that forcefully challenges the supposed conflict between biological evolutionary theory and orthodox, evangelical Christian faith. It successfully exposes that it is a *false* choice to insist that life forms *either* evolved *or* were designed.

The book is comprised of three sections. The first develops a context for the essays that follow, touching on historical, scientific and exegetical elements relevant to the discussion. Part two provides an extensive summary of current scientific evidence and thought on the developing cosmos, the changing earth, and biological evolution. The third section focuses on philosophical and theological issues that are frequently cited in the current debate.

The writers come from a variety of disciplines in the scientific and theological communities. They include evangelical Christians at secular universities and at well-respected evangelical institutions (for instance, Wheaton College, Messiah College, Calvin College).

Though it is a rigorous book, and sometimes a difficult read (depending on the reader's background in science and theology) I *highly* recommend this book for all those seeking truth about the world we live in and the God whom we serve.
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on October 16, 2008
This collection of essays by some of the leading evangelical thinkers and writers in the area of the relationship between the Bible and science is the best introduction by far into evolutionary creationism, which is more commonly known as theistic evolution.

The book includes (among others) essays by:
Conrad Hyers (Comparing Biblical and Scientific Maps of Origins),
Edward (Ted) Davis (The Word and the Works: Concordism and American Evangelicals),
Mark Noll and David Livingstone (Charles Hodge and B.B. Warfield on Science, the Bible, Evolution, and Darwinism),
Deborah Haarsma and Jennifer Wiseman (An Evolving Cosmos),
Jeffrey Greenberg (Geological Framework of an Evolving Creation),
Keith Miller (Common Descent,Transitional Forms, and the Fossil Record),
David Campbell and Keith Miller (The "Cambrian Explosion": A Challenge to Evolutionary Theory?),
James Hurd (Hominids in the Garden?),
David Wilcox (Finding Adam: The Genetics of Human Origins),
Terry Gray (Biochemistry and Evolution),
Robert John Russell (Special Providence and Genetic Mutation: A New Defense of Theistic Evolution),
George Murphy (Christology, Evolution and the Cross), and
Robin Collins (Evolution and Original Sin).

The only topic that is missing is a good discussion of God's accommodation of the biblical creation message to the culture of the time of the Israelites, but this topic is covered more than adequately in Gordon Glover's "Beyond the Firmament: Understanding Science and the Theology of Creation," and Denis Lamoureux's "Evolutionary Creation: A Christian Approach to Evolution."

I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the compatibility of biological evolution and the Bible, whether you are just beginning to explore this area or have been for years.
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This was just a fabulous collection of essays. All you'd ever want on the topic, and more. A variety of authors with a variety of perspectives look at the history of the literal creationism-intelligent design-evolution debate, the evidence for evolution, and, in the last 2/5ths of the book, the meaning of evolution for theology and the Christian walk. I say now, this book has changed many ways I view the Bible and the Christian myth. It has helped me more integrate the Rock of Ages and the age of rocks. It has helped me see the full import of the evolutionary myth to the meaning of Christ. It allows one to be an intellectually fulfilled predestinationist, and an evolutionist. And that's just the beginning.

Never before have I seen a work that takes both evolution and following Jesus so seriously. If evolution is true, as the evidence overwhelmingly indicates, then it's part of reality. It's part of God's creation. Are we not to contemplate all that we see to understand God better? Therefore it should reveal something of God, for there is that of God within it. In this book the authors show that of God in evolution. The icing is the regular devotionals dispersed throughout the book, where we contemplate evolution and creation, in order to grow more in our relationship with God.

I didn't agree with everything written in this book. A couple of the authors even come very close to supporting elements of the intelligent design hypothesis. Some of the essays are clearer or better written than others. But every single essay shares something that I could take away, that enriched my life, that made me a better Christian, a better biologist, and a better man. It took me a month to get through this book, because it is simply that life changing. Without a doubt it is the finest of this genre I have yet read.
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on June 23, 2013
This book is worth its hefty price merely for Van Till's essay alone. To be sure, other essays in this compendium help us rational Christians accumulate ammunition to combat the irrationalism of the young-earth creationists who put their trust in Ken Ham. Van Till is relentless and convincing from the outset of his explanation of all creation being evidence of a Creator. I was particularly impressed by his description of the universe in its first few minutes of existence, causing its few constituent components to interact and create the necessary stuff for the ultimate existence of life and sentient beings. When he completes his argument about the first few minutes, even I, a lawyer and trained skeptic, jumped out of my reading chair and exclaimed, "This is both excellent and original -- this deserves a wider audience!" To view the necessary actions of the first few minutes of the universe as crucial evidence for a Creator, found in the necessary order of both substances and processes, was hugely persuasive to me, and will ultimately be persuasive to those who ask me about the relationship between science and faith in the Creator God.
It is disappointing to me, personally, that I must recommend this book first to those who are facing spiritual agony over whether Ken Ham's young earth creationism or the discoveries of modern science should be accepted. There should be no antagonism between honest science and honest Christian doctrine, and that is the point of this book. Instead this book should be directed at unbelievers and agnostics, helping them comprehend the evidence in the natural world for a Creator God. However, as a very significant portion of evangelical believers have turned toward Ham's views and the rejection of science, the need for this book to be aimed at believers has become paramount. This book is ideal for readers who want to know whether the discoveries of modern science and the world view of Christianity can be reconciled. The book answers yes, and has impressive evidence to support its arguments.
The writing style of various authors is non-uniform, some being smooth and others obtuse. In the big picture, this volume is worth perusing, choosing to study the most useful authors for one's own style of thinking.
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on July 13, 2014
As both a geologist and a Christian, I found the book quite difficult to comprehend. The ideas were good
but the descriptive writing was terrible.
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on July 18, 2007
Perspectives on an Evolving Creation is an essential tool and good starting foundation for anyone exploring theistic evolution.

The book is a collection of essays by experts on a variety of topics concerning theistic evolution. This approach is wise, since most books with a single author cannot encompass such a broad range of issues without the author showing his ignorance in some areas.

The essays are divided into three sections: Providing a Context, Scientific Evidence and Theory, and Theological Implications and Insights.

"Providing a context" is a brilliant selection of works covering an introduction to the topics, a brief history of the conflict, and philosophy of science. A couple of essays show the movement of Concordialism (basically progressive creationism) that was replaced by early versions of theistic evolution held by people such as Asa Gray and James McCosh. Another essay discusses the various views and debates held by Charles Hodge, and Benjamin Warfield - all of this harmony taking place before fundamentalism upset the peace and began the conflict in the 20th century. In the middle is a wonderful and insightful essay by Conrad Hyers that shows that Genesis 1-3 did not wait thousands of years for hidden scientific truths to be discovered, but rather had meaning to the original audience in expressing key theological truths and combating neighboring cosmogonies like the Babylonian Enuma Elish. The section is finished by an essay exploring the relationship between science, God, and interventionism and greatly establishes the necessity of God's continual sustaining of the universe.

The middle section, "Scientific Evidence and Theory," solidly tacks down the scientific case with a few theological insights thrown in. After a shaky start with "An Evolving Cosmos" (addressed later in my review), the antiquity of the earth is nailed down in verbosity and scholarly erudition by Jeffrey Greenberg. Further essays relentlessly demolish creationist objections based on the fossil recored and Cambrian explosion. A couple essays deal with human genetics and finding Adam, and the section is finished out nicely by Terry Gray's essay on Biochemistry and Evolution, which elucidates the confirmation that biochemistry gave evolutionary theory and combats creationist misinterpretations.

The final section is somewhat weaker, if not only because of the variety of views that can be held. One author is more Calvinistic than the others, and some of the rest differ on the adequacy of other theistic evolution views, with one author going so far as to briefly criticize the exposition of the arguments of another essay. This paints a portrait of the multi-facetedness and controversial nature of the theological realm of theistic evolution.

The section is held in place by by far the most brilliant essay in the book, "Special Providence and Genetic Mutation; A New Defense of Theistic Evolution" by Robert John Russell. He first establishes that he is doing constructive theology, not natural theology, and thus one can proceed in light of the fact that quantum physics is liable to change or be replaced. He then masterfully argues for a non-interventionist approach by which God acts at the quantum level in the gene. He finishes out by answering objections and acknowledging the problem of evil and theodicy. This, however, makes for the climax of the book, in which he exhorts: "It is time Christians refrained from attacking evolution or spending energy on useless alternatives and focused their faith and reason on this truly fundamental challenge: If God works through evolution, why does God not act to prevent so much of the suffering in nature; indeed, is there no other way that life and humanity could have "evolved" than through this 3.8 billion year history?" He is not afraid to admit a problem and acknowledges that he has turned all his efforts to resolving it and exhorts fellow Christians to do the same. Such, I think, is very admirable.

The rest of the section is adequate, with an essay studying Christ's work on the cross and what it means for evolution, followed by a couple of (unnecessary, IMHO) essays on environmentalism basically establishing the stewardship position, a mentally piquing essay on evolution and original sin (basically arguing that Romans 1 describes the fall, with an original group of hominids turning from God, resulting in corruption gradually being caked into the structures of society; this essay deals with all the major scriptures and competing views), and finished by a thought-provoking essay on cognitive neuroscience by Warren S. Brown that espouses non-reductive physicalism.

The book is not without its flaws. First are the small devotions scattered throughout the book. Even though they could have a purpose, I feel they are out of place in an otherwise scientifically rigorous book that will be peered over by diverse and scathingly critical minds. They seem weak and unscientific amidst the rest of the work. Perhaps they would have been better off in a separate book.

Some of the devotional attitude seems to have spilled over into one of the essays "An evolving cosmos." Scattered with bits of cosmology, it nevertheless reads like a devotion - "simple math tells us that our Sun is one of over 100,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars in the universe!" and "When our study of the universe is done in love for God and in service to to others, the excitement and blessing overflow!" It's probably no coincidence that the following devotion was written by the same author.

Then there is the essay by John C Mundane Jr on "Animal Pain; Beyond the Threshold?" This one seemed incredibly lame as the author spent most of his time stating the problem, then tried to dance around it (he throws out the possibility that the method of a predator going for the neck of the prey actually induces less pain, since the receptors in the neck are less sensitive) but then realizes that the previous is not enough to dismiss all animal pain and goes through some possibilities for resolution before throwing his hands up in the air and saying "We just need to accept God as good."

Nevertheless, this book has been a tremendous help in my explorations. It serves as a "home base" and grounding point for my quest; indeed, this is the best part of the book. Some of the essays have footnotes that say they are abridged versions of larger works, and most of the authors have written books that you can read if you want to go further into depth on certain issues. Indeed, I have gone on to read "Offense to Reason" by Bernard Ramm, "The Meaning of Creation" by Conrad Hyers, and "Whatever Happened to the Soul?" by Warren S. Browm and will likely read more, each time going back to "Perspectives" to find out where I should go next.

Indeed, this book is a mostly solid, intellectually rigorous overview of theistic evolution with plenty of opportunities for further study if one so desires. I wholeheartedly recommend it.
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on November 28, 2003
One of Christianity's best-kept secrets is that the vast majority of evangelical scholars and theologians do not see a conflict between creation and evolution, which is why virtually all evangelical liberal arts colleges and universities (not to be confused with Bible colleges) teach evolution. This important and inspiring collection of essays from leading evangelicals should go a long way toward helping those on the conservative end of the theological spectrum value the contributions of mainstream science and interpret cosmic, Earth, life, and human history in God glorifying, Christ edifying, scripture honoring ways. It is consistently insightful, respectful, and gently prophetic. Highly recommended for those who are open to having their faith enriched, deepened, and expanded by a theocentric way of understanding the evolutionary sciences.
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on January 11, 2009
Perspectives on an Evolving Creation is a tremendous book. I am so grateful to Keith Miller for spearheading this project. The presentation of the scientific evidence of evolution from a distinctly Christian viewpoint was like a breath of fresh air for me. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who has ever undergone the kind of arduous thinking involved in analyzing the relationships between science and the Christian faith.

The book is composed of three sections. The first section provides Biblical, historical, and scientific background information that is meant to prepare the reader for the subsequent discussions. The second section of the book presents the scientific evidence for an evolving Creation. Christian scientists from a wide variety of backgrounds summarize how the current evolutionary view of cosmic, geological, and biological history was developed. The final section focuses on various philosophical and theological issues related to evolution. Interspersed throughout the book are short meditations meant to help the reader to worship the God of this "Evolving Creation."
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on January 1, 2004
The book is a collection of essays (21) with a common theme-theistic evolution(TE), a common allegience-to orthodox Christianity, on the part of the writers. As such it is in a very small category, as TE tends to be beat up by both extremes on the issues- the young earth creationist(YEC) and secular evolutionary materialists, being orthodox complications the matter a lot as no one is happy with what you have to say. It is an introductory book, aimed at a general audience with at least a background on the issues. Its weaknesses are the general weaknesses of the essay collection genre itself, in particular, no sooner do you get into an essay then it is over and you must start the process of familarization and understanding an author all over again. The unevenness of different people's style and form makes going a little hard and continuity even harder. I suspect that the various authors had the other guys outlines in hand as they refer internally to the other essays, but no discussion or 2-way conversations are apparent, this helps a little bit to lighten the essay load but it is still a difficult straight through read. however i have no problem recommending the book, partly because i have little else to offer, partly because the bulk of the essays are above average and any reader can skip and choose what he/she desires to read.
The essays themselves are divided into 3 major groupings: "Providing a Context" "Scientific Evidence and Theory" and "Theological Implications and Insights". For my own appraisal the book reached a peak early with the first two parts and really slumped in the last, with the exception of H. VanTill's essay "Is the Universe Capable of Evolving?". I enjoyed the next essay "Special Providence and Genetic Mutation" but found it a little too choppy, i hope to read the longer essay that it is a summary of in order to see the fuller development. The material covered is the big questions in the field and offered little surprises overall except for chapter 5 "Does Science Exclude God? Natural Law, chance, Miracles, and scientific practice" which is good enough to be the one chapter that i would recommend reading if you wish to get a quick idea of the book and whether you wish to invest the time in reading the whole collection. The authors choosen are certainly the best in the field and their names are known to anyone with a familarity in the field. Conrad Hyers, Howard Van Till, Mark Noll, David Livingston, Keith B. Miller, are joined by Terry Gray who i wish the best in his search for answers in this discussion, as it has carried a very high personal cost to him and i admire how he has risen to this level in the discussion, congratulations.
The book suffers a little from no research notes or reference listing, although most of the footnotes will do for a start. A systematic introductory essay to each section outlining the issues and the past history of positions would have been helpful as well. In general however the authors are very aware of their audience and do a good job communicating their understanding with a minimum of jargon, in a fair and not-argumentative way.
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