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Should Christians Embrace Evolution: Biblical & Scientific Responses Paperback – May 30, 2011
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"Helpful to [anyone] who wants to expose their thinking to top-quality, cutting-edge arguments." --Richard A. Carhart, Professor Emeritus of Physics, University of Illinois, Chicago
"The experts in science and theology who have contributed [these] chapters . . . will be very helpful to Christians who are struggling to sort out conflicting claims and arrive at the truth." --Phillip E. Johnson, Author of Darwin on Trial, Cofounder of the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture
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After all, you don't want to be dumb, do you?
Should Christians Embrace Evolution challenges this line of thinking by asking the question: can a Christian believe the Scriptures are true and evolution is true at the same time? The answer, told from eleven different perspectives, is a decided <em>no.</em>
The book starts out with an essay by Alistair Donald discussing the historical context of the debate over evolutionary theory, specifically how the Church has related to the theory of evolution over the decades. There is a mythical history about that high level, intelligent Christians have "always" accepted evolution; this chapter puts that myth on notice. In the next chapter, Alistair McKitterick discusses the intent of the author of Genesis --a well placed question on the hermeneutics of the book impacting our reading of the creation narrative. Is the creation story a myth? Demythologized text? In chapter 3, Michael Reeves addresses the question of Adam and Eve. Were they real people? Chapter 4 discusses the fall and death in Paul's writings, and how this relates to our understanding of the fall narrative in Genesis 3.
Chapter 5 addresses the heart of the question: can a Christian accept evolution? David Anderson argues the answer is no, grounding his argument in the proposition that combining Christianity and evolution always results in essentially gnostic errors. Andrew Sibley next argues that the combination of evolution and Christianity ultimately reflects on the character of God and his trustworthiness. R.T. Kendell argues in chapter 7 that every generation of Christians has a "stigma," or a test, which it must endure in order to be found faithful, and that evolution is this generation's test. Steve Fuller discusses the impact of evolution on the image of God in man's creation in chapter 8, presenting an argument he believes will provide a winning hand for intelligent design theory.
The book next turns to specific points of evolutionary theory in chapter 9 with Norman C. Nevin's essay. He covers the concept of homology and the fossil record. The chapter continues with an essay by Geoff Bernard on chromosomes, and then an essay by Andy McIntosh on information theory and the second law of thermodynamics. Geoff Barnard discusses the evidence of the genomic record and its relation to evolution in chapter 10, focusing on changes in pseudogenes. Finally, in chapter 11, John C. Walton discusses the part chance plays in evolution.
This is, perhaps, one of the strongest collection of essays entered into the Creation/evolution debate in recent years, and well worth reading from first page to last.
The book's primary strength is in raising questions about how the premises of evolution integrate with Christian theology. Some examples follow:
1. Is death, suffering, and disease normative (evolution) or an aberration (creation)?
2. Does faith require external evidence to be credible (evolution), or is faith internal and thus prior to external experience (creation)?
3. What does it mean to be made in the image and likeness of God? Is it just a spiritual encounter with God (evolution), or does it include the totality of life, both spiritual and physical (creation)?
4. Was there an ideal state at the beginning of the world that causes us to anticipate an ideal state at the end of time?
5. Is there a sudden intervention at the end of time in Christ's return that mirrors a sudden intervention at the beginning of time?
6. Do the spoken miracles of Jesus (i.e. turning water into wine) parallel the spoken miracle of creation in Genesis?
7. Is it possible that the physical attributes of life in the Garden of Eden were fundamentally different than life as we know it now after the fall of mankind?
The strength of this book is to ask if there is a foundational split or dichotomy between the physical and spiritual aspects of life. If yes, evolution is fine. If no, creation works.