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When Faith and Science Collide: A Biblical Approach to Evaluating Evolution, Creationism, Intelligent Design, and the Age of the Earth Paperback – May 1, 2009
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There are a variety of positions Christians choose on the subject, but the warfare exists primarily between Christians in the field of natural science (Evolutionary Creationists) and those that adhere to strict Biblical interpretation of the six day creation (Young Earth Creationists).
The book sets the stage with a young scientist torn between accepting the academic training he received in college vs. a literal interpretation of scripture offered by a friend. As with most individuals schooled in various fields of science, the young former Christian made what he thought was the only logical choice and went with reason rather than a "fundamental" Christian worldview. Here lies the purpose of the book. Davidson developed the following simple model to evaluate the conflict, "There are three questions that should be asked any time a scientific theory appears to conflict with scripture.
1) Does the infallibility of scripture rest on a literal interpretation of the verses in question?
2) Does the science conflict with the intended message of the scripture?
3) Is the science credible?"
Dr. Davidson is a respected Geologist residing at the University of Mississippi. His credentials on the fields of geochemistry and hydrogeology lend considerable credibility to the examples and arguments presented in this book that sometimes supports, but often refutes many of the arguments presented by Young Earth Creationists. The apparent goal of this book is to not only discredit the pseudoscience touted by Young Earth Creationists, but in addition, ask the reader to weigh the relevance of the conflicting issues before changing ones Christian worldview. The disputes originating from Genesis have little impact on the core message delivered by Jesus Christ of the New Testament. Continuous squabbling over what should be secondary topics within the Christian body is both damaging and embarrassing to those who are not positioned on the radical extremes.
I almost removed one star on this review because I felt the book lacked closure on the subject. This reviewer wanted to move to the next level and ask the question "What motivates the Young Earth defendants, fear, and self righteousness? And, what is the goal of this destructive movement?" But, based on his own insight and reasoning Dr. Davison concludes his book by stating that Young Earth Creationism is simply "Bad Theology and Bad Science". He abandons my questions to the "experts" in Psychology and Philosophy. The star is back on. Read this wonderful book on Christian Scientific Apologetics.
"One of the primary reasons I abandoned my faith was seeing Christians trying so hard to use science and logic to prove their beliefs ... and failing completely."
As believers, we work hard to find and remove the rough edges in our lives that might be a stumbling block for non-believers who are be considering our faith. Often, the hardest ones to find are flaws in our own character that make these edges so abrasive. But if we truly want to effectively share our faith, we keep asking God to help us find and remove them. Based on my friend's comment, I think we also need to ask God to help us find and remove the abrasive flaws in our theology.
Obviously, there are certain stumbling blocks found in scripture, like the existence of a loving God while we live in a world that is full of evil, disease and death; or the message that salvation comes only through faith in Christ. these are absolutely non-negotiable and essential to our faith. But there are others, like the timing of the rapture, that are based on our personal interpretation of scripture. And despite the fact that they aren't really essential to the faith, they have caused irreparable damage within the church, for as long as that church has existed.
The issues of evolution and the age of the earth clearly fall into this second category. But for many non-believers the idea that we don't believe in evolution is the only thing they know (or think they know) about what we believe. Given that, it's imperative that we, as believers, carefully study the scriptures and the scientific evidence to see what they really have to say to us.
In his book "When Faith & Science Collide, Dr Davidson uses biblical and scientific evidence to examine the common orthodoxy against evolution that permeates the Church. His writing is concise, well organized and fun to read. His logic is compelling. And his conclusions will be a breath of fresh air for those who have never even considered the thought that evolution to be compatible with their faith.
This book is a must read for those who care about keeping the Gospel clear and simple for those who desperately need a Savior.
*** One more note ***
For those of you who find short books to be the best books, Dr Davidson has structured his book into two parts. The first part ends on page 94 and is designed for those who are only really interested in knowing how modern science conflicts or conforms with scripture.
For those who want to dig in to the science and the arguments of those who support or oppose evolution, the book has several additional chapters and a long list of notes and citations to confirm and expand on what Dr Davidson has to say.
I highly recommend this book for Young Earth Creationists, any Christian wondering about evolution, and especially for non-YEC Christians who have tried to counter "scientific" arguments in support of Young Earth Creationism.