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Theistic Evolution

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Member Reviews

This is a huge book. It has taken me over a month to work my way through it. Although I have a degree in science, it is in physics. I read this book as a lay person, so to speak, without advanced training in the biological sciences. My interest in reading this book came from being taught theistic evolution in a Christian college in the early 1970s. I found out that much has changed in the fields of biology and origins since then.

Most of this book is written in a scholarly manner and may be beyond the interest of many Christians. Some of the essays are answers to critiques of previous articles and books. However, Christians interested in the issues of intelligent design, special creation, or evolution would benefit from carefully reading this book.

The book is a critique of theistic evolution: that God arranged and set everything in motion so that life would evolve without additional intelligent input. The authors define theistic evolution as the sufficiency of the undirected mechanism of mutation and natural selection as an explanation for new forms of life. (59) In other words, God created matter with certain properties so that no further activity from God was required to bring about all living things. (60)

The first part of the book is an in depth critique of the creative power of natural selection and random mutation. The conclusion is that these mechanisms do not have the creative power to generate new genetic information. The authors explain how current research shows a loss of information from such mechanisms instead. This section also includes a critique of the assumption of universal common ascent. They pay particular attention to fossil  and DNA evidence.

The next part of the book looks at the philosophical aspects of science and creating theories. The authors explore how one should define science and argue that science should not limit itself to strictly materialistic explanations. Rather than science correcting the Bible, perhaps Scripture should correct our scientific ideas. (707) There have been many scientific “facts” in the past that have turned out to be incorrect. It is also noted that theistic evolution fails to explain the development of moral values in humans and the spiritual nature of mankind.

The last part of the book deals with theological and biblical issues. This section is not about the age of the earth. It is about whether Genesis 1-3 should be taken as historical narrative, reporting events that actually happened. Theistic evolutionists in general say that Adam and Eve were not the first human beings, there was no fall into sin, and God did not place a curse on the world. (778)  This seriously affects the truth of the gospel and the meaning of Christ's death. The conclusion is that “belief in theistic evolution is inconsistent with belief in the truthfulness of the Bible.” (776)

I have mentioned just a small part of all of the information included in this book. It is a detailed critique of theistic evolution and the works of those who promote it. I am impressed with the amount of information this book contains. It may be overwhelming for some readers. The chapters do contain summary introductions and conclusions to help readers navigate the text and decide which chapters may be of specific interest.

“ID [intelligent design] is essentially consistent with biblical doctrine, and is supported by many scientists and theologians whose views cannot be lightly dismissed,” Colin Reeves writes. (706) Unfortunately, this book does not contain a presentation of intelligent design.

I do recommend this book to Christians who have an interest in the issues of creation, evolution, and other aspects of origins. Be prepared for a good amount of time studying this topic.

Note: I received a complimentary digital ARC of this book. My comments are an independent and honest review. Some of the quotes and page numbers I give may have been changed in the final published edition of the book.
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“Theistic Evolution” is a tour de force! No longer are intelligent and passionate theologians sitting on the sidelines, allowing atheistic or theistic evolutionists lead the debate on creation/evolution. The breadth and depth of the writing of this beast of a book is unmatched on this topic. The contributing scientists, philosophers, and theologians are some of the most well-respected thinkers of our time. While some of the writing can be dense, the book taken as a whole will absolutely increase your faith in the Bible as God’s word—and most importantly—in God himself!
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Crossway has managed to compile a work investigating the movement of theistic evolution that will be an excellent resource for years to come. In reality, this work will likely be used more so as a textbook and resource for citing than a work to be read through in full. However, it will not come in handy for many students to engage with on their own, and perhaps even for use as a textbook and resource for undergraduate and above college courses on apologetics, Christianity and science, and other such disciplines. The contributors are very broad, which makes the collection very attractive to a wide audience, not just the reformed evangelical camp. All in all, I highly recommend this important work that addresses a topic of growing importance in our day - and there is much more at stake here than most assume.
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Theistic Evolution is a theological book full of practical, useful, and biblical wisdom.  In a culture that continues to reject God's account of Creation the church has drifted into time and again theology that would seek to reconcile God's perfect truth with man's wisdom.  This book presents excellent arguments against this approach.  I believe this book would be useful for all Christians from new Christians to pastors because it does such a good job of dissecting and dispelling the issues surrounding belief in evolution and its march into the church posing as a God centered idea.  Great book.
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"Theistic Evolution" is a behemoth of a book, but for good reason. In it, you will find one of the most comprehensive collections of essays that take a look at the view of God's creation known as theistic evolution (or evolutionary creationism). The book is accessible in that it compiles these essays in an easy to navigate format, breaking them up into three categories: The scientific critique, the philosophical critique, and the biblical/theological critique. It should be noted that it is quite academic, and at over 1,000 pages, not a light read by any means.

As a student of Theology, I know that it is important to approach any particular point of doctrine with a mindset that is seeking to find the truth and to do this with intellectual honesty. It is important to look at a variety of views when there is more than one view that is widely held. The topic of theistic evolution is one such doctrine that can be quite polarizing in the Christian community, with proponents of each side often making a strawman out of the other's views.

As someone who personally supports the very view this book critiques, I recognize that I need to understand the objections to my view, rather than hide from them. For some time, I was looking to find literature that argued against theistic evolution but did so without the emotion and poor theology sometimes used by others. This is not a book that argues "you just need to read the text plainly!" This is a book that presents detailed philosophical, scientific, and theological analysis.

This book is precisely what I needed.

Whether you believe theistic evolution is not true and want to learn more to support your position, or you're like me and seek to understand the very best of arguments against your view, this is a great place to start. I highly recommend this book for seminary students, theologically inclined laypeople, or anyone who wants to delve deep into this fascinating subject.
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