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Origins: A Reformed Look at Creation, Design, and Evolution

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  • Posted December 16, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Informative, faithful and respectful

    I recently gave a talk at church on the relationship between Faith and Science, and was asked afterwards if I had read the Haarsmas' book. So I borrowed it from the church library to find out why. Origins is subtitled A Reformed look at Creation, Design and Evolution, so it obviously relates both to the topic of my talk and to the church I was speaking in. The authors are professors in the Physics and Astronomy Department at Calvin College in Grand Rapids Michigan, so very well qualified. And their thesis is that no one should feel they have to choose between faith and science.

    If I were re-teaching my class in a series of talks, I might almost use this book as a template. Each chapter ends with thought-provoking questions for discussion and suggestions for further reading. And the evidence in the writing is illustrated and emphasized by well-drawn tables and boxes.

    The authors are writing for Christians, but point out that non-Christians might use the book to learn how Christians think about science, rather than just believing what the media says. While their main thrust is that there's no inherent conflict between faith and science, they point out that world-views can collide: the scientist who says evolution proves there's no God is just as flawed in his statement as the Christian who says the Bible proves evolution didn't happen. Common ground requires common respect and common experience, but respect is frequently absent from debate.

    The authors present many of the same arguments as I used to show how the Bible and science are not at odds. I particularly liked their suggestion that before debating creation vs. evolution we'd do well to ask if studying the weather and water-cycle is anti-faith, since the Bible frequently declares how God controls the rain. They present many alternative view-points on key Bible stories, such as Adam and Eve and the fallen earth, leaving readers to recognize that "I don't know" can be a perfectly adequate, honest and faithful, answer. ".[W]hen a conflict arises, our response should be to examine both the science and the biblical interpretation more carefully," describes my own position as well as theirs.

    In answer to my friend at church, I had not read the book before giving the talk, but I will certainly draw from it if I give the talk again, and I certainly recommend it to anyone wondering how to answer those still shying away from the evidence for an old earth and evolution.

    Disclaimer: I borrowed this book from our church library, but I wish I had a copy of my own.

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