The Prism and the Rainbow: A Christian Explains Why Evolution Is Not a Threat

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God or Darwin? It is one of the most contentious conflicts of our time. It is also completely unnecessary, according to Joel W. Martin, an evolutionary biologist and ordained elder in the Presbyterian Church USA. In this slim but powerful book, Martin argues that it is not contradictory to be a practicing, faithful Christian who accepts the science of evolution.

Martin finds that much of the controversy in the United States over evolution is manufactured and predicated on a complete—and sometimes willful—misapprehension of basic science. Science and religion, he says, serve different purposes and each seeks to answer questions that the other need never address. He believes that many of the polarizing debates about evolution distract from the deeper lessons of Christianity and that literal, fundamentalist readings of the Bible require the faithful to reject not just evolution but many of science's greatest discoveries.

Just as the scientific explanation of rainbows is not meant to refute the biblical "rainbow" story of God’s promise, evolutionary theory is not a ploy to disavow the divine. Indeed, Martin shows that the majority of Christians worldwide accept the theory of evolution. He urges his fellow Christians to refuse to participate in the intellectually stifling debate over evolution and creationism/intelligent design.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Editorial Reviews

School Science Review - Michael Reiss

This is a book that would be well worth including in the library of any school or college that educates students over the age of 16.

Midwest Book Review

Covers the Christian debate over Darwin—and finds that much of the controversy in the U.S. over evolution is manufactured on a complete, often willful miss-appreciation of basic science. Chapters serve to erase these errors, offering insights into robots of debates about evolution and supporting Christianity and a less literal interpretation of Biblical ideas. Christian collections need this!

Louisiana Coalition for Science

If you are a young person who has been looking for a way both to retain your personal faith and appreciate the wonders of modern science, you cannot find a better book than this one. If you are the parent of a young person who has raised the question of the relationship between science and religion, you owe it to that young person to help prevent what could be a totally unnecessary dilemma as your child encounters the massive, compelling evidence for evolution in college biology classes.

School Science Review
This is a book that would be well worth including in the library of any school or college that educates students over the age of 16.

— Michael Reiss

Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith

Martin offers a book to an audience of students and parents (and presumably to other nontheological experts). Its purpose is to make a case supporting the thesis that evolutionary biology is consistent with Christian theology, and further, that evolution supports major biblical themes. Martin also wants to inform his readers of the nature of science, some areas of past conflict (and eventual resolution) between science and faith, and some cautionary advice for Christian laity in their Bible reading as they attempt to discern the Bible’s message to us today. In our opinion, Martin does all of this effectively in a concise package.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801894787
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 5/11/2010
  • Edition description: 20
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

An ordained elder in the Presbyterian Church USA, Joel W. Martin is the chief of the Division of Invertebrate Studies and curator of Crustacea at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. He is a youth advisor at a Presbyterian Church in Southern California and currently teaches Sunday school and confirmation classes.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 25, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    An Evolution book for Christians

    As one who has spent the past several years engaging in public discussions about evolution and religion at various church and educational venues, I had been contemplating writing a book like this one for quite some time. Thankfully Joel Martin has beaten me to it.

    As one who truly understands both the science behind evolution and the spirituality behind faith, Martin strikes the perfect balance in explaining both. It is a concise (doesn't try to be a mini-course in evolution or in theology) and yet complete treatment of a difficult subject. There are many other good books out there, but for anyone truly trying to come to a fuller understanding, THIS is the book they should read.

    I'm reminded of William Henry Bragg's famous reply when asked if science and religion are oppossed to one another. Bragg replied "Religion and science are opposed...but only in the same sense as that in which my thumb and forefinger are opposed - and between the two, one can grasp everything."

    Martin demonstrates the truth in Bragg's reply.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted June 13, 2010

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