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Coming to Peace with Science: Bridging the Worlds Between Faith and Biology
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Coming to Peace with Science: Bridging the Worlds Between Faith and Biology [Kindle Edition]

Darrel R. Falk , Francis Collins

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Product Description

Product Description

Is a thoroughly Christian and biblically informed doctrine of creation compatible with widely held conclusions of modern science, especially biology?

For Darrel R. Falk, this is not just an abstract question but one with which he has personally wrestled. A professor of biology, Falk brings together his biblically based understanding of creation and the most current research in biology. The result of his efforts to acknowledge the validity of science and the authority of Scripture is a new paradigm for relating the claims of science to the truths of Christianity.

Written with the undergraduate student in mind, this book nonetheless will help anyone who is looking for a place to stand in the creation-evolution debate, fearful that they'll have to choose between intellectual integrity and the faith of the church. Calling for charitable discussions within the church, Falk shows how an original and ongoing interaction of God with creation is fully reconcilable with the kinds of development identified by current biological science.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2561 KB
  • Print Length: 235 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Academic (20 Aug 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001OMGA3Y
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #594,543 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.1 out of 5 stars  35 reviews
101 of 109 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Must the debate continue? 21 Jan 2006
By Richard Menninger - Published on
As I write this review, I am team teaching with a colleague from the Biology department at Ottawa University in Ottawa, KS. The course we are teaching is one on Intelligent Design. With all the furor over the Kansas State Board of Education's revision of science curriculum, this course is timely, to say the least. As part of our course material, we are attempting to articulate the debate in the broader terms of the science/religion dispute set in the context of differing worldviews. One important area of all of this investigation is the issue of the confrontation between evolutionists and creationists. Must they be opponents, even enemies? Falk say no.

Our author writes from an Evangelical Christian viewpoint. He is clear about his faith in the resurrection of Jesus Christ and how the first chapters of Genesis are a great hymn celebrating-though not literally- God's creation of the world. He arrives at this conclusion about the creation account from the evidence science has amassed about the age and development of the universe. One of the strengths of this book is Falk's discussion of fossil evidence, geological evidence and genetic theory. These discussions are supplemented by graphs and pictures that are helpful. Since I am trained in theology and not science, I found these parts of the book enlightening without being condescending.

Falk, who has taught biology for over 20 years, supports the idea that species developed gradually, including humans. And he sees no conflict between faith and the naturalist's view of our world. Overall, he appears to attempt to write within the worldview that science should not be depended on to point a person of faith to God and science must realize that it is not equipped to discover the supernatural.

Falk delves into theological issues such as where does death enter in the story, if indeed, animals died before the appearance of humans. Also, he spends 10-15 pages on the question of how humans were created. He shares that there are alternative ways to interpet the picture in Genesis 2-literal and figurative-though he readily admits science cannot answer the `when' or the `how' of the spiritual side of human creation.

Falk is clear to point out that Christianity has been too quick and too harsh to push science away. But he is also intent to bring an end to the war between the opposing camps in Christianity, between those who hold to a literal view of creation as opposed to a gradual creation on the part of God. In some sense his book is a positive addition to the discussion. To see a Christian biologist hold to his faith and to evolution without a crisis developing in his thinking is hopeful. But his book also affirms (at least in my mind) that the two disciplines will never be compatible. Not that they must remain antagonistic toward one another but simply they ask two different sets of questions.

Regardless of my final observation I recommend Falk's book for those interested in the science and religion debate.
60 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow. 9 Oct 2006
By Jedidiah Palosaari - Published on
It's difficult to not type with superlatives when reviewing this book. This is one of the top devotional books on nature I've ever read. I've never seen a finer treatment of the basics of evolution for the layman. I've never seen a more clear portrayal of how Christ is involved in evolution. But most of all, in all my reading on the intersection of evolution and Christianity, I've never seen a more gentle, kinder approach that so exemplifies that attitude of Christ.

Falk comes with a strong support for evolution, in all it's glory. But he treats it as far more glorious than most biologists, for he sees God's presence within it. There is no holding back here- Falk makes clear, cogent arguments in favor of every step and aspect of evolution. His treatment is something that anyone can understand, and anyone with an open mind can come to agree with. He comes from a background originally in literal creationism, and so knows the arguments that speak to the literal creationist. As someone who was also once a literal creationist, I can say Falk knows the arguments that refute the classic creationist arguments as well.

But he doesn't stop there. He then turns to the scriptures. Falk fully supports complete acceptance of the scriptures, but he's not interested in blind literal acceptance. He wants us to delve into the Bible and accept the points that God is trying to make. Throughout Falk's personal relationship with Jesus is clear. He sees this as the point behind everything. And he finds that he sees more of Christ by studying biology and evolution. It would be easy to try to proof-text passages to make the Bible appear to be supportive of evolution. That's not Falk's style. He's looking to see what God wants us to know, primarily through the scriptures.

This is the first time I've found a work that fully explains the nature of sin, death, and decay, using biology and the Bible both. For those unfamiliar with the controversy, this is the lynchpin of the literal creationist distate for evolution. Falk at no point denies the miraculous, but rather finds it foundational to his faith. However, he argues for a God that works through natual laws that He created- and ingeniously, Falk argues this based on how we see God working in our own individual lives.

I can not stress this enough. This is the most grace-filled treatment of this subject I have ever read. You get the feeling that Falk actually cares about his readers, whatever stripe they might be. He cares more that we treat each other with love on this subject than that we be right. If you have only $15 left to eat or buy this book, get the book. Feed your mind first and see what glories you might behold.
71 of 77 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoughts from a life-long creationist... 7 Sep 2006
By Stacy J. Peterson - Published on
Other reviewers have reviewed the actual contents of this book; I would like to address how this book effected my life. This is likely pertinent since the author clearly makes an effort to "bridge the worlds between faith and biology."

I'm very grateful that Falk persisted in tackling such a difficult and provocative topic (science and religion) as he did with "Coming to Peace..." I've read it many times and each time am struck by the sensitivity, sincerity, and Christian love with which he approaches this topic. This book should be very understandable to a wide audience (college degrees not required)!

I'm 36 years old with a masters in biology from a private Christian college. I've grown up in a Christian denomination whose official position on creation is a belief in a literal 6-day, young-earth interpretation of Genesis.

I greatly appreciate my church's interpretation of most biblical issues. Their stand on creation, however, gives me trouble. This past winter I visited with one of my past college biology professors and one of my graduate student colleagues who is now a bioloy teacher himself. We had quite a long talk about their spiritual journeys as biologists, and they both turned me on to Falk's book (Coming to Peace with Science).

As a biologist by training (if not direct avocation at this point in my life), I've been exposed to evolution, and I recognize that it's difficult to ignore the evidence from the fossil record, age of the earth, etc. But meshing that with my faith was difficult at best. For a long time I just kept them compartmentalized, and focused on Christ as my salvation instead of Christ as the Creator. Falk's book and my wonderful talks with my old college friends have opened a brand new door of understanding to me. It's really a source of great relief! I have been touched spiritually and intellectually by the material presented in this book.

I'm still trying to wrap my mind around my understanding of God's role in human evolutionary development, and the concept of death and destruction before the "fall" of Adam and Eve -- and even who Adam and Eve really were -- but I can only say that having a devout Christian present possibilities to me, as Falk does in his book, is truly a source of comfort during these struggles. It's even more comforting to know that Falk has struggled greatly with these very same issues.

If you have found yourself asking how science can be explained in a religious context without undermining the integrity of either science or faith, then this book is for you. If you're anything like me, you may continue to have questions, but you won't feel ridiculed or unloved -- by the author or by your God.
22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth the enlightening read 10 Jan 2005
By Brandon Hamm - Published on
Coming to Peace with Science, in an orderly fashion, brought together the topics concerning the evidence of evolution and benchmarked the evidence based on three different views, of which the gradual creation view seemed to fit best in all scenarios with the logic and scientific evidence at hand. Since the book was written for a Christian audience, there is a serious and legitimate caution for scriptural and spiritual awareness throughout the book.

Falk immediately makes the distinction that there are several respectable ways of interpreting scripture, including a view that not all scripture is literal, and a poetic device can be used. He also clarifies that the Bible is not a text book and later makes mention of the reason creationism should not be taught in the grade school science classroom, is that it is not science, whereas evolution is.

Falk decodes the Biblical creation story, pointing out its message to present God as the Creator that instituted marriage and desires our obedience along with promoting community. It is brought up also in this chapter the antitheistic pressure that the church has felt from some evolutionists that could be the motivation for the aggressive response.

The evidence of the Earth's age is made accessible by the presentation of dating methods and the agreement of these tools of modern physics on an Earth that is around 4.6 billion years old with the use of the stars, the Earth's magnetic poles, and isotope ratios. With this platform established, it was easy to jump into the next section, dealing with the fossil record. He starts out with presenting questions on the legitimacy of the evolution of a cell into a multicellular organism and mentions Gould's theory of the Cambrian explosion.

Geographical in many interesting and well described examples are presented and explored in a "does this make sense" manner, where, of course, the answer is a definite yes. This was an aspect of evolution that I felt was touched on more in depth in this book than in others. The use of Hawaii, New Zealand, Lakes, and fur as geographical isolation examples were concrete in the way they showed species evolving in their isolated environment.

Genetic proof for gradual creation is revealed through the exploration of introns and exons in species allowing us to track their lineage through the investigation of the similar mutations in introns that aren't subject to natural selection due to their lack of expression
28 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars True to Science - True to Core Christian Beliefs 31 Jan 2005
By Richard Colling - Published on
Particularly well-suited for college-age students, "Coming to Peace with Science" may be one of the most important books addressing the science/faith issue written to date.

With remarkable precision and clarity, Falk lays out a broad array of essential evidence demonstrating the reality of evolution and the inter-connectedness of all life on Earth. The truth, which is strongly confirmed throughout this book, is that critiques of science and evolution emanating from various Christian circles are simply no longer tenable. And Christian credibility is not well-served when truth is the casualty of faith doctrine.

For years, many have insisted that understanding in science, especially biology, is simply inconsistent with Christian belief. What I especially appreciated about Falk's approach is that he effectively weaves his understanding of science together with his Christian faith in ways that are not only scientifically compelling, but personally satisfying.

If this book has a weakness, in my view it is that Falk is not quite as forthright about the conclusions of science as are justified by the scientific data. But Falk is quick to acknowledge that his goal is not to convince or persuade, but rather to encourage honest discussion, and most importantly, mutual acceptance among people within the Christian faith.

Falk's own personal Christian convictions, which are readily apparent throughout, make this book an excellent resource that Christian parents and pastors should not only read and understand themselves, but also put into the hands of college-bound students and anyone interested in understanding how biology and faith can co-exist with integrity. If Christians are to be regarded as `salt and light' to the world, the foundation must be solid and built on truth. Falk bridges the perceived gaps as well as anyone I have seen, and does so with extraordinary sensitivity. Don't miss this one!
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Scripture provides us with spectacles through which we may view the world as God's creation and self-expression; it does not, and was never intended, to provide us with an infallible repository of astronomical and medical information. The natural sciences are thus effectively emancipated for theological restrictions.17 &quote;
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J. I. Packer: "It should be remembered ... that Scripture was given to reveal God, not to address scientific issues in scientific terms.... It is not for scientific theories to dictate what Scripture may and may not say, although extra-biblical information will sometimes helpfully expose a misinterpretation of Scripture."' &quote;
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Ironically the real downhill slide away from God may come from reducing the Bible to a scientific textbook, because this approach distracts from the task of searching for the Bible's deepest truths. &quote;
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