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Three Views on Creation and Evolution (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology)

Three Views on Creation and Evolution (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology) [Kindle Edition]

John Mark Reynolds , Howard J. Van Till , Paul Nelson , Robert C. Newman , J. P. Moreland
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

For Christians, the issues raised by the different views on creation and evolution are challenging. Can a 'young earth' be reconciled with a universe that appears to be billions of years old? Does scientific evidence point to a God who designed the universe and life in all its complexity?
Three Views on Creation and Evolution deals with these and similar concerns as it looks at three dominant schools of Christian thought. Proponents of young earth creationism, old earth creationism, and theistic evolution each present their different views, tell why the controversy is important, and describe the interplay between their understandings of science and theology. Each view is critiqued by various scholars, and the entire discussion is summarized by Phillip E. Johnson and Richard H. Bube.
The Counterpoints series provides a forum for comparison and critique of different views on issues important to Christians. Counterpoints books address two categories: Church Life and Bible and Theology. Complete your library with other books in the Counterpoints series.

From the Author

Can Christians find common ground on creation?
All traditional theists believe God created. What philosophy of science should the religious adopt? What about evolution? What about the Bible and science? This book explores the common ground and differences of three types of religious people on these issues.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 757 KB
  • Print Length: 304 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Up to 5 simultaneous devices, per publisher limits
  • Publisher: Zondervan (1 Jun 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0050J1NVG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #240,011 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
This is an outstanding book. Moreland and Reynolds have assembled a highly-qualified team of Christian scholars--including scientists, philosophers, and theologians--who disagree on this issue. The level of discourse is high level, yet accessible to the interested reader. I highly recommend this book for anyone who is confused on where one ought to stand on the issue of creation/evolution.
Francis J. Beckwith, associate professor of philosophy, culture & law, Trinity International Univeristy (Deerfield, IL), CA campus
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great as introduction/overview/reflection 5 Aug 1999
By A Customer
This book contains three presentations by their proponents of the three main Christian views on origin. Each presentation is followed by an assessment by four commentators (each time the four same). The book does not deal so much with the natural sciences, but rather with the theological and philophical sciences. Nothing new nor difficult, but interesting to reveal the paradigma behind the views, grossly speaking: one specific interpretation of Genesis for Young Earth Creationism, Christian theism for Old Earth creationism, and deism (!) for "Theistic" Evolution, the latter being the most revealing: Van Till does not want to allow for God to intervene in the development of nature, but seems commited to the idea that God winded everything beforehand so as to get the good results, "prior" to t=0: this is remniscent of the clock-world of the deists where God did not have to intervene anymore once he had started the clock. This will be an excellent book for those who want an introduction or overview of the main views among Christians, as well as a reflection.
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94 of 97 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good essays, poor commentary 1 Mar 2000
By Michael Tice - Published on
This book consists of essays by proponents of each of the three views (Young Earth Creationism, Old Earth Creationism, and Theistic Evolution) and commentaries by practitioners of four disciplines: Biblical studies, theology, philosophy, and science. The entire discussion is concluded by summaries by Philip Johnson, an advocate of intelligent design, and Richard Bube, an advocate of theistic evolution.
The result is only partially successful. I am particularly impressed with the essays by Paul Nelson and John Mark Reynolds (Young Earth Creationism) and Howard J. Van Till (Theistic Evolution). Both give lucid and reasoned presentations of their views. I was pleasantly surprised to see Nelson and Reynolds, neither of whom I have read before, forego some of the more common but already discredited scientific arguments for a young Earth. Van Till presents a well thought-out and challenging integration of science and theology.
I am very disappointed by the commentaries, however. My first complaint is that the commentators sometimes seem unwilling to critique the essays primarily within their own expertises. For instance, John Jefferson Davis spends much of his space discussing the fossil record. On the one hand, none of the other commentators talk about this important piece of evidence. On the other hand, I wish the editors could have found someone other than a theologian to do this.
My second, more serious complaint is that each of the four commentators speaks entirely from an Old Earth Creationist perspective. In fact, Walter Bradley (who is supposed to provide criticism from a scientific perspective) uses the space allotted for commentary on the Old Earth Creationist perspective to attack the positions later presented in the Theistic Evolution essay. The reader is deprived of any scientific critique of the Old Earth Creationist view and instead finds a philosophical objection to a view not even presented yet. I find that entirely inappropriate.
As a brief introduction to the thinking in the three perspectives on creation and evolution, the primary essays in this book are very good. They each present some of the strengths and weaknesses of their own positions. These are not explored fully, but each essay is well referenced for further reading. The commentaries could have benefited by a better selection of commentators, however.
36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent philosophical debate; short on science and Bible 12 Jan 2001
By Scott Jorgenson - Published on
"Three Views on Creation and Evolution" provides an excellent and professional philosophical/theological discussion on Christian views relating to origins. Three major essays are presented, each by a different author or authors. Each essay provides a different perspective on how the Biblical account of origins relates to the mainstream scientific account (and, more generally, how Biblical interpretation and Christian theology relate to the scientific method). Each essay in turn is critiqued by four other scholars, to which the essay's author(s) are given opportunity to respond. Finally, two other scholars' essays conclude the book.
Young-earth creationism (YEC) is presented by Paul Nelson and John Mark Reynolds. YEC is the classic literalistic approach to Genesis, in which adherence to the plain meaning of the Genesis text is the epistemological imperative, no matter what the divergence with mainstream science (and the divergence is radical). Thus it is strange that so little time is spent on Biblical interpretation in this essay. Science, too, is largely ignored (except for some surprisingly glib concessions that you might think would be quite damaging to YEC, such as "Natural science at the moment seems to overwhelmingly point to an old cosmos", p. 49). Instead, the presentation is largely philosophical - a tack I personally found quite interesting, but unconvincing (offering "recent creationism is intellectually interesting", p. 50, as a major reason in support of YEC just doesn't cut it).
This general approach - heavy on the philosophy and theology, while light on science and Biblical interpretation - is repeated throughout the book. Old-earth, or progressive, creationism (OEC) is a view which generally accepts the conclusions of the mainstream physical sciences on the age and development of the cosmos and the Earth (while stipulating that certain causative factors in this development may have been miraculous). But OEC generally rejects large-scale biological evolution and abiogenesis, and insists on numerous miraculous creation events instead. Robert Newman propounds this view in his essay, the shortest of the three. To his credit, he addresses Scripture and scientific evidence more than anyone else in this book.
The longest essay, and most compelling, is for theistic evolution (TE). This is the view that God expressed his creativeness providentially through the laws and properties of nature. The conclusions of mainstream science, including abiogenesis and large-scale biological evolution, are thus merely a recognition of how His providence worked. And, since mainstream science is clearly inconsistent with a plainly-literal reading of Genesis, some form of allegorical/mythological interpretation of Genesis is to be adopted. Howard Van Till presents this chapter powerfully and effectively in what struck me as an almost-airtight argument from a philosophical/theological standpoint. But again, specific scientific arguments for why the conclusions of mainstream science are so compelling, are absent. So too are specific hermeneutical arguments for why it is permissible to read Genesis in such a way.
The responses to each essay, unfortunately, are less satisfying than the essays themselves. It would have been interesting had the authors been allowed to critique each others' views. But instead, four other scholars get that role, and it is clear that all of them essentially conform to the OEC view. This makes for a rather predictable series of responses to each essay - with Van Till getting the liveliest criticism as expected (OEC and YEC, after all, are both forms of creationism in that they say there is scientific evidence for God the Creator; while TE claims science is incapable of such, and thus remains scientifically indistinguishable from the dreaded atheistic evolution).
The wrap-up essays are supposed to summarize the book, but in practice they also double as further presentations of TE (Richard Bube) and OEC (Phillip Johnson). Again, the closing essays are philosophical in nature, and while Bube's especially is tightly argued (if a bit redundant of Van Till's), the overall lack of Biblical exegesis and scientific presentation from this book is its greatest weakness. After all, most of Zondervan's audience is evangelical Christians who place a great premium on the Bible. Viewpoints on what Genesis is really saying are very important, if not most important, to these believers. At the same time, most evangelical Christians who have any interest at all in the creation/evolution debate do so because they have an interest in science. Scientific arguments hold weight with them, but such arguments aren't common in this book.
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing... 23 Jun 2003
By Daryl R. Budd - Published on
I bought this book expecting a real debate between the three views mentioned, namely, Young Earth Creation, Old Earth Creation, and Theistic Evolution. The reason I found it disappointing is for two main reasons. None of the contributors really talk about the evidences for their position, but instead ramble on about their philosophy of science. Van Till spends most of his time trying to convince people to call his perspective the "fully-gifted creation perspective" instead of theistic evolution. To me, it really was just playing with words in order to avoid the negative Christian response to evolution. Does Van Till believe in Darwinian evolution or not? He says he does, so why not Theistic evolution? His view, as he expresses it, is really Deism, although he protests that it isn't. Read what he says and decide for yourself. My other major complaint with the book was that instead of the proponent of each view responding to the other two views, the responses were made by a third party "panel". I found this to be extremely unsatisfying.
The book wasn't totally without merit, and all three perspectives had some good things to say - but it got lost in a lot of wordiness about "words" which really took away from the book as a whole.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not Very Helpful 19 Sep 2007
By Kyle Demming - Published on
In "Three Views on Creation and Evolution," several Christian thinkers defend differing approaches to the integration of science and theology, particularly with regards to Genesis and God's method of creation.

Paul Nelson and John Mark Reynolds support Young-Earth Creation, which argues that the account in Genesis should be taken literally and the `days' actual twenty-four hour periods of creation six to ten thousand years ago. Robert Newman defends the Progressive Creation view, which contends that the universe and the earth are very old, and the `days' referred to in Genesis are not to be taken as literal twenty-four hour periods, but rather as unspecified periods of time. Howard Van Til defends Theistic Evolution (or, Fully-Gifted Creation), whereby God created the universe with the capability to develop life. Additionally, a host of commentators, including J.P. Moreland, Philip Johnson, and Walter Bradley, offer responses to the individual essays or to the exchange as a whole.

Unfortunately, while I view the topic as a worthwhile one, I simply felt that this book did not contain enough meat to be valuable. Most of the authors spend the time trying to show that their view is consistent with a solid Christian faith or that it is, for some theological or practical reason, preferable. However, this does not really resolve the debate. The authors should have spent more time analyzing the relevant Bible verses and, especially, discussing the scientific evidence. This book does establish that all of the views, including theistic evolution, are quite compatible with a Christian faith and worldview, but it does not really advance the issue much further. Moreover, the authors of each section are not given the chance to respond to their colleague's essays. Instead, four separate authors offer responses. However, all of these reviewers are Progressive Creation advocates, which leads to a slightly biased presentation. If you are interested in the creation/evolution debate with regards to Christian theism, then Three Views on Creation and Evolution may be of some use, but is not highly recommended.
18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a place to start 17 Jan 2003
By R. M. Williams - Published on
i've read in the field of creation-evolution for nearly 30 years now, from the _genesis flood_ to _darwin's dangerous idea_. that certainly doesn't make me an expert, only a concerned layman. this book is addressed by christian's to christian's, not that anyone outside of that community won't get a great deal out of the discussion only that the emotional desire/impetus to seek answers pushes christian's with a high view of scripture to try to reconcile the two biggies in their lives: science looking at general revelation and theology looking at scriptures. if you're not part of this community it is much easier just to ask "so what?" and not to understand why this is such a personal topic.
this is a first book, that is suitable for educated people to delve into a topic where many of the other books in this field/topic presume a background in either science or theology, or where the books are so stridently biased as to be "preaching to the choir" and put off 'newbies' with their presentation.
the issues are presented well enough that i think if someone finishes the book they will have a reasonable idea of what the problems are and where the different parts are most concerned in the discussion. it is not a scientific or theologically based book but rather philosophic. it presents concerns from each viewpoint, thus showing relative priorities in what each person discusses first and critisies as lacking emphasis in the other viewpoints. this is one value in a debate type of format, it can leave you with a prioritized idea of what people find important in the issues.
one problem however with this debate framework is that each person reading the book who already have committments to issues or positions tend to cheer for their side and boo down the opposing sides. this is evident from the reviews posted here, the young earth creation team is not the big names in the field, so it looks like in suffers from lack of heroes. nay, the two philosophers defend the position well given the page constraints they faced.
there is one issue running through the book i wished everyone had addressed in a more explicit matter, that is the difference in accepting the functional materialism of science versus the uncritical acceptance of a materialist world and life view of scientism. there is much confusion between the two, you can see it in much YEC criticism, in this book as well, of both progressive creationism and theistic evolution. naturalism is the idea that what we see is what we get, no god's behind the curtain, no skyhooks to come down and rescue us. there must be a distinction between how science uses this idea as a working hypothesis, as a functional means to an end, versus how a philosophy uses it as an axiom. of the 3 viewpoints, only vantil talks to the separation of the two. the YEC's fault the other two positions as if they accepted the materialism/naturalism as a deep committment in their systems. which as christian's is simply unacceptable from the beginning.
i liked the book. i think if you need a place to start it supplies one. however if you are already committed to a position you would be better off served by jumping straight to one of the major works in each viewpoint. and interact with that author without the polemics that form the debate structure of the book.
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Some special creationists seem to adopt an inconsistent approach to the authority of science, often accepting scientific claims in the area of medical science but rejecting what the majority of competent scientists believe about evolution. &quote;
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I believe that God has so generously gifted the creation with the capabilities for self-organization and transformation that an unbroken line of evolutionary development from nonliving matter to the full array of existing life-forms is not only possible but has in fact taken place. &quote;
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