Review: Old-Earth or Evolutionary Creation?

91TNz8rUymLOld-Earth or Evolutionary Creation?: Discussing Origins with Reasons to Believe and BioLogos edited by Kenneth Keathley, J. B. Stump, and Joe Aguirre brings together a decade of fruitful conversations between two prominent organizations with two similar, and yet, very different views of the creation debate.

Reasons to Believe (RTB) is an apologetics organization that “engages Christians with differing creations theologies with the goal of pursuing reconciliation through love, truth, and peace so that non-Christians observing these dialogues may be encouraged to trust [RTB] in helping them to be reconciled to Christ” (p. 3). BioLogos is an affiliate group of scientists and scholars seeking to illuminate how contemporary scientific consensus can be reconciled with Scripture. As Deborah Haarsma notes, “too many people have left the church or felt they couldn’t commit their lives to God because they perceive science (particularly biological evolution) to be the enemy of Christianity. Our goal [at BioLogos] is to call such people back to faith or invite them to consider the gospel for the first time, as we proclaim Christ as the Creator of all things in heaven and on earth” (p. 3).

As the title implies, Old-Earth or Evolutionary Creation? is not concerned from a content standpoint with Young-Earth Creation (YEC) views or the various arguments and commitments that they necessitate—this despite the positions of some of the moderator comments throughout the volume. The book is organized topically around several questions. RTB represents an Old-Earth view of creation and BioLogos represents an Evolutionary Creation view. Unlike other multiview books, the tone of Old-Earth or Evolutionary Creation? reads more like a dialogue between friends and colleagues than an academic exercise. Each chapter addresses a specific topic or question related to the debate and a representative expert from the organization provides a positive presentation. Afterward, the moderator (which varies by chapter) offers a summary and aims to push the conversation towards a productive end for the reader by asking specific follow up questions (often from a YEC perspective). Each contributor then answers the questions raised by the moderator and the moderator closes the chapter with a summary of the dialogue.

There is much to be praised about this volume. First, and probably foremost, while the content of the book can tend to get rather technical at times (especially for non-specialists in the related fields of science), the editors and contributors have intentionally aimed to make the book and its arguments accessible to the broadest audience possible. It’s easy to follow and the interaction is appropriately presented for the target audience. Second, despite being a topic of heated debate, the editors and contributors have overtly molded what it looks like to disagree with respect and charity. Third, the organization and format of the book offered ample room for discussion. There is almost no stone unturned in this volume, and the moderators aren’t shy about asking difficult questions (e.g. If evolutionary creation is true, and you believe that mankind is created in the image of God but descended from a common ancestor, at what stage did mankind receive the image of God?). Lastly, while most readers will find disagreement at some point (maybe even every page), the level of clarity around the specific issues discussed is to be commended.

Old-Earth or Evolutionary Creation?: Discussing Origins with Reasons to Believe and BioLogos edited by Kenneth Keathley, J. B. Stump, and Joe Aguirre brings together a decade of fruitful conversations between two prominent organizations with two different views of the creation debate. If you are looking for a detailed treatment of the two alternative creation views, then this is the most up-to-date and comprehensive treatment available. The interaction is always charitable and passion for truth is ever-present. Ultimately, I’m not sure that I’m convinced by either view, but I would wholeheartedly recommend it without any real hesitation. Honestly, don’t wait, get it now. It’s available today!

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