Tim Stafford, senior editor for Christianity Today, has written a truly thought-provoking book Titled The Adam Quest, in which he interviews eleven scientists who have clung to their Christian faith while tackling scientific issues that often divide the Church. These creation scientists adhere to either the young-earth, old-earth, or evolutionary school of creation science. Young-earth creationists typically believe that God created the universe and all its contents in six 24-hour days. They claim this occurred roughly 6,000-10,000 years ago, as written in the first chapter of the book of Genesis in the Old Testament. They assert that most of the fossil distribution is the result of Noah’s flood and that we are all descendants of Adam and Eve. Old-earth creationists, on the other hand, interpret Genesis 1 differently, understanding the word “day” to mean “era”. Regarding the age of the earth, their views are generally more compatible with mainstream scientists, yet old-earth creationists deny that humans evolved from other life forms. Evolutionary creationists believe that God created all of the universe and life within, and that evolution is a tool He used to carry out that process. I admire Stafford’s ability to remain unbiased in his retelling of each scientist’s story. I read through all of the biographies without having the slightest inkling of Stafford’s position, which he offers at the end. I also appreciated the diversity of scientific disciplines the scientists represented, including geology, genetics, paleontology, biochemistry, and physics.
If you want to gain a thorough understanding of the debates involving Christianity and science, this book will not satisfy. Stafford was obviously not attempting to write a scientific textbook, nor a book about how to refute certain scientific claims. Instead, he provides us with mini-biographies of the scientists’ faith journeys, scientific journeys, and how they integrate the two. To fully comprehend their underlying worldviews, however, one must do some more digging. I recommend taking a break after reading each scientist’s biography and googling his or her name to get a better understanding of who each one is, what he or she teaches, and his or her approach to scriptural interpretation. Better yet-read their books. My main takeaway from this book is that I now have a long list of others I plan to read, such as Darwin’s Black Box by Michael Behe; Faith, Form, and Time by Kurt Wise; The Cell’s Design by Fazale Rana; and The Crucible of Creation by Conway Morris. I also have many new names and organizations to research, and debates to watch. I hope that this book will generate some discussion among Christians regarding the origins of the universe and our world. These are often avoided topics in the Church.
What really compelled me to read this book is that I am a truth seeker. This is also what led me to pursue a minor in religious studies many years ago at a major public university. I wanted to make sure that I was not simply choosing Christianity because it’s what I’m familiar with. Likewise, I want to ensure that I am not simply a young-earth creationist because it’s what I’m familiar with. I now realize that there are Christians with different interpretations of the Genesis account, which deserve some recognition. I’ve been doing a lot of research over the past month and I see strong and weak arguments among both old and young earth camps. I’m also seeing how evolutionary creationism is not as heretical as I had once thought, although I don’t agree with it. After all, salvation does not rest on how you interpret Genesis 1. Most of all, what I am recognizing more and more is the complexity of God. We cannot know how or when God created everything, nor why he created. But I think it’s fun to try to figure out God’s mysteries. It’s like searching for hidden treasure. I have always thought that God made the Bible somewhat mysterious for a reason. Maybe He wants us to have discussions about Him, rather than the latest reality show, since Philippians 4:8 tells us “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable; if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things.” Of course, you could drive yourself crazy trying to make complete sense of topics like God, time, the universe, and everything in it, so I don’t recommend neglecting your daily responsibilities in attempt to figure it all out. But it’s important to ponder these questions, since 1 Peter 3:15 tells us, “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.” And personally, I want to make sure I understand all points of view (including atheistic evolution) so that I can present them to my children when they’re older and encourage them to further investigate these topics for themselves. If you’re a parent I recommend doing the same. I have compiled a short list of websites below that may be helpful to you. When researching these different points of view you may come across ideas that seem lacking or websites that seem insufficient in comparison to mainstream evolutionist ones. Keep in mind that creation science is in its infancy. Very few people are entering the field of creation science and it does not have the funding for research or laboratories. Therefore, most creation science research is statistical and theoretical. Because there are so few creationist brains working together, they still do not have one unanimous paradigm, as evolutionists do. Every day evolutionists are working together to expand on their paradigm, but creationists are still trying to form theirs.
So, read the book, check out the links, and I'd love to hear what your thoughts are!
www.answersingenesis.org (young earth creationism)
www.reasons.org (old earth creationism)
www.biologos.org (evolutionary creationism)
www.icr.org (young earth creationism)
http://www.aish.com/ci/sam/48951136.html (old earth creationism)
http://www.theisticevolution.org/ (evolutionary creationism)
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.