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As groundbreaking as his work on Intelligent Design, this new book from Dr. Bill Dembski provides us with a timely epiphany that could resolve the young-earth old-earth debate (I wish I had thought of it!), and it offers enlightening insights into Gods purposes for allowing evil. Keep in mind that The End of Christianity is not a book about Christianitys demise. Quite the contraryIts about Christianitys ultimate victory. Dr. Dembski helps us better understand Gods game plan and what we can do to help achieve that victory. Outstanding book! - Frank Turek, co-author of I Dont Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist
In The End of Christianity: Finding a Good God in an Evil World, William Dembski demonstrates his ever persistent willingness to follow evidence wherever it leads. On one hand, he follows scientific evidence pointing to a universe billions of years old. On the other, he follows Scriptural evidence demonstrating natural disasters and animal death to be consequences of the Fall. Through an astonishingly accessible exploration of science, philosophy, and theology, he harmonizes the paradigms while bringing healing to the process. Dembskis insights may well prove to be a Copernican breakthrough. Hank Hanegraaff, host of the Bible Answer Man broadcast and author of The Complete Bible Answer Book: Collectors Edition.
In The End of Christianity, William Dembski, one of the most gifted Christian thinkers addressing Christianity and science today, tackles one of the most vexed issues facing the Christian worldview: the problem of evil. The result is a clear, challenging, and profound treatise that is equally at home in the Bible, science, theology, and philosophy. Dembskis ingenious approach to explaining natural evil (particularly animal pain and death before the fall) will not convince everyone, but all who read it will benefit from a mind crackling with intelligence, insight, and expertise. Douglas Groothuis is the author of On Pascal and Professor of Philosophy, Denver Seminary
In The End of Christianity: Finding a Good God in an Evil World, William Dembski defends what he takes to be the classic view of Christian theodicy, namely that all evil in the world ultimately traces back to human sin at the Fall. His kairological reading of the early chapters of Genesis in support of this doctrine merits serious attention by those who think it can no longer be rationally defended in light of scientific knowledge regarding the age of the earth and the development of life. Robert Larmer, Professor and Chair, Department of Philosophy, University of New Brunswick
The problem of evil is the toughest challenge to the Christian view that God is all-good and all-powerful. In this very insightful treatment of the subject, leading Christian thinker Bill Dembski wrestles with the relevant philosophical and theological issues that call for a coherent theodicy and presents a solution that is both careful and fair. This book is a must read for those interested in the problem of evil in general and how it relates to biblical creation in particular. Michael Licona, Ph.D., Apologetics Coordinator, North American Mission Board, Southern Baptist Convention
For many years, Bill Dembski has been the pacesetter in philosophical discussions of Intelligent Design. In this volume, he applies his talents once again, suggesting an exceptionally creative, honest, and thought-provoking theodicy that analyzes the presence of evil prior to the Fall. Whatever your position, this work will stretch and challenge you to think carefully through a variety of crucial issues in an attempt to avoid the perennial problems that confront each major interpretation of the biblical data. - Gary R. Habermas, Distinguished Research Professor, Liberty University
With characteristic breadth of scholarship, William A. Dembski lays out a fresh new model of creation, fall and redemption. Readers cannot fail to be enriched by this intellectually provocative and insightful book, which demonstrates than an information-theoretic theology has come of age. Peter S. Williams, author of A Sceptics Guide to Atheism (Paternoster, 2009)
Inevitably, it is the pernicious problem of pain and evil that the atheists and agnostics refer to as an excuse for not believing in God. Bill Dembski clears away this stumbling block and offers readers an original way of dealing with the problem which fits with an orthodox view of Gods good creation and fits with scientific facts. Chuck Colson, Founder, Prison Fellowship
The End of Christianity is innovative without being contrived, clear without being obvious, and, even at its most speculative, deeply committed to remaining biblically sound. Dembski has given us an important and exciting contribution to the discussion of the problem of evil. Doug Powell, apologist author of the Holman QuickSource Guide to Christian Apologetics
William Dembski seeks to uphold the traditional view that natural evil is the result of human sin, in the face of the massive scientific evidence that suffering and death were prevalent in nature long before the advent of humankind. His answer to the problem is embedded in far-reaching theological and philosophical speculations. In spite of his sometimes harsh dismissal of opposing views, Dembskis proposals are ingenious and thought-provoking, and deserving of careful consideration. William Hasker, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, Huntington University
By brilliantly wrestling with a range of scientific, theological, and philosophical challenges to the conservative Christian world view, William Dembski is establishing himself as the C. S. Lewis of this generation. Dembski blazes a new trail of thought through the morass of the Problem of Evil, and leads us to a powerful and inspiring view of God, His Creation, and of our purpose in Gods Kingdom. This is a must-read book for everyone who has wondered how a good God fits with an evil world, be they conservative, liberal, or atheist. John A. Bloom, Ph.D., Ph.D., M.Div., Professor of Physics, Academic Director of the Science and Religion Program, Biola University
It is striking how frequently scientific arguments about the origin of life are motivated by moral issues. Bill Dembski masterfully dissects the convoluted logic surrounding modern thought about the problem of evil, and crafts a compelling resolution which honors the historic Christian faith and scientific reasoning. This book will infuse purpose into our understanding of the world. Paul Ashby, Scientist, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Once again, Bill Dembski has broken new ground. The End of Christianity is a novel, fascinating, and profound reflection on the problem of evil in a world created by a beneficent God. Dembski has an uncanny ability to combine deep reflections with clear and persuasive prose. We have come to expect deeply thoughtful and path breaking work by him. In The End of Christianity he does not disappoint. This tour de force weaves together science, philosophy, and theology to generate profound insights on an old problem. No one thinks more deeply about the implications of science for philosophy and theology than Dembski. In The End of Christianity he makes yet another profound contribution to the reconciliation of modern science and the deepest truths of Christianity. In The End of Christianity, Dembski again displays the fiercely independent spirit of inquiry that made his earlier works so important and influential. Joseph M. Bessette, the Alice Tweed Tuohy Professor of Government and Ethics at Claremont-McKenna College
For much too long, theodicy has been little more than a boutique topic in theology, a justification for the worlds misery that lets God off the hook. William Dembskis new book goes a long way to restoring theodicys original claim to be a master science of intelligent design. It is arguably the most worthy successor to Leibnizs own Theodicy, which artfully showed how a rational theology, properly understood, could retain its role of queen of the sciences in the modern world. No doubt the book will stir controversy among both the religious and the secular, as Dembski intertwines quite specific interpretations of Scriptures with equally specific interpretations of an array of physical and biological sciences, all in clear prose and with a deft philosophical touch. However, Dembski is no dogmatist, and all along he suggests alternative lines of thought that readers might pursue. Here we finally see in open view the full potential of intelligent design theory to put an end to the intellectual segregationism that has limited science-religion relations for much too long. Steve Fuller, Professor of Sociology, University of Warwick, UK. Author of Dissent over Descent: Intelligent Designs Challenge to Darwinism
As his books prove with monotonous regularity, Bill Dembskis brain runs circles around my own (and just about everyones, I naturally like to believe), but like all the others, The End of Christianity is also intellectually honest, generous, and respectfuland not, Im convinced, as merely a gambit. Christian readers will find Dembskis theodicy devotionally worthwhile, all of us intellectually so. Nice combination, not easily achieved. Mike Bryan is the author of, among other books, Chapter & Verse: A Skeptic Revisits Christianity, and The Afterword, a novel about a new deity
The End of Christianity is very different from William Dembskis previous books, most notable of which were the academic classic The Design Inference and the popular best seller Intelligent Design. The present book deals with perhaps the most profound question to challenge humankind, the problem of evil. Like everything else Dr. Dembski has written, this book will be controversial. However, the readers of The End of Christianity will be greatly rewarded with a rich intellectual/philosophical/theological feast. Henry F. Schaefer III, Graham Perdue Professor of Chemistry, University of Georgia
I am deeply grateful for Dr. Dembski and his work. Theologians have long known that the problem of evil is one of the biggest threats to traditional Christianity. Here Dembski boldly tackles the problem and offers a thoughtful and clearly written approach to it. His overall argument, that all evil can be traced to the fall of man (even in a trans-temporal way), deserves serious consideration. Even if you might find particular points on which to differ with his judgments, you will do well to incorporate his insights into your own thinking. And the final two chapters, on thankfulness and purpose, show that this book supports a vigorous love for God in daily life. Thank you, Dr. Dembski, for using your talents so well! C. John (Jack) Collins, Professor of Old Testament, Covenant Theological Seminary
William Dembskis profound interdisciplinary expertise in writing about the most contested terrain at the intersection of science, philosophy, and religion is enormously impressive and valuable and puts him in the exalted company of contemporary authorities such as Stanley L. Jaki and Alister McGrath. He knows, and shows, that the only way to avoid metaphysics is to say nothing, and his work is a noble, tightly-argued protest against both reductive scientism and premature fideism in the interest of reason, truth, and ethics. M. D. Aeschliman, Ph.D. (Columbia), author of The Restitution of Man: C. S. Lewis and the Case Against Scientism, Professor of Education at Boston University, Professor of English at University of Italian Switzerland
This book is an example of philosophical theology at its best. It contains fascinating and even exciting new perspectives on the problem of evil. While I am not convinced of every point that the author makes, The End of Christianity should be read by anyone who is interested in a Christian approach to natural and moral evil. Stephen T. Davis, Russell K. Pitzer Professor of Philosophy at Claremont McKenna College
William Dembskis latest book, The End of Christianity: Finding a Good God in an Evil World, shows how the traditional Christian doctrine that sin entered the world through humans is not refuted by the evidence that natural evils (earthquakes, storms, disease, death, etc.) are chronologically much older than humans within the universe. Because time within the created universe need not follow the same order as the logical process of Gods creation of the universe, human sin could have caused earlier evil. There are many aspects of the problem of evil left mysterious by this book (and indeed by all other attempts to solve the problem), but I strongly recommend The End of Christianity as a refreshing approach that maintains the traditional theistic doctrines of Gods omniscience and omnipotence. Don Page, Professor of Physics, University of Alberta, Canada
Addressing the problem of a perfect God in an imperfect world, this book offers the most coherent answer to this question Ive ever read. William A. Dembski has given us a bold and uncompromising theodicy that both confirms Christian orthodoxy and makes peace among our family of believers. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, We will not build a peaceful world by following a negative path. This book eschews the negative path by launching a peace offensive offering a positive solution that meets the demands of natural and revealed theology. Reconciling the many points of an issue that has confounded generations, this is the most important contribution to the question of God and evil since Leibniz defined it nearly 300 years ago. Michael A. Flannery, Professor and Associate Director for Historical Collections, University of Alabama, Birmingham
Happily, there are many good books being written today. But it is rare, indeed, to find a book that towers over the others in profundity and quality. William Dembskis The End of Christianity is such a book. It is so interesting and well-written that I could not put it down. But more importantly, I have read very few books with its depth of insight, breadth of scholarly interaction, and significance. From now on, no one who is working on a Christian treatment of the problem of evil can afford to neglect this book. It is vintage Dembski and I highly recommend it. J. P. Moreland, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, Biola University and author of The God Question
Twin MKMemphis, TNAge: 35-44Gender: male3 Stars Out Of 5One more opinionNovember 22, 2014Twin MKMemphis, TNAge: 35-44Gender: maleQuality: 4Value: 3Meets Expectations: 1This book at times felt like a chore in reading and was an incongruent collection of personal thoughts. It tied together only at the end. In spite of this it was very thought provoking. Much of the scripture used was interpreted in an isogetical way and as such must be taken with a grain of salt. One cannot read this and say that it is wrong but in the same way it cannot be held to be right. If one believes contrary to the author they will easily see the negatives and weaknesses throughout the work while those who agree with him will find the strengths robust in their reading of the material. In the end I do not believe it actually answers any question other than "what is the author's opinion?"
DavidBecancour, QCAge: 25-34Gender: male1 Stars Out Of 5THE END OF CHRISTIANITY UNDER THE MICROSCOPEAugust 7, 2014DavidBecancour, QCAge: 25-34Gender: maleQuality: 4Value: 1Meets Expectations: 1The End of Christianity: Finding a Good God in an Evil World. By William A. Dembski. Nashville, TN: B&H Academics, 2009. 238 pp. $12.98. ISBN 978-1-4336-6851-7.
The problem of evil is one of the most important difficulties for any philosophical or religious attempt to explain the existence and purpose of the universe. Many books have been written on this problem, by Christians of all denominations, and almost all Christian theological and philosophical positions. As such, any author who wishes to contribute to this domain of research must, necessarily, interact with a veritable ocean of academic and popular works treating this subject. The only way to avoid this impossible task is to take on particular aspects of the problem of evil. This is exactly what William A. Dembski seeks to do in this highly acclaimed book. One of the first things that the reader will notice, upon picking up this book, is that it receives advance praise from a virtual who's who in the world of Christian apologetics and Christian philosophy. In this review we will begin by noting the purpose and intended audience of the book. We will also note the primary argument of this book, and, through a brief overview of its contents, explain how the author attempts to prove his argument. We will finish with some comments on the relative worth of this book.
The purpose of this book, in the author's own words, is "to resolve the problem of evil (p. 174)", and this by proposing "a kairological reading of Genesis that looks to the intentional-semantic logic by which God acts in creation. (Ibid.)" This "resolution" of the problem of evil is proposed with the purpose of meeting the challenge to formulate a theodicy that is at once faithful to Christian orthodoxy "and credible to our mental environment. (p. 4)" Dembski's basic response to the problem of evil is to propose a form of Christian theodicy (p. 6-7, 9) in which all evil (of all kinds) is ultimately traced back to human sin in the Garden of Eden (p. 8, 9). Dembski claims that this is what makes his theodicy original, namely, how he makes human sin the original cause of all evil in the world (p. 9). The originality of his theodicy, however, is not in its claim that human sin is the cause of all evil in the world (as he rightly notes - p. 34), but in his argument that this claim can be maintained even if one does not adhere to young earth creationism. In other words, the basic argument, that Dembski wishes to prove, is that the following 2 claims can be coherently held together: (1) Evil (at least natural) existed prior to the fall of man (i.e. - animal death). (2) All evil is directly caused by the fall of man. Though Dembski does not claim to be aiming at any one audience, the reader will come to the conclusion that this is a book that is intended for popular audiences. Mark Fitzmaurice, who wrote the foreword, claims that this book should be necessary reading for all pastors (p. xv.).
In order to prove that these two statements are not inherently contradictory Dembski develops, in chapter 20, what he calls a kairological reading of Genesis 1. Dembski builds up to this crucial chapter, which does not appear until the end of part 4 of this book, by dragging the reader through an unending series of seemingly unrelated chapters. The introduction introduces the reader to the main challenge that the author wishes to take on "the contemporary mental environment. He notes that a mental environment is "the surrounding climate of ideas by which we make sense of the world...It includes our ideas about what exists, what can be known, and what counts as evidence for our beliefs. It assigns value to our life and work. Above all, it determines our plausibility structures - what we find reasonable or unreasonable, credible or incredible, thinkable or unthinkable. (p. 1. In his third endnote Dembski distinguishes a "mental environment" from the well-known term "world view" primarily by stating that a mental environment applies to whole countries or cultures (regardless of the different worldviews they may contain), and that worldviews apply to individuals. I leave it to the reader to decide whether or not Dembski is following in the very subtle steps of Scotus.)" In part 1 (chapters 1-4) Dembski deals with the question of evil. In chapter 1 the author argues that the cross was the necessary divine response to evil. In chapter 2 the author argues that the only explanation of how a will created good could turn against a good God is that the created will had essential freedom to choose good or evil. He goes on to give pithy critiques of some common Christian theodicies. In chapter 3 Dembski begins by noting the response of Open Theism to the problem of evil. He rejects without argument the claims of Open Theism, and moves on to consider why the notion that all evil traces back to the fall of man was rejected. He considers each reason in turn and seeks to show that they fail to prove that all evil could not be traced back to man's fall. In chapter 4 he considers the Christian view of the horrid nature of sin. He attempts to bring us to the conclusion that the answer to why a benevolent God would allow natural evil to afflict an otherwise innocent nature in response to human moral evil is that "it is to manifest the full consequences of human sin so that when Christ redeems us, we may clearly understand what we have been redeemed from. (p. 45)"
In part 2 Dembski points out that one's view of Genesis must be taken into account when dealing with the problem of evil. In chapter 5 he presents the strongest case, which he is able to muster, for youth earth creationism (One wonders if it is, indeed, the strongest case.). Young earth creationism seems to make sense to all those who claim that all evil was essentially caused by the fall of man. In chapter 6 he states that "I myself would adopt it [young earth creationism] in a heartbeat except that nature seems to present such strong evidence against it. (p. 55)" Indeed, in chapter 6, Dembski goes on to lay out what he thinks is the most important difficulty (and inconsistency) with young earth creationism the question of the constancy of nature. In chapter 7 Dembski presents a further problem with young earth creationism "its Achilles heel the theory of "appearance of age". In chapter 8 Dembski provides the reader with a very simplistic introduction to the idea that Nature can be a reliable source of knowledge about God. In chapter 9 Dembski notes that Old-earth creationism also has its difficulties (though they are of a different nature than those of young earth creationism).
In part 3 Dembski defends, primarily, the thesis that information is the rock-bottom of the universe. In order to defend this theory Dembski lays out, in chapter 10, the view that the transmission of information can be used as a model of the trinity, and that this is no accident. In chapter 11 the author uses the fact that information transcends matter to show that there must be more to our universe than just matter. In chapter 12 he seeks to show why God created, relying on the claim that logos means a revealing. In chapter thirteen Dembski answers, as far as he is concerned, the question of Being. Being just is to be in communion with God. Therefore, metaphysics is not the primary science, communication theory is. In chapter 14 he claims that God could have create the world a long time before Adam & Eve, and allowed death to happen prior to Adam & Eve, but as a consequence of their actions. In chapter 15 he explains how God gets information into the world.
In part 4 Dembski lays out his theory on how it is possible for evil to exist prior to the fall, but to be caused by the fall. In chapter 16 he distinguishes 2 types of time: Chronos (clock time) and Kairos (the time of divine action). He uses these two types of time to interpret the Genesis account as follows: "God first creates in kairos and then implements this first creation as a second creation in chronos. Once humanity falls, he acts to restore the second creation. (p. 126)" In chapter 17 he claims, based on the notion of retroactive prayers and Newcomb's paradox, that God can know future contingent propositions without removing the freedom of free creatures. In chapter 18 he claims that there are two logics in nature (the logic of nature - causal-temporal logic, and the logic of divine creation - intentional-semantic logic) which must be understood in order to understand creation. In chapter 19 he claims that God engages in an infinite dialectic with the world. God acts anticipatively which causes an effect; God acts anticipatively for this act, which also causes an effect; this goes on ad infinitum. Chapter 20 is the key chapter where he explains the interpretative key to Genesis 1-3. "The key to this reading is to interpret the days of creation as natural division in the intentional-semantic logic of creation. Genesis 1 is therefore not to be interpreted as ordinary chronological time (chronos) but rather as time from the vantage of God's purposes (kairos). (p. 142)" He then proceeds to elaborate his basic theory.
In part 5 Dembski seeks to answer a number of questions that one might ask about his theory. In chapter 21 he deals with the relationship between evolution and his theory. Chapter 22 is a list of answers to a number of questions that are related to other areas of theological research. In chapter 23 he seeks to claim that true freedom is found in creatively redeeming the circumstances in obedience to Christ, and for his glory. Chapter 24 seeks to elaborate on our purpose in the world, in light of his theodicy.
This book includes three indexes (names, subjects and bible references) which makes it easy to find important claims. The interest of this book is that Dembski seeks to provide a coherent way of claiming both (1) Evil (at least natural) existed prior to the fall of man (i.e. - animal death), and (2) All evil is directly caused by the fall of man. Unfortunately this book is so riddled with difficulties, unsupported claims and pithy refutations of views that might cause a problem for his theory that it is a wonder that it both (1) made it to print, and (2) received so many recommendations. An example of his pithy refutations of different views can be found both in chapter 2, where he does away with other types of theodicies, or in chapter 3 where he rejects open theism without argument, or in his interaction with Young earth and old earth creationism. He does understand that youth-earth and old-earth creationism pose problems for his view (if either one of them is true, then his is not.), but his pithy dismissal of old-earth creationism seems unworthy of a scholar such as Dembski. Furthermore, he does not interact with other interpretations of Genesis 1-3, such as John Walton's view, which he officially published in his book The Lost world of Genesis 1 (that was also published in 2009), but which he had been talking about for much longer, and which, if true, would seemingly destroy Dembski's theory entirely. The entire book is filled with unsupported claims that are highly debatable. As for the many difficulties, though we could go on for quite a while about the difficulties, suffice it to note that his treatment of the question of Being is deplorable, as is his attempt to explain why God created the world by looking at the etymology of the Greek term logos. All in all I was almost offended by the amount of time that it took to read this book in relation to what I was able to get out of it. In the end I found myself wondering if either (1) I had entirely misunderstood the book, or (2) if the people who wrote such amazing endorsements of the book had actually read it. As much as Id like to give the author (and those who endorsed the book) the benefit of the doubt and accept the first option, I tend to lean towards the second. I rarely write scathing reviews of books, as I can often find a number of interesting points in a book that would allow me to recommend it to someone, but in this case, I am afraid that I cannot recommend this book, except as an example of how NOT to write this type of book.
KetchupPeopleAge: 45-545 Stars Out Of 5Well written and explained-Excellent bookApril 3, 2014KetchupPeopleAge: 45-54Quality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5This is a well written book that respectfully explains how one can have a very Biblical old earth view, still resting on the fact that our sin caused natural evil(like death) before the fall. The two do not have to be exclusive. God is good and is outside of time time and space as is revealed in scripture. Our Lord Jesus saved new and old testement prophets when he died on the cross for our sins. His amazing act of grace spanned back in time. Christians can agree on this. Is it possible that the grave consequences of sin reached back in history before the fall, causing natural forces of evil(like death)? This book gives an intelligent case for reconciling evil forces in nature with the scientific findings that point to an old earth, yet holding scripture with the highest regard. I believe our God is so much bigger than we can conceive. This is an interesting, intelligent argument that adheres to scripture. It should be read, considered and genuinely prayed over without blind dismissal. May it be a blessing to the faith of many as we all seek to study God's Word and love Christ more fully.
MikeChicago, IlAge: 35-44Gender: male5 Stars Out Of 5Very Thought ProvokingMay 11, 2011MikeChicago, IlAge: 35-44Gender: maleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5As a believer in the facts of an old earth, I really enjoyed this book. God's books of nature and scripture cannot contradict. Yet how do we explain so much death before the sin of Adam?
Most old earth creationists say such suffering and death was in the plan of God all along. From God's perspective creation was very good, even though it was not perfect.
However, Dembski believes the fall, like the benefits of Christ's sacrifice, was retroactive. We do know that the whole earth was not a paradise. God planted a garden in Eden and set it apart from the rest of the earth. When Adam was driven out of the garden and from the tree of life, he would have found himself in a world of death that already existed outside the confines of the garden.
God knew ahead of time, before time, actually, that Adam would sin. He not only made plans for a redeemer, He also had a world ready into which to drive Adam as punishment for his sin.
Dembski is very thoughtful and thought provoking. He has a high view of God's revelation as found in BOTH scripture AND nature. Too bad so many emphasize one to the exclusion of the other. Too bad some have made their hyper-literal wooden interpretation of the Bible their true God, while missing out on amazing insights into God's nature and creation.
Anthony Shuler1 Stars Out Of 5Just sad.January 20, 2011Anthony ShulerQuality: 1Value: 1Meets Expectations: 1I'm saddened that someone calling themselves a Christian could take such a low view of Scripture. He admits that the Bible teaches a young earth then rejects it because, as he claims, science has proved the earth is old and since it counts as the 67th book of the Bible (sound like a heresy to anyone else?) the first book of the Bible has to be reinterpreted to fit the 67th. Other than his horrendous disrespect and disbelief in Scripture the rest of the book was pretty weak too.