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January 4, 2002
One would expect this book to also be a balanced treatment of this issue, right? Guess again! It is a very unbalanced treatment, considering these two significant factors:First, the selection of Robert C Newman (Progressive Creation) and Howard J Van Till (Theistic Evolution) to present their respective views are not surprising. However, the selection of Paul Nelson and John Mark Reynolds to present the Literal Creation view is quite surprising, as they are not well known defenders of that position. Their chapter basically rambles on and on about "philosophy of science," and all but totally ignores the Biblical and scientific issues at hand. In all honesty, this is the poorest presentation of Literal Creation that I have ever read from anyone who holds to that position. As such, the cards are stacked against that perspective.Second, this book doesn't allow each perspective's proponents to respond to the others' comments (as other Counterpoints books do), but rather opts to allow four other individuals respond to each perspective. In and of itself, that wouldn't necessarily be bad. However, each of the four individuals chosen either holds to or leans toward the Progressive Creation perspective, which is yet another instance of the cards being stacked against Literal Creation (and also one against Theistic Evolution, for that matter).I would STRONGLY urge anyone reading this book to also read another resource that gives an accurate treatment of the Literal Creation perspective and deals with the Biblical and scientific issues at hand, written by leading proponents of that position. My highest recommendation would be "The Modern Creation Trilogy" by Henry M Morris and John D Morris (CBD stock number WW12167). Otherwise you're left with an incorrect analysis of the Literal Creation perspective.
This book is a very fine and indicative introduction to the evolution debate within evangelical Christianity. However, two commonplace and inexplicable difficulties remain: Firstly, the theistic evolutionist's position (though ably done) is represented by only one contributor from among the many involved. Secondly, even though the other positions are represented by well-known spokespersons for their particular views, their credentials are so highly dubious that their "opinions" should appear highly suspect as well. In order for some sense of balance, one should also pick-up "Finding Darwin's God" by Kenneth Miller and/or "Science on Trial: The Case for Evolution" by Futiyama.