Book Review: Theistic Evolution

Theistic Evolution:  A Scientific, Philosophical, and Theological Critique, edited by J.P. Moreland, STephen C. Meyer, Christopher Shaw, Ann K. Gauger, and Wayne Grudem

After this book there don’t have to be any books on theistic evolution.  Put a fork in it.  It’s dead.  It’s not moving, and no one is going to be able to bring it back to life or even want to after this volume.  This book won the ECPA book of the year award for Bible Reference Works and it well earned it.  Like some reviewers of this book, I agree that much of what is in this book is not exactly new.  Much of what is said in this massive work of around 1000 pages that will take the reader some time to get through, no matter how quickly they read, will be very familiar material indeed.  Some of the authors directly note that they have addressed portions of the Theistic Evolution argument in other parts of their works and those who have read works from Intelligent Design writers will have seen many of the aspects of this book anticipated in other works.  Still, to see so much ink and paper devoted to beating a dead horse into such a puree that no one will be able to mistake that the theory is dead is impressive.  This book lives up to its full title and provides a devastating scientific, philosophical, and theological critique to a theory that does not really deserve the attention of these worthy writers.

This book begins with a list of illustrations, contributors, and a foreword by Steve Fuller, as well as two general introductions on the scientific and philosophical aspects of this book and then on the biblical and theological explorations of the incompatibility of Theistic Evolution and the Bible.  The first section of the book then provides the scientific critique of Theistic Evolution, which is divided into two parts.  The first part, containing nine essays, provides a discussion of the failure of Neo-Darwinism from an empirical perspective, familiar to Intelligent Design audiences, while the second part provides eight essays that give the case against Universal Common Descent as well as for a unique human origin.  After this there are nine essays that provide a discussion of the philosophical critique of Theistic Evolution which allows the reader to recognize that evolutionary worldviews of any kind rest on a (very bad) philosophical basis that seeks to define evolutionary perspectives as the only legitimate science.  Finally, the book ends with five essays that give a biblical and theological critique of Theistic Evolution that point to fair readings of scripture and their total incompatibility with what Theistic Evolution has to offer, and also note the ties between Theistic Evolution and long-discredited heretical interpretations of sin and creation.  After that there are two indices, one a general one and the other a scriptural one.

While this book is written from an Intelligent Design perspective, there are certainly aspects of this book that will be of great interest to those who consider themselves to be Creationists.  Some of the essays later in the book, it should be remembered, deal with the incompatibility of Theistic Evolution with any reasonable reading of Genesis 1-3, and those readers who would consider themselves either Young Earth or Old Earth Creationists will find it interesting to add this material to their own memory banks for future debates over such matters, if any Theistic Evolutionists are going to be willing to show their face after the thorough beatdown that this book delivers.  Still others will come to this book appreciating the thoughtful exploration of the thinking of C.S. Lewis and B.B. Warfield on matters of evolution or will cheer on the way that the authors demonstrate the clear incompatibility between the truth of the Bible and the misguided and mistaken view of evolutionary theorists and their handmaidens in the Theistic Evolution camp who want to keep alive some sort of vague God-in-the-gaps while conceding any ground worth fighting over.  I do not think, personally, that Theistic Evolution as a position deserved a book of this level of intellectual and theological rigor, but it sure got it, that’s for sure.

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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