How do we reconcile the theory of evolution with monotheistic faith? The Roman Catholic cell biologist and author of many biology textbooks, Kenneth R. Miller, explores this in this book. He spends the first few chapters providing a solid defense of the theory of evolution (as he so often does in debates with Creationists and in the law courts to defend the teaching of evolution in school) as the best theory that explains scientific observations of the history of life on earth. He then proposes a way in which one can have faith in God without resorting to Creationism or any other form of ‘God of the Gaps’ thinking, while countering the notion that evolution leads only to atheistic materialism.
Francis Collins argues that modern science is compatible with belief in God from an Evangelical perspective. The explanations on some of the latest theories in quantum mechanics, cosmology, genetics and evolutionary biology are brief but simple to understand, hence is a good introduction to these areas. But what makes this book special is that Francis Collins shares his own personal journey from atheism to belief in Christ, as well as his experiences as a world renowned geneticist and leader of the Human Genome Project.
Charles Foster is his provocative self in his book ‘The Selfless Gene’, where he joins the fray and shares his own views on the evolution-Christian faith debate. He surveys the battle-landscape, providing a critique of both extremes – the Creationists and the ultra-Darwinists. However, he also shoots down any notion that there is no conflict between evolution and the Christian faith, as many theistic evolutionists are quick to suggest. He asks many profound questions which Christian theologians need to heed in attempting to reconcile the theory of evolution with Christian theology, not least on the implications of animal suffering/death on the Nature of the Christian God. He then tries to answers some of these questions, and here is where I think the book falls short, as his answers do not appear satisfactory, to me at least, e.g. blaming the suffering of animals through the evolutionary process on the ancient evil one. In any case, it’s still a thoughtful book, and brings some unique ideas to the discussion table.
Peter Enns, an eminent theologian with an Evangelical background, provides the theological basis for rejecting literal interpretations of the Genesis creation accounts. This book does not discuss evolution at all, and only mentions it in passing. It is intended for those who already accept the scientific view of human origins, but require alternative interpretations of Scripture, mainly the Genesis stories, as well as the Apostle Paul’s use of Adam in his writings. He draws upon biblical criticism, and archaeological discoveries of early Mesopotamian texts to support his views of when Genesis was written/compiled, and what they functioned as. A must read.