Exploring Faith and Reason: The Reconciliation of Christianity and Biological Evolution
"Smart, well-informed... lucid, engaging... Glass delivers superb exposition of Darwinian theory and a meticulous, sharply reasoned discussion of the evidence that supports it. His logic is impeccable when he insists that evolutionary theory does … see full wiki
Subtitled “The Reconciliation of Christianity and Biological Evolution,” this book was bound to appeal to a mongrel Christian mathematician like me. The fact that author Bruce Glass claims to be an agnostic only adds to the appeal—someone without a well-established axe to grind. And the inclusion of such topics as The Evidence and Politics of Evolution have me picking up the book and unwilling to let go. The author also claims not to be a scientist, but he’s a strong well-educated amateur with a serious understanding of science and research and a pleasingly understated writing style. The result is a book that informs with honesty and integrity, that treats both faith and science with respect, that’s wholly rational, pleasingly well-reasoned, and wonderfully broad in scope. Noting from the start that many Christians don’t have a problem with the concepts of biological evolution, and that many scientists are in fact Christian, the author proceeds to look into the history and background of familiar ideas with a view to showing how they disagree only with a peculiarly modern interpretation of the Bible, and not with the Bible as it has been more generally understood. With quotes from C. S. Lewis, Pope Pius XII, Saint Augustine and more, clear Biblical analysis, and well-explained science and history, the author leads his readers to consider the religious difference between mythology and faith, and the scientific difference between evolution and random events. Together they point toward the conclusion, quoted from John Fiske: “Though science must destroy mythology, it can never destroy religion; and to the astronomer of the future, as well as to the Psalmist of old, the heavens will declare the glory of God.” Well-known objections to evolution are nicely explained and analyzed—for example, is the eye truly too complex to evolve, or are there examples that demonstrate evolution’s path? Is the very complexity of nature, viewed with some slight knowledge of entropy, proof that it had to come into existence fully formed? But the author shows, through history and science and a pleasing sense of wonder, how a “God of the gaps” is surely too small for our faith and too weak for our science. Christian readers are invited into a wider view, to see a God over all, not one restricted to controlling whatever we can’t yet, or refuse yet to understand. Tackling such vexed question as “theory” vs. fact, the author points out how scientific ideas evolve, how they are tested, and why they become accepted. The world continues to offer ever stronger evidence for evolution and the theory is constantly refined—not rejected—as more is learned. Without it we know less about our world, and we settle for knowing less about the power of the God who made us. Some of the facts in this book were new to me, but what appeals to me most is the combination of well-drawn Biblical and scientific foundations. Exploring Faith and Reason is a book that makes both faith and science understandable, clarifying their relationship, upholding the values of both, and beautifully balancing their truths.
Disclosure: I was given a free copy of this book by the author who guessed, correctly, from my other book reviews that I might like it. Thank you.
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