Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Book Recommendations-Creation & Evolution

The Lie: Evolution by Ken Ham
"In the Beginning God..." By Homer C. Hoeksema

Anyone wishing to read about creation and evolution has a wide range of choices. There are many excellent books available, ranging from simple to very technical. Some, such as WHAT IS CREATION SCIENCE? by Henry Morris and Gary Parker, lean heavily to the scientific side. Others, such as “IN THE BEGINNING GOD...” are primarily theological, while most fall in between.

Ken Ham and Homer C. Hoeksema have written two of the more interesting and thought provoking books on creation. They use similar approaches, but each mirrors the author’s background. (Ham is a scientist and teacher, Hoeksema a theologian and teacher.) There are several books I could recommend on this topic, but I think these two will edify you in other ways as well. You can learn more than just information on creation and evolution.

Some Christians wonder why we should be concerned about creation and evolution. They may not see a conflict, or may not really care. Ken Ham’s ministry, Answers in Genesis, answers these questions. By showing the importance of the first eleven chapters of Genesis, (creation to the flood), he has reached many with the gospel and strengthened believers.

The theme of THE LIE-EVOLUTION is the important foundation the biblical account of creation has for the rest of scripture. If creation is true, then it points to a God who has a claim on each of our lives.

As I read Ham’s book I realized he was using what is called a “presuppositional” approach, as opposed to the evidentialist approach often used in this debate. Presuppositionalism acknowledges that we all have biases and interpret all evidence based on those biases. To change our minds we need to examine our biases and on some level realize their faults and weaknesses. Evidentialism just deals with the evidence, and ironically, presupposes that at least some people have an open mind and will believe the evidence. Usually the only people who are convinced using the evidentialist approach are those who have the same biases, although they may not realize they do.

Ham begins by pointing out that we are all biased, we all have beliefs that shape how we see the world. He further states, “It is not a matter of whether one is biased or not. It is really a question of which bias is the best bias with which to be biased.” Once we realize this and see that both creationists and evolutionists don’t have separate evidence, but the same evidence, we can see that it isn’t creation (or religion) versus science, but one religion versus another. For as Ham goes on to show, both creationism and evolutionism are religious views.

Ham looks at what difference not believing in God makes to how you approach the world and authority. In evolution we are our own authorities, and can make our own rules, we can even be relativistic and capricious in them. The creationist view says God sets the rules. This makes all the difference in how we live our lives. Using Creation and the first eleven chapters of Genesis as a basis, Ham outlines why certain things are so, and why some things are wrong, and others right. He sets the foundation for the gospel, the incarnation and atonement of Jesus. Through various chapters he presents the foundation of scripture against evolution and deals with real issues. He gives practical advice, all based on scripture, especially as it relates to creation. The book also contains a list of resources to check out.

Ham concludes with two wonderful appendices. One is called, “Twenty Reasons Why Genesis and Evolution Don’t Mix” It goes through twenty compelling points that if we disagree with we need to prayerfully ask why. These points involve science and scripture. The other appendix is titled, “Why Did God Take Six Days?” It is very insightful and forces you to look at the question. The answers are compelling. With a page count of 164 this book is not a difficult read or a time consuming endeavour, and is extremely worth your time.

“IN THE BEGINNING GOD...” contains three main sections that build on one another.
The first is called, “The Divine Foundation: The Infallible Scriptures.” Hoeksema starts where Ham does, and where every believer ought to, with Scripture. Hoeksema looks at what it means to say scripture is infallible, what scripture says about itself, and looks at what the church has said about it. He also notes attacks on scripture, and calls us to guard it.

The second section is called, ”The Creation Record: Literal or Not?” Hoeksema looks at how we should view the creation account, especially if we profess to be Christians, and therefore believe scripture to be infallible. He looks at this question from several angles. He also looks at what is called theistic evolution, or progressive creationism, and shows how the two are really the same. Both are attempts to include God in evolution, or aspects of evolution in creation. He shows why these are NOT options for the Christian. In this context he also deals with the question of a young earth versus an old one. (Ham’s book looks at this too.) He further develops this in the next section.

The third section is called, “Genesis and Science” It covers some of the same ground as Ham does, but from a slightly different angle. He addresses the conflict between evolution and science, and why evolution isn’t true science. He further looks at various aspects of creation in light of science and scripture. He takes an approach that shows creation is the only scriptural option. He does provide more, but that is his main point. “IN THE BEGINNING GOD...” is just under half as long as THE LIE-EVOLUTION, and very readable. I highly recommend this book as well.

If you are discussing evolution with a non-Christian Ham’s book would be better. Both have valuable insight if you encounter a believer who wants to mix any evolution in with their view of creation. (This includes believing the earth to be billions of years old.) A proper belief of creation is not essential to be saved, but it can affect the way a person thinks and lives. Whether they realize it or not, they are undermining the Bible to some degree. If that person is in a teaching or leadership role it can negatively affect how they lead or teach without them realizing it. Those who mix should ask themselves if they are judging scripture by science or science by scripture. All Christians need to judge everything by scripture, taking it for what it is. We need to ask what our bias is.


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