The Language of Science and Faith: Straight Answers to Genuine Questions

The Language of Science and Faith: Straight Answers to Genuine Questions

Karl W. Giberson & Francis S. Collins, IVP

This book is written for Christian readers who would like to have a position on creation and evolution that is both biblically based and scientifically sound.

The broadest and most general question that Giberson and Collins seek to address is how to understand evolution as the way that God created life. They strongly refute the notions that many scientists are rejecting evolution and that a large number of scientists have publically repudiated evolution, stating that these claims are simply false.

They also strongly refute the so called scientific arguments for a young earth. They propose that the question of whether the uncontroversial fact of microevolution provides evidence for the complex and controversial claims of macroevolution is at the very heart of the entire controversy over evolution.

The first eight chapters are organised around groups of questions, 71 in all. For example, in their discussion of relating science and religion (Chapter 3), they discuss Stephen Jay Gould’s non-overlapping magisteria (NOMA), how Galileo removed a misunderstanding about what the Bible was teaching, and present a helpful lesson on relevant aspects of biblical hermeneutics.

Chapter 5 (Science and the Existence of God) is probably the weakest chapter, in which the authors (a physicist and a geneticist) attempt to discuss philosophical issues like relating evolution to the problem of evil and the existence of God.

However, Chapter 8 (Evolution and Human Beings) contains a great summary discussion on Simon Conway Morris’ concept of convergence in evolution, which the authors propose as one way of looking at how God might have guided evolution.

Throughout the book, the authors are careful to point out that they don’t have “final” answers, only answers that might be right. And so the book finishes up in the final chapter with a modern creation story, or how the creation story might have been written by someone with an understanding of modern science.

The book also includes extensive notes, and indexes, and a brief but well-organised Annotated Bibliography. It would have been good if more material to back up arguments had been included, but the size of the book obviously precluded extensive use of source material.

Nevertheless, this is an excellent introduction to the subject and does include good suggestions for further reading. I recommend it as a very good starting point for anyone struggling with how to integrate the findings of science with the message of the Bible.

Peter Harvey

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