I have been writing for a number of entries about Christian views on origins. Since in some of these entries I was describing someone else’s view, I thought it would be a good idea to call attention to some good reading from advocates of each of the views. For more detail see Energion.com Classified Directory Page – Creation vs Evolution.
What I’m interested in in selecting this material is those resources that are accessible to a non-expert who is a serious student, that they are clear and generally complete, and that they represent their own position and that of others honestly. In this debate there’s a great deal of misrepresentation that takes place. This falls into two categories, with those in the young and even old earth creationist camps tending to question the sincerity of their opponent’s beliefs, and making what I would regard as spiritual judgments of them. This can even occur between young earth and old earth advocates. Belief in evolution is equated with atheism, and it doesn’t matter how much one confesses to belief in God, in Jesus, and other key doctrines, disagreement on this one topic is considered sufficient to effectively exclude one from Christianity entirely. On the other hand, there is a tendency by advocates of evolution to regard all opponents, young earth, old earth, and intelligent design, as either stupid or deranged.
I prefer those materials from creationists that do not pass spiritual judgment on evolutionists. Those materials are few and far between. I think it is appropriate for creationists to question my doctrinal views, for example. I don’t believe in inerrancy, and it is quite valid to point this out and relate it to my approach to understanding scripture. But don’t call me an atheist, not because it’s an insult (in my view it isn’t), but because it’s simply not true. So I have no problem with literature that is doctrinally hard-hitting.
From the other side I believe that false claims of credentials, misuse of credentials, and misrepresentation of opponents’ arguments are definitely fair game. But even if one regards certain arguments as stupid or ignorant, the people themselves may be quite intelligent and quite skilled in their own field.
Obviously, I have no power or authority to enforce such standards, but I do my best to point out where material I reference follows them and where it does not.
One general resource to look into is the book Three Views on Creation and Evolution. Note that I have not read this book, but I have read items by all of the authors, and I believe they represent their own position well.
Young Earth Creationism
Probably the major web resource on this topic is the Institute for Creation Research. In addition, if you read just one book on this topic, I recommend Faith, Form and Time by Dr. Kurt Wise (link is to my review). The reason I recommend this book is that its author has impeccable credentials, and spends most of his time on the data and very little time making negative remarks about his opponents’ character. The ICR material is more typical of the way this issue is often debated.
Old Earth Creationism
On the web, the key site here is Reasons to Believe, Dr. Hugh Ross’s ministry. Many people involved in the creation-evolution debate are actually old earth creationists, though young earth creationists tend sometimes to dismiss them. For information on old earth creationism, works by Dr. Hugh Ross (from the scientific perspective) or Gleason Archer (Biblical scholar) are generally good. Ross’s book A Matter of Days is a good place to start.
Ruin and Restoration Creationism
This is one of the hardest views to get substantial information about. A good overview is The Invisible War by Donald Grey Barnhouse.
Here your best online resource is the material from the American Scientific Affiliation. I recommend two books as must read information, Finding Darwin’s God by Dr. Kenneth Miller, and The Fourth Day by Howard van Till.
If you are unacquainted with this area, probably start with Darwin’s Black Box, by Michael Behe. It’s still kind of the starting point, especially for those of us who are not professional scientists.
There are those who might believe I don’t recognize this category, and in one way I don’t. I think that science done by a Christian believer and science done by an atheist should produce the same results, because both study the natural world. Disagreement centers on what else there may be. An excellent summary of the atheistic position is Richard Dawkins’ book The Blind Watchmaker. I found the book tremendously helpful in spite of the kind of gratuitous insults to my own position. Dawkins would probably prefer the debate to be entirely between atheistic evolution and young earth creationism. He might as well get used to disappointment. I’m even going to go right on buying and enjoying his books. So there! 🙂
For general information on evolution, I recommend Ernst Mayr’s book What Evolution Is. I’m definitely not an expert, and not even a well-informed amateur when it comes to biology, so this book was very hard reading for me. I read it with a dictionary within arm’s reach, and I had to go to the encyclopedia several times and also do a couple of web searches to learn about species that Mayr references as examples without any comment. But the experience was entirely worth the effort. This isn’t a book of polemics. It simply explains how evolution works and the basic evidence for it.
When I continue this series I’m going to go into the key elements of a Christian doctrine of creation and relate them to these various views. I outline what I believe these elements are in the Participatory Study Series pamphlet God the Creator.