Are God and Darwin Compatible?
Can you be an orthodox Darwinist and an orthodox theist? The plain answer is "no," according to God and Evolution, an important new book coming out this fall. The book provides a thorough examination of the conflict between belief in God and Darwin's theory of unguided evolution.
In the century and a half since Charles Darwin first proposed his theory, Christians, Jews, and other religious believers have grappled with how to make sense of it. Most have understood that Darwin's theory and materialistic theories of the origin of life have profound theological implications, but their responses have varied dramatically.
Some have rejected evolutionary ideas outright; others, often called "theistic evolutionists," have sought to reconcile materialist theories including Darwinism with their religious beliefs, but often at the cost of clarity, orthodoxy, or both.
"Too few people have carefully teased out the various scientific, philosophical, and theological claims at stake," says Jay Richards, director of research for discovery Institute's Center for Science & Culture and editor of God and Evolution. "As a result, the whole subject of God and evolution has been an enigma wrapped in a shroud of fuzz and surrounded by a blanket of fog."
The purpose of this book is to clear away the fog, the fuzz, and the enigma.
"As the arguments in this volume make clear, to the degree that theistic evolution is theistic, it will not be fully Darwinian," adds Richards. "And to the degree that it is Darwinian, it will fail fully to preserve traditional theism."
God and Evolution includes chapters by William Dembski, author of The Design Revolution; Stephen Meyer, author of Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design; Denyse O'Leary, co-author of The Spiritual Brain; David Klinghoffer, author of The Discovery of God: Abraham and the Birth of Monotheism; Jonathan Wells, author of Icons of Evolution; John West, author of Darwin Day in America; Jonathan Witt, co-author of A Meaningful World; Casey Luskin, co-author of Traipsing Into Evolution; and Logan Paul Gage, whose articles have appeared in Touchstone, First Things, and other publications.
The book is a response to growing efforts by some Darwinists to enlist the support of the faith community by downplaying Darwinism's core principles. Chapters of the book detail the failures of theistic evolution, address the problem of evil, and explain how intelligent design is consonant with orthodox belief.
"Our main focus remains on the science," says John West, a contributor to the book and a senior fellow with Discovery's Center for Science & Culture. "But it's important to set the record straight about the broader implications of Darwin's theory."
The book will be launched with a national advertising campaign focused on the faith community, and a one-day conference at Biola University where Jonathan Wells, John West, David Klinghoffer, Denyse O'Leary, Jay Richards and Casey Luskin will be joined by WORLD Magazine Editor Marvin Olasky to explore the issues and critique the scientists and scholars who are trying to reconcile Darwinism with belief in God.
God and Evolution is ideal for use in small groups and adult Sunday School classes, and each chapter comes with discussion questions to facilitate group use. Many additional resources, including video clips for educational use, will be available at www.faithandevolution.org.