Handy resources for theistic evolutionists

Books at Merton College (photo by Tom Murphy VII).

Editor’s note: The following is a short list of handy resources for theistic evolutionists, or those looking to better understand theistic evolution, prepared by one of our contributors. We would add to this list the BioLogos documentary “From the Dust” and the work of Denis O. Lamoureux, but there are many more that could be mentioned. Please feel free to share your favorite resources in the comments below.

Good morning, reader. Nothing in-depth this time around. No history lesson, or ranting, or book review. Just wanted to drop in, “poke my head in the door,” and link you to a few resources that can help you learn more about theistic evolution and/or teach others about it.

I know it seems like such a lonely and depressing road sometimes, being the only Darwinist in a room full of Hams. Very lonely indeed. And it can seem like an even bigger battle trying to find Christian curricula for your kids that support theistic evolution, so that you can teach a rational view of origins to them. But fear not! You, my fellow theistic evolutionist, are not alone! Not only do you have me, Race Hochdorf, a masked hero in tights (dare to dream) — you also have numerous organizations, books, academics and curriculum to save your days!

Below I will name some of the best resources for theistic evolutionists I have come across so far, and why I think they are the best. It is my sincere hope that you will use these resources to learn and teach others who are young, both in age and in the faith.

1. BioLogos. BioLogos is a think-tank dedicated to the compatibility of reason and faith. They provide resources including videos, books, articles and best of all in my opinion — the BioLogos Forum which address topics like biblical inspiration, inerrancy, biblical interpretation and, of course, Genesis 1-11. Notable and well-regarded Christian thinkers associated with BioLogos are: N.T. Wright, Peter Enns, Francis Collins and John Walton.

2. Relevant magazine. Relevant, while not primarily about science and faith or theistic evolution, is more or less sympathetic to our cause, but its focus is much broader and not dedicated to a single issue. The magazine is a publication for Christians interested in moving the faith conversation forward into the 21st century in a way that is progressive, constructive and empowering. If you were ever like me, and selective of what you shared on Facebook, once you bring Relevant into your life, you’ll become the biggest share-monster the likes of which your friends have never seen. Grandma’s barrage of Farmville invites will have nothing on you, as you breathe Relevant fire down on Newsfeed Tokyo.

3. John Lennox. As an American, I know John Lennox is smart because he has a sexy, sophisticated British accent. He’s like a Jesus-loving Albert Finney. “‘Ello the’e!… Aye m’boy! God’s chummy abou’ you!” Let the YECs brag about “The Genesis Flood” and “The New Geology.” Let them have their non-scientist, non-geologist, fundamentalist, Adventist-“prophet” writers. Lennox is Professor of Mathematics at Oxford University… so yeah. Here is a link to Lennox’s video page on YouTube, though the site’s servers may crash due to overload of excellence. Lennox has debated many skeptics, including “atheist greats” Richard Dawkins and the now-deceased Christopher Hitchens.

4. The Test Of Faith curriculum. Test Of Faith is a DVD that comes with a study guide, and is ideal for junior high to college age groups. One big reason I like it is because it pisses Ken Ham off. Test Of Faith, produced by project leader Ruth Bancewicz with the help of Abigail McFarthing and others, is ideal teaching material for homeschoolers, though geared toward anybody that is interested.

5. Christian Schools International. Christian Schools International made news in The Atlantic for being one of the first Christian textbook producers to meet the demands of homeschooling parents to have Christian schoolbooks that teach real science, rather than this disgrace (and this one, too). Yes Ken Ham, you read that right. Homeschooling parents are demanding Christian science books that reek not of your own foul and intellectually odiferous pen.

Ken Bergwerff, curriculum specialist at Christian Schools International reported to The Atlantic, “Most science textbooks that attempt to present the content from a Christian perspective also attempt to discredit the theory of evolution. Some do it discreetly; others are quite blatant. The CSI science curriculum clearly presents science from a Christian perspective, but does not attempt to discredit the theory of evolution. The content presents God as the author of all of creation, no matter how he did it or when he did it.”

6. “Finding Darwin’s God,” by Kenneth Miller. I’m not going to say much about this book, because doing so will ruin an upcoming review I will do of it. But let me put it this way. To read “Finding Darwin’s God” after “The Genesis Flood” is comparable to watching a leopard devour a baby wildebeest on the Discovery channel.* It’s just. Not. Fair. Buy “Finding Darwin’s God.” Out of all the resources I’ve just given you, if you check out no others, check out “Finding Darwin’s God” and buy it. Read it, have your significant other read it, have your kids read it, have mom and dad read it and teach the dog to read so it can read it.

With this list of resources I bid you adieu. These are likely not the only resources theistic evolutionists have at their disposal, but it’s enough to get one started, and I promised I was only stopping by and popping my head in the door.

*Before endeavoring to read “The Genesis Flood,” even doing so with the intention of seeing how badly it gets killed by the brilliance of “Finding Darwin’s God,” do keep in mind that time once lost cannot be regained, and life is but a vapor.

Race Hochdorf

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  • Tyler, have you read Denis Lamoreaux’s works yet?

    • Hey Mike! I’ve read several of his essays and a number of interviews, and a portion of “Evolutionary Creation.” I really like what I’ve seen so far!

  • Paul Bruggink

    Several thoughts:

    (1) John Lennox, while excellent at making a biblically-based case for an old earth, is not exactly the world’s greatest proponent of theistic evolution. He tends to lean a bit in the direction of Intelligent Design.

    (2) Kenneth Miller, while very strong on the scientific side, doesn’t offer much on a biblically-based reconciliation of theistic evolution and Christianirty, Denis Lamoureux (“Evolutionary Creation”) and Peter Enns (“The Evolution of Adam”) cover that much better.

    (3) Re favorite resources, I can recommend all of the following (in no particular order):

    “Seven Days That Divide the World: The Beginning According to Genesis and Science” by John C. Lennox

    “God’s Undertaker: Has Science Buried God” by John C. Lennox

    “Paradigms on Pilgrimage: Creationism, Paleontology and Biblical Interpretation” by Stephen J. Godfrey & Christopher R. Smith

    “The Prism and the Rainbow: A Christian Explains Why Evolution Is Not a Threat” by Joel W. Martin

    “Theology After Darwin” edited by Michael S. Northcott & R. J. Berry

    “Darwin, Creation and the Fall” edited by R. J. Berry and T. A. Noble

    “Reading Genesis after Darwin” edited by Stephen C. Barton & David Wilkinson

    “Evolution and Belief: Confessions of a Religious Paleontologist” by Robert J. Asher

    “Original Selfishness: Original Sin and Evil in the Light of Evolution” by Daryl P. Domning

    “The Bible, Rocks and Time: Geological Evidence for the Age of the Earth” by Davis A. Young

    “Exploring Faith and Reason: The Reconciliation of Christianity and Biological Evolution” by Bruce Glass

    “Genesis1-4: A Linguistic, Literary and Theological Commentary” by C. John Collins

    “The Evolution of Adam: What the Bible Says and Doesn’t Say About Human Origins” by Peter Enns

    “The Language of Science and Faith: Straight Answers to Genuine Questions” by Karl Giberson

    “Beyond the Firmament: Understanding Science and the Theology of Creation” by Gordon J. Glover

    “In the Beginning… We Misunderstood: Interpreting Genesis 1 in Its Original Context” by Johnny V. Miller & John M. Soden

    “When Faith and Science Collide: A Biblical Approach to Evaluating Evolution, Creationism, Intelligent Design, and the Age of the Earth” by G. R. Davidson

    “Origins: A Reformed Look at Creation, Design, and Evolution” by Deborah B. Haarsma & Loren D. Haarsma

    “Evolutionary Creation: A Christian Approach to Evolution” by Denis O. Lamoureux

    “Nature’s Witness: How Evolution Can Inspire Faith” by Daniel M. Harrell

    “Perspectives on an Evolving Creation” edited by Keith B. Miller

    “A Biblical Case for an Old Earth” by David Snoke

    “God’s Pattern for Creation: A Covenantal Reading of Genesis 1” by W. Robert Godfrey

    “Evolution from Creation to New Creation: Conflict, Conversation, and Convergence” by Ted Peters & Martinez Hewlett

    (4) The “Books at Merton College” at the top of the blog look to be too old to have anything to say about theistic evolution. 🙂

    • An excellent list, Paul! Thanks so much for sharing. I haven’t read all of them here, but the ones I have I would highly recommend. And I agree with your assessment of Kenneth Miller’s book. I think he does a much better job answering the question, “Is evolution true?” rather than “Can a Christian accept evolution?” Though “Finding Darwin’s God” certainly has some interesting commentary on faith, it’s not particularly deep biblically.

    • Dietrich Kessler

      Wow… this is a far more extensive list of Theistic Evolution resources. I’m glad that there is a lot more resources out there for TE’s than what I mentioned above. Thanks for sharing Paul!

      • Paul Bruggink

        And I forgot to mention John Polkinghorne, e.g., “Theology in the Context of Science”, “Science and the Trinity: The Christian Encounter with Reality”, “Faith, Science and Understanding”, Belief in God in an Age of Science”, “Science and Religion in Quest of Truth”, “Questions of Truth”, “The Faith of a Physcist”, etc., etc., and so forth, although they do tend to be a bit repetitious after a while.

  • Cristero

    Conor Cunningham – “Darwin’s Pious Idea”

    • Paul Bruggink

      I thought “Darwin’s Pious Idea: Why the Ultra-Darwinists and Creationists Both Get It Wrong” was a mixed bag: a well-researched (2,026 end notes) summary of what others have thought and written, with many helpful analogies, but more suitable for philosophers and theologians than for laymen. His numerous multi-page paragraphs didn’t enhance readability. Interestingly, he concludes that ultra-Darwinism is antievolutionary (pp. 109 & 180).

      • I haven’t read it, but Conor Cunningham did do a BBC documentary called “Did Darwin Kill God?” a few years back that I thought was pretty interesting. It wasn’t very in-depth, but I thought it gave a decent overview of the history regarding the early Christian responses to Darwin’s theory overseas and the rise of the modern young-earther movement.

  • PNG

    Creation of Evolution: Do We Have to Choose? by Denis Alexander

    • PNG

      “or” not “of,” Sorry.

  • I received an email from a reader that had a few more suggestions for this list that he wanted to share:

    1. Gordon Glover – Beyond the Firmament; also, YouTube series, a great resource for Christian parents seeking to teach their children a proper understanding of the relationship between science and Scripture.

    2. Darrel Falk – Coming to Peace with Science (one of the most irenic, charitable books I have read on the subject, as well as one of the best books for explaining the evidence of evolution, especially for a beginner to the debate who knows little about science)

    3. GR Davidson – When Science and Faith Collide

    4. Ernest Lucas – Can We Believe Genesis Today?

    5. Lawrence Principe – Lecture series from “The Great Courses” called “Science and Religion”; an engaging lecturer, I could watch this over and over (which probably makes me a mega-nerd, but oh well)