Thursday, January 23, 2014

Book Review: The Adam Quest

The full title of this ambitious work is The Adam Quest: Eleven Scientists Who Held on to a Strong Faith While Wrestling with the Mystery of Human Origins and author Tim Stafford has condensed a tremendous amount of research into a highly accessible book for laypeople.  You won't find an in-depth explanation of the scientific work involved, but you will get the flavor of current research and meet some notable scientists who spend their days researching questions about life on earth.

Stafford, who is Senior Writer for Christianity Today, provides a snapshot of 11 different scientists whose work converges on one of 3 different Christian beliefs about evolution and creation:  young earth creation,  intelligent design, and evolutionary creation.  The scientists disagree with each other on how life has and is developing, but all hold firm to the belief in God as creator.

Some names might be familiar to readers: Michael Behe, author of Darwin's Black Box.  Others might be known more for their discoveries: Mary Schweitzer's discovery of blood vessels in a T. rex bone.  Within the chapters readers discover how these scientists came to faith and how their beliefs clashed with and developed while working alongside well known scientists such as Jack Horner and Stephen Jay Gould.  The men and women Stafford profiles are not lightweights; they're well educated, thoughtful, inquisitive, and articulate.

My main takeaway from this book is a list of names to look for and some additional books to read. As a former science teacher, I've followed this debate and am dismayed--as Stafford and the scientists he interviews are--that too many Christians and scientists feel that faith and science are mutually exclusive. This leads to anti-intellectualism on one side and empty materialism on the other.

One of my favorite sections is where Ard Louis discusses the false notion that science is the arbiter of all truth.  If someone notices a kettle on the stove and asks "why is the water boiling?", a mechanistic explanation provides the pure science involved in transmitting energy and changing the velocity of water molecules.  On the other hand, "why is the water boiling?" can also be answered "I'm making a cup of tea." Both explanations are true. Science will never give us the whole picture and God is not diminished when we examine the wonders of His creation.

I highly recommend this book as an introduction to the different schools of thought on creation and as a book for small group study.  I would like to see a video series or study guide developed to accompany this book.

The Adam Quest
by Tim Stafford
Thomas Nelson

I received a copy of this book from Thomas Nelson in return for an honest review.

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