Book review: And God Said, Let There Be Evolution!

Edited by Charles M. Wynn, Sr. and Arthur W. Wiggins


This is a fantastic book idea! Nearly half of America’s scientists believe science and religion are compatible. So, let’s take believing scientists from the three major monotheistic religions—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—and get them to talk about evolution. Why the evidence forces them to acknowledge a 13.7 billion year old universe and a human race that evolved over nearly 4 billion years, and then how they reconcile this scientific evidence with the Bible.

The first half of the book, which discusses the evidence for planetary and biological evolution, is interesting but not as strong. All readers will presumably be interested in religion, but not all will be interested in science, and I think this section could have been summed up more succinctly. Ten pages for each of the three writers would have been sufficient.

The second half, however, is superb. Let me give you a sampling of each writer.

Christian scientist Howard Van Till: Howard has learned to respect scripture in a new way. Claims of divine inspiration and infallibility are unwarranted. Many people, he surmises, will find this disappointing. But for him, it “feels like a load has been taken off my shoulders.” He now recognizes the Bible as “storied theology,” creatively crafted stories shaped by a deeply theological agenda.

Trying to reconcile Genesis with what we now know about our origins is “wrong, wrong, wrong. This wonderful bit of dramatized theology should never be mistaken for some primitive version of Big Bang cosmology.” Concordism, says Howard, is a failed strategy.

Jewish scientist David Kay: We are wrong to dismiss our ancient ancestors as primitives. These guys knew the rains came (or didn’t) regardless of the faithfulness of their fellow Hebrews. Readers of the Torah back in the day knew better than to take it literally, but rather sought in its pages a deeper lesson.

“If reality doesn’t conform to Scripture, don’t assume either is wrong: the problem isn’t reality or Scripture; the problem is your own understanding of one, the other, or most likely both.” Rabbinic interpretation finds ways to understand sacred text that are both reverent and relevant.

Muslim scientist T. O. Shanavas: Thankfully for more conservative readers, they may find more of a kindred spirit in Shanavas, who definitely believes in the Genesis story. Not that Shanavas disagrees with evolution; on the contrary, he argues convincingly that the Qur’an describes our evolutionary beginnings much more directly than the Hebrew Bible. Genesis is accurate, but Adam and Eve should be understood not as a story of biological origin. Adam was the first spiritual man.

Prepare to be astounded as Shanavas digs up ancient Muslim thinker after thinker who describes natural selection and the creation of man in evolutionary terms. These guys pre-dated Darwin by as much as a thousand years! Yikes, while we Christians were fumbling around in the dark ages, were the Muslims beating us to the punch? Many of us still remain in the dark, and it’s time we realized that, in a number of ways, we can remain Muslims/Christians/Jews without rejecting the scientific discoveries which should leave us in awe of our world.


  1. I should love to read this! Thanks for the review.

  2. Lee — Thanks for reading our book and for your review. And Sheila — please do!

  3. Quite welcome, David, great book!

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