Book review: Exploring Faith and Reason

by Bruce Glass


Very good book, though it wasn’t quite what I expected. Its subtitle of The Reconciliation of Christianity and Biological Evolution led me to think that Glass intended to work his way through Genesis’s creation story and explain how each verse relates to what we understand about our evolutionary history. Not so at all; nearly the entire book is an explanation of what we know about evolution and how we know it to be true. You might say its intent is to give us permission as Christians to accept scientific findings. There really should be no doubt in our minds; says Glass:

“There is certainly a great deal more to learn about how evolution works and about how it has shaped the living world throughout history, but any doubts about whether biological evolution and speciation actually occur have long been dispelled.”

God, Glass suggests, exists outside of time. Each and every moment of time in human history and indeed all the history of our physical universe—past, present, and future—occurs simultaneously from the perspective of God. So, we do ourselves no favor by trying to understand the timeline of creation from God’s perspective. We know the universe is about 13.7 billion years old, the earth itself nearly 5 billion years old, and that life began three and a half billion years ago from a common ancestor and gradually diversified into the world we share today. Humans are a relatively late emergence on the earth, but this should not disturb us at all. From God’s outside-of-time perspective, the creation simply was and is (in a sense) instantaneous.

Free to embrace the truth of our origins, Glass leads us on a short journey of what really happened over the last four billion years, drawing from the fossil record and genetics, and from the many clues we have around us in the fields of medicine, horticulture, biogeography, and more. He addresses the objections that Creationists have to the scarcity of the fossil record, first pointing out that we can’t be too demanding of the record since only about one bone in a billion becomes fossilized, and then discussing the many transitory fossil examples we do have. As it turned out, I enjoyed the real focus of the book much more than the topic I anticipated. Glass writes plainly, explaining the facts in simple terms, so that a non-biologist can understand. His awe for God’s creation shines, even as he points out that Creationism and Intelligent Design are flawed attempts to hold to a literal reading of Genesis.

Inspiring and current, highly recommended.

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