"Creation or Evolution - do we have to choose?" by Dr. Denis Alexander - A critical review

A review of: "Creation of evolution: Do we have to choose?" by Dr. Denis Alexander, Monarch Books, Oxford, 2008. Download PDF version. Download Microsoft Word version.

Book CoverGet the book - this review, tidied-up, proof-read and nicely printed is now available in print. Buy it here (AIG UK) or here (publisher) - around £7 or 8. Cover quote: "UK creationists are considerably in debt to David Anderson for this book, his masterful refutation of Dr Denis Alexander's extraordinary theistic evolutionary beliefs."


Introduction

Dr. Denis Alexander, a fellow of St. Edmund's College, Cambridge, and director of the "Faraday Institute for Science and Religion". Dr. Alexander is both an evangelical Christian and a professional biologist. He is also a Darwinist, not a creationist. The aim of his book is to explain why you should be too.

I was given a copy of this book in Summer 2008, and its contents deeply concern me. Dr. Alexander professes to be an evangelical. The methods of Biblical interpretation which he applies in this book, however, are not. I do not agree with the book's overall thesis - that Darwinism can be harmonised with the Bible - but the liberal hermeneutical methods which are used to justify that thesis concern me more. Dr. Alexander does not present any argument for his assumptions in this book, but simply presents them to the naive reader as unquestionable.

If evangelicals take the contents of this book to heart, they will not only be endorsing a certain set of conclusions regarding origins; they will also be embracing a seriously erroneous approach to interpreting the word of God as a whole, and its relationship to other areas of knowledge. Such an approach, if carried out consistently, will ultimately damage the whole structure of Biblical revelation and the gospel itself - a road which I believe Dr. Alexander in this book has already travelled a long way down. I agree with Professor Andrew McIntosh, whose review in "Evangelical Times" published in September 2008 asserted as follows: "By writing this book, Alexander has placed himself on the side of liberal theologians and, in this reviewer's opinion, has departed seriously from the evangelical faith."

The following review was composed bit-by-bit after I had read the book once and decided to go through it again. It amplifies and justifies the above statement of concern. It is not a comprehensive review; there are many other issues of fact and interpretation I would take issue with. It is intended to focus on some key issues, especially the above ones. As it was not proof-read for professional publication, there are likely to be various typing and other mistakes, which I hope you will forgive!


Contents

This review plods through the whole book. If you have time only to read some, look at the chapters on the theology of the Adam and Eve, the fall, suffering, evil, etc. These are the ones that most clearly reveal the non-evangelical methodology and resulting theology. Logical and scientific mistakes in other places are interesting, but the fundamental issues come out most clearly in the more theological chapters.
  1. Introduction to the review
  2. The Preface
  3. Chapter 1 - What Do We Mean By Creation?
  4. Chapter 2- The Biblical Doctrine of Creation
  5. Chapter 3 - What Do We Mean By Evolution? Dating, DNA and Genes
  6. Chapter 4 - What do we mean by evolution? Natural Selection and Reproductive Success
  7. Chapter 5 - Speciation, Fossils and the Question of Information
  8. Chapter 6 - Objections to Evolution
  9. Chapter 7 - What about Genesis?
  10. Chapter 8 - Evolutionary Creationism
  11. Chapter 9 - Who were Adam and Eve? The Background
  12. Chapter 10 - Who were Adam and Eve? Genesis and science in conversation
  13. Chapter 11 - Evolution and the Biblical understanding of death
  14. Chapter 12 - Evolution and the Fall
  15. Chapter 13 - Evolution, natural evil and the theodicy question
  16. Chapter 14 - Intelligent Design and Creation's Order
  17. Chapter 15 - Evolution - Intelligent and Designed?
  18. Chapter 16 - The origin of life
  19. The revealing postscript!
  20. Appendix: A synopsis giving a "big picture" overview of the philosophy/theology of this book.

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