As I began to read God and Evolution by Eastern professor David Wilcox, I expected to encounter a direct attack on creationism written from the perspective of an ardent evolutionist.
To my surprise, I found instead that an intelligent Christian thinker had written an equally intelligent and thought-provoking book.
Wilcox’ aim is to convince conservative Christians that they do not have to surrender their faith when they accept scientific data that appear to support evolution.
“My point in writing the book was to show that there’s data that’s simply not negotiable,” he said in an interview. “We can accept that God’s creation happened by gradual process.”
The evidence Wilcox presents is thorough and well-written. He is clearly a scientist with a remarkable understanding of the data science offers, and he clearly tried to explain that data well.
Unfortunately, this data was also often complex, such as his discussion of DNA and some of its significant chromosomes.
This made it difficult to follow Wilcox’ arguments for the gradual development of the earth, which were based closely on the scientific information described.
Wilcox’ book did, however, succeed in clarifying the issues surrounding creationism and evolution.
Most effective in this clarification was Wilcox’ insistence that science must not be used as a weapon against conservatives in the fight over evolution.
“If you’re under attack, you have to take the weapon out of the person’s hand, and that’s what I’m trying to do,” he said in the interview.
Wilcox removed this weapon by arguing that although science seems to reveal a gradual development of the earth, believing that God was or was not involved in that process is a matter of faith, not science.
This approach provides safe ground for Christians torn between believing both Scripture and science. It does not, however, offer a definitive answer to the conflict between evolution and creation.
For many who believe evolution could not have happened, Wilcox’ book fails to provide an acceptable compromise between the claims of science and Scripture.
However, the gentle voice and reasoned thought present in Wilcox’ book may offer just what is needed to restore the faith of some who struggle to reconcile science and Scripture.