A Worldview Approach to Science and Scripture: A Review

A Worldview Approach to Science and Scripture by Carol Hill

First off, this book is gorgeous! I’m required to tell you I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, but this was not what I was expecting. I expected a little paperback copy that was marked as a review copy and still brimming with typos.

When I opened the box, my jaw dropped. This is a coffee-table book. A keepsake. The book is large, the cover is beautiful, and the drawings and charts it contains are colorful and well-done. I will display this book for years, both for its cover and its content.

Because, make no mistake, the content is amazing, too. Carol Hill teaches geology at the University of New Mexico, where she can easily study one of her passions, the Grand Canyon. She has a Ph.D. in geology and has been featured on NOVA and National Geographic Naked Science. She is also a committed Christian who loves the Bible.

And her approach to balancing the Bible and science is one I’ve been waiting for. She distances herself from the Christians who come thisclose to rejecting the Bible to accommodate the findings of science, but also those who (to be honest) disregard almost every major finding from almost every branch of science in order to stick to their interpretation of Genesis One.

The idea? The worldview of the writers and original hearers impacted how they viewed creation. Our understanding of their world should strongly impact how we interpret the Bible, especially the parts that potentially intersect with modern science. It’s a subtle distinction from the view of many who appreciate science at (it sometimes seems) the expense of the authority of Scripture.

She establishes her idea in the beginning of the book, then shows how it impacts the way we could/should read the Creation narratives, the Fall, the Flood, and more. The writing is solid. The full-color pictures and charts make it come alive.

One section I especially appreciate is her work on Adam and Eve. It’s always seemed to me that many Christians who appreciate science are a little to quick to jettison the idea of a literal Adam and Eve. I’m glad she thinks it is possible to reconcile Adam and science.

Like I said at the beginning, I will be keeping this book in easy reach for the foreseeable future, both for its beauty, but even more so for its content.

Unfortunately, one of the book’s greatest strengths can also be a weakness. This is a beautiful coffee-table book. It’s not a take-it-to-the-bathroom book, or stick-it-in-your-backpack-to-read-at-the-coffee-shop-or-on-a-plane-book. It’s too big and beautiful for those things. That means it is a difficult book to read cover-to-cover, though I think that would be highly valuable to do so. I personally read the introductory material, then paged through it, picking articles almost at random, enjoying the pictures and graphs. I kind of wish it came with a Kindle version so I could read it where I normally read and finish books–coffee shops, airplanes, my bed, and my bathroom.

It also suffers from an ailment I see in many books by people who were raised in Young-Earth Creationism who are writing for people who are still in the YEC camp. The author no longer understands where she came from.

A major example of this is the way she refers to the “author(s)” of Genesis. She doesn’t say Moses, or even author. It’s “author(s)”. Her reason for doing so is solid. Genesis shows many marks of being a compiled work (like Chronicles and Luke and John admit to being) rather than a book like Galatians which is a one-author, one-writing session composition. Genesis even comes close to admitting such when it both records Moses’ death and calls him the most humble person who ever lived.

But as someone still closely associated with good, sincere YEC Christians, I know that “author(s)” is a strong trigger. Heck, it triggers me. I think it would be much more productive to give a reason for admitting that many of the stories of Genesis were compiled more than composed, then also admit it’s very possible Moses was the primary compiler, then follow Jesus’ lead and just refer to the author as Moses. That would make it much easier to read for people who currently disagree with her but are willing to read dissenting opinions.

All that aside, this is a great book. I am so glad I have it in my library, or rather, on prominent display on a coffee table.

Three Articles and Three Books

When it comes to reading books, I’m a streak shooter. Most months I’m lucky to finish one. But once or twice a year I’ll go on a tear. In April I finished six books.

Looks like I need to go on another run before Christmas. There are three books, two already out, one coming in December, that I’ve been looking forward to. But before I tell you about the books, let’s grab three quick articles.

We’ll start heavy and lighten up as we go. Despite what some may tell you, Christians in America have it easy. November 3-10 are International Days of Prayer for the Persecuted Church, here are 11 Places Where Persecuted Christians Need Our Prayers.

I tend not to be an apocalyptic prophet about every new thing that is going on in culture, like the fact that kids now spend all their time with their faces locked on screens. But this may be worth considering, especially for young parents. Screen time might be physically changing kids’ brains

On the lighter side–but still meaningful–here’s a take on What the Church Can Learn from Sesame Street.

And now to the books. I’ve been waiting for this one ever since the author told me about it last spring. (Notice how I just dropped it in there that I sort of know the author.) I would try to describe it, but I think the title does the heavy lifting for me. The Coming Revolution in Church Economics: Why Tithes and Offerings Are No Longer Enough, and What You Can Do about It.

(Side note, what’s the deal with titles? Book titles are now almost as long as the books, while if song titles continue getting shorter they’ll soon be only one or two letters.)

This one lost the coin flip to be read first, but it has the potential to be the book I most gift to others. And again, instead of a description, I’ll just let you read the title. Christianity for People Who Aren’t Christians: Uncommon Answers to Common Questions

As for the last one, I think should just leave this here and walk away slowly. The Genealogical Adam and Eve: The Surprising Science of Universal Ancestry. But seriously, I proposed this idea in my earlier book on Science and Faith, and apparently someone who actually knows what they are talking about had the same idea and wrote a book on it. It comes out in December.