The Adam Quest by Tim Stafford – Book Review

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My husband and I are starting to read through some books together in the car instead of listening to the iPod. I am one of those “enjoys to read out loud” freaks, and Jonathan has been missing reading new books with his schedule in A School, so it works for us.
When given a list of recent Christian book releases to review through Thomas Nelson Publishing, Jonathan and I both mutually selected The Adam Quest: Eleven Scientists Who Held On To a Strong Faith While Wrestling with the Mystery of Human Origins by Tim Stafford. Tim Stafford is an award-winning author, a regular contributor to Christianity Today and Campus Life magazines, and co-editor of The Student Bible.

Young Earth, Old Earth or Darwinian Evolution?

Jonathan and I hold slightly different opinions on the age of the earth, (he holds a young earth view, while I hold an older earth view), though we both agree that Darwinian evolution is wiggidy wack. We thought it would be fun to read the various facts-based opinions from Christian scientists, and figured it would spark some entertaining intellectual discussions between us.
Stafford starts out the book outlining the three types of origin worldviews found among believing Christians, and then proceeds to interview prominent scientists who hold those views, and hold a faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God. There are:
Young Earth Creationists – They believe that the world is less than ten thousand years old and that Noah’s flood explains most of the geology and fossil distribution that we see today. They also insist that the species of life are not all cousins but were created separately.
Intelligent Design Creationists – They believe that the earth is billions of years old but that evolution cannot explain the development of life. Some intelligence must have intervened.
Evolutionary Creationists – They believe that God created life, using evolution. They believe that all creatures are cousin to each other and that the process of variation and selection produces gradual change over millions of years.
So far so good. But THEN! Stafford proceeds to paint a dreary picture of the Christian church at each other’s throats over the issue of earth’s origins. We’re told that young earth vs. old earth debates within the church are the cause of countless witch hunts, heresy claims, congregational ostracizing and heated arguments between believers, without a shred of civility.
People in the church are questioning the salvation of other believers based on their origins beliefs and as a result, overall church unity and fellowship is in tatters.. Or so we’re told.
Problem is, this just DOES NOT match my experience AT ALL. And trust me. I love a good old fashioned verbal brouhaha. Debating is my bread and butter. So if there was a good ol’ religious debate fisticuffs match to be had over this issue, I’m fairly certain I would have had it by now.

Is the Age of the Earth Really Such a Big Deal?

The thing is, the whole question of earth’s origins have never really troubled me. I take the approach that if your salvation doesn’t hinge on the issue, then don’t make a big deal of it.
What I HAVE consistently seen in my time with fellow believers is that Christians tend to seek the truth – both in science and in the Bible. The people shouting that the two don’t go together, in my experience, are generally atheists that have never cracked open Gods Word.
My husband and I are a great example of this. My husband is a Young Earth Creationist and I am more of an Intelligent Design Creationist. We exchange thoughts. He has studied the issue far more than I have, so we plan to pursue scientific facts and findings together with an open mind. (Which is why I requested this book.) And we plan on presenting all the facts to our daughter so that she can make up her own mind on the issue, using the brain that God gifted her with.
Even if we never get on the same page with this issue – that’s fine. It does not change the fact that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior, that He died on the cross for our sins, and the we have confessed Him with our mouths and we believe in our hearts, and that we are both saved by His amazing grace.
The thing is, our God is a mighty God. Is He fully capable of creating this world in a week? Yes, He is. Could He make this world in the blink of an eye? Yes. Of course! He’s the Author and Creator of time itself, he’s not bound by hours, weeks, minutes or nanoseconds. So regardless of the age of the Earth, we are all agreed on the one essential thing: God DID create the earth. And he is the Lord of Lord and the King of Kings and HE REIGNS. End of story. Petty squabbling aside.
So the “crippling issue of science and faith in the modern church” that this whole book is built upon is, to me, a fallacy. So the book already started me off on a “scratching my head in confusion” foot.

My Thoughts On The Book

Stafford states from the Introduction that he has deliberately tried not to declare anybody right or wrong in his eleven scientist profiles. However, I didn’t even have to finish the first Young Earth Creationist profile before it was glaringly obvious that Stafford is NOT in that party. The style is journalistic for the most part, but the overall tone makes it clear who he thinks is ignorant and who he thinks is dazzlingly brilliant.
Even in the way he describes personalities and personal appearances, his descriptions of the Young Earth Creationists paint pictures of weak, insecure, bumbling amateurs playing scientist. Then he moves on to the “real” scientists and paints a picture of successful, confident and highly intellectual scholars. I was constantly quirking an eyebrow at the obvious slant in his storytelling.
And again, in the Introduction Stafford states, “My approach has been to find first-rate scientists with different points of view and let them tell their own stories – stories of faith and stories of science.” But then in his mini biographies, he does NOT let them “tell their own stories”. They are sparsely quoted, and the majority of each chapter deals mainly with the mundane and snapshot elements of the scientists life stories. Stafford only gives their understanding of the relationship between the Bible and the findings of science – particularly evolution – a cursory glance.
When I finished the book I was mildly disappointed with it. Then I sat on it for a bit. And the more my mind brews on it, the more I think I am extremely disappointed with it.
This book did NOT deliver what it promised to. It meandered through mundane biographies of random scientists, with stories interesting though irrelevant to the stated purpose. I had hoped to read much more about how these scientists “held on to a strong faith while wrestling with the mystery of human origins” as the subtitle claims. But after reading The Adam Quest cover to cover, I know each scientist’s life story, but have no real understanding of what they believe and / or how they reconcile their faith in God with their scientific findings.
And I found myself literally rolling my eyes when, during the conclusion of the book, Stafford winds up for his big reveal – and surprise, surprise! He’s an Intelligent Design Creationist. Yeah, we didn’t see that one coming. I found this frustrating, even with my view on earth’s origins matching his own.
Anyway. I found the presentation of the faith / science “problem” among believers in the Introduction to be grossly inflated, the interviews were meandering, irrelevant and unenlightening, and the overall tone was far too slanted in the authors personal opinions. For that, I would not recommend this book to others interested in the topic. I think you would be much better off reading three completely separate books on the issue and coming to your own conclusion on the matter, if it’s one that truly interests you.
I genuinely HATE writing negative reviews of books. Especially when they were provided for my reading pleasure at no expense to myself. However, I’ve committed to always sharing open and honest reviews – the good and the bad. And I’m throwing this book solidly in the “bad” category. (Sorry!!)
[Disclaimer: There are no affiliate links in this review. I am an independent product reviewer. I only review products I am truly interested in. I don’t accept payment for reviews. The products I take the time to jabber on about are either items I have personally purchased, or the product has been provided for review after me incessantly nagging for a sample. All of my reviews are unbiased regardless of how the item was obtained.]

Of the three earth origin viewpoints, which one do YOU believe? Share below!

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Gingi is a photographer, cosplayer, amateur chef, crazy cat lady, anime otaku, bookworm, generic geek, world traveler, conservative Christian, homeschooler, devoted military wife and stay at home new mother of two little girls.

Gingi blogs about anything and everything that is relevant to being a supermom, stay at home wife, homeschooler and geek girl! You can contact her at gingifreeman@gmail.com or via the contact form on her website at www.domesticgeekgirl.com

Gingi Freeman

Gingi is a photographer, cosplayer, amateur chef, crazy cat lady, anime otaku, bookworm, generic geek, world traveler, conservative Christian, homeschooler, devoted military wife and stay at home new mother of two little girls. Gingi blogs about anything and everything that is relevant to being a supermom, stay at home wife, homeschooler and geek girl! You can contact her at gingifreeman@gmail.com or via the contact form on her website at www.domesticgeekgirl.com

3 thoughts on “The Adam Quest by Tim Stafford – Book Review

  • 22 February, 2014 at 7:28 pm
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    I’m of the school of thought that no matter how much we think we know, it will be a shadow to what we are shown in the real ‘big reveal’ when we meet the Lord Face to Face! I have no doubt that the Universe is ‘timeless’…that the beginnings of the Earth are ‘old’, and that mankind from Adam are ‘younger’. The elements that God used to make Adam, are ‘older than dirt’ (hehe…yeah, I thought I was being clever there). I think the fact that the Bible tells us, step by step the order that all was created absolutely matches what science tells us. That alone should sway the unbelievers. But really, the truth of belief is in the relationship we must have with our Savior. Someday, we’ll have the answers, until then, it’s all ‘through a glass darkly’.

    Reply
    • 24 February, 2014 at 2:23 pm
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      Hear hear! I think the ultimate folly of man is to fall into the trap that we can put God in a test tube, as if He is something to “prove”…

      Reply

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