Lee Strobel -- Case for a creator

Has anyone read Srobels book about creation? My wife ust picked it up. I read the first couple chapters, and so far it seems quite readable, but I’m always hesitant about media by protestant authors. I don’t want to inject heresy into my thought process.

I find Strobel’s books very good. This one in particular is very good. I even wrote him a letter asking him to put his investigating style of writing to the Catholic Church. I said that if he used the same method of finding out the truth as he did in these other books, he would conclude that Catholicism is the true church. Doubt that will happen, but worth a try.
Case for the Creator does not contain anything anti-catholic as I remember.

Bad book in my opinion. “All evolutionists are atheists” is the message of the book. The chapters by William Lane Craig on the beginning of the universe, and by Robin Collins on design (anthropic principle) are OK. The book rejects biological evolution for the most part. Bad science.

Much better on biological evolution from Christians is Perspectives on an Evolving Creation edited by Keith Miller, or the two books by Ken Miller Finding Darwin’s God and Only a Theory.

Phil P

I think that Macro-evloution does lead direclty to athiesm, I don’t think thats much of a stretch – if he rejects micro-evolution then yes, its junk science.

I’m more concerned though with self administered poison. As I said in the first post, I’m simply trying to avoid anti-catholic or points of view with an authoritative tone that lead me, my familiy, and my friends I might talk to into areas of theology that simply are wrong.

I not as concerned about science inaccuracy – that won’t take me to a lake of eternal fire.

Gerard << I not as concerned about science inaccuracy – that won’t take me to a lake of eternal fire. >>

I am concerned about accuracy and truth. Strobel’s book Case For A Creator is not concerned with accuracy and truth, it gives you bogus science (minus the chapters from Craig and Collins on the cosmological design in the universe). Virtually all the claims in the book on biological evolution are incorrect and answered at Index to Creationist Claims.

Yes, you can believe the earth is flat and still get to heaven. You can also accept all the evidence for evolution as I and virtually all professional scientists do, and still go to hell. I agree. Salvation is not a matter of getting your science correct. Salvation is a matter of your relationship to God, with the Church, and your fellow human beings (Matt 19:16-21; 22:36-40; 25:31-46; etc).

Phil P

Hi Phil, :slight_smile:

I’m sorry, but I’m having a degree of difficulty fully comprehending Kenneth Miller’s comments about *original sin *(s). I’ve listened to a few of his lectures and he left me confused along with his audience. Furthermore, I’m not impressed with parts of his book Finding Darwin’s God. In my opinion, I personally think Ken has chosen a rather silly title for his book since Charles Darwin wasn’t ever a Christian and at the end of his life was a confirmed agnostic. Please don’t misunderstand, I’m a big fan of Darwin the scientist and human being who loved his wife and family yet suffered poor health for many years. And I don’t a problem with accepting evolution nor does it conflict with my faith as a Roman Catholic woman.:wink: Now, back on track, here is an excerpt from Miller’s book that I was referring to:

To survive on this planet, the genes of our ancestors, like those of any other organism, had to produce behaviors that protected, nurtured, defended, and ensured the reproductive successes of the individuals that bore them. It should be no surprise that we carry such passions within us, and Darwinian biology cannot be faulted for giving their presence a biological explanation. Indeed, the Bible itself gives ample documentation of such human tendencies, including pride, selfishness, lust, anger, aggression, and murder.

Darwin can hardly be criticized for pinpointing the biological origins of these drives. All too often, in finding the sources of our “original sins,” in fixing the reasons why our species displays the tendencies it does, evolution is misconstrued as providing a kind of justification for the worst aspects of human nature. At best, this is a misreading of the scientific lessons of sociobiology. At worst, it is an attempt to misuse biology to abolish any meaningful system of morality. Evolution may explain the existence of our most basic biological drives and desires, but that does not tell us that it is always proper to act on them. Evolution has provided me with a sense of hunger when my nutritional resources are running low, but evolution does not justify my clubbing you over the head to swipe your lunch. Evolution explains our biology, but it does not tell us what is good, or right, or moral. For those answers, however informed we may be by biology, we must look somewhere else.(1)

Phil, I think Kenneth Miller may be attempting to present to his audience a somewhat distorted view of ***Original Sin ***within his book Finding Darwin’s God. And, biology does play an important role in how we determine what is good, right, and moral. My thoughts (logic) are the biological function of the brain. The National Association of Biology Teachers Statement on Teaching Evolution best explains biology.(2) Miller seems to me to be skating around on slippery ice at times, which could be a dangerous in my opinion.The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops provides us Catholics (Ken Miller too) answers from the Catechism of the Catholic Church about Orginal Sin. (3) Pope Benedict recently emphasized we are to refer to the catechism. Personally, I can believe in evolution and original sin without offending God –Father, Son and Holy Spirit because of God’s love. Hopefully, I’ll successfully better explain this later by using information from the Vatican: Holy See.

I would encourage people to read the document **Original Sin **from the USCCB in its entirety. Here’s #2 quiz question:

  1. *If the **first ***Adam has sold us into slavery to sin, who is the second Adam who breaks the power of the evil one? (3)

Christ breaks the power of the evil one. Para. 421: Christians believe that “the world has been established and kept in being by the Creator’s love; has fallen into slavery to sin but has been set free by Christ, crucified and risen to break the power of the evil one . . .” (GS 2 § 2). (4)

  1. findingdarwinsgod.com/excerpt/index.html

  2. nabt.org/sites/S1/index.php?p=65

  3. usccb.org/catechism/quizzes/os.shtml

  4. usccb.org/catechism/quizzes/os2.shtml

wild << Phil, I think Kenneth Miller may be attempting to present to his audience a somewhat distorted view of Original Sin within his book Finding Darwin’s God. And, biology does play an important role in how we determine what is good, right, and moral. >>

I probably agree with you on Original Sin and Ken Miller. Here’s what I do: I go to the Catechism for definitions and explanations of Catholic doctrine, but I read folks like Ken Miller for the science, for the best rebuttals to creationist arguments, and on how to reconcile a theistic God (in general) with evolution. I do not go to the Catechism for modern science or scientific rebuttals to creationists, nor do I go to Ken Miller for Catholic doctrine (except for his opinion on such). :thumbsup:

And I do not go to a book like Case For A Creator for either sound science or Catholic doctrine (the writers are mainly evangelicals, except for Behe a Catholic, and Jonathan Wells a Moonie).

Bottom line: macroevolution does not lead to atheism, God is compatible with evolution, the modern Popes (at least Pius XII forward) do not have problems with evolution, and we should not recommend books that contain bogus science, that confuse science with faith, or that suggest “all evolutionists are atheists” : e.g.

“If Darwin’s right, we’re just sophisticated monkeys. The Bible is wrong. There is no God. And without God, there’s no right or wrong. We can just make up our morals as we go. The basis for all we believe is destroyed…people have to choose between science and faith, between evolution and the Bible. between the Ten Commandments and make-em-up-as-you-go ethics.” (Strobel, page 11)

“If Darwinism is true [Provine said] then there are five inescapable conclusions: [1] there’s no evidence for God, [2] there’s no life after death, [3] there’s no absolute foundation for right and wrong, [4] there’s no ultimate meaning in life, [5] people don’t really have free will.” (Strobel, page 16)

“Not everyone, however, believes that Darwinian evolutionary theory and God are incompatible. There are some scientists and theologians who see no conflict between believing in the doctrines of Darwin and the doctrines of Christianity…[Christian de Duve, biologist Kenneth R. Miller, philosopher Michael Ruse, biologist Jean Pond are mentioned but…]…Personally, however, I couldn’t understand how the Darwinism I was taught left any meaningful role for God. I was told that the evolutionary process was by definition undirected – and to me, that automatically ruled out a supernatural deity who was pulling the strings behind the scene.” (Strobel, page 21,22)

So Strobel’s “strategy” throughout the book is to demonstrate that “GOD” is indeed the best SCIENTIFIC explanation for such things as the “Cambrian Explosion,” the appearance of all the animals, and the human body. Not a good strategy in my opinion since these things are indeed explained well by “Darwinism” (i.e. biological evolution, paleontology, genetics, etc).

Better books on how God and evolution are compatible are by Ken Miller I already mentioned, plus several books by British philosopher/theologian Keith Ward:

God, Chance, and Necessity (responds to Dawkins and others)
Why There Almost Certainly Is A God (responds directly to Dawkins The God Delusion)
Pascal’s Fire
The Big Questions in Science and Religion

And Communion and Stewardship (2004) endorsed by Cardinal Ratzinger / Pope Benedict

Strobel’s The Case for Christ (1998 book and 2007 DVD) and The Case for Faith (2000 book and 2008 DVD) are just fine in my opinion. They do not touch on science, but do deal with common objections to basic, historical, orthodox Christianity common to all Catholics, evangelicals, Orthodox. And Peter Kreeft is interviewed. :thumbsup:

Phil P

I think I overstated my position – If he is wrong scientifically thats one thing, thats a point of factual argument – but I don’t want to read heretical material – its too easy of a trap to fall into.

Gerard << If he is wrong scientifically thats one thing, thats a point of factual argument – but I don’t want to read heretical material – its too easy of a trap to fall into. >>

In that case, I wouldn’t call anything in Strobel’s books necessarily heretical. It is just bad (or badly stated) science in Case For A Creator, minus the chapters by Craig and Collins on anthropic design and Kalam cosmological arguments. Strobel implies throughout the book that the fossil record does not demonstrate evolution. That is totally incorrect and demolished by the up-to-date 2007 book Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters by professional paleontologist / geologist Donald Prothero.


Phil P

Lee Strobel on video

Strobel is wrong on the Phyla of the “Cambrian Explosion” :

“The title of this book, modeled on that of the greatest biological work ever written, is in homage to the greatest biologist who has ever lived. Darwin puzzled over but could not cover the ground that is reviewed here, simply because the relevant fossils, genes, and their molecules, and even the body-plans of many of the phyla, were quite unknown in his day. Nevertheless, the evidence from these many additional sources of data simply confirm that Darwin was correct in his conclusions that all living things have descended from a common ancestor and can be placed within a tree of life, and that the principle process guiding their descent has been natural selection. And he was correct in so much more.” (Valentine, On the Origin of Phyla [2004], preface page xxiii)

Strobel is wrong again on the fossil record (some fish did evolve into tetrapods, which evolved into reptiles, which evolved into mammals and birds, etc):

“But the past 20 years * have produced some of the greatest discoveries of all, including incredible fossils that show how whales, manatees, and seals evolved from land mammals, where elephants, horses, and rhinos come from, and how the first backboned animals evolved. We now have an amazing diversity of fossil humans, including specimens that show that we walked upright on two feet almost 7 million years ago, long before we acquired large brains. In addition to all this fossil evidence, we have new evidence from molecules as well that enables us to decipher the details of the family tree of life as never before…The fossil record is an amazing testimony to the power of evolution, with documentation of evolutionary transitions that Darwin could have only dreamed about…The fossil record is now one of the strongest lines of evidence for evolution, completely reversing its subordinate status only 150 years ago. Instead of the embarrassingly poor record that Darwin faced in 1859, we now have an embarrassment of riches.” (Prothero, Evolution: What the Fossils Say… [2007], page xix-xx)

Phil P*

I have read this book and “The Case for Christ”. I fount “The Case for Christ” more convincing than this book.

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