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The End of Christianity

William A. Dembski (B&H Academic: Nov. 1, 2009), 254 pages.

Theodicy attempts to resolve how a good God and evil world can coexist. The neo-atheist view in this debate has dominated recent bestseller lists through books like The God Delusion (Richard Dawkins), God Is Not Great (Christopher Hitchens), and The End of Faith (Samuel Harris). And their popularity illuminates a changing mental environment wherein people are asking harder questions about divine goodness. Surprisingly, these books please intelligent design champion William Dembski, because “They would be unnecessary if Christianity were not again a live issue.” Entering the conversation, Dembski’s provocative The End of Christianity embraces the challenge to formulate a theodicy that is both faithful to Christian orthodoxy and credible to the new mental environment. He writes to make peace with three claims: (1) God by wisdom created the world out of nothing. (2) God exercises particular providence in the world. (3) All evil in the world ultimately traces back to human sin. In the process, Dembski brings the reader to a fresh understanding of what “the end (result) of Christianity” really means: the radical realignment of our thinking so that we see God’s goodness in creation despite the distorting effects of sin in our hearts and evil in the world.

A high-profile proponent of intelligent design, Dembski, a professor at Southwest Baptist Theological Seminary, turns his attention to the classic theological problem of theodicy. He believes that “God gave humanity two primary sources of revelation about himself: the world he created and the Scripture he inspired.” Dembski develops his thesis to conclude that God created a perfect world until humans sinned. He skillfully traces evil before and after the Garden of Eden to salvation by belief in Christ. He defends his faith not only against atheists (Richard Dawkins in particular), but Jews and other Christians such as C.S. Lewis, John Polkinghorne and Jürgen Moltmann, who don’t view the dark side of human nature as he does. Dembski argues that humans possess free will, but only obedience to an all-powerful God can offer true freedom from evil. In a dense work that draws widely from information theory, scripture and poetry, Dembski’s belief in God as a Creator-Redeemer who saves humankind from evil after the fall is the very personal message of this book. ~ Publishers Weekly


“The End of Christianity towers over the others in profundity and quality … I have read very few books with its depth of insight, breadth of scholarly interaction, and significance. From now on, no one who is working on a Christian treatment of the problem of evil can afford to neglect this book.” ~ J.P. Moreland, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, Biola University and author of The God Question

“A thought-provoking and well-worth reading book by a brilliant evangelical thinker on the perennial and puzzling problem of how to explain physical evil in the world before the Fall. I could not put it down. It has so much intellectually stimulating material in it.” ~ Norman Geisler

“Believers have badly needed the kind of compelling case for biblical theodicy provided in Dr. Dembski’s new book-grounded, as it is, not in traditional philosophical arguments (often not merely obtuse but irrelevant in today’s scientific climate), but in intelligent design, of which Dr. Dembski is the world’s foremost academic proponent.” ~ John Warwick Montgomery

Table of Contents

    • Foreword by Mark Fitzmaurice     xiii
    • Acknowledgments     xvii
    • Introduction: Our Mental Environment     1
  • Part One: Dealing with Evil
    • 1. The Reach of the Cross     14
    • 2. Evil’s Origin     27
    • 3. Tracing the World’s Evil to Human Sin     32
    • 4. The Gravity of Sin     43
  • Part II: Young- and Old-Earth Creationism
    • 5. The Attraction of a Young Earth     48
    • 6. Nature’s Constancy     55
    • 7. The Appearance of Age     64
    • 8. Two Books     71
    • 9. The Problem with Old-Earth Creationism     78
  • Part III: Divine Creation and Action
    • 10. The Trinitarian Mode of Creation     84
    • 11. Information Transcending Matter     90
    • 12. Logos     96
    • 13. Being as Communion     101
    • 14. Creation as Double Creation     107
    • 15. Moving the Particles     113
  • Part IV: Retroactive Effects of the Fall
    • 16. Chronos and Kairos     124
    • 17. Newcomb’s Paradox     127
    • 18. Two Logics of Creation     131
    • 19. The Infinite Dialectic     138
    • 20. A Kairological Reading of Genesis 1-3
  • Part V: Loose Ends
    • 21. What About Evolution?     158
    • 22. Beyond Genesis 1-3     168
    • 23. Thanking God FOR All Things     177
    • 24. Luminous with Purpose     187
    • Notes     197
    • Name Index     231
    • Subject Index     234
    • Scripture Index     237