The Faces of Origins: A Historical Survey of the Underlying Assumptions from the Early Church to Postmodernism by David Herbert M.A., M.Div., Ed.D.
(Citizens Concerned about Education and Origins, $20, 130 pages)
David Herbert is a retired teacher in London, Ont., who has focused 20 years of research on issues related to creation and evolution in relation to education.
The Faces of Origin is his fourth publication (including his doctoral dissertation) in this subject area. Herbert has also been involved in curriculum development and lobbying school boards to accept the teaching of creation, alongside their current evolutionary bias.
Herbert has done an impressive work by effectively summing up the positions of the key historical thinkers in history concerning creation. The Faces of Origin begins with an examination of the early church fathers. He effectively explains the historical struggles that existed in the early church to maintain the constant teaching of Christianity, while emphasizing the influences upon the early church fathers themselves.
Herbert identifies four underlying assumptions that the church upheld to maintain the biblical creation stor: 1. God – the eternal master-designer. 2. fixity of kinds. 3. A global flood. 4. Mankind being created in the image of God.
Herbert moves the reader from the patristic period of the church and through the Middle Ages, proving that Western thinkers maintained the four underlying assumptions absolutely. He then moves the reader into the early modern period, that included Protestant reformers, new assumptions, doctrinal debates and a break in the authority of the universal truth. Yet Luther, Calvin and other influential reformers maintained adherence to the four assumptions concerning creation.
Herbert identifies the first real challenges to the universal Christian adherence to creation as beginning in the modern era, with the philosophy of Descartes. Descartes’ axiom cogito, ergo sum – I think therefore I am – becomes the birth cry of modern philosophy or rationalism. Descartes reverses the proof of God holding that human reason is the source of truth. Herbert then examines the developments in both the English and French enlightenments by examining the philosophy of Francis Bacon, Isaac Newton, Jean Jacques Rousseau, Denis Diderot and Voltaire, just to name of few.
Herbert proves that by the end of the 18th century, the world was ripe for a paradigm shift that would be caused by Charles Darwin and his contemporaries.
The most interesting part of this book is the handling of the ideas that led to Darwin developing his theory of the Origin of Species (1859) and the philosophical underpinnings of Darwin’s work.
Herbert effectively proves that Darwin bases his theory not on science, but on philosophy. In fact, Darwin waited years to publish his work, because he did not have scientific proof for his belief that all life started from one common force and different species evolve into being based on a process of natural selection.
The Faces of Origins then examines the effects of Darwin’s theory of evolution, including the developments that led to its acceptance in current times. The false concept that evolution is based on science is a very recent phenomenon, which appears to be based on the blind acceptance of a world view, rather than on an exhaustive inquiry into rational proof.
Herbert concludes his book by examining the effects of post-modern thought on evolutionary theory and modern movements such as humanism. He shows that current philosophy rejects both creation and evolution as truth, while viewing them as mere opinions. Post-modernism holds that the individual is able to develop his own truths and it is a rejection of modernism.
The Faces of Origins is a quick-moving book that holds the reader’s interest. It is an excellent historical overview and provides enough information to guide the reader into further studies, if desired. My only disappointment is that Herbert has self-published, making him the only major source of the book and limiting its distribution. A book like this one should be reprinted by a major publisher for wider distribution.
To buy copies of The Faces of Origins, contact David Herbert at (519) 681-2735. The book may also be ordered through the mail, by sending a cheque or money order payable to David Herbert at 4 Harding Cres., London, Ont., N6E 1G3.