Baker Academic has a brand new website! Click Here To Visit:

Defending Sin

A Response to the Challenges of Evolution and the Natural Sciences

Cover Art Request Exam Copy

Where to Purchase


The conflict between the natural sciences and Christian theology has been going on for centuries. Recent advances in the fields of evolutionary biology, behavioral genetics, and neuroscience have intensified this conflict, particularly in relation to origins, the fall, and sin. These debates are crucial to our understanding of human sinfulness and necessarily involve the doctrine of salvation. Theistic evolutionists have labored hard to resolve these tensions between science and faith, but Hans Madueme argues that the majority of their proposals do injustice both to biblical teaching and to long-standing doctrines held by the mainstream Christian tradition.

In this major contribution to the field of science and religion, Madueme demonstrates that the classical notion of sin reflected in Scripture, the creeds, and tradition offers the most compelling and theologically coherent account of the human condition. He answers pressing challenges from the physical sciences on both methodological and substantive levels. Scholars, pastors, students, and interested lay readers will profit from interacting with the arguments presented here.

Setting the Stage: Changing Conceptions of Sin
Part 1: Authority
1. Science, Theology, and Biblical Authority
2. Biblical Realism: A Dogmatic Proposal
Part 2: Protology
3. Early Genesis and Extrabiblical Knowledge
4. The Unity of the Human Race
5. The Doctrine of Original Goodness
Part 3: Hamartiology
6. The Fall of Adam and Eve
7. Original Sin and the Biological Problem
8. Souls and the Nature of Sin
Conclusion: Science and the Evangelical Dogmatics of Sin


"The best scientists know that their theories (stories) catch only certain aspects of reality. Isaac Newton once said that 'what we don't know is an ocean.' Hans Madueme rightly insists that the ocean of human reality contains mysterious currents and depths that evolutionary biology cannot reach, hence the need for a robust, biblically grounded account of the human condition and an equally robust doctrine of sin. This is a brave and bracing argument for prioritizing dogma over Darwin--and for retaining the doctrine of original sin as essential to biblical realism, coherent systematic theology, and the gospel itself."

Kevin J. Vanhoozer, research professor of systematic theology, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

"Working with a wealth of historical and theological material, Hans Madueme offers a comprehensive rehearsal of the historical tension between science and theology, while proposing biblical realism as a way forward. He then adeptly applies this methodology in a critique of recent proposed revisions to the doctrine of sin. Overall, this intelligent and well-researched book encourages Christians to respect scientific findings, while affirming the epistemic primacy of Scripture in our post-Darwinian age. This book is a gift to the church."

Mary Vanden Berg, Calvin Theological Seminary

"This is the most erudite and theologically sophisticated defense of 'young earth creationism' that I have read. Drawing on recent work in the history and philosophy of science as well as biblical and historical theology, Madueme makes a spirited defense of his position even as he admits that the evidence against it appears daunting. The result is a work that is exemplary in its humility and helpful even, or perhaps especially, for someone who (like me) has significant disagreements with the position defended."

Thomas H. McCall, Timothy C. and Julie M. Tennent Professor of Theology, Asbury Theological Seminary

"This is one of the most detailed, perceptive, and well-researched critiques of theistic evolution I have ever seen. Hans Madueme's response to the theological challenges posed by evolutionary biology and some other parts of the natural sciences stands out by its boldness as much as by the fair and respectful way in which he treats his opponents. Even though at the end of the day the book's main argument has not convinced me, I profoundly benefited from Madueme's sound scholarship and from the countless pertinent observations he makes along the way."

Gijsbert van den Brink, professor of theology and science, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

"Defending Sin does just what the title claims, but there's more going on here because there's more at stake. Madueme's foundation of 'biblical realism' is a methodological breath of fresh air--we might say piercingly menthol fresh. No doubt it will be arresting to some, but it is vital in defending biblical authority, the health of the evangelical doctrinal ecosystem, and the constructive engagement of science dogmatically rather than evidentially. Highly recommended."

Daniel Strange, director, Crosslands Forum

The Author

  1. Hans Madueme

    Hans Madueme

    Hans Madueme (PhD, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is professor of theological studies at Covenant College in Lookout Mountain, Georgia. He previously served as the managing director of the Henry Center for Theological Understanding and the associate...

    Continue reading about Hans Madueme