The author asks in her introduction:
"How do our current notions of the workings of the universe fit with our deepest convictions about its meaning and value? From religion, we grasp the world as created, given, gift. From science, we apprehend it as evolving, in process, changing. How do we bring these apprehensions together? Or can we? Is our impulse to find the two complementary: creation and evolution? Or is it to find them contradictory: creation or evolution?"
"The way in which we answer these questions carries personal and intellectual consequences. It will constitute the first piece in a worldview within which we order our religious beliefs and scientific judgments."
Creationism and the Conflict over Evolution attempts to move our understanding of the relationship between creation and evolution away from the biblical literalism of fundamentalism to a historically aware and scholarly framework in which each of the components involved – the Bible, Christian doctrine, evolutionary science, and creationism – can be intelligently understood.
Dr Wiley clarifies the theological notion of creation and the necessity of a historical-critical approach in understanding the Bible, and explains the nature of scientific enquiry and the scientific importance of Darwin's theory. In doing so, she rejects as illegitimate the idea that divine creation and biological evolution are incompatible.
She goes on to analyse modern creationism by tracing its historical development and discussing the religious concerns underlying creationist resistance to evolution. She concludes that these concerns lack adequate theological foundation, and defends the integrity of science education against creationist attempts to undermine the teaching of evolutionary biology in schools.