Progressive Creationism Termed Bad Compromise

by Ted Kyle

Is the age of the Earth compassed in a few thousand years or in a few billion years? Young Earth or old Earth-­which? And what does it matter?

There is an intense debate raging between Christian camps on this issue. Both sides passionately believe they have the right of it, and both earnestly contend for the support of the church as a whole. And which will prevail does matter.

Old-Earthers accept the "status-quo" of current science-the "Big Bang" long ago and far away which nearly all astronomers believe was the source of our universe, and the geologic column, presumably built up over long ages of time by slow accumulation. Old-Earthers feel this is so solidly established that it is foolish to argue against it-and to do so makes the church look irrelevant and unreal to the world it wants to win to Christ.

Young-Earthers cling stubbornly to an essentially literal reading of Genesis chapter 1. If the Bible cannot be trusted in this chapter, they believe, then it cannot be trusted in any chapter, and the authority of the Word is undermined. They believe the impotence of the church today is due in large part to loss of faith in the trustworthiness of the Bible on every subject, and see their mission as reestablishing the credibility of the Word of God.

The wide-ranging debate between old-Earthers, represented by astronomer Hugh Ross, and young-Earthers is encapsulated in a recently-issued book, Refuting Compromise (a Biblical and Scientific Refutation of "Progressive Creationism" [Billions of Years] as Popularized by Astronomer Hugh Ross), by Jonathan Sarfati. The author is a co-worker with Ken Ham, founder of Answers in Genesis.

The dialog-or charges and counter-charges if you will-spreads across many divisions of knowledge, including:

<![if !supportLists]>         <![endif]>Astronomy: Did the universe flower from "the Big Bang," or spring full-blown from God's Big Word?

<![if !supportLists]>         <![endif]>Language: Does the Hebrew ym-day-encompass up to billions of years?

<![if !supportLists]>         <![endif]>Biology: Did life begin the way the Bible says it did or the way evolutionists say it did?

 Dr. Sarfati says "one of the most dangerous attacks on biblical authority in evangelical circles today is not evolution but progressive creationism.'" He marshals his arguments along many lines. Here, in his words, are a few examples:

<![if !supportLists]>         <![endif]>"Ross argues that since God is the author of both books, the Bible and the book' of nature, the two must necessarily agree [He] takes gross liberties with the scriptural text, to fit the canonical 66 books into what he calls the 67th book,' nature" (p. 59).

<![if !supportLists]>         <![endif]>"In Genesis, the word day (ym) had certain grammatical contexts, any of which alone point strongly to 24-hour days: 1) with a numeric; 2) with evening and morning'; 3) associated with night. Yet Genesis 1 has all three features, so this becomes overwhelming evidence that the days are ordinary-length days" (p. 105).

<![if !supportLists]>         <![endif]>"Despite Ross's attempts to claim that his day-age view has been held by exegetes throughout the ages, this claim backfires. Rather, the vast majority of exegetes, from the early church fathers through the Reformers and up to the early 19th century, believed that the creation days were 24 hours long" (p. 139).

<![if !supportLists]>         <![endif]>"The creation of the sun after the earth [on the Fourth Day] also fatally undermines progressive creationists' attempts to harmonize the Bible with billions of years" (p. 142).

<![if !supportLists]>         <![endif]>How it all began: "If the total amount of mass-energy is limited, and the amount of usable energy is decreasing, then the universe cannot have existed forever; otherwise it would already have exhausted all usable energy So the obvious corollary is that the universe began a finite time ago with a lot of usable energy, and is now running down" (p. 181).

<![if !supportLists]>         <![endif]>"Probably the most serious problem with all compromise views of Genesis is the origin of death and suffering. A straightforward interpretation of Genesis shows that death of humans and vertebrate animals (Hebrew nephesh chayyah, living creature') is the result of Adam's fall. But if long ages are true, then the fossil record must predate Adam by millions of years. Therefore, Ross must try to reinterpret the Scriptures that talk about death in order to deny that the Fall was responsible" (p. 195).

The lines are drawn, and the debate is sharp. Reading Refuting Compromise at times gives the reader the impression he has landed in the cross-fire zone between the Hatfields and the McCoys. But Joseph Sarfati feels it is imperative to demonstrate that a six-day creation can be defended on every front.

Rest assured Refuting Compromise will not be the last word, from either camp. But it is a good place to judge whether Dr. Sarfati can make a good defense of the young-Earth position. He has convinced this writer.

Refuting Compromise, a Biblical and Scientific Refutation of "Progressive Creationism" (Billions of Years), as Popularized by Astronomer Hugh Ross, Jonathan Sarfati, Master Books, ISBN 890514119, 2004, 411 pages, $12.99, softcover.

<![if !supportEmptyParas]> <![endif]>

<![if !supportEmptyParas]> <![endif]>

2011 Disciple 155x50 2011 AMG 155x50
Disciple Banner Ad