I added it to my reading repertoire this last week, and although I have just finished the first three chapters, the material contained in it is so thoroughly enjoyable, and in my mind relevant for the Christian Church, I wanted to plug it as a must get for apologetic purposes.
The book is a collection of essays in honor of Dr. John Whitcomb who co-authored one of the pioneering books addressing biblical creationism, The Genesis Flood, with the late Henry Morris. The primary focus of the book is to establish Genesis as a literal historical record of God creating, and more importantly, WHEN He created. The age of the earth and ‘deep time,’ as it is described, is the main focus in this book and the discussions within the essays explain why not only is a young earth position the correct one to defend as a believer, but also why the time of creation is of such apologetic importance. In the prologue, the two editors, Terry Mortenson and Thane Ury, speak to the necessity of properly defending Genesis as an apologetic foundation in the debate against secular evolutionists. They write,
A number of leading evangelical authors have quite appropriately urged Christians to fortify the philosophical foundations undergirding their Christian worldview. Yet many of these same writers seldom address the age of the earth. … Other theologians and apologists contend that the age of the earth is a non-issue, with the usual claim being that it is too divisive (the implied charge is that young-earthers are the polemical culprits), or that it is an impediment to those considering the truth claims of Christianity. … A more serious accusation against young-earth creationists is that we are in some manner denying reality. … Creationists are saying that a firm commitment to an infallible and inerrant Bible should be just that; firm, and not tossed to and fro by the latest in a long series of ever-evolving edicts from scientism. (pp. 15, 16, 17).
The contents include,
Two forewords: one by the late Henry Morris and the other by John MacArthur,
1) The Church Fathers on Genesis, the Flood, and the Age of the Earth – James R. Mook
2) A Brief Overview of the Exegesis of Genesis 1-11: Luther to Lyell – David W. Hall
3) “Deep Time” and the Church’s Compromise: Historical Background – Terry Mortenson
4) Is Nature the 67th Book of the Bible – Richard L. Mayhue (An excellent critique of Hugh Ross’s view of natural theology and his progressive creationist apologetics. Dr. Mayhue teaches at the Master’s Seminary).
5) Contemporary Hermeneutical Approaches to Genesis 1-11 – Todd S. Beall
6) The Genre of Genesis 1:1-2:3: What Means This Text? – Steven W. Boyd (Dr. Boyd teaches Hebrew at Master’s College and his material on the genre of the first 11 chapters of Genesis is powerful. For years, I have been a gadfly pestering him after I would hear him lecture to get some of his stuff in print. He has published in more academic publications, but here it is available in a readable layperson format).
7) Can Deep Time Be Embedded in Genesis? – Trevor Craigen (He teaches theology at Master’s Seminary. I took a cosmology class from him).
8) A Critique of the Framework Interpretation of the Creation Week – Robert V. McCabe
9) Noah’s Flood and Its Geological Implications – William D. Barrick (Dr. Barrick teaches Hebrew at Master’s Seminary).
10) Do the Genesis 5 and 11 Genealogies Contain Gaps? – Travis Freeman
11) Jesus’ View of the Age of the Earth – Terry Mortenson
12) Apostolic Witness to the Genesis Creation of the Flood – Ron Minton
13) Whence Cometh Death? A Biblical Theology of Physical Death and Natural Evil – James Stambaugh
14) Luther, Calvin, and Wesley on the Genesis of Natural Evil: Recovering Lost Rubrics for Defending a Very Good Creation – Thane H. Ury
The appendices include a biographical sketch of the life of Dr. Whitcomb, a section listing affirmations and denials essential for a consistent Christian and biblical worldview, and then a listing of recommend resources. Altogether the book is nearly 500 pages worth of excellent reading material. Some folks my find it daunting, and the essays are probably more “academic” than what one will find in a popular, “top ten” best seller sold at your typical retail Christian book store. However, the effort put into plowing through this book will produce much more lasting value for the believer.
Earlier this week, a co-worker and I were discussing what we thought were some of the major issues facing the Christian Church as a whole in the U.S. For example, both of us considered the recent assault of biblical family values by homosexual activists as just a precursor to future secular persecution limiting free speech and the freedom to proclaim homosexual behavior a sin. But, a good portion of our discussion was how we both saw the need to have a consistent, biblical based worldview when defending origins against a hostile, anti-theistic Darwinism which dogmatically advocates a total replacement of creation and desires to censor any opposition to their beliefs.
The Christian Church lacks desperately in this area of apologetics. We can certainly spread blame for this retardation among Christians, but the primary reason is that believers have abandoned the authority of a biblical Genesis to shape the foundation for their Christian apologetic. Instead, they have compromised with perceived “truth” claims of men who desire to define their reality without God. This book will be a much needed remedy for the diseased thinking of Christians in this fundamentally important area.