by Jonathan Sarfati
(Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2004), 411pp, paperback, $14
Dr. Jonathan Sarfati, author of Refuting Evolution and Refuting Evolution 2, has produced a valuable book which gathers numerous lines of evidence, both exegetical and scientific, to oppose the compromise position known as “Progressive Creationism”--which attempts to reinterpret the six days of Genesis as long ages.
Dr. Sarfati illustrates the many inconsistencies between the plain meaning of the Genesis account vs. the position of those who attempt to find in it support for the notion that God used evolutionary processes and long ages to create.
The book deals with the errors of Scriptural compromises with evolution in general, but especially the brand of “Christian origins” taught by Hugh Ross of Reasons to Believe. The title of the book reflects its intended purpose: to refute the compromising view of Christians who attempt to fold evolutionary theory into the Biblical account of creation.
A unique contribution of Sarfati is his treatment of the contribution of church history (the views of the church fathers), exegesis of the Scriptures, and physical evidence from science in concluding that Progressive Creationism lacks support. In a sense, it occupies a position half-way between secular rejectors and earnest exegetes of Scripture. While failing to satisfy the skeptics, neither does it satisfy those who are concerned to understand what the bare text of Genesis is actually saying. Sarfati exposes the many liabilities of the view which attempts to be all things to all people pleasing none and playing fast and loose with the various lines of evidence.
Not only does Sarfati effectively demolish the poor reasoning and inconsistent exegesis of Progressive Creationism, while doing so, he repeatedly exposes the questionable claims of one of its main proponents: Dr Hugh Ross. Ross has attained a fairly high profile, having published a number of popular apologetics works and having being hosted by Dr. Dobson on Focus of the Family and by John Ankerberg of the John Ankerberg Show. Unfortunately, many Christians have swallowed Ross' apologetics--thinking his material upholds the Bible--when in fact he embraces a number of beliefs which are seriously out-of-step with Biblical teaching. (Perhaps the most troubling views are his belief in human-like “pre-Adamite” beings who lived prior to Adam and Eve but who lacked full spirituality; and the existence of death in the created order prior to the Fall.) The reader comes away from Sarfati's work with a much greater appreciation for caution in evaluating the claims of Ross.
Highlights of the book include a summary of the creation views of various church fathers (who were overwhelmingly young-earth six-day creationists despite Ross' claims to the contrary), a discussion of the reasons why general revelation (in nature) must never be considered on a par with the special revelation of Scripture, a discussion of the created kinds and the difference between speciation (evidence of a reduction in information) and evolution (requiring an increase in information), and natural evidence for a young earth.
We recommend this book for those concerned about the viability of the teachings of Dr. Hugh Ross or who have interest in a single-volume treatment of many of the issues surrounding the evolution/creation debate within Christianity. This book should be on the shelf of every creationist.
Reviewed by Tony Garland, www.SpiritAndTruth.org.