A Nonexpert Review of the Book “Refuting Compromise” by Jonathan Sarfati


Edition Reviewed: J. Sarfati, Refuting Compromise (Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2004)
Reviewed by: Ed Morris (January 2005)

Scope and Purpose of this Review

This book is purported by the subtitle to be “A Biblical and Scientific Refutation of ‘Progressive Creationism’ (Billions of Years) as Popularized by Astronomer Hugh Ross.” I think this implies that its primary purpose is to defend the young-earth creationist (YEC) view that says God created the earth a few thousand years ago against the old-earth creationist (OEC) view that says He indeed created the earth but sees no reason to doubt that it happened billions of years ago, in accordance with most current scientific estimates for the age of the earth. This book more specifically concentrates on Hugh Ross’s specific variation of the OEC view, but I will be reviewing it primarily with respect to the more fundamental issue of the debate over the age of the earth in general, and attempting to show that it fails in its purpose to prove the YEC position over the OEC position.

I may as well admit up front that in my personal opinion, author Jonathan Sarfati seems to be somewhat blinded by his own ideology and has probably never honestly and open-mindedly faced the main issue about which he writes. That is, while I’m certainly not denying that he is an intelligent person who has put a lot of thought into the issue, I suspect it has never been with a sincere willingness to question his own view. For those who have been taught the YEC position from the beginning of their Christian lives, the OEC alternative often seems dangerously liberal and likely to raise all sorts of fearful questions about their faith. Thus, it is my belief that many wonderful Christians simply cannot bring themselves to face this issue with more than a surface level of sincerity.

I bring this up because I want to make it perfectly clear that my purpose in critiquing this book is absolutely not to press this issue upon such people or to hold them up to any kind of scorn or ridicule. We all have our relative weaknesses, and in the grand scheme of things I do not believe this one to be all that important. Rather, my purpose is to hopefully be of some help to anyone who does have a sincere willingness to consider the OEC viewpoint but is still wondering if it is true, quite possibly with some measure of fearful doubt as to whether or not it is even an acceptable position for a conservative Bible-believing Christian to hold. I think Sarfati’s book is a fairly complete and representative compendium of the reasons why so many Christians feel it is not an acceptable position, and in that respect this book is a useful resource for such people. Nevertheless, I think a warning is in order that, despite the impression one might get from the subtitle, in reality this book also delves into many side issues that are only indirectly related to this main issue, and at many points attacks various beliefs that are not really representative of the OEC position in general, but are only held by various specific OECs, often (but not always) Hugh Ross. There is nothing wrong with debating such tangential issues, of course, but in my opinion this practice does tend to dilute the helpfulness of this book for someone who is honestly trying to figure out the core issue of the age of the earth.

In any case, in this review I will not even attempt to address most of Sarfati’s attacks against Ross’s or various other OECs’ marginally-related views, some of which I agree with and some of which I don’t, since my purpose is really only to address what I consider to be the main issue of the age of the earth. I believe one really does need to start with this main issue of the age of the earth and honestly evaluate the relative strengths of the YEC vs. OEC interpretations themselves before much progress can reasonably be made on most of the other issues discussed in this book, since these other issues tend to be fairly dependent on that main issue. In other words, don’t get sidetracked by the side issues in this debate before you have sincerely opened your mind and heart before God on the main one!

Introduction

In his introduction, Sarfati starts out by giving some information about Hugh Ross, perhaps the best-known OEC author of this present time, and explaining why he considers it necessary to combat Ross and his views so directly. To his credit, Sarfati says he does not doubt Ross’s salvation (p. 26), but he strongly implies, without explicitly stating, that Ross is an example of a false teacher in need of Biblical rebuke (p. 20). I believe this implication is wrong and shows a rather un-Christ-like spirit on the part of Sarfati. Rebuke is a strong word. It is true that we are commanded to rebuke those who sin and teach subversive heresies, but we must also bear with one another’s differences of opinion and interpretation on nonfundamental issues such as the age of the earth. One wonders if Sarfati would also rebuke as false teachers those who disagree with him on other issues such as election or eschatology.

Chapter 1 - The Authority of Scripture

In this chapter, Sarfati takes much issue with Ross’s oft-repeated statement that general revelation (“nature”) functions as a “67th book of Scripture.” And perhaps Ross’s terminology does indeed go too far in some respects. But that is not really the point. The point is, if Scripture is true (and we believe it is), then it cannot contradict nature. In other words, we cannot with any logical consistency hold to an interpretation of Scripture that contradicts our interpretation of nature–one or the other of those interpretations must be wrong.

Sarfati seems to be willing to acknowledge this in theory, but not really in practice. For example, his main charge in this chapter seems to be that OECs primarily come to their views on the age of the earth through other means besides Scripture alone. In other words, their interpretation of Scripture is affected by observation and science. I will grant this is the case (or at least it was for me), but given the argument above, why is that wrong? The fact that our interpretations of nature can be incorrect does not make it better to simply ignore any and all evidence from science or nature. But Sarfati seems to think his interpretation of Scripture on this issue is necessarily superior precisely because it was not accompanied by an honest look at the scientific evidence. The idea that science or nature might legitimately cause one to ask if his interpretation is correct is said to be “fallacious reasoning” and “bordering on post-modernism” (p. 45). Again, one wonders if Sarfati would also accuse those who question his interpretation of Scripture on other subjects besides creation of bordering on post-modernism. In any case, his charge is clearly inaccurate. Honestly questioning one’s interpretation of Scripture has nothing to do with post-modernism, whether the questioning is triggered by science or observation or even other Scripture passages. OECs do not deny that there is any such thing as objective truth, nor do they say that the Scripture can legitimately be given any interpretation, as Sarfati’s charge implies. Rather, they recognize that only one interpretation of Scripture can be correct, and they make an honest attempt to find that one correct interpretation, which they believe will not be contradicted by nature or true science. Contrary to Sarfati’s implications, this does not accord a lesser place to the authority of Scripture, it simply acknowledges that even though Scripture is propositional revelation communicated via language, we still sometimes interpret Scripture wrongly, especially when we fail to take reality into account.

A somewhat trivial example may help to clarify this. Consider the parable of the mustard seed, which Jesus said was the smallest of all seeds (Mark 4:31). Now on the surface, at least, a straightforward reading of Jesus’s words might lead one to interpret them as asserting that there is no seed in the universe smaller than the mustard seed. And in the absence of any scientific or observational knowledge about the subject, I daresay this probably would indeed be the conclusion of most students of Scripture. If for some reason there was any interest in the issue, some theologians might perhaps dig into the language and idioms of the day and come up with reasons why this was not necessarily the correct interpretation, that perhaps Jesus was only saying it was the smallest of all common crop seeds in the area, or some such thing. On the other hand, some would probably vigorously argue for the more common interpretation, accusing the others of compromise or worse. It is doubtful that any consensus would ever be reached on the basis of language alone. But in point of fact it is actually now perfectly obvious which interpretation is correct, because science (in this case, very simple observation of nature) has indeed found smaller seeds than the mustard seed. This is not putting science or nature on an equal or higher par than Scripture, nor is it denying the propositional nature of the revelation of Scripture, nor is it bordering on post-modernism; it is simply acknowledging reality.

Now there is obviously a huge debate about whether or not the language and propositions of Genesis 1 and the rest of Scripture can legitimately be interpreted in a way that allows for an old earth. One cannot deny that conservative Biblical literalists have come up with such possible interpretations, no matter how unlikely one considers those interpretations. So if (and I admit at this point in this review it’s still a big “if,” but see chapter 12), if it turns out that the real evidence shows beyond any reasonable doubt that the earth is in fact old, why would that not be equally decisive in this debate about whether the correct interpretation of Scripture is one of the many that in fact do allow for an old earth? I believe it would be. And as it turns out, I think the real evidence is in fact beyond any reasonable doubt, though I will admit it is not quite as conclusive as the evidence for their being smaller seeds than the mustard seed.

One interesting thing to note before we leave this topic is Sarfati’s statement in this chapter that AiG (Answers in Genesis, the organization he represents) believes in a presuppositionalist approach with regard to such evidence for the age of the earth (p. 45). As I understand it, the term presuppositionalism refers to a philosophy of apologetics which says that because all evidence is interpreted in the framework of a person’s presuppositions, therefore any argument for the existence of the Christian God on the basis of evidence is intrinsically useless–the existence of God must rather be presupposed. So I’m not sure I understand what Sarfati means by applying this term to the age-of-the-earth debate, but it sounds like he is saying that the scientific evidence is irrelevant to his case. This is consistent with his rather casual dismissal of much of the scientific evidence for an old earth (see chapter 12), as well as his acknowledgment that his scientific arguments for a young earth do not really “prove” anything about the age of the earth (chapter 11, pp. 331, 333, 366). However, he apparently does find some positive value in these arguments, for in spite of his summary claim that these arguments only show that even the flawed uniformitarian assumptions of the OEC position point to a young earth (p. 333), in many cases he offers specific conclusions as to how the evidence can best be explained by the YEC viewpoint, thus showing that he considers that evidence to be valid. So I would say in practice Sarfati’s approach is not purely presuppositional, but is rather at least partially evidential when the evidence suits him and presuppositional when it does not (which explains his serious double standard in his treatment of scientific evidence–see chapter 11 again). In any case, his admission that his approach is (at least to a large extent) presuppositional seems to me to be an acknowledgment that the scientific evidence is not really on his side. In other words, without the Bible, no one would ever look at the evidence and say it favored a young-earth view over an old-earth view.

It’s worth pointing out that some YECs have actually argued for what I would think of as a purely presuppositional approach (unlike Sarfati’s) to this issue of the age of the earth. Most well-known was Plymouth Brethren biologist Philip Gosse, author of the book Omphalos (which slightly predated Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection). His main argument was that all life occurs in cycles, therefore any creation of life would necessarily have to “break in” somewhere in the cycle and therefore have a built-in appearance of age (or pro-chronic time, as he called it) even from the moment of creation. For example, if God instantaneously created a perfect tree seed, it would have just as much appearance of age as if He instantaneously created a perfect tree, since the seed would give every evidence of being formed by a previous tree. The majority of his book is devoted to the evidence that such things as seeds give of having age, for example certain characteristic spots where they were attached to the tree, somewhat analogous to a human navel. Thus Gosse (a YEC bucking the OEC gap-theorist beliefs of many of the Plymouth Brethren and other Christians of that time) believed it would be useless to look for evidence for the creation being recent, because all of creation in fact necessarily appeared exactly the same as if the creation had been ancient. No information whatsoever about the age of the earth could be gleaned from nature and science. This is why I would call his approach purely presuppositional rather than evidential.

Although Gosse’s view is not widely held today as a general rule, it is held in significant bits and pieces by many YECs, perhaps most notably in the area of astronomy. In response to the OEC argument that distant stars must be millions of years old in order for us to even be able to see the light from them (being millions of light-years away), one often hears the YEC counter-argument that God must have instead instantaneously created the light beams coming from those stars “in transit,” i.e., “in place.” To my way of thinking, this is a form of Gosse’s presuppositional “appearance of age” theory. And it is not really unscientific; its main problem is probably just that it smacks of serious deception on the part of God. We must note that if God created the light “in transit” then He not only created an appearance of age, He also created an appearance of history (i.e., specific events in time) that never really happened. One example would be the present observation of a star exploding into a supernova more than 6000 light-years away, such as happened in one notable case in 1987 (Supernova 1987A). Since such an explosion appears to be more than 6000 years old, which is prior to the creation of the universe in this YEC view, in reality the star must have never existed intact to begin with in this view; it would have already been in an exploded condition from the moment of its creation. Yet the light in transit records an intact star followed by its explosion, or in other words, the appearance of a specific history that never actually happened. The “appearance of age” theory is sometimes defended by appeal to the fact that when Jesus turned water into wine it would have similarly appeared to have age, but a mere appearance of age like this does not seem to me to be nearly as problematic as an appearance of specific history as in the case of a supernova. In any case, for the purposes of this review we really don’t need to argue against this presuppositional light-in-transit view because, in spite of Sarfati’s claim that AiG takes a presuppositional approach, Sarfati is actually in agreement with OECs that God did not create the light beams from the stars in transit (see chapter 5).

Incidentally, I believe it is very much to their credit that AiG disagrees with the light-in-transit theory, along with many other of the wilder young-earth speculations one often hears about, such as the vapor canopy theory and the idea that the 2nd law of thermodynamics began at the Fall. (The paper Sarfati refers to where this is discussed is currently available online at http://www.answersingenesis.org/home/area/faq/dont_use.asp.)

Chapter 2 - The Days of Creation

This chapter is primarily a hermeneutical argument for why Sarfati believes the Hebrew text of Genesis cannot be interpreted as in the Day-Age view (of which Ross is an advocate), which holds that the word “day” in the creation account should be interpreted as an indefinite period of time, or “age.” I will not address this in much detail, as I am certainly not a Hebrew scholar. However, it’s worth noting that just as Sarfati accuses Ross of going outside his area of expertise in delving into this issue of the Hebrew language (p. 14), so is Sarfati outside his area of expertise in this area. Many conservative evangelical Hebrew scholars (true Hebrew scholars, unlike Ross and Sarfati) actually do see room for the days of Genesis referring to long ages (e.g., Gleason Archer, a highly respected conservative Biblical literalist with whom Sarfati takes much issue in this book).

I would also like to point out that Sarfati’s rule-of-thumb, “when the plain sense makes common sense, take no other sense...” (p. 68), is clearly an oversimplification. There are many passages in the Bible where what most people would say is the “plain sense” does indeed make common sense, except for the fact that other passages seem to contradict this “plain sense,” and so we know we have to be a little more careful. Anyone who has ever taken it upon himself to harmonize the four gospels or try to deal with a host of other Biblical difficulties knows this very well. I certainly agree that the plainest-sounding sense of a passage ought to be the first candidate, so to speak, in our attempts to interpret it, but we often do indeed have to look for another sense.

But in spite of all this, I am not really objecting to Sarfati’s making his case here. It seems to me he in fact does have a somewhat decent case to be made (though some of his specific points I find rather contrived), and I think it is worthy of consideration. I do confess it is hard for me to imagine why God would have chosen to use the terms “evening and morning” if He was not speaking of ordinary days. But on the other hand, I find it hard to imagine why he would describe them that way when talking about the whole globe at once, too, especially if it was before the Sun was created. This makes me wonder if the evenings and the mornings might refer metaphorically to some kind of heavenly time-events, perhaps as Rev. 22:2 might be referring to heavenly months (though there is no night there), rather than to the rotation of the earth. But that is just a speculation on my part. In any case, after reading both sides of the argument, I can only say that I’m just not sure whether or not there is room in the language of Genesis 1 for the days to possibly be long ages. I really don’t see how anyone can be sure, in light of how much disagreement there is among true Hebrew scholars. So I would just advocate being aware of the arguments on both sides of the issue.

More importantly, I have to point out that this is really not a make-or-break case for the OEC vs. YEC debate. The Day-Age interpretation of Genesis is only one of many OEC interpretations. It happens to be the one Ross holds, and perhaps for this reason seems to be currently the most popular, but in the context of the larger issue of the age of the earth, it is not really all that relevant. Following is a brief summary of seven other OEC interpretations besides the Day-Age interpretation (in no particular order):

1) The gap theory: This view holds that verse 1 of Genesis 1 describes God’s original creation of the earth billions of years ago, but that at some later point in time the earth became formless and void as described in verse 2, and that the six days of creation beginning in verse 3 are ordinary days during which God re-created or re-formed the things described. This view was especially popular among conservative Christians in the past. (See the 1909 Scofield reference Bible, for example.)

2) The framework hypothesis: This view holds that the six days of creation in Genesis 1 are intended to be read as ordinary days, but that they function as a literary framework (e.g., something like scenes in a play, or maybe like the seals and trumpets and bowls of Revelation) to present six different parts of the creation, rather than as a time sequence of those six different parts. Meredith Kline is probably the best-known advocate of this view at present, although this is actually a very broad view with many variations.

3) The “analogical days” view: This view holds that the six days of creation are intended to be read as ordinary days, but that the reader is expected to understand that they are really only analogous to actual days, since God is not bound to a time scale and there are no actual days in heaven. As a parallel example, when we read of God’s arm in Scripture, the word “arm” is clearly intended in the ordinary sense, but we are expected to understand that God is spirit and does not have an actual arm, so the word “arm” in this context is really only analogous to an actual arm. In the case of creation, the analogy is to the human work week, with each day’s work being followed by a period of rest from evening until morning, and then a full day of rest on the Sabbath. C. John Collins, author of the book Science and Faith: Friends or Foes (2003), apparently coined the term for this view, but he claims it was also held by the well-known commentators and theologians William G. T. Shedd, Franz Delitzsch, and Herman Bavinck, and also by a majority of the conservative Dutch Protestants in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

4) The “days of fiat” view: This view holds that God uttered His Divine fiats (the “Let there be...” proclamations) of creation in six consecutive ordinary days, but the actual fulfillment of those fiats took time. In other words, the descriptions of these things coming to pass after the fiats are uttered in Genesis 1 are taken to be parenthetical, not included in the days themselves (though in God’s eyes they were as good as fulfilled from the moment He uttered His fiats). Alan Hayward, author of the book Creation and Evolution (1985), is the best-known advocate of this view, but he says it actually goes back to at least 1902, when it was published by F. H. Capron.

5) The “local creation” view: This view holds that Genesis 1:3 and following do not describe the creation of the earth as a whole, but rather the formation and population of a local area of the earth, perhaps the Garden of Eden or some larger region, in six ordinary days. This interpretation relies on the fact that the Hebrew word for “earth” simply means “land” and is often used in connection with a particular area or region, as in Genesis 12:1, where it is generally translated “country.” I am not aware of any current advocates of this view, though Bernard Ramm in his book The Christian View of Science and Scripture (1954) says it was held by John Pye Smith.

6) The “intermittent days” view: This view holds that the six days of creation are ordinary and sequential, but not consecutive. Rather, each day introduces a new long epoch of time (during which the creative activity of the introductory day might possibly be further developed, though Genesis does not go into this). This view is defended by Robert Newman and Herman Eckelmann in their book Genesis One and the Origin of the Earth (1977).

7) The “days of revelation” view: This view holds that the days of Genesis 1 are to be taken as the days in which God revealed His creation to Moses or one of his predecessors, not the days in which He actually created. According to Hayward, this view was suggested by J. H. Kurtz in the 19th century and more recently advocated by P. J. Wiseman in his 1977 book Clues to Creation in Genesis.

Sarfati only addresses the first two of these OEC interpretations in addition to the Day-Age view as held by Ross, so clearly his argument does not constitute a general case for the YEC position over the OEC position, even if we were to grant the total validity of his arguments. I’m not sure which (if any) of these other OEC theories is on the right track, but I can’t see any line of argument so convincing as to disprove them all, let alone all other OEC theories and any future OEC theory that may not have even been articulated yet.

Chapter 3 - The History of Interpretation of Genesis 1-11

This chapter debates Ross’s claims that many of the ancient Christians held to an interpretation of the days of creation that is compatible with an old-earth view. It’s interesting that even Sarfati acknowledges that some of these men held to a figurative interpretation of these days (table, p. 121). So one cannot legitimately claim (as many YECs imply) that such interpretations only came about in response to modern science. In any case, I am not really qualified to comment on the ancient Christians’ view of this, nor do I think it would be particularly relevant even if they all held to a 24-hour interpretation. In other words, I find the argument that such-and-such a view is a recent innovation and thus cannot be right to be of very dubious value–whether applied to the age-of-the-earth debate or to some other issue like Protestantism or Dispensationalism or whatever else.

Chapter 4 - The Order of Creation

This chapter is another attack on Ross’s specific variation of old-earth creationism, namely the Day-Age theory, based on the specific order of things created in Genesis 1. As I said in the review of chapter 2, I don’t believe this is of much import to the larger issue of the age of the earth, because the Day-Age theory is in fact only one of many possible old-earth interpretations of Genesis. Sarfati does make some interesting points here that are worthy of consideration in any evaluation of the Day-Age theory, but they do not really argue for young-earth creationism as opposed to old-earth creationism in general. Also, I would point out that I don’t even find them to be all that decisive against the specific Day-Age variation of old-earth creationism, since there is really no requirement that the text of Genesis be interpreted exactly as Sarfati seems to assume. For example, I don’t think Genesis 1 necessarily says that all birds predate all land reptiles, or that whales predate all land mammals. It is very difficult to specifically categorize which exact animals fit into the descriptions of each day in Genesis 1, and we also have to keep in mind that Genesis 1 may very well be skipping over some of the details (i.e., it might not be specifically including all of the different species of animals in its descriptions).

Chapter 5 - The Big Bang and Astronomy

The main part of this chapter is an attack against the Big Bang theory, both by challenging several supposed evidences for it, and also by pointing out several unsolved problems within it. I will not even attempt to address these challenges and problems. For one thing, I am not a physicist, so my answers would likely be wrong. But more importantly, it is essential to realize that, in spite of Ross’s widespread use of the Big Bang theory as evidence for the OEC position, the OEC position does not really hinge on the accuracy of the Big Bang theory, and it especially does not hinge on the accuracy of the currently speculated version of the Big Bang theory. Thus, for example, when Sarfati accuses the Big Bang theory of artificially adopting an “inflationary model” to solve the “horizon problem”(p. 159), he may possibly be right, as far as I can tell. In the future, it is possible that the inflationary model may be dropped in favor of a different hypothesis. I see no strong reason to suspect the inflationary model will in fact turn out to be wrong, but neither is my OEC viewpoint tied to it. With respect to the issue of the age of the earth, the Big Bang theory is largely irrelevant.

I will instead move on to the alternative theory that Sarfati seems to advocate most strongly, which he calls “white hole relativistic cosmology.” This is the brainchild of Russell Humphreys and was popularized in his 1994 book Starlight and Time. Basically, his proposal is a very different form of a Big Bang cosmology, which allows for space-time to expand over billions and billions of years in most of the universe just like the more standard versions of the Big Bang, but at the same time postulates that because of a relativistic phenomenon known as a white hole, much less time has elapsed on the earth (possibly 6000 years, given the right initial conditions).

The first important thing to note about this theory is that it is a frank admission that the evidence for an old universe is essentially insurmountable. Humphreys’ book includes an appendix debunking all attempts to get around this (such as the proposal that the speed of light is not a constant). Sarfati seems to give tacit acknowledgment to this by the fact that he mentions these other attempts only briefly in passing. And, as previously pointed out, Sarfati explicitly disavows the most common attempt, which is the idea that light was created in transit (p. 189), and has the problem of a deceptive appearance of history that never happened.

So, it really does seem that intelligent YECs like Sarfati are fairly dependent on some form (perhaps not yet thought of) of this cosmology in which the earth can be young while the rest of the universe is very ancient. But is this cosmology possible? Humphreys is correct that the Big Bang theory merely assumes that the universe is without a center, and that assumption could possibly be wrong. But what about the alternative assumption that Humphreys is forced to make, namely that the earth is at or very near the center of the universe? This hardly seems likely to me, given that we know for a fact the earth is not even anywhere close to the center of our own galaxy. Furthermore, the earth orbits the sun. Humphreys’ cosmology depends on the center of the universe initially containing a white hole that the earth had to emerge out of last. It seems preposterous to assume that the center of the universe orbits around the sun, which is presumably why Humphreys says the earth may only be “near” the center. But in that case would not the actual center of the universe in fact be younger than the earth?

These seem like rather significant problems to me, but perhaps there is some solution to them that has not yet been thought of. As a matter of fact, this was exactly the position I was forced to take in my last few years as a YEC. (Yes, I, like Sarfati, was initially quite enchanted by this “white hole cosmology” theory when it first came out.) But we shouldn’t lose sight of the forest for the trees. Take a step back and look at the fundamental proposition of Humphreys’ cosmology, which is that only 6000 years have elapsed on the earth while billions of years have elapsed in outer space. When I did this, I slowly began to realize that this cosmology must in fact be wrong no matter what further refinements might eventually be made to it, because there is actually very strong evidence for much more than 6000 years having elapsed on the earth (see chapter 12).

Chapter 6 - The Origin of Death and Suffering

This chapter deals with what we might call the theological argument for a young earth. In that respect, it may actually be the most important chapter in the book, because this is the one area where YECs can argue that the old-earth view might actually be heretical rather than simply a different interpretation of the Genesis account. In other words, even if OECs are correct that there is room in the text of Genesis and other Scriptures for an old earth, does this teaching square with the other principles taught in the Bible? More specifically, does it square with the teachings in the Bible about sin and death and suffering? Sarfati says it does not.

I find very little merit in Sarfati’s first argument, which is that God’s proclamation of the creation as “very good” must mean that there was originally no death in the animal kingdom. It is true that animal suffering and death may not seem “very good” on the surface. But God’s thoughts are higher than ours, and He has His good purposes for everything. In fact, in Job 38:39, God glories in His ability to hunt prey for the lion. Psalm 104:21 expresses the same idea. If God can glory in animal death now, who are we to say that He could not have been doing so in Genesis 1? To make this assertion is quite simply to go beyond the text (which is something we would all do well to be very careful about–see Revelation 22:18).

This is similar to Sarfati’s argument based on Romans 8:20-22, which says God subjected the whole creation to futility. Sarfati cannot imagine how the creation could have been subjected to futility at the Fall, if in fact animal suffering and death were already present before the Fall. But what is the futility and groaning and travailing to which the passage refers? The text does not spell this out. It does, however, say that the creation will in the future be delivered from this bondage and futility into the liberty of the children of God, which in the premillenial interpretation (which I hold and which Sarfati says he does not dispute) will happen during the literal Millennial reign of Christ. The Millennium is held by many to be free of animal predation. This view is based on a literal interpretation of Isaiah 11:6-9 and Isaiah 65:25, which speak of the wolf and the lamb lying down together and the lion eating straw like an ox. In actuality I believe this literal interpretation is rather doubtful, for the same verse (Isaiah 65:25) also speaks of dust being the serpent’s food. It seems to me that a figurative meaning is more likely, emphasizing the relative freedom from fear of powerful enemies including Satan himself. But regardless of which interpretation we take, the important point to note is that the Millennium is still explicitly not free from all animal death and suffering! On the contrary, it seems animals will be killed for sacrifice (Ezekiel 40:39) and people will continue to eat meat (Ezekiel 47:10). If animal death will continue to occur after the creation is delivered from the bondage and futility described in Romans 8, clearly this passage cannot be teaching that animal death is part of that bondage and futility. So I think Sarfati’s interpretation of this passage is actually very weak indeed. At the very least, he is again going beyond the text and his argument is far from conclusive.

It is similarly going beyond the text to read animal suffering and death into Romans 5:12-19 and 1 Corinthians 15:21-22. These passages are clearly referring to human death, not animal death. For example, when it says, “As in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive,” are we to believe that animals can be made alive in Christ? Surely not. So then, it is not very reasonable to say this verse teaches that it was the Fall of Adam that brought about their death. I would also point out that it is not necessary for the OEC viewpoint to interpret the death brought about by Adam’s sin as being merely spiritual, as Sarfati says Ross does. I believe many OECs would agree with Sarfati that it was also physical, but they would say it was physical human death, not physical animal death. So this point is not really relevant to the age-of-the-earth debate.

I would say Sarfati’s strongest point in this chapter is actually the case for vegetarian diets in the original creation, based on Genesis 1:29-30. This is admittedly a difficult passage for the OEC viewpoint, but even this can hardly be said to be conclusive. The text does not explicitly state that animals ate no meat, it only says that God gave them plants to eat. So there is no real necessity to take this verse as being an exhaustive list of everything that animals were given to eat. Ross’s interpretation that it refers to the fact that animals ultimately receive their nutritional benefit, directly or indirectly, from plants seems reasonably plausible to me. Derek Kidner (Tyndale Old Testament Commentary Series) makes the following observation: “The assigning of every green plant for food to all creatures must not be pressed to mean that all were once herbivorous, any more than to mean that all plants were equally edible to all. It is a generalization...” In other words, this verse cannot be taken in a completely literal sense, for then it would be saying that all plants (large and small, aquatic and non-aquatic, etc.) were eaten by all animals, which is clearly not the case. So it must be a generalization. I think Sarfati should admit that this is at least one possible interpretation.

As a final point, it is interesting to note that Sarfati seems to acknowledge the role of the Tree of Life as the apparent means by which Adam would have lived forever had he not sinned and been banished from the Garden (p. 202). But surely the Tree of Life was not intended for animals! In other words, there is no Scriptural reason to assume that all animals in the original creation ate of the Tree of Life, so why should we assume that they did not experience death? It seems to me that this theology that says that God originally created animals with eternal life (in the physical sense) is foreign to Scripture, and ought to be avoided.

Chapter 7 - The Created Kinds

In this chapter Sarfati attempts to define precisely just how much “evolution” he believes can occur. This has long been a tricky issue for YECs and OECs alike. Sarfati does believe new species can develop over time, but he says the critical difference between this limited “evolution” (which he also refers to as “speciation”) and that proposed by the evolutionary scientists is this: In his limited evolution or speciation, no new genetic information is created.

It is interesting to note that Sarfati believes this speciation can occur much more quickly than even atheistic evolutionists believe possible (pp. 235, 239), something which Ross criticizes YECs for. The reason is that in order for all the animals to fit in the ark, those who hold to a global Flood (virtually all YECs) must postulate fewer species of animals at the time of this Flood, which must have later “evolved” into all the species we have today. Sarfati frankly acknowledges all of this (and rightly objects that this is not the same thing as believing in “evolution” in the common usage of the word).

So what about Sarfati’s views here? Actually, I am in no place to say whether or not Sarfati’s proposed fast rates of speciation are in fact possible or not. Nor do I really object to his attempts to delineate the difference between “speciation” and “evolution” in terms of information creation. I can only comment that I think this is very speculative at best. Genetic information of the kind that Sarfati is talking about (p. 229) is what William Dembski calls complex specified information (see his 1999 book Intelligent Design, for example), and it may indeed be a valid concept, as far as I am aware. However, the specified complexity of the information content of any particular species is really not a very well defined measure. In other words, no one can analyze the genetic makeup of two different species and then conclude with any certainty that the first has more genetic information of this kind than the second, or vice versa. So I have a little trouble seeing how Sarfati’s theory is very useful, but neither do I have any particular objection to it as a hypothesis only.

The more important point is, of course, that this issue is not really central to the debate on the age-of-the-earth. I do not know how much evolution has taken place in the history of the earth. Whether it is limited to the “speciation” that Sarfati proposes or not, the OEC position is not even argued against, let alone refuted.

Chapter 8 - The Global Flood and Noah’s Ark

This chapter primarily deals with the reasons Sarfati thinks the Genesis text itself demands that the Flood was global, and also deals with some of the objections Ross raises to the idea of a global Flood. This is somewhat similar to chapter 2 in that it is largely based on linguistic arguments that are neither in Ross’s nor Sarfati’s fields of expertise. I do find this to be an important topic, so I will go ahead and state that I don’t find Sarfati’s textual or other arguments to be conclusive–even less convincing than his arguments for 24-hour days in Genesis 1, in fact. For the most part he just seems to incredulously assert his disagreement with each of the reasons Ross gives for why a nonglobal interpretation is permissible, without really making a serious attempt to analyze them. Repeated incredulity is not a well-reasoned argument. I would also point out that Sarfati does not even make an attempt to explain some of the more obvious difficulties of the global Flood theory, such as the question of how the animals managed to migrate to the various continents after they got off the ark. However, as this is not really directly related to the debate on the age of the earth (some OECs actually agree with YECs that the Flood had to be global), I will not go into this in any more detail.

Chapter 9 - The History of Mankind

In this chapter Sarfati strongly objects to the idea of there being any significant gaps in the genealogies of Genesis, an idea which ironically is often advanced by YECs. (Many YECs hold that the earth could well be a little older than the 6000 years obtained by adding up the genealogies, say up to 10,000 years old or so–though of course, this is still vastly different from the OEC viewpoint, which generally accepts the ordinary scientific estimate that the earth is actually several billion years old, though the exact number is not important.) Since this is not directly related to the question of the age of the earth, I will refrain from further comment. The other major issue in this chapter is the question of whether or not Neandertals were human, and this is actually debated both ways by OECs and YECs alike, so I will not even attempt to address it.

Chapter 10 - “Biblical” Old-Age Arguments

This deals with arguments that OECs sometimes use to say the Bible is not only neutral on the subject of the age of the earth, but in fact favors the view that the earth is old. I actually agree with Sarfati here that these particular arguments are very weak, and certainly do not prove the OEC view. However, I do think there are some arguments from the Bible alone (without even taking science into consideration) that show that the YEC interpretation is not quite so obviously intended as Sarfati would have us believe, and therefore the OEC interpretations really do need to be considered as well. (See my paper entitled Inconsistency of the Young-Earth Creation Interpretation for more details.)

Chapter 11 - Science and the Young Earth

This chapter purports to present scientific evidence for a young earth. I commend Sarfati for acknowledging that these evidences do not really prove that the earth is young (pp. 333, 366; also see the review of chapter 1). Instead, he claims that what they show is that “even granting the long-agers’ premises about uniformitarianism, the science is overwhelmingly in favor of an age far younger than billions of years” (p. 333, emphasis added). I can’t decide if Sarfati’s hyperbole here is laughable or just sad, but I believe anyone who honestly looks into the scientific evidence will conclude that it is not in favor of the YEC view at all, let alone “overwhelmingly” in favor of it.

It’s worth noting before we go any further that Sarfati is either severely misguided or else in serious denial in his scathing condemnation of the principle of uniformitarianism. Firstly, he bases this condemnation on an extreme philosophical application of this principle (namely, scoffing at the idea of the Lord’s coming) which is in no way equivalent to a legitimate scientific application of it. Secondly, he appears to have not the slightest concept of what might be a legitimate scientific application. He seems to think scientists mean by this principle that everything that is happening now was also happening in the past in exactly the same fashion, or at exactly the same rate. Thus, the majority of his arguments in this chapter are actually based on very questionable (if not outright laughable) misapplications of the principle of uniformitarianism. At the same time, he uses the results of some of these arguments to claim that it is a mistake to believe that the fundamental laws of physics remain constant over time. Of course, the fact is, if the fundamental laws of physics really change over time, there is no reason to expect we could make any sense of the universe whatsoever. So it is not the OECs and scientists who carry the principle of uniformitarianism too far in applying it to such things as the laws of physics; it is rather Sarfati and the YECs who carry it too far in misapplying it to the present rates of various other processes, as will be pointed out below. (But unlike Sarfati, I will refrain from abusing Scripture and comparing those who use these uniformitarian arguments to the scoffers prophesied in 2 Peter 3:4.) Anyway, the point is, I believe Sarfati’s condemnation of uniformitarianism is really nonsensical and his arguments end up showing nothing.

I will now attempt to respond briefly to each of the young-earth arguments that Sarfati presents:

1) Decay of the Magnetic Field

Sarfati asserts that there is evidence that the earth’s magnetic field is decaying, and that this points to a young earth. But this is really an example of his misapplication of the principle of uniformitarianism. Actually there is no reason to believe the earth’s magnetic field has always been in a steadily decaying mode. On the contrary, the geologic evidence points to it being cyclic. In other words, the reason it is currently decaying is that it is currently on the downswing of one of its periodic reversals. Sarfati admits that this is the standard “evolutionist response” to his argument, but scoffs at the fact that scientists have not yet come up with a complete theory for what causes the reversals. But how is that relevant? It is not. Sarfati even acknowledges the strength of the evidence that the earth has undergone magnetic reversals, but tries to rescue his YEC “evidence” by offering an alternative theory (courtesy of Russell Humphreys) to explain these reversals as having occurred as a result of convection currents during the Flood. It is apparently true that such convection currents could affect the magnetic field. But so what? Why should we believe this alternative theory? Even if we grant that it is one plausible explanation, a theory can hardly be considered solid evidence. So at best this argument could be used to cast doubt on the accepted theories of the periodic magnetic field reversal; it certainly does not lead to the conclusion that the earth must be young.

2) Helium in the Rocks

Sarfati asserts that the presence of helium from alpha-decay in rocks shows that this alpha-decay happened faster than expected in the past, which in turn would mean that radiometric dating predicts ages which are much older than the actual age of the rock. I have to admit I have no explanation for this unusual phenomenon. But why on earth should we believe Sarfati’s claim that the best explanation is that the alpha-decay rates were faster in the past? Would it not be far more likely that it was the helium diffusion rates that were slower in the past–especially given that helium diffusion rates are not even constant but are dependent on such things as temperature, as even Sarfati acknowledges? (Note Sarfati’s misapplication of uniformitarianism again.) Or perhaps there is another source for the helium besides the alpha decay to begin with. It really seems rather preposterous to me that anyone would consider this argument to be convincing evidence for a young earth.

3) Salt in the Sea

Sarfati asserts that the amount of salt in the oceans is lower than would be expected if the earth was old. This argument reminds me of the old YEC standby about dust on the moon, which AiG (thankfully) has admitted to be faulty. Basically, that argument made use of a certain estimate of the rate of cosmic dust accumulation on the moon, and said that this showed that the moon must be young, or else it would have hundreds of feet of dust accumulated by now. Some even went so far as to say that NASA was greatly surprised when the first moon landing revealed only about half an inch of dust instead of hundreds of feet. Of course, this is totally false; NASA did not really instruct Neil Armstrong to step out into what they fully expected to be a hundred feet of dust. The fact is, by that time scientists had gotten better estimates of the rate of dust accumulation and were fully expecting Armstrong to find solid ground. Similarly, this argument Sarfati gives about the accumulation of salt in the sea is based on certain estimates on the rate of accumulation that I would suspect are far from proven. (And I cannot resist pointing out that the source of the estimates was a couple of YECs.) But perhaps even more importantly, I have to point out that this is yet another example of a misapplication of the principle of uniformitarianism. Even if the YEC estimate of the rate of influx of salt into the oceans is totally accurate, I don’t see any reason to believe that it is the same today as it would have been in the past. In fact, I suspect this rate of salt influx could have changed significantly even in the last 100 years or so, as a result of various industrial byproducts, agricultural processes such as fertilization, and perhaps even just the changes in drainage caused by such things as land-clearing and river damming. Thus, the rates of salt influx and output could easily have been balanced in the past, even if they are not balanced in the present.

4) Missing “Old” Supernova Remnants

Sarfati asserts that the failure of astronomers to find any old supernova remains is evidence that the universe is young. Since I am not qualified to theorize on how supernova expansion works, I cannot offer any explanation for this. But I must say I am really amazed at Sarfati’s inconsistency in even bringing this argument up as evidence for his position! Why? Because Sarfati himself argues in chapter 5 for Russell Humphreys’ “white hole relativistic cosmology” explanation of the universe. This is a theory which, like the Big Bang theory, says that supernovae are old, not young! (That is, they are old in the time frame of the supernovae themselves, where billions of years elapsed while only about one day elapsed in the time frame of the earth, due to an unusual effect of general relativity.) Sarfati explicitly disavows the theory that distant stars and supernovae are young, with their light created “in transit.” So this argument does not help his cause in the slightest. The fact that cosmologists have not yet explained everything in the universe cannot be taken to be evidence in favor of a young earth, especially when your own view of the universe has the exact same view of the problem at hand.

5) Comets

Sarfati asserts that the presence of comets (which have a relatively short life span) is evidence for a young universe. My response to this is exactly the same as my response to the previous argument. You can’t have it both ways. If Sarfati supports Humphreys’ “while hole relativistic cosmology” theory, then he cannot legitimately use the as-yet unexplained (according to Sarfati) problem of comets to support his brand of YEC. But besides this, Sarfati does not really provide any evidence against the standard explanation that comets are formed in what is called the Oort cloud, and thus the supply is steadily replenished. He mentions what he calls “a total absence of observational evidence” for the Oort cloud, but that is hardly a convincing proof that either it or something else along similar lines does not exist.

6) Lunar Recession

Sarfati asserts that the moon’s slow recession away from the earth due to tidal effects is evidence that it could not have been in existence for as long as OECs believe. He admits that “evolutionary scientists” have postulated an answer for this one, namely that the current configuration of the oceans causes greater tidal interaction than at times past, but he argues that this is not plausible. But I do not see any strong reason why this explanation is so unreasonable, as there certainly does seem to be plenty of evidence for continental drift and thus for the idea that the land-ocean configuration was less interspersed in the past, with less surface contact and therefore lower tidal interaction. Here again it seems that it is the YECs, not the OECs, who insist on being uniformitarian without reason. Actually, Sarfati does attempt to present a reason for being uniformitarian on this point, namely that there seems to be some evidence in certain varves for the tidal rate remaining relatively constant over the last 900 million years. It is strange that Sarfati would consider this convincing, given that he does not believe in dating by varves (p. 367). But even assuming that this dating is accurate (as most OECs would presumably accept), Sarfati admits the data in the varves concerning tidal rates is highly uncertain. This is exactly what the research Sarfati cited by K. J. Krelove concluded, and Sarfati’s only rebuttal is that he thinks the data can be “better interpreted,” by which he apparently means he thinks its degree of uncertainty is actually not so high as they said it was. I don’t see any reason why we should find Sarfati’s opinion on this very convincing.

7) Dinosaur Blood Cells and Hemoglobin

Sarfati asserts that hemoglobin has been found in dinosaur remains, proving that the dinosaurs lived recently. This argument is difficult to respond to because it is just so vague. Sarfati notes that Mary Schweitzer, the paleontologist who discovered the supposed hemoglobin, finally concluded that it was not true hemoglobin but rather “possibly 3-4 amino acids from the original protein [which consisted of many hundreds of amino acids] attached to the heme.” His only rebuttal is that AiG biologist Pierre Jerlstrom is “most skeptical.” Well, I would just have to say I think we have the right to be a little skeptical of AiG’s opinions, too. The only other obvious point to make here is that Sarfati nowhere in this argument gives any evidence for his claim that hemoglobin could not possibly survive intact for 65 million years. It is apparently true that this is the current opinion of most scientists, for Sarfati says they were very surprised when it initially looked like the hemoglobin had survived. So I’m not arguing that this opinion is false, but at the same time, how are we supposed to know if there is some proven reason why the hemoglobin absolutely could not survive this long? Sarfati does not say. It’s not like hemoglobin is radioactive and has a well-defined half-life; it is all very ambiguous. So until Sarfati can say with a little more certainty that A) this actually was hemoglobin and not just hemoglobin fragments as the actual researchers concluded, and B) there is a physical reason why hemoglobin could not possibly survive 65 million years, I cannot consider this a very convincing argument.

8) Radiohalos

Sarfati asserts that the presence of certain radiohalos in various rocks is evidence that they were created rapidly, contrary to accepted old-earth theories of rock formation. This argument is highly technical and depends on data that I simply do not have access to, so I cannot really offer any sophisticated refutation. I can point out, however, that even if the commonly-accepted theories of rock formation were proved wrong, it would hardly be a convincing proof that the earth was young. Also, since this argument relies on pretty much the same principles as radiometric dating, which Sarfati does not believe in, I think it is a bit of a double standard for him to advance this as an argument in favor of a young earth. At best it is just an argument that radiometric dating is unreliable. (Though in my opinion it is far more likely that these radiohalos are simply formed in some other fashion that Sarfati is not taking into account.)

9) Erosion of Continents

Sarfati asserts that the fact that the continents have not totally eroded away by now is evidence for a young earth. Here is yet another example where it is the YECs who abuse the principle of uniformitarianism, not the OECs. How can Sarfati fault the OECs as being too uniformitarian for merely assuming that various constants of the laws of physics remain constant, while he bases his argument on the wild speculation that the current rates of geologic uplift and erosion are the same as they have always been? It truly boggles the open mind. Of course, the truth is, there is no reason whatsoever to assume that the rates of geologic uplift and erosion have always remained constant. Geology is absolutely peppered with evidences that these things are constantly changing. There have been times of net continent building, and times of net continent eroding. There have been times of increased tectonic and volcanic activity, which would throw all these rates off. Again, geologists are not so uniformitarian as to assert such rates must remain constant; it is only the YECs who are apparently so inclined. Thus, this argument is really as foolish as it is irrelevant and unconvincing.

By way of conclusion, keep in mind that this book is very recent (2004) and so these nine arguments are presumably the very best or at least among the very best that YECs have come up with to date. Then ask yourself honestly if they really form a respectable scientific case for a young earth (especially when considered in light of the arguments for an old earth as seen in the next chapter).

I would also point out that there is obviously a dangerous tendency in human nature for us to favor evidence that favors our preconceived position. Thus, some YECs seem to scour all the results they can find of any dating estimate anyone has ever attempted to make by any process (the more obscure and unobvious, and thus less easily researched and refuted, the better), and then either consciously or unconsciously latch onto the one in a thousand that happens to point to a young age (no matter how failed the initial assumptions might have been), and simply ignore all the rest. Then they claim their side is supported by the evidence when that just isn’t true. In my opinion, this is not just bad science, it is a defect in our fallen human natures. So even if you are a YEC who does not find my OEC arguments convincing, please make sure you at least avoid this pitfall. Acknowledge why you really believe in YEC; don’t pretend it is on the basis of certain “evidence” you can’t really even understand or check up on.

Chapter 12 - Refuting Old-Earth Arguments

I find this chapter to be quite possibly the weakest of the whole book, not so much because of what it says, but because of what it doesn’t say. For the most part, the old-age arguments Sarfati attempts to rebut are of the “he-said, she-said” variety. E.g., He said there are too many fossils to be explained by a young-earth model, she said there wasn’t. He said there was too much coal to be explained by a young-earth model, she said there wasn’t. He said chalk deposits take a long time to accumulate, she said they don’t. How is an average person to have any idea who is right? Unless one is prepared to go back to the original research cited by each side and carefully analyze the assumptions each study made, it is all a lost cause.

Rather than doing that, I will instead point out a few very obvious facts about the geologic column which Sarfati did not even attempt to address. I believe the geologic column was the killer argument that first convinced scientists that the earth was old, and in many ways it is still the best, because it is so simple a child can understand it and see what an insurmountable problem it is for the young-earth view. Additionally, it was essentially the final nail in the coffin in my own slow and painful departure (as an adult, not in college as a result of the influence of some godless professor) from my previously-cherished young-earth creationism.

By using the term geologic column I do not mean to say I think scientists have necessarily figured out the exact time frames of each and every epoch of the earth’s history. I have no idea how accurate they are on that subject. I only mean the obvious fact that the surface of the earth is in so many places covered by layer upon layer of rock, and that even when we can’t see very many of these layers in a single place (like we can in the Grand Canyon, for example), we still see evidence of them as we travel across the surface and see where one layer ends and another begins.

Now what is the cause of all these layers of rock that I am calling the geologic column? Most scientists would say the layers were generally laid down over a long process of time. YECs obviously disagree, but since the geologic column contains fossils, they cannot reasonably theorize that the earth was created with the geologic column already in place. Instead, they have no choice but to theorize that the geologic column was formed in a single very short period of time by the Flood. Not billions of years, not millions of years, not even thousands of years, but less than one single year, with all the fossils being the remains from that one single catastrophic event.

So who is right? It is evidently true that floods can lay down vast layers of sediments, and that these could then harden into rocks with fossils. But that is not the fundamental issue. The fundamental issue is this: Does the geologic column that any child can see today look like a series of layers laid down by a single catastrophic event like the Flood, or does it look like a series of layers laid down by many different means over many years (just how many is not really important)? Consider the following facts:

1) The layers we see in the geologic column not only contain fossils, the fossils they contain have an identifiable order to them. Generally speaking, certain types of fossils are found in certain layers. The arrangement is not random and haphazard as one would expect had all the layers been laid down by a single event. In extremely general terms, the simpler fossils are found in the lower layers, and the more complex fossils are found in the upper layers. Now this ought to be enough evidence to be considered insurmountable all in itself, but there have been some well-known YEC attempts to explain it away. For example, some hypothesize that the Flood would have naturally sorted out the fossils in just such a fashion. Simpler creatures would have a tendency to sink to the bottom, while more complex ones would have a tendency to rise to the top. Other YECs propose that the simpler creatures were the first to perish in the Flood, being unable to escape the rising waters by climbing to the higher hills. I believe both of these explanations are rather obviously inadequate when examined in detail, but wait: there’s more.

2) The fossils contained in the geologic column are not just fossilized remains of dead animals; they show evidence of living animals. Perhaps the best-known examples of such fossils are dinosaur footprints. I have been to one site of many such fossilized footprints near Morrison, Colorado. This site was discovered by road crews in the process of making a highway cut. The footprints are unmistakable, as is the fact that this is not at the very bottom of the geologic column, nor is it at the very top. There are many layers both below and above. Is this the result of a global flood laying down vast layers of sediment all at once, with dead animals mixed in? Impossible! This is to my mind very clear evidence that these layers were laid down over the process of time. There are layers below which doubtless contain many fossils (at least we certainly know that the same layers contain many fossils in other locations where they are exposed), and layers above which doubtless contain many fossils, and yet in the middle, dinosaurs were walking around, leaving footprints. The Flood clearly could not be responsible for both the fossils below and the fossils above if the layers in the middle contain footprints made by living creatures! The formation of the geologic column had to take place over the process of time.

3) Along similar lines, many of the layers of rock found in any particular local manifestation of the geologic column show many other very clear indications of the elapse of time. This is not like the layers of sediment laid down by a flood, it is like the layers laid down by a whole host of other processes (which processes vary by location). For example, some of the layers contain surfaces with the characteristic shape of wind-blown sand dunes. Others have the characteristic shape of lake-bed ripples. Still others have been cut by V-shaped stream valleys, and others by U-shaped glacier valleys. Many contain tree roots. There are also coprolites (fossilized feces). Geological nonconformities abound. These are places where the layers have been angled (e.g., by a fault or uplift), then weathered off so that the surface cuts across several layers, then further layers deposited on top (when conditions changed from weathering to sediment-laying). I don’t see how anyone can look at these various features and with a straight face say they must have all been formed by a single cataclysmic flood. It just flies in the face of either common sense or honesty.

Of course, there are many other evidences for the age of the earth, but I am not a scientist, so for the purposes of this review, at least, I will stick to the obvious facts mentioned above. For a sincere seeker who is committed to not going beyond the Scriptures by reading a false interpretation into them, I think this should be enough to at least prompt a deeper study of the issue.


This page copyright © 2005 Edward A. Morris.  Created February 5, 2005.  Last updated September 25, 2005.

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