A biblical and scientific refutation of ‘progressive creationism’ (billions of years) as popularized by astronomer Hugh Ross
See more information about the book and some outside reviews of (and comments on) Refuting Compromise (first published in 2004; now available in an updated and expanded edition, 2011):
- Ken Ham, President, Answers in Genesis
- Dan Lietha, Cartoonist, Answers in Genesis
- Sola Scriptura! super Scriptura sub Scientia!, a review by rocket scientist Dr Joe Sebeny, Southern Arizona Origin Science Association: “It’s a well written, well referenced (very important for this type of discussion), comprehensive and yet easy to understand salvo of mortal blows (both Biblical and scientific) against ‘Progressive Creationism’, as popularized by astronomer Hugh Ross. Having just completed reading this new text, I consider this new masterpiece on par with importance to the Biblical Creationist classic The Genesis Flood by Whitcomb and Morris, which was first published in 1961 and helped to kick-start the modern Biblical Scientific Creationist movement. The church needs to return to the supreme authority and sufficiency of Holy Scripture and understand the proper ministerial role of science. This new book is an excellent resource to refute the error and deviant compromising positions, not only of ‘progressive creationists’, but also of theistic evolutionists, gap-theorists, and those teaching the framework hypothesis.”
- Dr Tony Garland, Spirit and Truth: “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.”
- Fred Butler, Fred’s Bible Talk: “With trained scientists and theologians behind him, Dr Ross and his apologetics for progressive creationism appears to be a sheer, impenetrable wall of defense. However, Dr Jonathan Sarfati has authored a book entitled Refuting Compromise, in which he not only scaled this wall, but he has dismantled it block by block with thorough exegesis of the biblical text and a comprehensive review of all the relevant scientific data Ross uses to fortify his castle and launch his salvos against biblical creationism. The so-called academic apologetics set forth by Dr. Ross needed someone of equal caliber to refute them, and Dr Sarfati is more than a well-qualified individual to offer such a challenge.”
- Standing on the Word, Mary Jo Nutting, Alpha Omega Institute
- At Last! A powerful tool to challenge your compromising pastor/Christian leader, Robert L. Sumner, The Biblical Evangelist: “It’s been a long time in the making. A monumental book being released this month marks, I believe, a whole new era in the history of the modern creation movement.”
- Matt Gardenghi, Conservative Book Talk
- Gene Blankenship, Design Science Association (PDF): “For those who seek the whole truth without compromise, Refuting Compromise by [Jonathan] Sarfati leads in the right direction. It’s a banquet in today’s famine of biblical truth. Refuting Compromise is a masterpiece centered on refuting [Dr] Ross’s wanderings.”
- Dr David DeWitt, CRSQ 42(1):19, June 2005 (extract below)
- Andrew Cullen, Origins (Biblical Creation Society, UK) 41:25–26, September 2005 (extract below)
- Dr Randy Alcorn, Eternal Perspective Ministries (see interview): “In order to learn more about the Biblical and scientific problems with Progressive Creationist beliefs, I highly recommend three resources: 1. Refuting Compromise by Jonathan Sarfati (2004). … Refuting Compromise is by far the most comprehensive work on the subject that I am aware of. ”
- Tim Chaffey, Midwest Apologetics: “Throughout the book Dr Sarfati is very gracious toward Dr Ross while effectively critiquing Ross’ works. This is one of the best books I have ever read — 10 out of 10.”
- Tom Riggle, AsteriskTom: “Dr. Sarfati’s book is so welcome. He rolls up his sleeves (this is a difficult subject) and courteously and meticulously sets the groundwork for a Biblical account of six days of creation and day of rest. He does not belittle the opponents, whether they are strict evolutionists (Hawkins), day-age creationists (Hugh Ross, Gleason Archer), or Gap Theorists ([refuted by] R. Grigg) and Framework Hypothesists (Meredith Kline). But he takes each position and deals with them scripturally, contextually and linguistically. … I like that the author is considerate of his readers: He tells them, at the beginning of each chapter what he is going to say. He says it—the main part of the chapter. And then he summarizes what he just said. Introduction, elaboration, summarization. Excellent. I wish all authors would do this! ”
- Dan Reynolds, Ph.D. (Organic Chemistry), TASC—Triangle Association for the Science of Creation: Refuting Compromise is a comprehensive refutation of progressive creation and also an excellent apologetic for young earth creation. It is highly recommended reading for all interested in creation.
- “Refuting Compromise”—with a Chainsaw (review by Bob Sorenson): “It turns out that whether or not someone has even heard of Hugh Ross before, there is a great deal of useful material here in science and theology. … I believe that Dr Sarfati was fair to Hugh Ross, and gave him credit when he had accurate statements. Unfortunately, much of what Ross, OECs in general and evolutionists cling to is by faith, not by evidence or Scripture. … Refuting Compromise is an important book for understanding biblical creation and dealing with both science and Scripture to counter compromisers and scoffers. Dr Jonathan Sarfati refutes compromise with a chainsaw; this book is a power tool. As I indicated earlier, it is not a piece of fluff. I do not believe many people will understand all of it (I certainly did not), but there is a wealth of material available to educate and edify the Christian, and to inform the honest inquirer. There are indices and the chapters have subheadings, so it will be something you can take off the shelf for reference.”
- See also a testimony, below
Why is this book needed?
Dr Hugh Norman Ross (b. 1945) is a Canadian astronomer who is now best known for his apologetics ministry, Reasons to Believe, which is based in California. This ministry purports to give Christians scientific evidence to support the Bible and answer anti-Christian arguments by skeptics. This ministry coordinates his many speaking engagements and publishes a newsletter called Facts and Faith. Ross has written a number of popular-level books on the Bible, science, and apologetics.
Surely, Christians should support Ross’s professed aim to reconcile the Bible and science, shouldn’t they? Especially with so much propaganda claiming that science and Christianity are opposed. Ross is even a staunch opponent of Darwinian evolution and proclaims there is irrefutable scientific evidence for a creator. Further, Ross proclaims to believe that Genesis is literal history, not myth or allegory, and that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God. It is not surprising then that many Christian leaders have written glowing endorsements of his ideas, and NavPress has published his books.
Sadly, some people endorsed Ross’s books without even reading them thoroughly, but as a favor to friends. This is a most unfortunate, if not irresponsible, use of prestige with the Christian public. Some noted Christian leaders, out of friendship to the editor and also to the pastor of Dr Ross, recommended his book Creation and Time without really having worked through its content. Thus, their stance on creation is not necessarily that of his book. One of them, before January 1998, withdrew his endorsement of it.
Ross was also featured in the June 2003 cover story of the leading Pentecostal magazine Charisma, by Andy Butcher, Charisma’s senior writer and news director.1
However, when Ross’s claims are examined, we find that many times he does not allow scripture to speak for itself, but, rather, reinterprets scripture in line with secular ‘science.’ So while Ross proclaims he is ‘anti-evolution,’ in the sense that he denies that one kind of creature can change into another, he accepts almost every other aspect of evolutionary ‘science,’ even when it disagrees with the plain teaching of Genesis. And while Ross professes to believe that Genesis is literal history, this history seems vastly different from the literal text. As shown in the table below, his view is often called ‘progressive creation,’ and can be contrasted with the views of Creation Ministries International, which we believe are derived from a careful and hermeneutically consistent reading of the Bible. His own preferred term for himself, ‘day-age creationist,’ explicitly reflects the second line in the table. This will be shown in an addendum to this introduction, which is our comment on the differences as understood by Ross himself.
Others have written in response to Ross, including Mark Van Bebber’s and Paul Taylor’s excellent point-by-point rebuttal of Creation and Time,2 but for some reason it hasn’t received the attention it deserves. Ross has never answered the main points raised, and still repeats the same errors. The best Reasons to Believe could do was publish a somewhat weak review by a political scientist, which basically attacked the messenger rather than evaluating the message.3
Some of Ross’s books have been the subject of public reviews,4 but they also seem to have had minimal effect on Ross’s teachings, in the sense that he keeps repeating the same errors. Hence, it was necessary to write a comprehensive book to show that the propositions on the left side of the table below are simply not possible to reconcile with the Bible, and that there is no justification in true science for them either.
|HUGH ROSS||CREATION MINISTRIES INTERNATIONAL|
|The earth and universe are billions of years old.||The earth and universe are about 6,000 years old.|
|The days of creation were really vast ages.||The days of creation were ordinary days.|
|The sun and stars were created before the earth, and merely ‘appeared’ to a hypothetical observer on earth on the fourth ‘day.’||The sun and stars were created on day 4, after the earth (created on day 1).|
|The seventh day is still continuing, supported by the alleged ‘fact’ of no new species arising in the last 10,000 years.||The seventh day was also about 24 hours long. Some populations become reproductively isolated (unable to interbreed) today, which, by definition, means that a new species is formed.|
|Animals were eating each other, dying from natural disasters, and suffering from many diseases, for millions of years before mankind existed.||Creation was originally ‘very good,’ while death, suffering, and disease ultimately are the result of Adam’s sin, which resulted in God’s curse upon His creation.|
|God created almost all species separately.||God created comparatively few ‘kinds,’ and many ‘species’ are the results of non-information increasing diversification of the created gene-pools, especially after the Flood.|
|God created Adam 60,000 to 10,000 years ago [this range incorporates the possibility that Adam post-dates Aboriginals’ arrival in Australia, ‘dated’ 40,000 years ago]. Neandertals were not true humans but soulless hominids.||God created Adam about 6,000 years ago. Neandertals, like Homo erectus, are fossils of true humans who descended from Adam, and likely lived shortly after Babel.|
|The order in the fossils is a record of distinct ages with vastly different creatures existing, all the results of separate creative acts by God over periods of time.||Much of the fossil ‘order’ reflects the different stages of burial in a worldwide Flood and subsequent local catastrophes, as well as different ecosystems.|
|Noah’s Flood was restricted to the Mesopotamian river valley.||Noah’s Flood covered the entire globe.|
|God had to intervene supernaturally to produce the different racial characteristics, to help the people separate atBabel.||Adam and Eve had the genetic information to give rise to all the different ‘races’ (people groups) today, allowing for non-information-gaining mutations. The racial characteristics arose after small people groups became separated after Babel.|
Ross overextends his areas of competence
While one can appreciate Dr Ross’s enthusiasm in debate, it unfortunately predisposes him at times to make pronouncements in areas where he lacks expertise. This can have an unhelpful effect on Christians who assume that he is really knowledgeable in all the areas he so willingly addresses.
For instance, in arguing against the young-earth view, Dr Ross at times resorts to technicalities of the Hebrew language. But this has landed him in trouble more than once, as when he tried to discredit the common biblical creationist identification of behemoth in Job 40:15 ff. with a sauropod, because he believes the dinosaurs became extinct 65 million years ago. Ross writes (The Genesis Question:48): ‘The Hebrew word for ‘behemoth’ appears in its plural form, behema … .’ However, even beginners in Hebrew know that ‘–a’ is often a feminine singular and ‘–oth’ is a feminine plural.
So Ross got it back-to-front: behema is the singular form, while behemoth is grammatically plural. It is a figure of speech known as an intensive plural or plural of majesty, where ‘the referent is a singular individual, which is, however, so thoroughly characterized by the qualities of the noun that a plural is used,’5 ‘beast of beasts.’ The context indicates that behemoth is the largest beast God made. And Job 40:17 says, ‘His tail sways like a cedar,’ which certainly doesn’t fit Ross’s suggestion of a hippopotamus (unless the reference was to a bonsai cedar, maybe!).
Scope of this book
This critique concentrates mostly on Ross’s books, rather than his audio recordings and website, since books are an incontrovertible record of his teachings and have presumably been double-checked. Conversely, there is more chance of making a mere slip in speaking, and internet articles are very open to change in content and address.
The main exceptions are:
- Dr Ross’s widely publicized debate with Dr Kent Hovind on the John Ankerberg Show in October 2000. I critiqued this in detail at Ross–Hovind Debate, John Ankerberg Show, October 2000, and some of the points are relevant to this book in several places.
- Life and Death in Eden, The Biblical and Scientific Evidence for Animal Death before the Fall, 2001, audio cassette series. This is described as a ‘round table discussion by Ross and his Reasons to Believe staffers: theologian Kenneth Samples; biologist Fazale Rana; Marj Harman, described as a lay apologist; and Krista Bontrager as moderator and theologian.’ Chapter 6 shows the flaws in this.
- ‘RTB Critique of RATE Project,’ Reasons to Believe radio broadcast, 18 September 2003, 6 to 8 pm Pacific time. Moderator: Krista Bontrager; studio participants: Hugh Ross, Fazale Rana, and Marge Harmon; telephone participant: Roger Wiens. Archived at: <www.oneplace.com/ministries/creation_update/Archives.asp>. Chapters 11 and 12 deal with the mistakes in this program.
Also, we note the Latin saying scripta manent, meaning, ‘What is written, stands,’ with the implication, ‘unless rescinded, equally in writing.’ Therefore, this book will hold Ross to errors in his books unless retracted in writing. It would be inadequate for him to claim that he has retracted a claim or answered a point in some audio recording somewhere, and demand that his opponents wade through hours of talks by him or his assistants.
The reason this book starts with the topic of the authority of the Bible (chapter 1) is that the most fundamental disagreement between young-earth creationists (YECs) and Ross and his followers (and really all other varieties of theistic evolutionists and old-earth creationists) is authority. CMI maintains that God’s infallible Word, the Bible, must be our ultimate authority. This means that scripture must judge man’s fallible theories about the past, not vice versa. It is our contention that Ross elevates ‘science’ to the level of scripture, and, in practice, puts science above scripture by reinterpreting scripture to fit his idea of science, all the time claiming that his approach is scriptural. So the first chapter explains why scripture should be authoritative, and why Ross’s approach is inconsistent with scripture. It also documents how evangelicals who disagree with 24-hour creation days acknowledge that the text teaches this, but disagree primarily because they are intimidated by so-called ‘science,’ which they believe teaches differently. Science should not be dismissed, but it must be kept in its proper ministerial role as a servant to the Bible, and never placed in a magisterial role over and above the Bible.
Once the Bible is established as foundational, the next step is to determine what it teaches on the areas of contention. Then it’s possible to show how true science can illuminate and clarify some teachings. But this can never mean reinterpreting it as the opposite of what it says and how it has always been understood.
Therefore, chapter 2 covers the days of creation, showing that they were 24 hours long. It addresses a number of objections, as well as briefly dealing with other compromise views: the gap theory and framework hypothesis. I also explain the correct meaning and application of ‘literal’ interpretation, showing that Ross is using a very non-literal meaning of ‘literal’!
Chapter 3 shows how the overwhelming view of the majority of exegetes throughout church history has been that the days were 24 hours long, and that even those who disagreed believed that the earth was less than 6,000 years old at the time of writing. Long-age interpretations of the Bible arose only after these ideas became popular in ‘science’ and conservative exegetes tried to bring scripture into line. But liberals, with no motivation to defend the authority of scripture, kept the traditional interpretation, mistakenly believing that it was proof of error in the Bible.
Chapter 4 is a short one, showing that the order of creation in Genesis cannot be reconciled with long-age beliefs. In particular, this deals with the kinds of creatures created on Days 3, 5, and 6 (including dinosaurs) and the astronomical objects created on Day 4. Then we address Ross’s restrictions on the types of creatures created during creation week, and his ‘order’ of creation of creatures and heavenly bodies. Indeed, for an earlier influential day-age advocate, Davis Young, this was a major factor in his repudiation of the day-age view in favor of one that disregards Genesis as historical at all.
Chapter 5 covers the big bang theory, which has always been foundational to Ross’s biblical exegesis. A number of scientific problems for the big bang are analyzed, and evolutionary theories of galaxy, star, and planet formation are found severely wanting. Also, Ross’s apologetics with the big bang and ‘string theory’ are found problematic, as well as unnecessary. In their place, alternative apologetics schemes are provided. Finally, alternative cosmological models are presented that line up with the Bible.
Chapter 6 is about the origin of sin and death. This shows that the Bible teaches
that death and suffering began with the Fall. Also, this death must include physical
death, not just ‘spiritual death.’ Some of the passages explicitly refer
only to human death, but even this is a problem because evolutionists ‘date’
fossils of modern humans as earlier than Ross’s dates for Adam. But the death
of vertebrate animals, classified as נֶפֶשׁ
חַיָּה (nephesh chayyāh)
along with humans, also dates from the Fall. This is shown by the original vegetarian
diet and the fact that this will be restored. The biblical teaching of sin-death
causality is, with pun intended, the death knell for any long-age compromise. [See
also The Fall—A Cosmic Catastrophe; Hugh
Ross’s blunders on plant death in the Bible.]
Chapter 7 outlines the biblical creation model in detail, explaining the ‘created kinds.’ This also exposes much of the misinformation by both evolutionists and Ross that any variation or ‘speciation’ is evolution. The vital concept of genetic information is the key—evolution from goo to you via the zoo requires an increase in information, while variation and speciation are the result of sorting and loss of information. Therefore, this refutes Ross’s charge that creationists believe in super-rapid evolution.
Chapter 8 shows that the flood of Genesis was global, and how this is the only possible understanding from scripture. Ross’s ostensibly biblical arguments are refuted, as are supposedly scientific arguments. In fact, the geological record makes more sense if we interpret it as the result of recent catastrophic processes. Ross believes in a local flood in Mesopotamia, but this is shown to be unworkable because of the nature of the Genesis account, as well as the fact that the Mesopotamian geography cannot support a huge wall of water for a year. The feasibility of the ark’s stability and ability to hold all land vertebrate kinds is demonstrated. Ross’s arguments about the ark’s cargo in a global Flood scenario, mostly identical to those raised in the past by unbelievers, are shown to be straw men. Ross’s errors here follow from his errors about the biblical kinds discussed in the previous chapter. This, in turn, arises largely from his belief that the seventh day is still continuing.
Chapter 9 outlines the history of mankind according to the Bible, starting from the creation of Adam and Eve about 6,000 years ago. This date is shown by the genealogies of Genesis 5 and 11, which are shown to have no gaps, and the fact that Jesus said that humans were male and female ‘from the beginning of creation’ (Mark 10:6) shows that this was close to the creation of the universe. Then Adam fell and brought death into the world, and his progeny descended into such depths of evil that they were judged by a worldwide Flood. The Fall and Flood are covered in previous chapters. Noah and his family were saved on the ark, and their descendants disobeyed God’s command to fill the earth, so their languages were confused at Babel.
The division of humanity into their separate populations resulted in different ‘races,’ or preferably people groups, by a natural process of separation of gene pools. However, because of Ross’s misunderstanding of variation within a kind, he erroneously believes that God’s intervention at Babel included direct creation of different human ‘racial’ characteristics. After Babel, some of these groups became isolated from civilization, so they resorted to living in caves and using stone tools. Some of these isolated populations developed different characteristics and resulted in people we call Neandertals and Homo erectus. Ross believes that Neandertals predated Adam and were not true humans but soulless hominids. Ross’s faulty dating of Adam would imply that the Australian Aborigines may not have been his descendants, which would make them non-human, under his own criteria.
Chapter 10 is a short one, refuting Ross’s supposedly biblical arguments for an age of the earth of billions of years. It also shows how the Bible could have taught vast ages (but didn’t), if that were what God had intended to teach.
Chapter 11 explains the philosophy behind ‘dating’ measurements by processes that change over time, contrasted with the superior method of relying on trustworthy eyewitness accounts. Then it is shown that, even given uniformitarian/evolutionary assumptions, there are a number of processes in the earth and solar system that point to an ‘age’ far younger than the billions of years proclaimed by Ross.
Chapter 12 refutes some of the alleged scientific evidence for an old earth. A number of geological objections to recent creation, for example, varves and fossil forests, are shown to make more sense under a framework of recent catastrophism. This chapter also demonstrates that radiometric dating methods rely on assumptions that are questionable. And, indeed, evolutionists question the assumptions frequently, whenever radiometric dating methods give conflicting dates or fail on rocks of known age.
Why write such a ‘negative’ book?
Something more must be said about why the approach in this book is necessary. In one sense, this is written with a heavy heart, and with the overriding emphasis that our intention is not personal attack. Our mandate is to defend the faith and the authority of scripture. We have long believed that (and explained why) one of the most dangerous attacks on biblical authority in evangelical circles today is not evolution but ‘progressive creationism,’ and we aim to prove this conclusively in this book. This widespread compromise with the plain words of scripture is capable of immense harm, precisely because it is proclaimed as being done in the name of upholding scripture. The issue is so vital, as it involves the way we handle the very Word of God. Hopefully, the reader will see why this is no mere ‘side issue’ or an example of a ‘critical spirit’ toward someone who just happens to have a different (by implication legitimate) exegetical view. We need to be like the Bereans, commended by Paul in Acts 17:11, checking the scriptures about all such matters.
Rebuke of false teachers
The problem in exposing fallacious teaching is that it also undermines the credibility of the source of the teaching, and this is perhaps why some have said CMI is being too ‘personal’ in our analyses of Ross’s teachings. It might be helpful if such critics were to specify in detail just where they have found the material to be too personal, or how the fallacious teaching of Ross can be decisively exposed without offending feelings. It is a very difficult thing to expose error without hurting the person’s feelings, because matters of reputation, pride, and the like are at stake. However, because Dr Ross has made such fallacious and Bible-undermining arguments in public, our response must also be public. This book will major on Ross’s teachings, not his person, concentrating on the issues. However, the following shaded section shows that there is a biblical precedent for far sharper criticism than I or Creation Ministries International will resort to.
Jesus often rebuked His opponents. For example, Matthew 23:27:
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you are like white-washed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.
His chosen Apostles often rebuked false teachers—the apostle Paul even opposed the apostle Peter when he was carrying away others with his hypocrisy (Gal. 2:11 ff.). Also, Paul commanded Timothy to rebuke error (2 Tim. 4:2), and 2 Corinthians 10:4–5 says, ‘We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God.’
Sometimes false beliefs were even mocked, for example, Elijah with the prophets of Baal in 1 Kings 18:27, for the greater good of exposing their destructive influence.
Biblical word plays
Some of the word plays in the Bible are deliberate mocking of some person or system that sets itself up against God’s revelation. Genesis 11:9 says:
Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of all the earth; and from there the LORD scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth.
Some skeptics accuse the Bible of error here, because Babili means ‘gate of the gods’; balal means confusion. But, there is no error at all—the word play was intentional. While the rebels at Babel pretentiously thought they could make a tower to heaven, God puts their pathetic effort into its true perspective—it would be remembered only for the confusion of languages.
Another possible example is the name Nebuchadnezzar. Some skeptics claim that this is an error, and that the ‘correct’ spelling is –rezzar. Indeed, this is the normal Hebrew adaptation from the original Akkadian version, nabu-kudurru-usur, meaning ‘Nabu protect(s) the eldest son,’ after the Babylonian god Nabu. One theory for the difference is that it was normal Hebrew linguistic practice to change the r to an n.6 But van Selms proposed another theory, that the OT’s –nezzar spelling may be derived from a snide reference to Nebuchadnezzar’s lycanthropy (animal behavior) by Jewish opposition groups. That is, from nabu-kudanu-usur, meaning ‘Nabu protect(s) the mule.’7
Some well-meaning Christians claim that any rebuke is ‘unloving’ (see next section), as do some skeptics who try to neutralize Christian opposition! When confronted by the examples in the previous section, these same Christians try to evade the force of these examples by claiming, ‘Jesus was God, so He had the authority and a moral right to say these things. So did God’s Apostles, as well as Elijah when he mocked the prophets of Baal. We do not have either of these.’
But this fails to realize the historical context. Modern western culture is engulfed in political correctness with a victim culture, where we simply mustn’t offend members of liberal-appointed victim classes. But ancient public forums, and some modern ones, were often conducted under a challenge-riposte paradigm. In the New Testament cultural milieu, ‘the game of challenge-riposte is a central phenomenon, and one that must be played out in public.’8
The object of each party was to try to undermine the honor, or social status, of the other in an exchange that ‘answers in equal measure or ups the ante (and thereby challenges in return).’9 Instead of merely defending himself, an honorable man in that culture would counterattack.
We see countless examples in the Gospels where Jesus refuses to defend himself, and instead shifts the debate by a counter-question, and insults if necessary. For example, in Matthew 21:23–27, Mark 11:27–33, and Luke 20:1–8, Jesus entered the temple, and the chief priests and elders confronted Him and demanded to know by what authority He acted. Jesus responded with a counter-question about John the Baptist. When they refused to answer Him, Jesus refused to answer them, which was an insult.
In Matthew 22:15–22, Mark 12:13–17, and Luke 20:20–26, Herodians and Pharisees plotted together to ask Jesus about paying taxes, trying to trap him in a dilemma of either disloyalty to His fellow Jews or sedition against Rome. Jesus again poses a counter-question about the owner of the coin. His famous concluding statement, ‘Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s’ was a further attack on the hypocrisy and disloyalty of his opponents.
Another example is Matthew 12:5:
Or have you not read in the Law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless?
Most people overlook that Jesus’ question ‘Have you not read … ?’ was a huge insult to His Pharisaic opponents. Obviously, they had read them, and they were the acknowledged experts in the Bible. So this question undermined their authority in the area they were supposed to know best. It would be just like asking Ross if he understands simple astronomy. It was basically calling them foolish, unable to read what was in front of them, not having done proper study. But once again, in the challenge-riposte paradigm, this was appropriate in the public forum. It was a response to the honor challenge laid down by the Pharisees, who challenged Jesus on the behavior of His disciples. Jesus ups the ante by implying their ignorance of scripture, attacking them in the very place where they most prided themselves.
There are many other places where Jesus ‘evidences considerable skill at riposte and thereby reveals himself to be an honorable and authoritative prophet.’10
‘Love your enemies’ (Matthew 5:44)
The biblical word ‘love’ in this passage is the verb ἀγαπάω (agapaō), related to the noun ἀγάπη (agapē). This word ‘is not a matter of sentiment and emotion but concrete action and practical concern.’11 The NT in general uses agapē to refer to the ‘value of group attachment and group bonding,’ and it ‘will have little to do with feelings of affection, sentiments of fondness, and warm, glowing affinity.’12
There is also the issue of needing to love those who are being, and will be, led astray by false teaching. Clearly, from the above, agapē did not preclude discrediting and refuting enemies of the truth as opposed to personal enemies. In some cases, agape corresponds to today’s ‘tough love.’
This is never a simple issue, and the ‘whole counsel of God’ (Acts 20:27) needs to be taken into account. People will find, if the proposed public forum with Dr Ross comes off (see comments below), that there will be no personal animosity or anything unloving exhibited by CMI personnel. The issue never has been personal, and love (as indicated above) is at the forefront.
Avoid those who cause divisions?
Romans 16:17 says, ‘Now I beseech you, brethren, mark those who cause divisions and offenses … and avoid them,’ and some have used this against YECs. But they fail to cite the clause in this passage which defines what Paul meant by causing divisions (διχοστασία dichostasia) and offenses (σκάνδαλον skandalon)—it is bringing teachings ‘contrary to the doctrine which you have learned.’ As we show, it is those who compromise on a straightforward reading of Genesis that are bringing doctrines contrary to those the Apostles taught, and that the church has understood through most of its 2,000-year history. It’s interesting, too, that the Reformers, like Martin Luther, who reasserted the authority of scripture and salvation by grace through faith alone, were also accused of being ‘divisive.’
One must also wonder why some people who complain about YEC style never seem to complain when Dr Ross attacks the ‘young earth’ perspective, which seems to be the whole raison d’être of his ministry, Reasons to Believe. Is this not ‘divisive,’ too? For example, Ross made an inflammatory comparison of young-earth creationists with some heretics that the apostle Paul anathematized in the Book of Galatians:
Much as circumcision divided the first-century church, I see the creation date issue dividing the church of this century. As circumcision distorted the Gospel and hampered evangelism, so, too, does young-earth creationism (Creation and Time:162).
Ross also resorted to an unworthy attack on the great scholar Archbishop Ussher (see Chapter 3), whose circle of admirers included Sir Isaac Newton.
More recently, Charisma cited Ross, with approval, when he claimed that YEC views ‘encourage a form of Gnosticism.’13 Ross justified this on the grounds that YECs ‘believe only the Bible is trustworthy, not the physical realm.’ Regardless, he is comparing YECs to an outright heresy the early Church fought and beat, and Charisma applauds it. He had said the same thing earlier, along with Gleason Archer, in his section of the book The Genesis Debate: Three Views on the Days of Creation.14 This was written after the Ross/Archer charge that YEC proponents deny physical reality, forcing a ‘gnostic-like theology,’ in their words. It is written under the subtitle, The Gnostic Factor.
Although young-earth/young-universe creationists assume that they truly seek to defend the truth of God’s Word and lead people to Jesus Christ, they fail to realize that these theological implications flow from their position. We think that they would repudiate the gnostic notion that ‘there is no life, truth, or substance in matter,’ though unfortunately that’s the direction in which their view leans. According to scripture, it’s a potentially dangerous direction since God calls all of His creation ‘good,’ and since, after the Fall, all of us sin in the physical realm. Even more significantly, the assertion that matter is devoid of life and truth is then falsified by the fact that our Lord became a man—took on matter as the way, the truth, and the life—to save us from our sin. To deny life, truth, and substance to matter is, at a minimum, to deny the biblical doctrines of creation, sin, Christ, and salvation. Ultimately, this view denies the Bible itself.15
This is an even more inflammatory way of implying that the YEC view is tantamount to a denial of the Bible and Christ. Judging by the way that some YEC critics condone such inflammatory comments by Ross yet rail against the slightest firmness in any YEC counter, one must wonder sometimes whether there is one sauce for the goose, and another for the gander.
The charge is absurd anyway:
- First of all, YECs do believe that the physical realm is trustworthy, but not necessarily man’s theories about the physical realm— especially what happened in it in the past.
- Second, Gnostics believed that matter was evil, so that our realm was created by a demiurge, because God would not sully himself with matter. YECs obviously believe that God created matter. And we don’t believe matter is evil; rather we believe that the whole ‘very good’ creation was cursed.
- Third, the word ‘Gnostic’ comes from the Greek γνῶσις (gnosis), meaning knowledge. They believed in a secret esoteric knowledge that only the initiates possessed. Books like the Bible counted as mere exoteric teaching for the masses. Yet if anyone resembles Gnosticism, it is Ross. After all, he teaches that if we are to understand the Bible, it is not enough to read it with all the tools of grammar and knowledge of its historical context. Rather, we must incorporate the knowledge (‘science’) of initiates (scientists) that would not have been known to the original readers!
Here are some more questions we have received, and our answers.
- Why don’t you set up a debate in an appropriate neutral forum such as the Ankerberg program or James Dobson’s program?
Well, if such a rare species as a neutral forum can be found, we hope that it’s preserved for posterity. Ankerberg and Dobson are hardly neutral in this matter but strongly pro-Ross. Ankerberg’s constant partiality is demonstrated in the analysis16 of the Ross–Hovind debate on his show that was aired in October 2000—it was more of a Ross+Ankerberg tag team against Hovind. Dobson has also often hosted Ross on his show, but his producers call Ken Ham ‘divisive and dogmatic,’ and thus will not have him on the program. Neither did Ankerberg bother to contact CMI, although it is one of the leading young-earth creationist organizations in the world.
Anyway, I can’t understand the huge attraction of debates. CMI has frequently dealt with Ross’s public statements, while Ross generally ignores what YECs say and keeps on misrepresenting our arguments. Of importance are the propositions taught by both sides, not whether they are made face to face. Debates tend to emphasize personalities more than the issues.
- Why not let God deal with him?
Some have justified this by alluding to Rabban Gamaliel’s advice to his fellow non-Christian Jews in dealing with the Jewish Christians in Acts 5:38–39:
Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.
However, it’s important to remember that not everything reported in the Bible is endorsed by the Bible. Here, Luke was not endorsing this advice, but merely reporting it accurately. The normative passages are those cited earlier. It should be obvious that Gamaliel’s advice is silly if taken as a general rule. To take an extreme example, what if people had argued, ‘If Hitler is really killing Jews and invading independent countries as suggested, then God will deal with him’? What about cults like the Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses, which are thriving?
It could also be argued, from the doctrine of the sovereignty of God, that He is already dealing with Dr Ross through CMI’s exposure of his errors.
Interestingly, there is a logical problem in that this complaint is self-refuting—it backfires on the questioner! That is, if we are in error in writing against Ross, then by their own reasoning, shouldn’t such questioners leave us alone and let God deal with us? No, of course not. There is a duty, where a brother in the Lord is apparently erring, to try to correct the error. And this would be particularly the case if you saw the brother leading others into error that leads to apostasy.
Exposing negatives shows the positives in greater light
Throughout church history, the great leaders have sought to refute heresies. But in God’s sovereign plan, the errors have prompted the orthodox church to clarify key biblical doctrines. One of the most dangerous early heresies was the Arian, which denied that Jesus is God and taught that He was a created being. The great Nicene Creed was written mainly to refute this heresy, and this creed is still widely regarded by all branches of Christendom as one of the clearest statements on the deity of Christ. For example, it states that Jesus was ‘true God of true God, begotten not made, of one substance with the Father.’ The teaching of the modern-day Arians, the Jehovah’s Witness cult, has been refuted in excellent books such as Ron Rhodes’s Reasoning from the Scriptures with the Jehovah’s Witnesses.17 That book is also an excellent presentation of the biblical basis for vital doctrines such as the deity and bodily resurrection of Christ, the Trinity, and less vital, but still important, doctrines such as eternal conscious punishment for the unsaved.
I hope Refuting Compromise will also serve as a strong defense of the authority of scripture, and of its teachings of a recent creation and global Flood. With this strong foundation in place, the rest of the Bible is likewise firm—in particular, the origin of death through sin, and the Gospel as its remedy through the sacrificial death and resurrection of the Last Adam, Jesus Christ.
Can one believe in millions of years and still be a Christian?
This is a very important question that must be addressed at the outset. Despite what some opponents have claimed, CMI (like most YECs) has always affirmed that one does not need to believe in six-day creation to be saved. The Bible says that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone, not by works (Eph. 2:8), and the content of saving faith is belief in the deity of Christ (Rom. 10:9–13, applying a Joel 2:32 reference to YHWH/Jehovah to Christ) and in His death for our sins, His burial, and bodily resurrection from the dead (1 Cor. 15:1–4).
We know that people can be genuine Christians, believing those doctrines, even if they don’t accept creation in six 24-hour days. Van Bebber and Taylor’s rebuttal to Ross explicitly stated, ‘We believe that Dr Ross is saved, and that his expressed desire to live for Christ is genuine.’18 Creation Ministries International has stocked the Bebber and Taylor book for years as the definitive critique of Ross without any disclaimer, which is tacit agreement by CMI that we don’t question Ross’s salvation.
In fact, the founding chairman of CMI (Australia), Prof. John Rendle-Short, was a saved theistic evolutionist for 40 years (before CMI came into existence). But like so many other people, including his own father Dr Arthur Rendle Short, an eminent English surgeon and apologist, he struggled with the problem of death and suffering before the Fall,19 which is the basis for the Gospel message (1 Cor. 15:21–22, 45). Fortunately, he wasn’t consistent, and, despite the conflict which we demonstrate in chapter 6, held to the foundational message.
Unfortunately, people like Billy Graham’s former colleague Charles Templeton, who later apostatized,20 and the heretical Bishop Spong,21 were consistent, and threw out the Gospel along with the foundations. That’s why several CMI articles have concluded that, yes, one can be a Christian and deny a young earth, but it can still have baneful consequences which will be detailed in this book, mainly involving the authority and understandability of scripture, and sin as the ultimate cause of human and animal death and suffering in the world.22
Another Jerusalem Council?
Charisma’s June 2003 article on Ross says:
Ross has advocated a second Jerusalem Council on creation following the model in The Acts of the Apostles, where the early Church leaders held a summit to hammer out an agreement on a contentious issue of whether or not Gentile converts should be required to follow Jewish custom and law. He believes the creation controversy is the biggest issue facing the church, more significant than the question of women’s roles, ‘because of the impact it is having on evangelism.’23
Such an idea is preposterous, because the Jerusalem Council involved the Apostles (Acts 15:6), thus James’s decision in verse 13 ff. had apostolic authority. Jesus gave the power of ‘binding and loosing’ to Peter, then to all His Apostles (Matt. 16:20). In a Jewish frame of reference, these terms had legislative meanings: ‘to bind’ meant to forbid something, and ‘to loose’ meant to permit something. No one today has this level of authority.
A major reason for the need for such authority was that the New Testament was not yet written, so the Church needed to be guided by the Apostles. Now that the Canon of scripture is closed, and the Apostles are no longer alive, the Church is to be guided by scripture alone (2 Tim. 3:15–17).
This is a commentary24 on a brochure recently sent out by Ross (also posted on his website), giving his own perspective on the differences between ‘young-earth,’ or ‘calendar-day’ creationists, like CMI, and ‘old-earth,’ or ‘day-age’ creationists, like himself. Since it’s his own perspective, we cannot be said to be putting words in his mouth. However, as will be shown, there are many of the same misrepresentations as in his other works. This is only a summary—we indicate where these points are further elaborated in this book.
CDC = Calendar-Day Creationist—i.e., accepts that the days of Genesis 1 were ordinary-length days, for example, Creation Ministries International and Institute for Creation Research; commonly called young-earth creationist (YEC). Note that at times throughout this book, I will simply use the word ‘creationist(s)’ to refer to this position.
DAC = Day-Age Creationist—like Hugh Ross and many other ‘progressive creationists’; commonly called old-earth creationist (OEC), although that term would also include gap theorists.
Dr Ross’s comments are indented, that is, the lines headed by ‘CDC’ are what Ross claims we believe, not necessarily what we actually believe.
Ten major differences
1. CDC: Natural biological evolution works, producing new species and genera within orders and families.This is misleading, since we would not describe speciation within a kind as ‘biological evolution,’ because no new information is produced. However, that new species do arise is indisputable—Ross seems not to understand that producing a new reproductively isolated population is, by definition, a new species. Also, there is no biblical or scientific reason why the created kinds cannot sometimes have enough built-in genetic variation so they can give rise to varieties within the genus or family (a man-made classification after all). This is explained further in chapter 7.
1. DAC: Natural biological evolution fails at all levels except for those species numbering more than about one quadrillion individuals with generation times less than three months and body sizes smaller than one centimeter.
This is an amazing statement—one wonders what this astronomer’s source of such biological nonsense could be. This fixity of species view goes well beyond the biblical text and is disproved by operational science—see again chapter 7.
2. CDC: Laws of physics were radically different before Adam’s sin.2. DAC: Laws of physics were identical before and after Adam’s sin.One wonders what difference Ross thinks the Fall made, which we cover in chapter 6. However, with the exception that God withdrew some of His sustaining power, we believe that the laws of gravity, thermodynamics, electromagnetism, etc. were operative from creation. CMI is on record denying that the second law of thermodynamics began at the Fall.25
3. CDC: Redeemed humanity will be restored to paradise.
3. DAC: Redeemed humanity will be delivered from paradise to a brand new creation.
This is misleading, and Ross has even made inflammatory accusations that those who believe in ‘restoration’ are ‘cultic.’ We are on record as affirming that there will be ‘a new heaven and a new earth’ (Rev. 21:1), and, even now, believers in Christ are new creations (2 Cor. 5:17). We also affirm that the new creation will be even grander than the original paradise, because there will no longer be even the possibility of sin. However, we point out that many references to a future state parallel the pre-Fall world, e.g., vegetarian lions and wolves (Isa. 11:6–9, 65:25), light without the sun like the first three days of creation (Rev. 22:5), and a Tree of Life (Gen. 2:9, 3:22, 24; compare with Rev. 2:7, 22:2,14,19). And although my book doesn’t take any eschatological stand, Ross is a premillennialist who believes that the Millennium will have vegetarian animals (The Genesis Question:98–99). Premillennialists, such as Charles Ryrie, believe that the Millennium is what is referred to in Acts 3:21, ‘the period of restoration of all things’ (see Ryrie Study Bible). And premillennial CDCs would agree with Ross that the Millennium is not the final state, and there will be a brand new creation.
A more accurate way of expressing our difference is that Ross denies a pre-Fall deathless paradise altogether. This is shown by his last point of difference, below.
4. CDC: Genesis 1 is the account of physical creation … .
Of course. It’s not only CMI that believes this, but God himself spoke the Fourth Commandment, giving the reason that He created in six days and rested on the 7th (Exod. 20:8–11).
4. DAC: It is critical to carefully integrate all ten of the major creation accounts in the Bible.
What is Ross talking about? The Bible never contradicts itself, and there is nothing to naysay the plain teaching of Genesis 1 and Exodus 20:8–11 elsewhere in the Bible.
5. CDC: The universe and the stars are eternal.
5. DAC: The universe and the stars are temporal.
Where do we say that the universe or stars are eternal? This statement is without foundation and is totally untrue.
6. CDC: Astronomers are deceiving the public.
6. DAC: Astronomers are telling us the truth.
Which astronomers? Dr Danny Faulkner, a tenured professor of astronomy who believes in CDC? And we normally point out that secular astronomers are not likely to be consciously deceiving the public, but are looking at the same data as us, only through the wrong ‘glasses.’
7. CDC: The heavens merely reveal the existence of God.
7. DAC: The heavens also reveal God’s transcendent qualities and many of His personal attributes.
It’s hard to know what Ross is thinking of here. We often quote Romans 1:20. However, what we deny is that creation reveals enough for salvation, and we also deny that the interpretations by fallible humans of the creation should override the propositional revelation of scripture. See the discussion on general and special revelation in chapter 1.
8. CDC: There is only one literal interpretation of Genesis 1.
8. DAC: There are several literal interpretations of Genesis 1.
Only if there are several literal interpretations of the word ‘literal’! The literal meaning of ‘literal’ is: ‘Taking words in their usual or primary sense and applying the ordinary rules of grammar, without mysticism, allegory or metaphor.’ The usual and primary meaning of ‘day’ is a single period of earth’s rotation, and this is unambiguous when accompanied by a number, evening and/or morning. This is discussed in detail in chapter 2.
9. CDC: Genesis 1 cannot be reconciled with the established record of nature.
9. DAC: Genesis 1 can be reconciled with the established record of nature.
What we actually say is: ‘Genesis 1 cannot be reconciled with the uniformitarian interpretation of nature,’ again discussed in chapter 1.
10. CDC: The pre-Adamic death of the higher animals contradicts the character of God and the doctrine of blood atonement for human sin. The Bible does not attribute the properties of life and death to the plants and lower animals.
Our claim is that plants are never called nephesh chayyāh (transliteration of the Hebrew נפש חיה in Genesis), meaning that their life and death is qualitatively different. This is shown by the vegetarianism of both humans and animals in both the pre-Fall world (Gen. 1:29–30) and in the restored state (Isa. 11:6–9, 65:25). We cover this in chapter 6.
10. DAC: The pre-Adamic death of higher animals is consistent with a loving, merciful Creator … .
Tell that to the animals with their flesh torn apart by predators, and ravaged with disease (often the same sorts of diseases that ravage humanity, too, e.g., cancer), i.e., that it’s still a ‘very good’ creation, rather than a sin-cursed world.
… and in no way impinges upon the doctrine of blood atonement for human sin. The Bible does attribute the properties of life and death to both the plants and the lower animals.
Wrong, as above. See ‘The God of an Old Earth,’26 which shows that any billions-of-years compromise entails that death and suffering were always part of God’s creation, and how this is inconsistent with the Bible.
Ten major similarities
I would agree with all ten. However, I doubt that we understand them the same way as Ross.
1. The Bible must be taken literally unless the context indicates otherwise.
I agree with the sentiment, but it would be preferable to say ‘plainly,’ meaning ‘as the author intended.’ This incorporates a literal interpretation of a literal context, poetic interpretation of poetic context. Ross would probably have no objection to that, and ‘literal’ is an acceptable way of saying this, but the above should hopefully avoid caricatures by theistic evolutionists. The problem is that Ross has a strange understanding of the word ‘literal,’ as shown above.
2. The Bible is inerrant in all disciplines of scholarship.
Definitely. However, while I have no doubt that Ross publicly and sincerely defends the Bible against any error, in practice Ross imposes secular ‘disciplines of scholarship’ over the Bible. The main differences are much the same as one key issue of the Reformation—Sola Scriptura—‘scripture alone.’ That is, the supreme authority, perspicuity, and sufficiency of scripture. But Ross claims, ‘God’s revelation is not limited exclusively to God’s words. The facts of nature may be likened to a sixty-seventh book of the Bible’ (Creation and Time:56). These words alone show that Ross, in effect, teaches Scriptura et scientia—scripture and science. In practice, Ross reinterprets scripture in an unnatural way to fit in with the alleged ‘facts of nature’ (really evolutionary/uniformitarian interpretations of nature), which is Scriptura sub scientia—scripture below science.
3. The universe was both transcendentally and supernaturally created.
Yes. Alas, Ross believes that God used the alleged big bang, an essentially atheistic notion by which most of its proponents assert the universe created itself. And one in which the order of events contradicts the plain text of the Bible.
4. Naturalism cannot explain the origin of life.
Yes. See Q&A: Origin of Life.
5. Naturalism cannot entirely explain the history of life, nor can theistic evolution.
No dispute there.
6. Naturalism cannot entirely explain the geophysical history of the earth.
However, Ross concedes much ground to naturalism, because he fails to allow for the devastating global Flood of Noah’s day, responsible for many of the rock layers and fossils.
7. Naturalism cannot explain entirely the astrophysical history of the universe and solar system.
True. But again Ross gives an enormous amount of ground to naturalism, essentially agreeing with the naturalistic big bang and the history of stellar evolution over billions of years.
8. Genesis 1 is both factual and chronological in its context. It describes God’s ‘very good’ creation in the space of six days.
I agree with the words, but, as shown above, Ross doesn’t think that they mean what they say! Ross’s pre-Fall creation is anything but ‘very good.’ It has all the horrors of death, struggle, suffering, disease, and carnivory that we see in today’s world. And ‘six days’ has a very different meaning for Ross, as will be discussed.
9. Adam and Eve were a literal couple created by God just thousands of years ago.
Yes, we agree that Adam was created out of dust, and Eve from Adam, with no animal ancestry. But by ‘just thousands,’ CMI means six thousand, as per a straight-forward reading of the chronogenealogies of Genesis 5 and 11. On the other hand, Ross believes it was many times as long ago, which entails inserting huge gaps in the chronologies for which there is no good biblical evidence.
10. All human beings owe their descent to Adam and Eve.
I agree, but we would regard those individuals classified as Neandertals and Homo erectus in that category, while Ross regards them as soulless hominids.
Here, as elsewhere, Ross has made misleading accusations against CDC organizations in an attempt to justify his own position. However, we have shown in many places that he has frequently misrepresented what we believe, and that his arguments do not hold up against scripture. It is important not to be sidetracked by Ross’s appeal to ‘scientific consensus,’ but always to stand on the authoritative Word of God, that is, letting it teach us, rather than imposing outside ideas upon the text.
Ken Ham says:
Well, I believe, personally, that your book, Refuting Compromise, is a classic on the same scale as The Genesis Flood. … I personally believe it'll go down in history as a turning point in the creationist ministry worldwide. I see it as that important. I see it as that definitive. … I really see it as a modern creationist classic. And I really believe that every single person needs a copy of this book to show the positive aspects, that we can defend, logically, the book of Genesis, and that God's word is authoritative right from the very beginning, and we can confront compromise, like Progressive Creationism … (AnswersLIVE, Refuting Compromise, live broadcast 27 April 2004)
Dan Lietha says:
Regarding your comments about Dr Ross’s teachable heart, etc—that is very encouraging to us. [Our] newly-released book Refuting Compromise by Dr Jonathan Sarfati (destined to become a classic) makes it crystal clear that anyone with a heart for Christ and teachable will have no rational choice but to repent of (i.e. change their mind about) Rossist teaching.
So your comments raise hope that Dr Ross might himself face up to honest exegesis and turn from his current (inadvertent, I’m sure) serious liberties with/distortion of the Word of God, including opposing the very beliefs of Christ Himself. What a powerful thing that would be for the cause of Christ, if we could publicly join hands on the question of the absolute authority of the Word of God! We could work on fine-tuning the details, but the big picture is clear from Scripture—six solar days, world Flood, recent creation. …
While we’re on the subject of keeping on our toes, we have a powerful new book out which I’m very excited about and I’d like to send a couple copies to you. I think it will put a new perspective on your understanding of why we feel so passionately about these biblical issues. I would challenge you read it with an open mind and of course, a desire to truly honor God’s word. It’s quite an amazing piece of work. The book is called Refuting Compromise. I believe the author is one of the most brilliant Christian apologists of our time, and I don’t say that lightly. (Email exchange with one of Hugh Ross’ cartoonists, posted 19 March 2004)
Refuting Compromise represents the best, most comprehensive, presuppositional defense of young earth creation currently available. It is well referenced with extensive footnotes and current citations—even from the 2003 International Conference on Creationism. This book is not simply a rehash of older material but includes many new arguments. Sarfati has compiled and distilled into one place a book that will be a key resource for years to come. The magnitude, quality and sophistication of some of the arguments may be overwhelming to those who are new to the creation issue. Nonetheless, this book is definitely a must-have for those who want to defend creation and refute compromise.
I would strongly recommend that every creationist should get a copy of this book and read it, and be prepared to give it away. Jonathan Sarfati writes clearly and concisely, with a gift for explaining complex ideas in terms accessible to a lay audience, and with a clear line of argument. …
Sarfati discusses both theological and scientific issues very thoroughly, yet concisely. …
[T]his book is to be highly recommended. It is comprehensive in detail without being excessive. It covers all the major theological and scientific issues, and does so in a highly readable style. This book is an asset to any creationist library. Sarfati has set a new standard for creationist books, and I look forward in the future to seeing more volumes of such a high calibre.
Richard F., Alberta, Canada, in a letter to CMI, received 30th January 2005, wrote the following:
A tattooed young man came to the mike and asked [the speaker]: "Do you believe in an old earth or a young earth?"
[The speaker] said that there were intelligent people on both sides and he was not going to get bogged down on that topic. The important topic he said is the resurrection of Jesus and not worry about Genesis.
After the service I approached the young man … He was not happy with [the speaker’s] answer. He said that he came to believe in a God and in Jesus as a result of reading Jonathan Sarfati’s book Refuting Compromise.
He told me that for the last 15 years he had been an atheist and now he was half way through the book and as a result came to believe.
He mentioned how important he felt it was to believe in a young creation because of the difficulties associated with old earth belief and the effects of sin. A co-worker in the restaurant where he works had given him a copy of Refuting Compromise.
References and notes
- A. Butcher, He Sees God in the Stars, Charisma, pp. 38–44, June 2003. J. Sarfati, Shame on Charisma! 29 May 2003. Return to text.
- M. Van Bebber and P.S. Taylor, Creation and Time: A Report on the Progressive Creationist Book by Hugh Ross, Eden Productions, Mesa, AZ, 1994, p. 9; See online version <www.christiananswers.net/paradise/ctb-alt.html> Return to text.
- M. Clark, A Review of Mark Van Bebber’s and Paul S. Taylor’s A Report on the Progressive Creationist Book by Hugh Ross, <www.reasons.org/resources/apologetics/review_progcreat.shtml?main>, 23 May 2003. Return to text.
- J.D. Sarfati, Exposé of The Genesis Question, Journal of Creation 13(2):22–30, 1999. D. Faulkner, The Dubious Apologetics of Hugh Ross, Journal of Creation 13(2):52–60, 1999. Return to text.
- B.K. Waltke and M. O’Connor, An Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax, (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 1990), p. 122. Return to text.
- A.R. Millard, Daniel 1–6 and History, Evangelical Quarterly 49:67–73, 1977. Return to text.
- J.E. Goldingay, Daniel (Dallas, TX: Word Books, 1989). Return to text.
- R.L. Rohrbaugh and B.J. Malina, Social Science Commentary on the Synoptics (Fortress, June 1993), p. 42. Return to text.
- Ibid. Return to text.
- R.L. Rohrbaugh and B.J. Malina, Social Science Commentary on the Synoptics, (Fortress, June 1993), p. 42. Return to text.
- D. Hill, Gospel of Matthew (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., reprint edition, 1981), p. 130. Return to text.
- B.J. Malina, and J.H. Neyrey, Portraits of Paul: An Archaeology of Ancient Personality (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 1996). Return to text.
- A. Butcher, He Sees God in the Stars, Charisma, pp. 38–44, June 2003. J. Sarfati, Shame on Charisma! 29 May 2003. Return to text.
- D.G. Hagopian, The Genesis Debate (Mission Viejo, CA: Crux Press, 2001). A.S. Kulikovsky, Sizing the Day: Review of Hagopian, Journal of Creation 16(1):41–44 (2002). Return to text.
- Archer and Ross in D.G. Hagopian, editor, The Genesis Debate (Mission Viejo, CA: Crux Press, 2001), p. 130–131. Return to text.
- See in-depth analysis by J. Sarfati. Return to text.
- R. Rhodes, Reasoning from the Scriptures with the Jehovah’s Witnesses (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1993). Return to text.
- M. Van Bebber and P.S. Taylor, Creation and Time: A Report on the Progressive Creationist Book by Hugh Ross, Eden Productions, Mesa, AZ, 1994, p. 9; see online version. Return to text.
- See his biographical and autobiographical work Green Eye of the Storm (Edinburgh, UK: Banner of Truth, 1998). Note that John Rendle-Short hyphenates his surname while his father did not. Return to text.
- K. Ham and S. Byers, The Slippery Slide to Unbelief: A Famous Evangelist Goes from Hope to Hopelessness, Creation 22(3):8–13, June–August 2000. Return to text.
- M. Bott and J. Sarfati, What’s Wrong With Bishop Spong? Laymen Rethink the Scholarship of John Shelby Spong, Apologia 4(1)3–27, 1995. Return to text.
- D. Gish, Is It Possible to Be a Christian and an Evolutionist? A Leading Creationist Answers an Often-asked Question, Creation 11(4):21–23, September–November 1989. K. Ham, The Big Picture, Creation 23(2):16–18, March–May 2001. R. Grigg, Do I Have to Believe in a Literal Creation to Be a Christian? Creation 23(3):20–22, June–August 2001. The article concludes, ‘The short answer is “No.” The long answer is “No, but … .”’ [Update: see also Can Christians believe evolution?, pointing out that many Christians take a while to digest the ‘meat’ doctrines of Scripture and haven’t worked through the serious problems of compromise.] Return to text.
- A. Butcher, He Sees God in the Stars, Charisma, p. 38–44, June 2003). J. Sarfati, Shame on Charisma! 29 May 2003. Return to text.
- Based on J. Sarfati, Ten Major Differences and Similarities between Calendar-Day and Day-Age Creationists—According to Dr Hugh Ross. Return to text.
- J. Sarfati, Moving forward: Arguments we think creationists shouldn’t use, Creation 24(2):20–24, March–May 2002; online at creation.com/dontuse.
- K. Ham, The god of an old earth, Creation 21(4)42–45, September–November 1999. Return to text.