Does the Age of the Earth Matter? A Review of Coming to Grips with Genesis

indexFor decades there has been a battle in the theological world over how the text of Genesis 1-11 relates to claims made by many within the scientific community. Did God create the world and everything in it is six literal twenty-four hour days? Was the flood global or local? How old is the earth? Why are there some contradictions between what a clear reading of the text indicates (following a literal, grammatical, historical hermeneutic) and what some scientists tell us must be true based on their theories? WIthin much of evangelicalism, these questions have been relegated to the backseat of discussions. “They are divisive.” “It is a peripheral issue.” “It really doesn’t matter.” But what if it does? What if this really is a matter of biblical authority? What if we are seeing a scary progression from denying a literal six-day, twenty-four hour creation to now fighting over whether Adam and Eve really existed. But if Adam didn’t exist, then we have a problem with original sin. If the first Adam didn’t sin, then how does the last Adam undo that sin? There is a whole list of questions we could ask.

Many of those questions are dealt with in Coming to Grips with Genesis: Biblical Authority and the Age of the Earth edited by Dr. Terry Mortenson and Dr. Thane Ury (2008, Master Books). If you are not familiar with Answers in Genesis and their apologetics ministry (or have only gained information through second hand sources that may or may not have a skewed perspective), you need to check them out. I have interacted with several of their Ph.D scientists on various occasions, and have greatly benefited from their friendship and the discussions that have taken place. Having gone to their Answers for Pastors’ Conference and heard men like Al Mohler, Voddie Baucham, Tim Challies, Brad Bigney, Stuart Scott and others speak to the sufficiency and authority of scripture has been a huge encouragement to me.

Okay, back to the book. Coming to Grips has fourteen chapters that deal with a variety of different subjects. From the church fathers to the exegesis of Genesis 1-11 to the genealogies of Genesis 5 and 11, the various authors deal with the evidence carefully and consistently. A few of the major questions that have to be answered by those holding to an evolutionary worldview are addressed, one of the major ones being what to do with millions and millions of years of death and decay prior to the fall of Genesis 3, and that would have fallen under the category of “very good” in Genesis 1.

The contributors to the book are solid in their respective fields as well. William Barrick (Master’s Seminary), Todd Beall (Capital Bible Seminary), John MacArthur (Master’s Seminary), Robert McCabe (Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary), and a variety of others lend their expertise to the work. As with any book written by multiple authors, the quality will rise and fall in different chapters. This is an inherent weakness in any work of this nature. However, the book as a whole does a very nice job of interacting with the evidence and explaining some solid and consistent biblical views.

In short, Coming to Grips has a discussion on a seminary level that really needs to be had. Christian leaders need to be called back to what the text of scripture teaches, and then be encouraged that the clear teaching of scripture is not in contradiction to the evidence that science reveals. The war is over interpretation of the evidence, not the evidence itself. A Christian does not have to stick his head in the sand and reject science in order to believe the Bible (although those who accept an evolutionary worldview would love to have you believe this). This book is a good place to start in applying a biblical worldview to the evidence.

I would love to interact with you on this issue. I always love hearing from those who read my blog, even if you disagree with my conclusions! You can post comments below, or email me at God bless!