Refuting Compromise: A Biblical and Scientific Refutation of “Progressive Creationism” (Billions of Years), As Popularized by Astronomer Hugh Ross. By Jonathan Sarfati. Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2004. 411 pp. Paper, $14.99.
Genesis 1 states that God created the heavens and the earth in 6 days. In recent years the length of the days has been a source of much discussion. Many Evangelical scholars and scientists understand the days in Genesis 1 to be long periods of time which would allow for an old earth. Sarfati has written an excellent defense for the days in Genesis referring to 24 hour days. He is primarily refuting Hugh Ross’ view of “Progressive Creationism.” Progressive Creationism is Creation, but it contends that creation took place over vast periods of time. Sarfati demonstrates that the days in the creation narrative of Genesis 1 are best understood as normal 24 hour days. Showing that the word day can be used to refer to ages is not evidence that it is being used for ages in this specific context. 1. When the word day (yom) occurs with an ordinal (first, second, third etc.), it refers to 24 hours in the OT in the vast majority of cases. 2. The addition of “and there was evening and there was morning” further argues for 24 hour days. An evening and a morning only refer to 24 hours in the rest of the OT.
Sarfati (with a Ph.D. in Chemistry) argues with additional difficulties with Progressive Creationism. It requires death before sin in Genesis 3. Romans 5:12 most naturally says that death was a result of sin. If however, God used long periods of time to create all things then death occurred before sin.
The order of creation is another problem. In Genesis the land came first but according to the Big Bang theory the sun and stars were first. In Genesis plants came before animals but in the Big Bang marine organisms were prior to plants. In Genesis birds came before reptiles but according to the Big Bang reptiles came before birds. In Genesis whales came before land mammals but in the Big Bang land mammals were before whales. In Genesis man came before death and disease but in the Big Bang death and disease were before man.
This of course leads to the most controversial part of this discussion which is the age of the earth. If the days in Genesis are most naturally understood as 24 hour days, then our universe is young and not old. Sarfati deals with the Big Bang and Astronomy, the old age arguments from the Bible and astronomy and presents evidence for a young earth. The chapter dealing with the Big Bang is very technical but the Big Bang theory is not without its problems and the finiteness of the universe can be adequately demonstrated using the cosmological argument.
Sarfati did a particularly good job of showing that the Biblical chronologies do not have gaps. The reviewer felt that Luke 3:36 was evidence for gaps in the chronologies of Genesis. Luke 3:36 adds the name Cainan but this name does not occur in Genesis 11:12. In Luke 3:36 Cainan is the son of Arphaxad but in Genesis 11:12, Salah is the son of Arphaxad. This gives rise to the idea that that father can mean grandfather or distant relative. The extra Cainan is found only in manuscripts of the LXX that were written long after Luke’s Gospel. The oldest LXX manuscripts do not have the extra Cainan. The earliest known extant copy of Luke (P-75) does not have the extra Cainan in it. Josephus used the LXX as his source but did not mention the extra Cainan. Julius Africanus (180-250) omitted the extra Cainan as well in his chronology based again on the LXX. Sarfati has a convincing theory of how the copy error most likely occurred as well.
How one will receive this book depends on how convinced one is of the evidence for an old earth and uniformitarianism. This is perhaps the most complete defense of the traditional view of the days in Genesis in print. I fully recommend it to anyone studying this issue.
R. Michael Duffy