The Created Cosmos: What the Bible Reveals About Astronomy. By Danny R. Faulkner and Lee Anderson, Jr. Green Forest, AR: New Leaf Publishing, 2016. 352 pp. Hardcover, $19.99.
As can be determined by the title, this book is heavy on apologetics. With degrees in physics and astronomy, Faulkner is a professor at the University of South Carolina. Anderson’s expertise is theology, with degrees from The Master’s College and Baptist Bible Seminary. The authors are conservative in theology and take a young earth view of creation (YEC). Exodus 20:8-11 precludes billions of years in the creation process (p. 47). The authors argue against a gap theory in Gen 1:1-2 as well (pp. 55-56).
The book is divided into four parts. The first is “Astronomical Concepts in the Bible.” The second is “Astronomical Anomalies in the Bible: What Scripture Says about Unusual Astronomical Events.” Part three is “Astronomical Questions and the Bible.” The final part is “Astronomy and Distortions of the Bible.”
The authors believe that the study of astronomy is God-honoring since the heavens declare God’s glory (Ps 19:1, p. 21). A strong point of the book is the emphasis on allowing the Scriptures to govern our worldview (p. 24). In passages such as Joshua 10 and 2 Kings 20, where the Lord halts the rotation of the earth, we should not look for natural explanations. God is more than able to do miraculous things like these (p. 27). In another example, the authors say that the Christmas star cannot be explained by natural phenomena. Perhaps it was an angel, or even the Shekinah glory. In any event, Christians should not be hesitant to say it was a miracle (p. 141). The same thing would apply to the darkness at the cross of Jesus (p. 150).
When it comes to the layout of the heavens, the Bible does not say much. But when it does it is “profound” and even “ahead of its time.” Not surprisingly, the authors maintain that such a complex universe could not have come into existence without an intelligent Creator (p. 35).
As would be expected, the book is heavy, in parts, on technical and scientific language, including certain Hebrew words. However, the authors do a good job of making it readable for the layman. In places, they also describe certain astronomical terms in the NT as best understood in a figurative sense. The falling stars of Rev 6:13 are probably a reference to a great and unusual meteor shower. The darkening of a third of the sun, moon, and stars probably refers to a dimming of these lights by that amount (pp. 79-80).
There is a wealth of information on why we use the calendars we use and have a 365 day year. At places in the Bible it appears that people lived by a 12 month, 360 day year. The authors point out that lunar calendars are different from religious calendars and that without the Bible it is not possible to explain a seven day week (pp. 89-91).
There is a discussion on the difference between astronomy and astrology. The former is the “science, or systemized study, of the stars.” It is a legitimate area of study. Astrology is the belief that the positions of the heavenly bodies impact our lives and destinies. It is more of a belief system, a religion, or a cult. The Bible warns us about astrology (Isa 47:13-14; Dan 4–5) (pp. 101-105). The authors advise against Christians reading horoscopes, even if the believer believes they are nonsense, because such activity can open the door to the occult.
There is a good, concise, explanation of the differences between postmillennialism, premillenialism, and amillennialism (pp. 157-61). This serves as a springboard to discuss astronomical events in eschatological passages such as the moon turning into blood in Revelation 6 and the danger of using signs like these to predict the timing of the Rapture.
In chapter 11, the authors say that perhaps the biggest problem with young creationists is the issue of “light-travel-time.” If the world is young and God created the universe in six literal days, how could the light from suns billions of light years away have already reached us? However, the answer is not complicated at all. The God who created the universe could have performed the miracle of creating a universe where that light was already present in our world. After all, creation itself was a miracle.
The book argues that the belief in UFOs and extraterrestrial aliens have problems with Biblical principles, even if the Bible does not explicitly refute such things. The authors say such belief may be a deception by Satan (2 Cor 11:14, chapter 12).
There is a long discussion on the teaching of the “Gospel in the Stars” (pp. 257-318). This is the view that God placed the gospel of Christ in the heavenly bodies for those who study the stars. This made the gospel available to those who did not have the Scriptures. E. W. Bullinger, famous among seminary students for his book about figures of speech used in the Bible, was a strong advocate for this view. The authors reject it out of hand, noting that there is no Biblical evidence for it. We should not accept another Bible outside of the Bible.
I found this book to be informative and enjoyable. It is an encouragement to know that there are scientists who do not consider it fanciful to believe in a literal interpretation of Genesis 1–2. I appreciate the strong emphasis on allowing the Bible to dictate our view of the universe in which we live. The authors refuse to accept, as a presupposition, that a miracle performing Creator cannot exist. Even though there are parts of the book that are scientific in nature and thus are hard to follow for those uninitiated in the sciences, it can be understood. Creation does proclaim the glory of God. We can and should unashamedly believe in what the Scriptures say. I recommend this book.
Kenneth W. Yates
Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society