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Creation and Time

A Report on the Progressive Creationist Book by Hugh Ross

by Mark Van Bebber and Paul S. Taylor

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Dr. D. James Kennedy’s popular book, What if Jesus Had Never Been Born? notes, “Calvin said that the Bible — God’s special revelation — was spectacles that we must put on if we are to correctly read the book of nature — God’s revelation in creation. Unfortunately, between the beginning of science and our day, many scientists have discarded these glasses, and many distortions have followed.” [D. James Kennedy and Jerry Newcombe, What if Jesus Had Never Been Born? (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc., Publishers, 1994), p. 102] In contrast, Dr. Ross clearly believes that we must put on the eyeglasses of modern science if we are to fully understand the Bible. Dr. Ross’s view of the relationship between special and general revelation stands in complete and total opposition to that of John Calvin, one of the most influential theologians of all time.

Sound interpretations of the Bible (built upon a literal, historical, grammatical hermeneutic) should not be invalidated by the ever-changing whims of secular origins science. Although science is a good and valuable thing, we must keep our eyes open and remain on guard to the lies and distortions of men. Due to human depravity, the “facts” of science can be misrepresented; even the experimentation of man can be twisted to sinful ends. True scientific facts will always complement God’s Word. Although man has the ability to twist even the Word of God, we can conclude from reliable historic study that the position of the church, from the time of the apostles, has been that the Creation event occurred in six literal days only a few thousand years ago.

It is not a joyful thing to write a critique of another man’s work. Had this matter not seemed so important, we would certainly rather have directed our energies toward other, less burdensome matters. We pray for the day when Dr. Ross will improve his presentations toward better biblical and scientific accuracy. In that day, we trust the Lord will expand the fruitfulness of his ministry.

We pray that Progressive Creationists will come to realize that recent Creation is not a trivial belief; it is foundational, as John Calvin understood. Calvin realized that many of the most important theological truths are often ridiculed, yet he stood strong, knowing that the Church must not stop teaching these truths:

“They will not refrain from guffaws when they are informed that but little more than five thousand years have passed since the creation of the universe… Must we pass over in silence the creation of the universe? No! God’s truth is so powerful, both in this respect and in every other, that it has nothing to fear from the evilspeaking of wicked men.” [John Calvin, Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion, Vol. 2, edited by John T. McNeill (Philadelphia, PA; Westminster Press, 1960), p. 925 — emphasis added]

Christians must not fall into the trap of dismissing such an important theme as merely a matter of one’s conscience or a side-issue to be avoided in polite company. It is hoped this report will challenge readers to investigate the Bible for themselves, using sound hermeneutic processes. As Christians, we must be willing to place our faith in the sure words of Scripture, over and above all other claims of truth. We may not have all the scientific explanations for natural phenomena, but good research is currently being accomplished. While questions remain, we take our stand for God’s Word, which we find to be explicitly clear on this issue.

Hebrews indicates that our Creator is pleased when we accept His account of Creation by faith. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible… And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (Hebrews 11:3,6, NIV). We must trust the information that God has provided. We must stand firm upon the foundation of His written revelation. In this, the believer finds great joy and satisfaction, knowing that we are true to our Lord.

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