Excerpt from…

Creation and Time

A Report on the Progressive Creationist Book by Hugh Ross

by Mark Van Bebber and Paul S. Taylor

Part II

Dual Revelation

Other resources

The Genesis Record

Starlight and Time


The “facts of nature” versus Scripture

Progressive Creationist Hugh Ross: “On no other issue have the words of the Bible been pitted so sharply against the facts of nature.” [p. 7 — emphasis added] “We can expect interpretation of the facts of nature to be consistent with the message of Genesis and the rest of canon.” [p. 57 — emphasis added] Throughout Creation and Time the pronouncements of current, mainline astrophysics are enthusiastically accepted as fact. Foremost of these is the belief that the distance of the stars and the speed of light prove that the universe is billions of years old.

Our response:

From the very beginning, Ross’ book Creation and Time frames the controversy as revolving around the question of biblical interpretation. It attempts to correct the supposed misinterpretations of Christians who believe the Bible teaches that death began with Adam’s sin, not before, and that Earth is relatively young.

What is not acknowledged is that many of what Ross purports to be “facts of nature” are actually theories or hypotheses or mere assumptions — human interpretations of nature based on incomplete knowledge.

For Dr. Ross the problem is how to correctly reinterpret the Bible in light of his current list of “facts.” In reality, science’s understanding of what is a “fact” has changed from decade to decade, especially when it comes to the question of ancient events and origins. Paradigm shifts have occurred again and again. History provides numerous examples.

It is important to remember that:

  1. SCIENCE CANNOT DIRECTLY DEAL WITH THE PAST. Scientists cannot go back in time for a hands-on examination of events of long ago. Scientists are limited to testing and observing things as they exist now — in the present. We are all impressed with the strides science has made in computer technology, medicine, and space travel. However, we must remember that these are far different subjects than the question of ancient origins. Computer chips and medical inventions exist in the present. Humans can directly observe them. Tests can be confirmed simultaneously in labs throughout the world. However, beliefs about ancient origins are different; they are beyond the reach of finite, mortal humans and therefore involve much hypothesis, assumption and guesswork.

  2. MAJORITY OPINION DOES NOT DETERMINE TRUTH. Unfortunately, many people seem to be of the opinion that if the majority of scientists believe in something, it must be true. Christians, of all people, should see the clear lie in this thinking. The majority of people have never wanted to accept God’s truth. The majority of people did not survive the Flood, either. The Bible says the broad path is the one always followed by the majority. The narrow path is the one which leads to truth and life. The majority of scientists do not believe in most things the Bible says — the miracles, the virgin birth, the global flood, the resurrection, etc. The Bible is true nonetheless. Also remember that most, if not all, important scientific findings were originally minority views.

  3. SCIENTISTS ARE HUMAN. Many laypeople have a dangerously vaulted view of scientists. Scientists are as human as everyone else. They are fallible, biased and sinful. This affects their theories, their decisions, their research, and their interpretation of evidence. In reality, scientists are not totally objective (especially when it comes to beliefs about origins). Most have a presuppositional belief in the basic tenets of evolution: a billions-of-years-old Earth and the interpretation of geology as showing the appearance and progress of animals over eons. Due to this bias, it is very difficult for them to even consider the existence of evidence to the contrary.

    Flushed with the technological advances of our modern age, many have accepted an arrogant view of the extent of human knowledge — and have confused the accomplishments of hard science (testable, replicable) with the potentials of origins science (non-replicable, theory-based). In reality, there is a seemingly infinite amount of knowledge to be learned about the universe. Man has gathered only a tiny fraction of that information. Our understanding of the data is even more limited. Thus, opinions about the distant stars and the ancient past are really very tenuous and change rapidly.

  4. SCIENCE CHANGES. There is considerable danger in using man’s limited scientific knowledge to interpret God’s Word. Scientific views continually change. For example, the Big Bang theory is not the first scientific theory to explain the cosmos (and it will not be the last). It was preceded by views that were, in their own day, the consensus of modern science. If we allow current scientific opinion to interpret the Bible for us, we will later need to reinterpret it many times over through coming decades and centuries. Christians should not step on such a slippery slope and risk making a mockery of the Bible.

The belief that astronomy proves a billions-of-years-old universe appears to be the central truth that guides most of Dr. Ross’s studies and beliefs. He has shown a great commitment to preaching the “good news” of the Big Bang and a universe which God began to create approximately 17 billion years ago. Ross has found that he cannot simply teach science, his first love. Rather, he must also teach the weaker evidences of the Bible so that he can make his message acceptable to the evangelical community. These points are illustrated in various of his publications, including his audiotape, “Creation Days”:

Hugh Ross states: “Why do I take the view that these days of Genesis are long periods of time? Let me again share a little bit about my naive experiences as a young man. You know, I felt that the best arguments for a seventeen or eighteen-billion-year-old universe would come from astronomy. I was trained in astronomy and realize that you’ve got overwhelming evidences in those sciences for that kind of creation date. In fact, that was part of my message, that the evidence in astronomy is so powerful that God created, and created at a definite point in the past, that I use that as a tool for demonstrating that biblical creation was right on target. Part and parcel of that is the billions of years. And I was naive to think, 'Well, of course the Bible addresses this issue, but the scientific data is so much more specific, and is really beyond any real question that that’s the way to go.' And so I would try to talk to audiences of Christians and giving the most powerful evidence, namely, the scientific evidence. But what I’ve discovered is that when you’re dealing with… [Christians], they’re already, you know, so wrapped up in this single-revelational theology, that this scientific evidence that you’re sharing with them is like water off the back of a duck—it doesn’t penetrate. So I’ve taken a different approach. In going into churches, or addressing audiences of Christians, I begin with the biblical evidence. It’s not as definitive, it’s not as strong, but it’s definitive enough, and it’s strong enough… Because they consider themselves to be fundamentalists, they’re almost obligated to listen to my appeal from Scripture. I’m not talking to you as a scientist. I’m talking to you as a student of the Bible. This is what my study of the Bible has demonstrated. I’ve found that I can get a whole lot further with that approach than with a straight scientific message.” [Hugh Ross, “Creation Days,” audio-tape (Reasons to Believe, 1990)]

CLAIM: Single Revelation is the belief of many young-Earth creationists.

Hugh Ross’Creation and Time accuses many young-Earth creationists of holding to a doctrine of single revelation when it says: “Many young-universe creationists limit the Word of God to the words of the Bible. Since the Bible declares that only God and His Word are truth, these creationists consider information from any source outside the Bible as inferior and suspect.” [p. 55]

Our Response

FALSE. Few, if any, young-Earth creationists believe in a doctrine of single-revelation. In fact, to hold to this doctrine would undermine the very words of Scripture which tell us that God does reveal Himself in creation. If there is such a thing as a young-Earth Creation-scientist who believes in Single Revelation, we have not heard of it in over 25 years in this field and having read most of the creationist literature. The following sections make clear how Progressive Creationists and recent creationists differ in their view of Dual Revelation.

“All Truth is God’s Truth”

The battle cry of Progressive Creationism —

“Nature is a revelation of God. Since God cannot lie, nature is truth, just as the Bible is truth. Nature is like the sixty-seventh book of the Bible.”

How can this charge be answered? Is all truth really God’s truth? Yes, indeed it is. However, one must be very careful because sinful man does not always understand or recognize what truth is. As Cervantes said in one of those flashes of wisdom that punctuated the strange doings of Don Quixote, “Where the truth is, in so far as it is truth, there God is.”

Evangelical theologian Charles Ryrie puts it this way, “God Himself is the Source of our knowledge of Him. To be sure, all truth is God’s truth. But that clich should be more carefully stated and used than it generally is. Only true truth comes from God, for since sin entered the stream of history man has created that which he calls truth but which is not. Furthermore, he has perverted, blunted, diluted, and corrupted that which was originally true truth that did come from God. For us today the only infallible canon for determining true truth is the written Word of God. Nature, though it does reveal some things about God, is limited and can be misread by mankind. The human mind, though often brilliant in what it can achieve, suffers limitations and darkening.”
Charles Ryrie, Basic Theology, p. 25

CLAIM: The facts of nature are like a 67th book of the Bible.

“God’s revelation is not limited exclusively to the Bible’s words. The facts of nature may be likened to a sixty-seventh book of the Bible… Some readers might fear I am implying that God’s revelation through nature is somehow on an equal footing with His revelation through the words of the Bible. Let me simply state that truth, by definition, is information that is perfectly free of contradiction and error. Just as it is absurd to speak of some entity as more perfect than another, so also one revelation of God’s truth cannot be held as inferior or superior to another.” [pp. 56-57]

Our Response:

MISLEADING AND FALSE. Progressive Creationism’s “facts of nature” should not be likened to a 67th book of the Bible. To do so indicates an inaccurate understanding of nature’s revelation to humanity.

  1. NO AUDIBLE VOICE. Psalm 19:3 confirms that general revelation, “the revelation of God’s glory through the heavens is… wordless and inaudible.” [Bruce A. Demarest, “General Revelation,” in Walter A. Elwell, editor, Evangelical Dictionary of Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1984), p. 945] David praises God for His general and special revelation. Psalm 19:1-6 depicts the message, manner and extent of nature’s revelation. The first part affirms that nature (specifically the heavens) testifies, by its very existence, to God’s glory. The last portion testifies to its worldwide scope. The middle part shows, when translated literally, that the message of God’s glory is proclaimed in silence. Bible students should note that many translations of this section erroneously give the opposite impression. Translations such as the NIV and NKJV followed the King James Version’s example and added words not in the original text. (Italic words in the KJV are not found in the Hebrew text.) Unfortunately, the additions changed the meaning to the opposite of the original intention. The Word Biblical Commentary correctly translates verse 3 as follows: “There is no speech and there are no words; their voice is inaudible.” [Peter C. Craigie, Word Biblical Commentary, Psalms 1-50 (Waco, TX: Word Publishers, 1983), p. 179]

    Nature, without revealing specific truths about God, is a constant reminder to the glory of the Creator. The truths presented in the first 6 verses of Psalm 19 are of a general nature and add little to one’s knowledge of God or the world. It is interesting to note the word David uses for God in these verses: “El,” the general Hebrew word for deity. In verses 7-14, David praises God for His special revelation to mankind, the words of the Bible. Each of David’s praises are very specific as he reflects on the truths gained through the law. In this section, David uses God’s personal name, “Yahweh.” Thus, David demonstrates the differences in God’s special and general revelations. While nature reveals God as creator, it is only through the Bible that one learns to have a relationship with Him.

    See to it that no one takes you captive
    through philosophy and empty deception,
    according to the tradition of men,
    according to the elementary principles of the world,
    rather than according to Christ.

    Colossians 2:8

    Nature’s message is general, yet even without words the heavens declare God’s glory. Mankind is certainly able to discern some things about God from nature (His existence, invisible attributes and eternal power — Romans 1:20), but the fact that nature has no speech or voice limits its ability to be specific. This is particularly true when it comes to the ancient past or distant future. Fossils and rocks don’t come with date labels and photographs of the living animals attached. Unlike the Bible, the “message” of the “book” of nature is not written or spoken.

  2. SUBJECT TO HUMAN INTERPRETATION. Although nature is exceedingly dramatic in the presentation of God’s revelation, it is subject to human interpretation. Nature contains an enormous amount of information, but man is probably incapable of clearly and reliably evaluating its subtleties when it comes to theology, beyond understanding the basic revelation of God’s existence and character. On many matters, it is naive, and exceedingly dangerous to rate sinful man’s incomplete and changing understanding of this degenerating universe as equal in clarity with the written Word of God! Such views have led to dreadful errors. The Bible has demonstrated its beautiful accuracy again and again, in contrast to the “scientific” pronouncements of humans which have frequently been wrong and often dominated by blinding bias.

    Some have objected, “Yes, nature is subject to human interpretation, but so is the Bible.” Although we must always take great care in our interpretation of the Bible, there are several reasons why we must base our understanding of the world upon the objective truths presented in the specific Word of God.

  3. WRITTEN WORDS. The written revelation of God is communicated by means of words. Verbal communication is subject to the rules of grammar, context, and culture and is therefore open to objective, hermeneutic study. Nature, on the other hand, is the revelation of God in general fashion and is subjective in nature (see above). The words of the Bible do not change, while man’s environment (nature) and understanding continually change (see section below).

  4. LIMITED REVELATION IN NATURE. While it is true that the revelation that God intended in nature is surely understood (and therefore man is without excuse), the Bible explains that the revelation of nature is limited to demonstrating God’s existence and power.

  5. CLARITY. The vast majority of the Bible is quite clear and relatively easy to understand. Christian Reformers of the 16th century proclaimed “total confidence in what they called the perspicuity of Scripture… the clarity of Scripture. They maintained that the Bible is basically clear and lucid. It is simple enough for any literate person to understand its basic message. …Luther, for example, was convinced that what was obscure and difficult in one part of Scripture was stated more clearly and simply in other parts of Scripture. …What kind of God would reveal his love and redemption in terms so technical and concepts so profound that only an elite corps of professional scholars could understand them? …Biblical Christianity is not an esoteric religion. Its content is not concealed in vague symbols that require some sort of special 'insight' to grasp. There is no special intellectual prowess or pneumatic gift that is necessary to understand the basic message of Scripture. … The Bible speaks of God in meaningful patterns of speech. Some of those patterns may be more difficult than others, but they are not meant to be nonsense statements that only a guru can fathom.” [R.C. Sproul, Knowing Scripture (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1977), p. 15-17] Josh McDowell affirms, “The message of the Bible is clear for those who will read it and seek to find out its meaning. The problem comes when people bring their preconceived notions to the Bible and attempt to make the Word fit their ideas. This is not the fault of the Bible, but of the persons who force the Bible to say what they want it to say.” [Josh McDowell and Bill Wilson, A Ready Defense (San Bernardino, CA: Here’s Life Publishers, Inc., 1990, p. 180]

  6. STABILITY. The major, theological interpretations (i.e., Creation, Redemption, etc.) of God’s Word have remained relatively unchanged while the “facts” of science change often. The theologian who feels that he has discovered something new in the Scriptures, something never properly understood in previous generations, is wise to rethink his position. On the other hand, there have been great changes in what is considered “scientific fact” over just the last few hundred years. The scientific “truths” of “yesterday” are denounced “today” and ridiculed “tomorrow.”

  7. CONTAMINATION BY EVOLUTIONISM. Profound shifts have occurred due to the popularity of Darwinism. Evolution has become the foundation of many of the theories pronounced as “facts” by modern science.

  8. HUMAN PERVERSION. Just as sinful mankind has endlessly attempted to pervert the Church’s interpretation of Scripture, man has also attempted to pervert its interpretation of the message of nature. God intended nature to reveal His existence and power. Man has perverted science (through evolutionism and other errors) and has attempted to demonstrate that God does not exist or that His power is limited.

    When all of these factors are considered, Christians are well advised to place their trust upon the specific revelation of God’s word. This certainly does not imply that Christians should avoid the fields of science, but rather that all Christians, whether scientists or shoe salesmen, need to continually examine whether their worldview is truly Bible centered.

  9. NATURE HAS DEGENERATED. Nature, and thus God’s revelation in nature, has degenerated from its original perfection. The Bible tells us specifically about two occasions in which Earth has been terribly affected; the fall of mankind and the global flood of Noah. It is apparent that Dr. Ross’s understanding of how sin affected the world is not in line with God’s Word. He acknowledges almost no physical effects in nature caused by the Fall. Nor does he have a clear biblical understanding of the effects of the Flood. He and many other Progressive Creationists believe Noah’s Flood had no significant effect on Earth’s geology. They believe the Flood was local, limited to the plains of Mesopotamia.

    Dr. Ross believes that the Earth was created approximately 4.5 billion years ago and has undergone continual change ever since, including millions of years of death, extinction and suffering. Therefore, the thought of a true original paradise is foreign to his theological system. He simply acknowledges that there was a garden area God made especially nice for Adam and Eve, people did live to great ages, and Adam did walk with God.

Creation and Time states, “While the sin we human beings commit causes us all naturally to react negatively to decay, work, physical death, pain, and suffering, …there is nothing in Scripture that compels us to conclude that none of these entities existed before Adam’s first act of rebellion against God.” [p. 69 — emphasis added]

Our Response:

In fact, the Bible does teach very specifically that the entire creation has been affected by man’s sin. The whole creation has been made ineffective, causing it to groan as it awaits its freedom from its bondage to sin and decay (Romans 8:19-21). Animals were not created carnivorous, for God commanded that they eat only plants (Genesis 1:29-30). Death (physical and spiritual) entered the world through Adam’s sin (Genesis 2:17, 3:19; Romans 5:12, 6:23; I Corinthians. 15:20-23). Although work and pain existed before sin, they were greatly increased after the fall (Genesis 3:16-19). Clearly, the Bible tells us that the world that we are familiar with is very different from the one which God created and pronounced as “very good.” It was a world without sin and suffering, without thorns and thistles and without the oppression we witness all around us today. How then, in light of such strong biblical evidence can Dr. Ross ask the following question?

Concerning the pre-Fall world, Creation and Time asks, “Were conditions significantly different in the past?” [p. 88] Hugh Ross claims that our planet has always been subject to catastrophes and violent predation. He says that billions of years before Adam, there were supernovas and collisions with meteorites that wiped out millions of animals and caused “mass extinction.” There were floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, harmful mutations and diseases of all sorts. In other words, God used “random, wasteful, inefficiencies” to create the world into which Adam was placed. [Creation and Time, pp. 65-69, 88; Hugh Ross, “Species Development: Natural Process or Divine Action,” audiotape, tape 2, side 1 (Pasadena, CA: Reasons to Believe, 1990)]

How can a legitimate, biblical concept of Creation be built upon a cracked foundation, marred with inconsistencies? Ross has constructed his ministry upon beliefs that are incompatible with the plain-literal sense of Scripture (death and suffering before Adam, a billions-of-years chronology, a local Flood, a lack of understanding of the terrible effect of sin on the Earth, and a naively-high view of nature’s revelation vs. God’s Word).

Nature certainly does not possess the ability to clearly teach other matters of doctrine on a basis of equal authority as the written word of God and should not be likened to a 67th book of the Bible.

According to Creation and Time, neither is inferior or superior to the other, they are simply “different, just like the content of Ezra is distinct from that of Romans.” [p. 57]

As we have seen, however, for mankind this equality is not valid. For fallen, finite humans the Bible is clearly superior to the revelation of nature when it comes to ancient history, an explanation of the gospel, a description of Creation, the Flood judgment, etc. Nature provides information about the general message that there is a God and that He is a powerful Creator. The Bible tells us in specific words the details of Creation and redemption. Man’s biased, incomplete, prideful, changing and fallible interpretations of nature and ancient events must never be given greater authority than the clear words of God.

CLAIM: Observation of the universe (general revelation) is sufficient to discover the gospel.

Dr. Ross apparently believes that knowledge gained through the observation of the universe is sufficient to gain salvation and Christian maturity. For example, his previous book claimed that “the plan of salvation as stated in the Bible can be seen through observation of the universe around us. Thus, all human beings have a chance to discover it. The Bible is the only one of all religious writings which declares a message in full agreement with (and, of course, amplification of) the gospel message seen in creation.” [The Fingerprint of God, p. 179]

“The Bible includes an account of an ancient character, Job (Job 7-19), who without the aid of Scriptures, and in opposition to the religion of his peers, discerned all the elements of 'the gospel,' the good news of how man can find eternal life in God.” [The Fingerprint of God, p. 181 — emphasis added]

“The creation, thus, reveals all the necessary steps to develop a right relationship with God. These steps are uniquely corroborated by the Bible.” [The Fingerprint of God, p. 182 — emphasis added]

Creation and Time also states, “in addition to the words of the Bible being 'God-breathed, …useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness' (II Timothy 3:16), so also are the words of God spoken through the work of His hands.” [p. 56 — emphasis added]

Our Response:

FALSE. Nature does not communicate the whole gospel. Strong says, “The Scriptures plainly declare that the revelation of God in nature does not supply all of the knowledge which a sinner needs (Acts 17:23; Ephesians 3:9).” [Augustus H. Strong, Systematic Theology (Valley Forge, PA: Judson Press, 1907), p. 27] Theologian Bruce Demarest calls such a view “extreme” and “liberal.” Authorities such as Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Hodge, Warfield, Henry and others also disagree with Ross’s position. [Bruce A. Demarest, “General Revelation,” in Walter A. Elwell, editor, Evangelical Dictionary of Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1984), p. 944]

Most Christians accept the reality of Dual Revelation (God has revealed Himself both through nature and Scripture). However, theologians note that the revelation of nature (usually called General Revelation) is limited and is not as specific as the Bible; God’s words to humanity.

Dr. Ross does not seem to recognize this limitation. In fact he lists 23 verses which he claims as support for his view that nature is “likened to a sixty-seventh book of the Bible.” [p. 56] It should be noted that even the verses he lists acknowledge the limited nature of general revelation. These Scriptures teach that nature reveals God’s existence, glory, power, righteousness, wisdom, and kindness. Actually, it is a long stretch to suggest that several of these verses mention nature’s general revelation at all (See: Job 10:8-14, 34:14-15, 35:10-12; Psalm 85:11, 98:2-3; Romans 2:14-15; Colossians 1:23).

Two of the verses referred to by Ross are particularly interesting, as they contradict his view. Ecclesiastes 3:11 confirms that although God has revealed himself to humanity in nature, “yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end” (NIV). Romans 10:14-18 clearly teaches that although man receives general revelation about the existence and glory of God (quote from Psalm 19:1-4), “How then shall they call upon Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? …So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ” (NASB). Scripture is clear that the gospel which saves and sanctifies is found only in the words of the Bible.

Another New Testament passage which Hugh Ross uses to support his view that the gospel of Jesus Christ may be found in nature is Colossians 1:23. Ross writes, “Colossians 1:23 states that salvation 'has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven.'” (p. 56 — emphasis added) He teaches that this verse makes it clear that the gospel of salvation has been revealed by means of God’s revelation in the heavens.

Our Response:

FALSE. This is another serious scriptural error.

Colossians 1:23b says, “This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister” (NASB). Hugh Ross claims this verse means that everyone can know the gospel of God through His revelation in the heavens. This is a serious misunderstanding of this verse.

  1. The gospel, as contextually described by Paul in Colossians chapter 1, contains in-depth information about Jesus Christ, the Creator/Sustainer/Redeemer of mankind. Certainly, the revelation of nature cannot communicate such a precise message.

  2. The phrase “to every creature” states the object of the preaching and is modified by the phrase “under heaven,” which emphasizes the universal scope of the gospel (just what is expected according to Christ’s own words in Mark 16:15, Matthew 28:18-20 and Acts 1:8). Paul’s message of the universal, genuine gospel is an important foundation for the verses which follow, describing the mystery of the Jewish/Gentile union in Christ (Colossians 1:24-29).

  3. Further contextual proof that Paul emphasized the extent of the spread of the gospel rather than the mode of revelation is seen in Colossians 1:5-6 which states, “because of the hope laid up for you in heaven, of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel, which has come to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing” (NASB). Thus, Paul states that the faith which is increasing in the Colossian church was brought in the same manner as throughout the world. Verse 7 tells us the means of this communication of the gospel, “just as you learned it from Epaphras, our beloved fellow bond-servant…” (NASB).

It is clear from the context and message of the gospel that Paul never intended to communicate the false idea that nature could proclaim the gospel of salvation. Dr. Ross is terribly incorrect in taking this unorthodox view concerning nature’s revelation to mankind. Rather than providing a revelation sufficient for salvation, “general revelation serves only to condemn the sinner and to establish his guilt-worthiness before God (Rom. 1:20).” [Bruce A. Demarest, “General Revelation,” in Walter A. Elwell, editor, Evangelical Dictionary of Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1984), p. 945]

CLAIM: The universe is billions of years old.

In reading Creation and Time and Dr. Ross’s other works, it becomes apparent that the central belief of much of his teachings is this: the universe is billions of years old and astronomy proves it. Again and again Dr. Ross makes claims for a billions-of-years-old universe. He and other Progressive Creationists fervently believe that the size of the universe and various other astronomical discoveries prove this beyond any doubt. Ross rejects as nonsense all suggestions from science that Earth and the universe could be young. [Creation and Time; Hugh Ross, The Fingerprint of God, second edition (Promise Publishing Co., 1991); etc.]

Ross emphasizes man’s place in this vast timeline, “If the time since the creation of the universe were scaled down to a single year, the whole of human history would be less than one minute.” [Hugh Ross, The Fingerprint of God, p. 178 — emphasis added, also see pp. 159-160]

Our Response:

FALSE. The Scriptures contradict such a teaching. Also, not all scientific evidences lead to the conclusion that the universe is billions of years old. Nor does the universe’s vastness necessarily mean that it is of great age.

The simple fact is, the only one who has observed the entire history of the universe from beginning to end is God. Obviously, no scientist was there billions of years ago, nor can anyone go back in a time machine to make critical measurements and tests. Only the Creator is in a position to know with certainty the true history and age of the universe. Man’s finite powers of observation and sin-polluted, degenerate minds are simply not capable of knowing many absolute facts about the ancient past.

What we do have is a witness, however. His Word to humanity is clear. The Bible indicates that all Creation was completed during six days (evidently six Earth rotations). It is widely agreed that the biblical genealogies carefully provide a line of descent from the first Adam to the second Adam. This genealogy provides a good general indication of the elapsed time. Some scholars argue that there may be some “gaps” in the genealogies. That is, rather than reporting a father/son relationship, a portion may record a grandfather/grandson or even great-grandfather/great-grandson relationship. However, even if this is true, it would be absurd to accept insertions of tens of thousands of years in the genealogies.

New scientific theories exist which explain the size of the universe in agreement with the biblical timescale. One example is the young-Earth relativistic cosmology formulated by physicist Dr. Russell Humphreys based on Einstein’s general theory of relativity. We are told that this alternative to the “Big Bang” has been well-received by scientists trained in relativity. [See: D. Russell Humphreys, Starlight and Time (Colorado Springs, CO: Master Books, 1994)] In addition, the majority of scientific age estimation methods indicate a young Earth. [See: Paul S. Taylor, The Illustrated ORIGINS Answer Book (PO Box 577, Frankfort KY 40602, USA: Eden Communications, 1992) and Dr. John D. Morris, The Young Earth (Colorado Springs, CO: Master Books, 1994)] Dr. Ross’s bias is apparent in his willingness to accept only those scientific methods that agree with his belief in billions of years. In the final analysis, none of man’s scientific age estimation methods can be considered foolproof, young or old. Views that reigned for decades have often been quickly discarded upon the discovery of unexpected, new evidence or upon finding a new way of looking at an old question. We would prefer to stick with the testimony of the only eyewitness to those ancient events, God.

To Part III