In the Beginning is the Truth: Review of Jonathan Sarafati's "Refuting Compromise"

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by asterisktom, Apr 7, 2010.

  1. asterisktom

    asterisktom
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    I have come across many books both pro and con on the issue of Creation, as well as several "semi-pro" efforts (Gap Theory, Framework Hypothesis). The ones that are at either end often tend to cartoon the opposition as something not to be taken seriously.

    Old Earth teachers (OE) insinuate, for instance, that Young Earth creationists have never heard of the idea of "Yom" (Hebrew for "day") being used in a variety of ways. Some also assume (wrongly) that the fossil record is an embarrassing evidence that Creationists think needs to be explained away.

    But Young Earth Creationists (YEC) - which is what I am - often do similar things. They belittle the opposition or demonize the issue, assuring that more heat is generated than light; "Maybe your ancestors were monkeys....". And they often fight the Goliath of evolution and general Biblical disbelief in the armor of Saul (1st Samuel 17:38- 39) instead of the spiritual armor God has given us. Examples: When confronted with cynicism concerning Joshua's commanding of the day to be extended they counter with Harry Rimmer's chestnut of scientists having discovered an extra day. Or, in order to discredit evolutionism, they pass on the now-discredited accounts of Darwin's final conversion and total repudiation of his life's work. For more on this subtopic, see my article: "Bad Science for a Good God".

    That is why Dr. Sarfati's book is so welcome. He rolls up his sleeves (this is a difficult subject) and courteously and meticulously sets the groundwork for a Biblical account of six days of creation and day of rest. He does not belittle the opponents, whether they are strict evolutionists (Hawkins), day-age creationists (Hugh Ross, Gleason Archer), or Gap Theorists (R. Grigg) and Framework Hypothesists (Meredith Kline, J.A. Pipa). But he takes each position and deals with them scripturally, contextually and linguistically.

    "Refuting Compromise" is not an easy read. The subject matter is very interesting, but it requires careful thought - not the kind of book you can read while listening to the radio!

    I like that the author is considerate of his readers: He tells them, at the beginning of each chapter what he is going to say. He says it - the main part of the chapter. And then he summarizes what he just said. Introduction, elaboration, summarization. Excellent. I wish all authors would do this!

    Here are the titles of the first five chapters:
    1. The Authority of Scripture
    2. The Days of Creation
    3. The History of Interpretation of Genesis 1- 11
    4. The Order of Creation
    5. The Big Bang and Astronomy

    Truth be known, Sarfati did not do a summary at the end of that last chapter, and that is where one might have been helpful. This is where, probably due to this being one of the author's strong points, things get quite involved. I almost said "bogged down" but it doesn't. The reader just needs to go through the material carefully and thoughtfully. I made several notes while reading this.

    The Foreword and first chapter lay out the Biblical groundwork, which is always good to see. He honors the Bible foremost, both as instructing us in how to examine this topic, but also in how to treat others who disagree. Unlike several books in this genre (both pro and con) Sarfati treats the opposition with due personal respect.

    In the first chapter we see that Hugh Ross and others, while arguing for putting the "facts of science" on a par with Scripture, they actually make Scripture subservient to Science. Ross actually has referred to science as the "67th book of the Bible". But, as bad as that is, in practice, he interprets those other 66 books according to that 67th book. Sarfati rightly points out that

    "Scripture is able to make a man 'wise unto salvation' and 'thoroughly furnished unto all good works'. This implies that Scripture contains all the doctrine and moral law we need."

    In this first chapter the author cautions against over-confidence in evidentialist apologetics, and of trying to "prove the Bible with science" (p.45). This leads into the proper use of science in its own sphere, borrowing Martin Luther's terminology of "magisterial" and "ministerial". Luther used those terms for the right and wrong use of reason. Sarfati borrows these to apply to science (an application of reason). We are to have a magisterial respect for the Bible and a ministerial understanding of science, In other words, the Bible overrules in any seeming clash between Bible and science. Example: On the one hand, a scientist (or an Old Earth Christian) postulates that first we had dinosaurs, then subhumans, then Adam. On the other hand we have Christ's clear teaching (Mark 10:6) that Adam and Eve were created at the "beginning of Creation" - that first week. Our magisterial respect for Scripture compels us to hold on to Christ's word - and round-file (that is, trash) the evolutionist's pronouncement.

    This would be a good note to end with: When I put the book down I had a renewed appreciation and respect for the Book that God wrote, that starts with "In the beginning..." and has the last word.
     
  2. asterisktom

    asterisktom
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    Bad Science for a Good God:The Word of God is always the Best Witness. Do you really


    Looking through a number of creationist sites sometimes can cause embarrassment and frustration. Not because I disagree with their main points; I don't at all. I, too, believe that God created everything in six actual days. This fact is foundational to other nonnegotiable Biblical teachings. I believe also in a literal Adam and Eve, and a literal universal flood.

    The frustration comes from witnessing well-meaning Christians neglecting the Sword of the Spirit in their fighting against the Goliath of unbelief and evolution, and their attempting to fight them in the armor of Saul. A second failure is that some (not all) of their "facts" are outdated - or just plain wrong.

    Lack of confidence in the Word & Lack of credibility in the world
    Let's do that last one first. Now, credibility in the eyes of the world should not be the main thing we aim at, since anyone who determines to be a friend of God will be an enemy of the world. So we are not speaking of validation. But we do want our evidence to be believed (this is the root word of "credibility", as in, credos, creed).

    Although there is a cranky fringe of "Christianity" that seems to rejoice in not being believed, most apologists aim at convincing enemies, not alienating them. But they just don't show discernment. Not all evidence is good evidence. The world needs to be exposed to the Word. Credible - well-chosen - creationist evidence, if used, needs to be coupled with "Thus saith the Lord". Instead they all too often get the Cracker Jack Chick tract treatment. Examples here are, Joshua's "lost" day ("found" by scientists), for one:

    The missing day found - according to Harry Rimmer. Here's the real scoop.

    Other discredited - or not sufficiently credited - "proofs" for creation are:
    Darwin repented on his deathbed and became a Christian. (No evidence)

    * Moondust layers on the lunar surface absolutely prove 6-day Creation. (Inconclusive)
    * A Plesiosaur was caught off of New Zealand. (Confession time: I had to pull that article from my website. I wrote it back in my more gullible days, 1996, I think.)
    * Darwin's "absurdity" quote of the evolution of the eye. (The quote is accurate, but lifted out of it's strongly qualified context: He went on to say that he saw no problem in the eye being evolved step-by-step.)
    * 1 Timothy 6:20 refers to evolution. (It doesn't. It refers to gnosticism, a movement that was already starting to rear it's head.)
    * The speed of light has decreased over time' (This too is inconclusive.See Russell Humphrey's "Starlight and Time")
    * Earth's axis was vertical before the flood (The pre-flood existence of seasons, Gen. 1:14, is evidence to the contrary).
    While you are at that site, you might want to check out Mr. Sarfati's excellent article, Moving Forward: Arguments we think creationists shouldn't use.

    Another one is Maintaining Creationist Integrity"

    But you might say, "You are being naive. The evolutionists doesn't care what's in the Bible. What kind of evidence is that? Why even quote it to them, seeing that it would be a waste of time?" But that is really the voice of unbelief. And it is not what the Word says about itself: "My Word will do the work it was intended to do. It shall not be void."

    If we don't see the results we expect - and we do not see into the hearts of our opponents, neither do we see the final results of our proclaiming God's Word to him. Yet, even if our evolutionist friend remains a skeptic and goes to hell, still, the Word was successful. Unfortunately for him, it was a "savor of death unto death" instead of "life unto life". But be sure of this: If that person proved ultimately unresponsive to the Word of God and of life, he would certainly never have responded to the best and most credible evidence of creation science. See Luke 16:31. Spiritual proofs are needed for spiritual blindness. The Word will cure this blindness - or it won't.

    I need to add this also: Don't ever pull the blunder, when quoting the Bible to an unbeliever, to say something like, "This Bible is the Word of God because.....well... it says so!" That is perhaps non-evidence #1. Use the Bible, yes. Use it with confidence. God's Word will do His work. But you don't need to build up the Word. Those convinced of that fact will need no convincing, and those not, not. Goats will be goats, sheep will be sheep.

     
    #2 asterisktom, Apr 7, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 7, 2010

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