The subtitle of A Matter of Days, by Hugh Ross, claims to resolve a creation controversy, but it does nothing of the sort. Instead, he sets up straw men and soundly knocks them to the ground. From the outset, Ross makes it clear that his opponents are not the evolutionists or secular scientists; they are never challenged. His opponents are the young earth creationists who believe that God created the whole universe in six literal 24-hour days. Ross seems to swallow all the old age dating ideas, letting the six days of Genesis stretch into the 4.6 billions years that the atheists now seem to prefer. He believes that taking that position lends credibility to his evangelistic efforts as a speaker and pastor.
Ross demolishes the few young earth arguments that have turned out to be duds. Ever since Darwin came on the scene, Christians have cast about for scenarios that do no violence to the scriptures and yet are born out by the facts of science. Some of these have turned out to be wrong, so they look for others. The apparent age idea is one that Ross lays to rest. Ross points out that if God gave evidence of vast age in the rocks and stars and starlight when really it is young, it would make God the author of a huge deception. Ross is correct to reassure his readers that God is not in the business of intentional deception. Yet, he misrepresents the mainstream creationist position, citing a notion that God created the rocks complete with fossils in them already. This lame idea was discarded long ago.
Secular scientists, too, cast about for plausibility and later throw away the losers. The history of science is full of failures, trotting out one disastrous hypothesis after another. Yet, Ross just can’t seem to lay his finger on any. He could, but he doesn’t, reach back to when doctors could see no scientific reason to wash their hands between examinations of cadavers and delivering babies. Nor does he identify any of the ridiculous caveman hoaxes. On the contrary, he defends them.
With Ross doing the writing, all the foibles reside with the young earth crowd. He seems fixated on the Big Bang right about the time it is fizzling in the scientific community. You can barely pick up a science journal today without reading some new outlandish cosmological theory that debunks the old BB. My favorite is an MIT mathematician who claims to prove that anything--a dog, a house, or a complete universe--could (and probably does) pop out of the vacuum of space at any time. No kidding, this MIT guy said that; I have the article on my desk. Atheist cosmologists have jumped off the Big Bang bandwagon just in time for the big boys of faith to clamber on.
Ross never deals with the crux of legitimate young earth arguments. He rambles on and on about the intricacies of radiometric dating methods. Then he assumes, like all evolutionists, that any element that could have radioactively decayed, must have done so. Basically, God could not and would not create lead 207 all by itself. God must have created its parent element, uranium 235, only. The same goes for lead 206, lead 208, etc. What kind of thinking is that? Ross assumes the same nonsense the evolutionists do. That’s why it’s so hard to tell them apart.
Similarly, he writes about geological clocks such as tree rings and coral reefs and ice layers. I perked up a bit with the snow compacted into ice. Was he going to tell about the P-38 abandoned in Iceland during World War II, and how when they finally dug it out, they found over 150 years worth of ice layers covering it? Sorry, Ross didn’t mention that.
Ross wastes little ink on the worldwide Noahic flood, either. We are left to assume that all the fossils were deposited by local floods down through the eons, just like the evolutionists say they were. With Ross, the Noah thing either didn’t happen or did so metaphorically leaving not a trace of fossilized evidence, like the petrified trees poking up through "millions" of years of rock strata.
In the same vein, Ross sees nothing wrong with dating rocks by the fossils contained therein. He fails to point out that fossils are also dated by the rocks where they are found. His finds no space in his book to grapple with this classic example of circular reasoning. The young earth hypotheses that are easily disproved or already discarded receive plenty of attention, but the solid arguments are left alone.
Ross says he wants to bring peace and reconciliation, yet he has an odd way of healing the rift between the day age proponents, such as himself, and the young earth advocates. Claiming aggrieved status in a war of words, Ross launches his own verbal barrage by proxy, quoting atheist’s diatribes without correction or apology. The name calling includes, "anti-intellectual", "dishonest", "fearful that science will prove them wrong", using "terrorist tactics", "outright deception", "hyper-evolutionists", and "complete idiocy". He is aghast when creationists express incredulity at the conclusions of secular scientists, who to him are above reproach, having no bias or agenda like other mortals. Those who doubt them are positioned by Ross as little more than conspiracy theorists, kooks with a tenuous hold on reality. How does this bring peace and healing?
Ross makes some forays into theology. The Hebrew word for day is thoughtfully discussed. I disagree with his conclusions, but at least he’s reasonable. He does a good job tearing up the notion that before the fall of Adam there was no death, pain, suffering, or bloodshed; therefore, vast amounts of time before Adam’s sin could not have taken place. The idea is based on the apostle’s writing that through Adam, death entered into the world. Ross succinctly drives the point home that the context in Romans is that of human death and cannot be applied to the animal or plant world. Ross’s ideas concerning cosmic events to come are worthy of a Peretti novel. If he ever gives up his day job, fiction might be an option.
Mr. Ross is quite a Christian apologist when he stays away from the creation debate, and he’s probably a top flight astronomer, yet his critique of the young earth position uses very selective evidence. His omissions of key evidence and his total reliance on the tired-out notions of evolutionists are a concern. His readers simply cannot trust him to fairly and honestly present the scientific evidence. His intentions are good, but his journalism is untrustworthy and his tone is sometimes mean-spirited. It is a shame his subtitle does not fulfill its promise to resolve a creation controversy in a matter of days. -- Donald W. Wilson, Christian Book Previews.com
Creation—It's all in six "days" work. But did the creation days of Genesis last hours or eons? The length of time represented by the word "day" sparks a raging storm of Christian controversy.
Lightning strikes and thunder roars with questions at the core of the debate:
In A Matter of Days, best-selling author and respected astronomer Hugh Ross, Ph.D., addresses these questions and explores how the creation-day controversy developed. History, theology, and science reveal creation's big picture. Detailed explanations answer young-earth challenges to an old-earth view. Tools for better interpretations help Christians draw their own conclusions and become more effective in reaching out to skeptics. And, a testable creation approach—including predictions about future discoveries—offers hope that could calm this storm once and for all.