Saturday, July 19, 2014

Book Review: Navigating Genesis: A Scientist's Journey through Genesis 1-11 by Hugh Ross

Reviewer's Introduction
I was introduced to astrophysicist Dr. Hugh Ross (president of Reasons to Believe) in the early 90's but did not really begin investigating his model of origins until the mid 2000's when my view of origins and my Christian worldview was beginning to be challenged by observations of scientists in many different disciplines. I was hit by the higher critics who wished to interpret Genesis in a metaphorical (and not historical) light. Some of their points seemed valid, but others were questionable. I found Dr. Ross' approach of integrating all of Scripture with all the sciences quite intellectually attractive. It offered the possibility to reconcile the findings of modern science and the research of the higher critics with the Genesis accounts. However, before I was willing to change my view of origins from young-earth (universe is 6,000 - 10,000 years old), despite the observational evidence, I had to see a proper interpretive treatment of the Genesis accounts of creation that recognized them as historical events, granted the poetic writing style, understood the ancient cultural context, and consistently preserved all the essentials of Christian theology (including original sin and Christ's atonement). All those requirements have been satisfied, and Navigating Genesis: A Scientist's Journey Through Genesis 1-11 shows how it is accomplished through a careful examination of the Genesis accounts.

This review is a chapter-by-chapter summary, so it is lengthy. But it will give the reader a taste of the range of content in the book. This review, by no means, is a substitute for reading the book as it contains much more content in higher detail than what I have presented here.

Chapter 1- Personal Journey
The first eleven chapters of the Bible are often the target of ridicule and used as evidence that the scripture is not historically accurate. Dr. Ross has found otherwise. He explains that even though many of the events recorded in scripture have not left marks in nature that can be scientifically tested, the events recorded in the Genesis 1-11, by their nature, will leave such evidence. This provides a unique opportunity to use the first chapters of scripture to test for the Bible's claim that it was inspired by the Creator of the universe.

Dr. Ross gives the reader a quick overview of his own journey of investigation that began with his studies in astronomy at a young age. His understanding of Big Bang cosmology led him to the conclusion that the universe had to have a beginner. He wanted to know if this creator had communicated to man via any of the "holy" books of history, so he investigated the claims about creation of each book against the established scientific record. He found that not only was the first 11 chapters of Genesis accurate in all it claimed, but its level of recorded detail was well beyond what could be explained by strictly human authorship. Dr. Ross' goal in this book is to take the reader through his journey of investigation through the first chapters of Genesis that led him to surrender his life to the Creator of the universe through Jesus Christ.

Chapter 2—Reasons for Resistance
One of the primary reasons for resisting the Christian worldview that Dr. Ross has encountered in academia is due to the claims in the first chapters of Genesis appearing to conflict with what has been discovered in reality. He explains some different approaches that people have used to describe the relationship between science and religion. The separatist approach posits that science and religion describe two different areas of reality that do not overlap one another; one has nothing to say about the other, thus there is no opportunity for conflict. The conflict model holds that science and religion do attempt to describe the same aspects of reality, but they make contradictory claims. This results in two different factions: those who choose to believe science, and those who choose to believe religion. The complementary model attempts to find a happy medium with the previous two by granting that there is slight overlap, but for the most part they do not. Where overlap exists, agreement will exist. Finally, the constructive integrationist model grants that both science and religion attempt to describe reality, with plenty of overlap.

This final model is the one that Dr. Ross promotes. He explains that if a religion claims that God created the universe and also revealed Himself through written word, they would naturally describe the same phenomena and no conflict should exist. This provides a very powerful foundation for testing the world's religions for accuracy, and for providing compelling evidence of the true religion. He addresses a few challenges that arise from the proponents of the other perspectives, and asks that the reader, even if they do not agree with this perspective right now, to read the book in the context of the constructive integrationist to better understand his case for the scientific verification of the historical accuracy of Genesis.

Chapter 3—Creation of the Cosmos
Dr. Ross immediately takes the reader to Genesis 1:1. This passage makes a claim about the universe: that it began to exist. Ross goes into a short discussion of the linguistics that establish the interpretation that this describes an ex nihilo creation of all matter, energy, space, and time. He then takes the reader through a short explanation of the scientific evidence that this accurately describes the origin of the universe. Moving into Genesis 1:2, Ross explains that misunderstanding this passage tends to be responsible for the vast majority of apparent conflict between the scientific record and the rest of Genesis 1. The issue is with the point of view of the observer: the Spirit of God. Most people do not recognize that the point of view is the surface of the earth, not the skies above or even heaven. The rest of Genesis 1 thus should be interpreted from this perspective, which Dr. Ross will demonstrate later is completely compatible with scientific discoveries.

Ross then describes the latest in planetary formation research that has demonstrated that the earth did, in fact, begin as a water-world with an atmosphere so thick that no light could have penetrated it. Scientists have discovered that darkness, indeed, did cover the face of the deep as described by the biblical author. Because of those conditions it would naturally follow that the earth of empty of all life (even photosynthetic), and no land masses were formed on the surface. Genesis 1:1-2 make claims about the universe's and earth's beginnings that can be verified or denied by scientific research, and science has verified them.

Chapter 4Creation Days One and Two
Recalling that Genesis 1:2 establishes the point of view as the surface of the earth, Day 1 describes the first appearance of light on the surface of the earth. This would not be the clear sky that we see today, but a permanent, darkly overcast sky. Dr. Ross explains that current theories for the formation of the moon would account for this change in the earth's atmosphere. The current theories hold that another planet collided with earth at a specific velocity that resulted in the "blasting away" of a large portion of earth's primordial atmosphere, allowing light to reach the surface for the first time. Dr. Ross explains that this collision event is not only compatible with the description in Genesis 1:3, but it also provided numerous changes to the planet that were necessary for life's existence.

Day 2 describes the establishment of the water cycle. The separation of water below and water above is the result of the actions of the earliest photosynthetic life that occupied the oceans and the effects of the sun's luminosity. God created these life forms with different metabolic capabilities that produced various greenhouse gases that allowed the atmosphere to become clear enough for enough of the sun's heat to reach the surface to evaporate water into the atmosphere for precipitation to begin. This further prepared earth for advanced life. But hidden behind this obvious action was a delicate balancing act- the sun was changing in luminosity at a rate that could have destroyed the life forms that were transforming the atmosphere, but the transformation of the atmosphere was transformed at a rate that accommodated the changing luminosity perfectly, thus allowing the process to complete and set the stage for God's next creative act.

Chapter 5—Creation Days Three and Four
Tectonic activity (fueled by the energy release from elements brought to earth by the moon's formation) resulted in land breaking the surface of the oceans. Dr. Ross explains that another result of the moon collider is the slowing of the rotation of the earth. This slowing rotation allowed for the land mass to continue to grow over time. The established water cycle resulted in erosion of the land; however, with the slowing rotation rate, this slowed the erosion rate, thus it ensured that water would never cover the surface of the earth again.

With a more conducive atmosphere, land, and the water cycle in place, God created land plant life. This plant life further transformed the atmosphere to reveal the "great lights": the sun and the moon. Because of the common misconception that the fourth day describes the creation of the sun and moon, Dr. Ross takes the reader back to the original Hebrew language and explains that the different word used in Genesis 1:14 (as opposed to verse 1) actually means a "revealing" of what had already been created not a whole new creative act. He goes on to explain that the transformation of the atmosphere not only revealed the sun, moon, and stars (which is required for advanced life), but it also prepared the atmosphere to prevent deadly levels of the sun's ultraviolet rays from reaching the earth's surface and regulate atmospheric chemistry (via the ozone in the different atmospheric layers). All of this is done in preparation for God's next creative act.

Chapter 6—Creation Days Five and Six
Day 5 is God's introduction of abundant sea life to the earth. Dr. Ross explains that this is most evident in the fossil record's feature known as the Cambrian Explosion. Showing that this event demonstrates a radical appearance of life forms points to the work of a Creator who works rapidly rather than by the slow process of evolution. Not only does the Cambrian Explosion take place in a geological instant, but it also takes place right after the earth's atmosphere was able to sustain such animal life. This earliest possible appearance of these types of life indicates that something or someone was prepared to create new life forms when the previously created life forms had completed their duties. This convergence of events in time argues powerfully for the work of a Mind behind the creation. Day six presents a further creation act- that of more complex, land-dwelling animal life. The scriptural record of gradual progression of complexity of life forms provides a compelling explanation for the gradual increase in complexity described by the fossil record.

Chapter 7—The Final Act (For Now)
Dr. Ross continues to discuss the events of the sixth day. He draws the reader's attention to the fact that Genesis records three different "new" creations regarding life: life itself, soulish life forms, and spiritual life forms. He explains that scripture paints each type of life as distinct from the others. The final act of creation, humanity, is not merely another animal, it is created with a spiritual dimension; it is created in the "Image of God." This is evidenced in the archaeological record by the explosive appearances of sophisticated tools, weapons, art, and artifacts interpreted as used for musical and religious expression. Such an explosion is not compatible with a gradual appearance of uniquely human traits (as is demanded by naturalistic evolutionary theory), but it is evidence of a sudden appearance of humanity on earth. Dr. Ross examines several ways that scientists have used to date humanity's origin, and how such attempts are compatible with the account given in Genesis.

Chapter 8—Source Controversy
Since similar creation stories that predate the writing of Genesis do exist (Enuma elish and Atrahasis epic), and it is often claimed that the Hebrews borrowed from these older creation myths, it is important to examine them and be able to explain their existence and content. Dr. Ross reminds the reader that the date of writing of something does not necessarily coincide with its origination, so it is possible that the story did not get written until much later after its content was revealed. This gains probability when we understand that the Hebrew culture did not develop a written language until after the cultures that recorded the Enuma elish and Atrahasis epic. The possibility also becomes more plausible when we grant that stories do change with time. If the creation story was revealed early enough, the story would get passed from generation to generation, accumulating changes along the way; the earlier stories will be closer to the original. This seems problematic for the biblical account, though, until the reader takes into account all the scientifically verified details recorded in Genesis 1. The extremely low probability of such a coincidence results in a high probability of the idea that the writer of the account was inspired by the Creator of the universe to alter any errors that may have been present in their orally transmitted version, thus producing a scientifically verifiable and historically accurate account.

Chapter 9—Message of Day Seven
The timing of God's rest from creating coincides with the fossil record. Dr. Ross explains that the fossil record tells of the introduction of animal species all the way up to the appearance of humans; then such new species abruptly stop appearing. He appeals to long-term evolution experiments that have examined 40,000+ generations of simple e. coli (the equivalence of 1 million years of human evolution) and have not witnessed any macroevolutionary changes. Evolutionary scientists have not provided any mechanism to explain such a halt to speciation; while the Bible does- God rested from creation after He created Adam and Eve.

The seventh day also provides clues to the length of the days in Genesis 1. Most biblical scholars grant that the phrase "evening and morning" indicates the completion of days 1-6; however, this phrase is missing from the seventh day. This allows for the possibility that the seventh day was not completed when the author penned the revelation. Dr. Ross also appeals to other passages of scripture to build support for this notion. He takes this opportunity to also mention that to properly interpret the Genesis creation account, any and all other passages of scripture that speak about creation must be taken into context. He emphasizes that "to interpret the Bible literally is not enough; one must also interpret it with internal (as well as external) consistency." He provides a table of the many creation-related passages in the Bible that can all be used to properly interpret the events of Genesis 1. He concludes the chapter with a short discussion of the phrase "very good" and the idea of death before the fall of Adam and Eve. He reminds the reader that if one wishes to call God cruel because of animal death before the fall, then he needs to reexamine what God allowed Jesus to suffer on the cross.

Chapter 10—Spiritual Perspectives on Creation: Genesis 2
Genesis 2 was written with a different purpose than Genesis 1. Its focus is more on man's relationship to the creation. However, before discussing this different perspective, Dr. Ross uses the four identified rivers is Genesis 2 and geographical and archaeological data build the case for the physical reality of the Garden of Eden (as opposed to the metaphorical interpretation) and for its location beneath what is today the Persian Gulf. From there Dr. Ross observes that God introduces Adam to the creation in three different stages; each one has a different relationship to Adam. Adam is created outside the Garden then is placed inside the Garden.

The first introduction is to the land and the vegetation, which Adam has to maintain. Dr. Ross examines the passages that refer to the vegetarian diet of Adam and Eve and the misunderstanding that this also applied to the animals. He also discusses recent studies regarding vegetarian diets that actually increase life expectancy (possibly helping to support the long life spans prior to God's allowance of meat in the human diet). The second introduction for Adam is to the animals. He is tasked with observing each one and naming it according to his observations. Even though Adam could establish a relationship with some of the animals, he understood that none of them could provide the relationship that he needed (since he was created in God's Image, yet the animals were not). The third introduction to Adam was God's provision for this need: Eve. Dr. Ross discusses the relationship between man and woman and describes it as their being allies to one another. Dr. Ross concludes the chapter by highlighting the fact that the Garden of Eden was an idyllic place for animals and man, one that had not yet been tainted by man's decision to act autonomously from his Creator.

Chapter 11—How Far The Fall?: Genesis 3
The decisions of Adam and Eve to disobey God's command to not eat of one tree in the Garden set in motion the destruction that comes from a heart determined to live by its own rules and not those of its Creator. The fall affected man's heart, and the creation indirectly through man. Dr. Ross explains that it is a mistake to believe that the Fall resulted in changed laws of physics that resulted in decay. He provides arguments from both scripture and nature for this conclusion. He also explains that animal predation is nothing new either. He examines the physiology and ecosystems of predator and prey to provide evidence for such a position. He adds that since man is the only creature capable of sin, then he is the only creature worthy of the punishment, so the presence of death in the animal and plant kingdoms cannot reflect sin's entrance into the world, but (and due to the unchanging laws of physics) was present prior also. Death came to all men due to sin, and Dr. Ross explains that since death limits man's time that he can exercise his evil will, death is actually a blessing.

Chapter 12—Cain's Story: Genesis 4
The story of Cain and the surrounding context often causes people to doubt the historicity of the Genesis account of human origins. Dr. Ross addresses several questions regarding the extent of Cain's sin (murder), his finding a wife, and the issue of incest. Genesis gives the impression that Cain's murder started a trend that was too common among the ancients within a few generations. Based on the life spans recorded in Genesis (these are addressed in the next chapter), the human population growth potential was exponential, and Cain could have easily found a wife if he waited a few generations before he married. The close blood relationship of any potential wife does cause a modern person to question its truthfulness because of the results of incest. However, Ross explains that genetic defects resulting from incest do not manifest until the first several dozen generations down the line, so it would not be an issue with these first human beings.

Chapter 13—Possibility of Long Life Spans: Genesis 5-6
The long life spans recorded in Genesis is often given as evidence that the record is not historical. Dr. Ross begins addressing this concern by noting that other ancient records also include ages similar to those recorded in Genesis. He examines the possibility that the ancients measures years differently than we do today, but concludes that they did not, so if these are historically accurate, then a purpose and mechanism needs to be proposed. Dr. Ross lists seventeen different factors that have been demonstrated to limit human life span that were not present prior to God declaring His limitation. He spends a good portion of the chapter explaining one of the more significant factors: cosmic radiation's impact on cellular reproduction. He also reminds the reader that God had a very good reason for limiting the life span of humans: it was a direct and intentional action by God to limit the amount of time that every individual could exercise evil.

Chapter 14—Sons of God and the Nephilim: Genesis 6
Along with the long life spans, the "super humans" of Genesis 6 are cited to discredit the historicity of the events recorded in scripture. Again, Dr. Ross begins by noting that other cultures also record humans of great stature, strength, and agility. He notes that biologically and physically the traits attributed to the "Nephilim" reach and go beyond the limits. He examines two common explanations: that they were the offspring of intermarriage between Cain's and Seth's offspring and that they were the offspring of humans and sexually active fallen angels. He provides the Biblical support for both views and points out that neither seem to be falsified by scripture or other evidence, so either one would be consistent with the Christian worldview. He ends the chapter with a brief snip-it about the third possibility that they may have been demonically possessed humans; he did not elaborate on that theory much due to the lack of scholarly work that has been done on the topic so far.

Chapter 15—Boundaries of God's Wrath: Genesis 6
Many people take two issues with Noah's flood. The first is the idea that God would nearly destroy the whole human race. Dr. Ross explains that the evil of the time of Noah had progressed to the point that it could no longer be contained. However, God exercised judgment in a way that only affected the part of creation affected by by the evil. Dr. Ross compares God's use of the flood to a skilled surgeon who carefully removes the problematic tissue while leaving the healthy tissue untouched. He explains that it would be unnecessary for God to flood areas of the planet that humans had not inhabited (thus their evil had not touched the land or the animals). God's judgment does not go beyond what needs to be judged, so the geographical extent of humanity's migration places a geographical limit on the necessity of Noah's flood.

The second issue that people often take with Noah's flood is that the geography of the whole earth is not consistent with what would be expected of a flood that covered the entire planet. However, since the flood did not need to be global for the flood to accomplish God's purpose for it (judgment and removal of humanity other than Noah's family), then it allows for the possibility of a geographically restricted flood that would not leave a global signature. However, the question now becomes whether the geographical extent of the flood can be determined in scripture. Dr. Ross addresses this question next and further investigates the evidence from nature following the Biblical investigation.

Chapter 16Global or Worldwide Flood? Biblical Evidence
In the last chapter Dr. Ross established that it was not necessary for the flood to cover the entire planet to serve its purpose (judgment of evil humanity). However, that alone does not establish the geographical extent one way or the other. The biblical text needs to first be investigated. Dr. Ross begins by noting six worldwide events recorded in scripture that have definite geographical limits. He then notes that Peter (in 2 Peter 3:6) seems to understand that the flood was geographically limited.

It is quite often that people understand that Noah's ark came to rest on Mount Ararat. Dr. Ross notes that scripture actually states that the ark came to rest in the mountains of Ararat: the range, not the mountain. With lower elevations than the mountain, Noah's view would not be as far out and he could easily see small mountains and hills covered with water, thus explaining the recorded data and allowing for a much smaller amount of water. Dr. Ross offers several other scriptural passages that seem to strongly indicate that while the Flood was worldwide (covered humanity), it did not cover the entire planet. Cultural context is key; it is important that globally minded people not project that mindset onto ancients who did not have the same concept.

Chapter 17—Global or Worldwide Flood? Scientific Evidence
If the flood of Noah was a global event, geologists would expect to see physical evidence of it in the crust of the earth. Looking at ice cores from both southern and northern hemispheres that span several hundred thousand years (time span of layers are independently established via volcanic activity) does not reveal any flood events in their respective areas. Any global flood model that includes a young earth also requires high levels of tectonic activity and dramatically increased speed of radio metric decay rates. The level of tectonic activity would result in earthquakes that would be planet-wide magnitude 11 for the entire duration of the flood. These would result in tsunamis so powerful as to destroy everything on the surface of the earth (including the ark and its inhabitants) and produce aftershocks for decades after the event that would prevent sustained civilization. The radiometric decay rates would be so high that the heat produced would melt the surface of the earth and evaporate all water. The radio isotopes in the wood and pitch used to create the ark would surround and destroy all life on the ark, not to mention the radio isotopes in the bodies of the animals and humans on the ark- they would literally be destroyed from within.

The diversity of land animal life today also represents a physical problem for global flood models. The ark was a certain size that allows for only a relatively minute number of species to be salvaged. In order for these to be the ancestors of all current land animals, natural processes (naturalistic evolution) would have to take place at extremely rapid speeds. Ironically any scientific (not metaphysical) critique that the Christian proponent of a young earth and global flood offers against naturalistic evolution also applies to their own model. Since the previous chapter established that a geographically global flood interpretation is not demanded by Scripture, based on the lack of physical evidence and the impossibility of Noah's (and his family's) survival after such an event, it is wise for the Christian to not defend such a view. Such a view makes Christianity (and Scripture) look unnecessarily unscientific and illogical to the skeptic.

Chapter 18—The Ark's Passengers: Genesis 6-9
If the flood was worldwide (geographically local) rather than planet wide, why did not Noah and the animals simply evacuate the area God intended to flood? Dr. Ross reminds the reader that the flood event was an act of judgment. God does not judge without prior giving ample notice (a prophet with a noticeable platform) and opportunity to repent. This would explain Noah's necessity to not leave the area. The animals though had other reasons primarily tied to physical capacity to migrate quickly the distances and from one habitat to another then be able to survive while repopulating quickly.

Noah had the responsibilities to maintain the animals on the ark and rebuild human civilization after he exited. The Bible places a limit on the kinds of animals on the ark (birds and mammals primarily). This helps address the space issue on the ark and since were identified in other passages as animals necessary for human civilization, anything beyond them was not really necessary for Noah to have on board.

Because Noah was tasked with quickly reestablishing civilization, Dr. Ross does not expect that modern explorers will ever find remains of the ark itself. Since the wood used was quite strong and plentiful (the ark was not a small boat), it would have been used to rebuild cities.

Dr. Ross also addresses the fact that many other ancient cultures have flood stories among their mythologies. This can be easily explained by a single, traumatic flood event burned into the memory of every person that survived and was told from generation to generation. As the stories were passed down further in time and geographical location, differences would be expected among the stories, but those differences in the transmitted stories do not invalidate the historical event that started the transmission in the first place.

Chapter 19—Origin of Nations and Races: Genesis 9-11
The Bible offers an explanation for the purpose behind the existence of the races via the story of God confusing the languages of the people when they attempted to build a tower to heaven. Dr. Ross explains that the sinful nature of humanity taints the results of unity and "peace." The idea of unity is actually uniformity which is hostile to any and all disagreement. History has shown how intolerant leadership can be in their pursuit of unity and preservation of it during times of peace. He explained that it was necessary for man to spread around the globe to prevent evil from running rampant in a grand "unified" and "peaceful" culture. The confusing of the languages would accomplish this task. Dr. Ross also shows how the geography of the world has changed at appropriate times to allow for migration when necessary and to prevent humanity from returning to a single location. He speculates that the origins of the different races and languages were not merely accomplished through natural means of biology and linguistic change because of the seemly short time they took place.

Chapter 20—Higher Criticism
Having taken the reader through the most controversial chapters of Genesis to demonstrate their complete compatibility with modern scientific scholarship, Dr. Ross turns his attention to the "high criticism" of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. This view held that the first two chapters of Genesis describe different chronologies for the acts of creation, therefore they contain contractions. The implication is that the bible cannot be inspired regarding science and history, but may still be applicable for faith and practice. He explains that this scholarship is largely responsible for the sharp perceived divide between science and faith, because many Christians responded critically to everything the scholarship offered whether it was justified or not or valid or not. Integration between advanced scholarship and scripture were largely ignored, the effects of that mindset is still alive and well today in interaction between Christians and skeptics.

Chapter 21—"Creation Science"
Having shown the historical foundation for the gap between science, Dr. Ross takes the reader through a short history lesson that traces the modern young earth creation movement in the church. He shows how the scientific vacuum left by higher criticism poised the church to accept "flood geology." With this view comes young-earth creationism which has taken deep root in the western Church because of its vicious attacks on the higher critics' preferred views of evolution and big bang cosmology. Dr. Ross discusses the irony of the attacks on evolution when proponents of flood geology and young-earth creationism appeal to evolution to explain the diversity of animal species after the global flood. Dr. Ross concludes the chapter by explaining that the reaction to the higher critics (the "creation science" movement) is responsible for many Christians doubting the truth of the scriptures or leaving the faith altogether.

Chapter 22—New Criticism
Many biblical scholars have recognized the issues with the response to the high critics and have presented new ways to interpret the Genesis accounts, in order to recognize the findings of modern science and still grant that Genesis is the inspired Word of God. Dr. Ross explains and provides critique of several alternative views including the framework hypothesis, multiple Adams, polemic against other cultural myths of the time, and functional origins. He shows how each of these require that the Genesis account not be historical in order to achieve their goals. He also offers some of the logical implications of these views that seem to conflict with already established understandings of other areas of scripture. He concludes the chapter by explaining the difference between peacekeeping and peacemaking. Peacekeeping being the idea of keeping peace by separating the disputed parties. There is no interaction between them, and those outside may peaceably ignore the conflict. Peacemaking forces the two parties to interact and find resolution and reconciliation. It takes more effort, patience, and humility, but it also results in peace not just on the surface, but deep down also.

Chapter 23—More Than A Myth
In the final chapter, Dr. Ross presents to the reader theological, evangelical, and intellectual reasons to embrace the integrative method between science and theology. Theology: it will bring us to a closer understanding of who God is and our relationship to him. Evangelical: having a more robust and tested worldview that consistently interprets both nature and scripture will help in bringing down intellectual challenges people have to the Christian faith. Intellectual: we must love the Lord our God with all our mind; doing so gives us an intellectual assurance of the truth of Christianity in the tough times of suffering and emotional doubt when God may seem the most hidden. Knowing that our faith is tied to objective, presently testable reality will go a long way to ground ourselves in the Truth of Jesus Christ's life, death, and resurrection when the Christian life gets difficult.

Reviewer's Thoughts
As a Christian who struggled with the higher critics' charges and the findings of modern science, this reviewer has found Dr. Ross' testable creation model intellectually satisfying and theologically and biblically sound. In Navigating Genesis Dr. Ross lays out his interpretation of the first eleven chapters of Genesis. He demonstrates how his interpretation, in some cases, is fully compatible with the text (while others are also), and other instances where it is the only interpretation consistent with the rest of scripture (a necessary demand of his commitment to the doctrine of biblical inerrancy). His approach is to not merely look at Genesis, but to bring together the entirety of the Word of God to find the most consistent interpretation. He also provides insight into what is not recorded in scripture via the sciences. He is careful to not allow science to interpret scripture, but rather the observations of nature (science is an interpretation of these observations) that God has provided (God's creation will never contradict His spoken Word).

I highly recommend Navigating Genesis to any Christian who may be struggling with reconciling an interpretation of the first eleven chapters of Genesis as historical events with the observations of modern scientists. It is also recommended for any defender of Christianity who often addresses the issue of the Bible's record of origins. The interpretation of the whole of scripture and the scientific observations shown to be fully compatible presented in this book allows the apologist to defend a more robust and consistent Christian worldview. Genesis does not need to be a scientific or historical stumbling block for skeptics, and Dr. Ross demonstrates how this is true.

Apologetics 315 Book Reviewer Luke Nix is a Computer Systems Administrator in Oklahoma, USA. He has a beautiful and supportive wife, but no kids yet. In his spare time he enjoys studying theology, philosophy, biology, astronomy, psychology and apologetics. If you liked this review, more of his writing can be enjoyed at


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Historicus said...

Did Dr. Ross discuss in his book about God's promise never to destroy every living creature on earth in Genesis 8:21? Also, in Genesis 9, God promises never to flood the earth again, and He placed the rainbow in the sky as a reminder of his promise. Did he discuss how there have been many local floods despite God's promise?

Unknown said...


I haven't read this particular book so I won't try to directly answer your question. But one should keep in mind that while Dr. Ross holds to a "local" flood, he believes it utterly wiped out all of mankind (save for Noah and his family) and all domesticated animals. Thus, this was a very big and catastrophic flood and I don't think he would find it problematic that there have been smaller local floods since that time.

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