Ken Ham ed. The New Answers Book 4. Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2013. 414 pp. $14.99.
Young Earth Creationism is growing increasingly unpopular; it’s not just derided as foolish by non-Christians, but by many Christians as well. According to Ken Ham in the introduction of this new book from Master Books (a division of New Leaf Publishing). many Christians (and especially Christian leaders) are playing right into the hands of the atheists. Ham notes a professed atheist who seeks to recruit religious people to help her atheist group by finding common ground with them and allying with them to promote the understanding of evolution. Satan is working “from within the Church to lead generations of people away from the truth of God’s Word and the gospel” (11). This might seem overly dramatic at first, but it is true; we can already see the progression down the slippery slope from compromising on the foundations of the creation account in Genesis – from “Christian leaders” denying the reality of hell to those denying an historical Adam. What’s next? Original sin? The Virgin birth? Bodily resurrection? We need to be equipped to answer objections to YEC, not just to those outside of the church but even to our brethren within. And this book is a fantastic resource to this end.
The very first chapter addresses the question of whether the gospel depends on a young earth. I was happy to see the book begin with this matter, because I resolutely and passionately believe that it does; and yet, in dialogues with many “scientific” Christian friends, the overwhelming assumption/assertion has been that the creation/evolution issue is not a core matter in the faith and not integral to the gospel. Here Ham summarizes three severe consequences of a belief in an old earth: the authority issue, the contradiction issue, and the death issue.
Romans 5:12 and other passages make it obvious that physical death of man (and really, death in general) entered the once-perfect creation because of man’s sin. However, if a person believes that the fossil record arose over millions of years, then death, disease, suffering, carnivorous activity, and thorns existed millions of years before sin…Although millions of years of death before sin is not a salvation issue per se, I personally believe that it is really an attach on Jesus’ work on the Cross (19).
With the foundational importance of the issue laid down, the rest of the book answers just over thirty questions pertaining to creation/evolution and the Bible, with a short chapter devoted to every issue. This is like a mini-encyclopedia, and covers seemingly every conceivable question one could raise, from the obvious and often asked questions (such as those related to dinosaurs, the fossil record, and the flood ) to questions you might not even think of (such as “Do plants and leaves die?” “Have people always been brilliant or were they originally dumb brutes?” “Did Noah need oxygen tanks on the ark?”).
One of the chapters I found most helpful is chapter 10 – “What Are Some of the Best Evidences in Science of a Young Creation?” Here the authors not only present 10 of the best scientific evidences, but for most of them they also give and refute objections that old earth advocates raise. In this chapter, the authors bring up a point that had been mentioned earlier – that there is no such thing as neutrality. This is why so many people ascribe to an old earth despite the mounting scientific evidence for a young earth – it’s because everyone is biased.
When discussing the age of the earth, Christians must be ready to explain the importance of starting points. The Bible is the right starting point…This is the revealed Word of the almighty, faithful, and true Creator, present to observe all events of earth history and who gave mankind an infallible record of key events in the past (112).
In evidential apologetics you don’t usually see this point made, and I was very glad to see it here.
This is a great resource for any young earth creationist. The issues addressed are so wide that you will probably find every question you’ve ever had addressed. There were moments when I wished that this book would have spent more time developing certain topics (arguments were sometimes laid out and not developed fully), but I also understand the choice of breadth over depth. Because of the extensive footnotes, the authors and editor have made it easy for the reader to conduct further research on any of the topics. I highly recommend this book to any and every young earth creationist.
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DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I received a free copy of this book from New Leaf Publishing group in exchange for an unbiased review.