Back in the 1980s, a key book providing both Biblical and geological evidence for an old age for the Earth was Christianity and the Age of the Earth by Davis Young, professor of Geology at Calvin College. It is still a useful book, but it is about to be superseded by The Bible, Rocks, and Time: Geological Evidence for the Age of the Earth, authored by Davis Young, who is now an emeritus professor, and Ralph Stearley, who is also a professor of Geology at Calvin.
The original book, Christianity and the Age of the Earth, played an important role in my education as a Christian geologist. I switched my major to geology my junior year of college because I was fascinated with the Earth and its history. At the same time, I attended a church where young-Earth creationism was the norm; anything else was considered to be a cave-in to godless evolutionism. Through Young’s book (and also through Evolution: Nature and Scripture in Conflict? by Pattle Pun) I came to see that one could make a strong argument from the Scriptures for allowing an old age for the Earth. This saved me, perhaps, from a crisis of faith that others have gone through when they see that the arguments of young-Earth creationism don’t work.
This new book has four sections:
- Historical Perspectives — A look at the historical development of the concept of a very old age for the Earth, including the emergence of modern geology, and 19th century harmonizations between nature and Scripture.
- Biblical Perspectives — I assume the authors will look at Biblical and theological arguments for an old Earth, and answer objections given by young-Earth creationists. Most Christians are surprised to learn that there are a number of arguments for an old age for the Earth that flow out of the pages of Scriptures, including from Genesis 1 and 2.
- Geological Perspectives — The chapter titles indicate that the authors look at stratigraphy (the study of the layers of sedimentary rocks), fossils, ancient environments, and radiometric dating. I’m especially looking forward to the chapters which present case studies, which I believe will take a look at the geology of specific regions (the Michigan Basin and the Sierra Nevada) and give reasons why the geology of these areas cannot be explained by the flood geology of young-Earth creationism.
- Philosophical Perspectives — Catastrophism vs. uniformitarianism; empiricism, creationism, apologetics, and evangelism. If young-Earth creationism is wrong, then it is a bad idea to use it in evangelism or apologetics. I look forward to seeing how the authors go beyond this, presenting a positive apologetic that can be used to strengthen faith and proclaim the case for Christianity to a scientific and educated audience.
The Bible, Rocks, and Time will be available from Amazon for $19.80 the beginning of October. It is also listed at Barnes and Noble and Christianbook.com. I’ve pre-ordered my copy, and look forward to every page.
[Update 9/10/08: The book is available now from Amazon]
Grace and Peace