40 Questions About Creation and Evolution (40 Questions Series) by Kenneth D. Keathley and Mark F. Rooker, 535 pp. Kregal Publications, 2014.
Anyone that has been involved in the apologetic endeavor knows that one of the most contentious issues is the relationship between various creation models and evolution. The debate carries on and shows no sign of slowing down. Even though this book was written back in 2014, it is a terrific resource. The authors admit that one adheres to Young Earth creationism while the other is a proponent of Old Earth creationism. Thus, this book is not a defense of a specific creation model. Rather, it is an overview of the various creation models and so much more. The authors also address doctrinal issues such as the importance of creation in the Bible and how it plays a role in the entire story of the Bible (Chapters 3-4). Given this book features 40 questions, the chapters can be short. However, I still think the authors present a fine overview of the topic being discussed. Also, there are plenty of footnotes for additional reading. The authors do spend time discussing the age of the earth and why we shouldn’t divide over it (Chapter 18), and the arguments for both a young and old universe (Chapters 19-20).
For me, one of the most informative chapters was each chapter on the extent of Noah’s flood (Chapters 30-31). After reading these chapters (which discussed the biological and geological evidence), I am convinced the old earth position has more evidential support than a young earth view. For that matter, after reading all the chapters on the entire YEC (Young Earth Creationism) and OEC (Old Earth Creationism) positions, I am inclined to think that the scientific and empirical evidence is much stronger for an OEC view than a YEC model. However, it seems the more “natural” reading of the text supports a YEC model. That’s why the authors also include chapters on models such as the Gap Theory, Day-Age Theory, Framework Theory, Temple Inauguration Theory, Historical Creationism Theory, and the Twenty-Four Hour Theory. Also, it seems that the YEC view can produce a tremendous amount of dogmatism and ad-hoc arguments.
One thing I really appreciate is that the authors were willing to provide the strengths and weaknesses of each model. The short chapter on whether there was a Historical Adam (Chapter 24), is very brief. There has been plenty written on that topic since the publication of this book.
In the chapter on “Animal Death Before the Fall” (Chapter 26), and “What Effect Did the Fall Have on Creation” (Chapter 27), the authors mention part of the ongoing challenge is how to interpret the phrase “very good” in Genesis 1:31. YEC proponents seem to take it as meaning “perfect” so there can be no possibility of any kind of animal death, or suffering before the Fall. Of course, OEC defenders have their own responses to this. Also, the authors rightly point out that all parties (whether it be a YEC or OEC person, or an evolutionary Creationist) agree that there is something wrong with creation. Also, more Darwinist advocates would be more open to the design argument if the creation did not seem to have so many flaws (i.e., disease, well-designed parasites, and predators).
The chapters towards the end of the book feature arguments for and against evolution. The good news is that the authors do define what evolution is and feature a chapter called “How Darwinism is an Ideology” (Chapter 34). One of the most interesting chapters is called “Why are Some Evolutionists Opposed to Evolution.” In this chapter, the authors mention the work of James Shapiro (author of Evolution: A View from the 21st century), Jerry Folder and Massimo Piatelli-Palamarini, (authors of What Darwin Got Wrong), and Thomas Nagel (author of Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo- Darwinist Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False). These books are written by non-Christians. These authors have written about the shortcomings of the Neo-Darwinian paradigm that has dominated academia for so long. Since this book was written (the 40 Questions book), it is well known that in 2016, there was a Royal Society meeting in London which featured a team of evolutionary biologists. The main reason for the meeting was the belief that the Modern Synthesis (which has guided evolutionary biology for over 50 years) needs an overhaul.
Naturally, the authors also include a chapter called “Can a Christian Hold to Theistic Evolution.” At the end of this chapter, both authors agree that there are scientific, hermeneutical, and theological challenges to belief in theistic evolution or evolutionary creationism. A much more detailed response to this issue is featured in the book Theistic Evolution: A Scientific, Philosophical, and Theological Critique.
Obviously, since the publication of this book, many more books have been written on the topics featured in this monograph. I really don’t spend much time debating the YEC/OEC topic. I have found many find it to be a hill to die on. In our campus apologetics ministry, I usually appeal to design arguments. It seems the larger question is whether there is a Creator and whether He has revealed himself to humanity. Very few students bring the age of the earth up and various creation models. Yes, evolution does come up. But that leads to a discussion on how to define evolution. I found this book to be an excellent overview of the many issues that surround the evolution/creation discussions. I highly recommend it.
Disclaimer: I was provided with a copy of the book for review by the publisher. I was not required to give any specific kind of feedback or any specific type of review.