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Book Review

Creation Compromises

by Bert Thompson, Ph.D.
2nd Edition © 2000 Apologetics Press, Montgomery, AL
Review © T. Wallace.  All Rights Reserved.


the book
Available at Amazon.com

Dr. Thompson’s rebuttal of the Gap Theory is available online at the Apologetics Press website:
Popular Compromises of Creation—The Gap Theory

T

he time will come,” warned Paul the apostle, “when they won’t tolerate sound doctrine, but to suit their own desires, they’ll accumulate teachers to please their ears, turning them away from the truth and toward myths.”[1]  The accuracy of Paul’s warning is profoundly evident today, when Western thought is dominated by an ever expansive (and rarely questioned) atmosphere of relativism.  Professing Christians aren’t immune from this humanistic bent, as evidenced in the various ways many of them struggle to “interpret” the Bible from a basis of scientific speculation and inept scholarship.

In lieu of applying critical analysis to the popular multi-billion-year age for the earth, several professing Christians have advanced theories and interpretations concerning both Scripture and science, in an effort to coerce “agreement” between the two, and so bolster the old-earth myth to which they are predisposed.  A remarkably concise and fairly comprehensive response to them all is Dr. Bert Thompson’s book, Creation Compromises, in which he carefully and thoroughly examines several popular attempts at compromising Scripture to accommodate “science”.

Laying the Groundwork

Creation Compromises isn’t a hard book to read, but it doesn’t exactly qualify as “light reading” either.  Thompson doesn’t invoke the caliber of simplistic, superficial argument that peppers much of the popular-level literature on this topic.  Instead, he provides thorough, logical, and well-documented analysis of the historical, biblical, philosophical, and scientific aspects of the matter.

    TABLE OF CONTENTS:
     Origins and Atheistic Evolution
     Origins and Creation
     Voices of Compromise
     “Either...or,” Not “Both...and”
     Genesis 1-11: Historical or Mythical?
     The Bible and the Age of the Earth
     The Day-Age Theory
     The Gap Theory
     Biblical Genealogies and the Age of the Earth  
     Misc. Compromises of the Genesis Record  
     What is Wrong With Creation Compromises?
     Compromise—Prelude to Apostasy
     Appendices One and Two

Dr. Thompson spends the first several chapters laying the necessary groundwork for a responsible treatment of the theories he intends to examine.  He provides the historical and philosophical backdrop against which much of the “Bible vs. Science” debate is played, citing representative voices for the various positions, with plenty of thorough documentation.  The value of this portion of the book shouldn’t be underestimated, since Thompson’s attention to detail makes Creation Compromises informative even for the well-read in this arena.

Moving from the critical background details through a comparison of the presuppositions invoked on both sides of the debate, Creation Compromises thoughtfully prepares the reader to more fully appreciate the balance of the book.  As Thompson steps through his analysis of each theory, argument, or idea, an attentive reader’s comprehension of the particulars is bound to benefit from the time spent reviewing the background issues.

An example of Thompson’s logical approach to his subject may be drawn from the thoroughness with which he defines the relevant terms.  With reference to the popularized notion that macro-evolution is a “fact”, Thompson notes that,

“The standard-usage dictionary definition of a fact is something that is ‘an actual occurrence,’ something that has ‘actual existence.’  Can any process be called an ‘actual occurrence’ when the knowledge of how, when, where, what, and why is missing?”[2]

Though evolution’s popularizers may react with howls that the how, when, where, and what of evolution are not missing, this oft-repeated claim has yet to survive careful, thorough, and objective analysis in the face of empirical data, sound logic, and the very laws of science, as is briefly demonstrated elsewhere in the book, and more thoroughly elsewhere.  In fact, an adequate appreciation of Creation Compromises requires the objective reader to acknowledge all such popular (but unsubstantiated) assumptions for what they are, setting them aside long enough to see what the Bible actually says in the absence of externally-imposed (and unnecessary) “interpretations.”

In-Depth Analysis

It is encouraging that Thompson neither emulates the caricature of creationists touted by many Bible-critics, nor responds in kind to the often shrill and derisive criticisms advanced by those whose beliefs he is examining.  He apparently prefers to let his sound scholarship and biblical knowledge speak for themselves, which they do very adequately.

While those whose beliefs are categorized by Dr. Thompson as “compromises” may hasten to take offense at his critical analysis, his criticisms are devoid of an excessively judgmental tone, and all but the most dogmatic liberals should find it easy to consider Thompson’s examination with a reasonable measure of objectivity.  In the end, however, they may also find themselves compelled to re-evaluate the soundness of their positions vis--vis the logic and scholarship demonstrated in Creation Compromises.

Of key importance throughout the book—because it is an aspect of every compromise—is the compromiser’s need to fit incomprehensibly vast periods of time into the biblical record:

“[I]f the proponents of these views wish to retain their belief in evolution, it is imperative that they find a way to place the time for an ancient Earth in the biblical record. ...[T]here is no compromise that will permit the old-Earth/young-Earth scenarios to coexist...”[3]

Thompson thoroughly defines the various forms of compromises, including the Day-Age Theory, multiple varieties of the Gap Theory, and the Framework Hypothesis (among others), usually quoting extensively, straight from their respective proponents.  He follows with a logical and biblical examination of each view, up to which none of them is capable of standing.

The Danger of Compromise

The landscape of history bears witness to the consequences of any compromise that subjugates the truth given by God to man to the conclusions of men who arbitrarily claim to “know better.”  The lives of many professing Christians are being similarly effected today, as their desire for acceptance among peers outweighs their desire to honor the Creator’s Word at any cost, and they struggle in vain to conform to the world’s image of “intellectual credibility” or “political correct” while simultaneously retaining what's left of the Christian identity they’ve compromised in the process:

“[U]ltimately the same spirit of compromise that causes a person to doubt the veracity and genuineness of Genesis 1-11 will likewise affect his thinking on other parts of Scripture—with disastrous results.”[4]

Thompson sounds this warning in Creation Compromises, and doesn’t shrink back from naming the likes of Hugh Ross, whose promotion of the “Double Revelation” and “Day-Age” compromises is accompanied by a collection of other doctrines that are anything but biblical.[5]  Unfortunately, while apparently willing to exercise critical thinking skills elsewhere, many professing Christians have come to fear man more than God—just enough to embrace and promulgate such unbiblical views, ostensibly to maintain intellectual appearances.  What they consistently fail to recognize, however, is that they’ve assumed an intellectual posture that,

“...subordinates clear biblical history to the baseless assertions of modern scientism”[6]

Conclusion

It’s really a grievous thing that so many professing Bible-believers have found it “necessary” to contort the Bible and/or science (or both) in order to suit their own desires.  Worse still is the fact that they consistently manage to accumulate teachers willing to please their ears, turning them away from the truth and toward myths.  One trembles at the accountability of those teachers, who the Scripture says “shall incur a stricter judgment.”[7]

Dr. Thompson has produced an excellent work, directly addressing in no uncertain terms the modern compromises of the biblical creation record.  Creation Compromises is a thorough, informative, and well-documented refutation of those who would mislead Christians into embracing ideas that are both biblically and scientifically untenable, and with dangerous consequences.  Thompson is to be commended for his effort, and it would behoove readers to become familiar with the views he clearly documents and skillfully exposes.

Timothy Wallace


Notes:

1) Paul the apostle, circa 66 a.d. (II Tim. 4:3-4)   [BACK TO TEXT]

2) Thompson, Bert, Ph.D., Creation Compromises (1st edition), Montgomery, Alabama, pp. 30-31. [2nd edition © 2000 Apologetics Press]   [BACK TO TEXT]

3) ibid. p. 113.   [BACK TO TEXT]

4) ibid. p. 239.   [BACK TO TEXT]

5) See The Dubious Apologetics of Hugh Ross, Genesis Questioned and Russell Humphreys challenges Hugh Ross at this site for examples of his teachings and practices.   [BACK TO TEXT]

6) Thompson, p. 242.   [BACK TO TEXT]

7) James, the brother of Jesus, circa 50 a.d. (James 3:1)   [BACK TO TEXT]


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