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A Biblical Case for an Old Earth Paperback – August 1, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Young-earth creationism? Naturalistic evolution? Isn't there another choice?

Yes, there is.

Respected physicist and professor Dr. David Snoke argues that the Bible does tell us about the scientific history of our world, but it does not teach that the world was created recently. He offers a compelling biblical case that the young-earth position is theologically flawed.

Drawing out the deeper themes of Scripture often lost in modern discussion, Snoke shows how the biblical texts as well as modern scientific discoveries are better explained by a day-age model. He argues that the earth is millions of years old-and created miraculously by God.

Anyone interested in how science and faith relate and what the Bible says about the age of the earth will appreciate this readable, biblically grounded explanation of old-earth creationism.

"As both a respected scientist and elder of the Presbyterian Church of America, David Snoke brings great breadth and erudition to the question of whether an old earth is an orthodox interpretation of the teachings of the Bible. No matter what one's initial position, A Biblical Case for an Old Earth will certainly provoke Christians to think more deeply about this often divisive topic."--Michael J. Behe, author, Darwin's Black Box

"A marvelous book! Dr. Snoke gives us a powerful biblical warrant for an old earth, the best I've ever seen. You need to read this book, whether you're already convinced or not."--Robert C. Newman, professor, Biblical Theological Seminary; director, Interdisciplinary Biblical Research Institute

About the Author

David Snoke is associate professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Pittsburgh, a licensed preacher, and an ordained elder in the Pittsburgh presbytery of the Presbyterian Church of America. He has published over seventy articles in scientifi

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Baker Books (August 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801066190
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801066191
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #376,438 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

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People of all persuasions, conservative, liberal, and skeptic, will find this book useful as a carefully reasoned exposition of what the Bible actually *says*.

All too often, we bring modern presuppositions to the Bible and misunderstand it. For example, we see the word "earth" and immediately imagine a globe seen from outer space. That was not part of the ancient Hebrew mindset. On that basis, Snoke argues convincingly that the Bible says Noah's flood was local (it covered "the land," not the entire planet). Also, the creation story in Genesis 1 is clearer if we understand that it describes the appearance of things seen by a person on the ground, not an aerial or outer-space view.

Snoke is very conservative; he does not accept Darwinian evolution at all. His conservatism makes the book all the more useful because he obviously is not trying to impose Darwinism or anything else onto the Bible. He is just trying to read it in the light of present-day knowledge of history, archeology, and physical science.

He does a good job of disposing of fundamentalist folklore. Young-earthers often add to the Bible a remarkable assortment of notions not explicitly taught there, such as the vapor canopy theory, an assortment of miracles associated with Noah's Ark, and so forth.

He also makes an interesting observation about the "appearance of age" theory (that God created the earth with the appearance of age). Suppose God created Adam miraculously with a 30-year-old body. That would make sense because in order to exist, Adam had to exist at *some* stage of physical maturity. But if God had created Adam with 30 years of false memories, that would make God a deceiver.
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Since Young Earth Creationists believe that God's Word trumps God's works every time, the only approach that would have a chance of succeeding in getting YECs to consider the possibility of Old Earth Creationism would be to demonstrate that the Bible can be interpreted to support (or at least not preclude) OEC.

David Snoke's "A Biblical Case for an Old Earth" takes a giant step in this direction. First he builds a case for the legitimacy of allowing experience to affect our interpretation of the Bible. After a chapter in the scientific case for an old earth, he presents an extensive and well-reasoned discussion of animal death before the fall, which he perceives as one of the significant issues in the YEC vs. OEC debate.

He then covers the leviathan, the Sabbath rest, miracles, interpreting Genesis 1 & 2, and Noah's Flood, using all of these discussions to gently support Old Earth Creationism. He clearly states his own personal views on each issue.

Throughout the book, he demonstrates a thorough knowledge of the entire Bible, particularly in bringing out relevant parallelisms in Hebrew Scripture. His knowledge of science (Ph.D. in physics) benefits the text on numerous occasions.

This book is written for the Christian layman, both YEC and OEC.
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In this book, David Snoke, a professor of Physics at the University of Pittsburgh, presents a case for a "day-age" view of Genesis 1. Snoke's twin goals are to establish that the "day-age" view is a valid alternative for Christians who hold to Biblical inerrancy and to argue for a concordist understanding of the Genesis texts and modern science. He succeeds admirably at the first goal, but is less persuasive concerning the second.

The book is organized into nine chapters and includes an appendix with a "literal" translation of Genesis 1-12. The first two chapters identify Snoke's underlying assumptions and recite the scientific evidence for an old earth. Snoke does an excellent job of explaining why and when extra-Biblical evidence can be used to interpret the Bible, and provides a calm, concise summary of the physical evidence against the young earth view. These chapters are particularly useful and admirable because they avoid the argumentative tone that so often creeps into this sort of discussion.

After laying this groundwork, Snoke responds to two key objections against the old earth view: the problem of death before the fall and the relationship between the creation week and the Sabbath. His insights concerning animal death before the fall are particularly helpful. In particular, he suggests that the wild, untamed aspects of creation, including things such as carnivorous animals, may have served before the Fall as a reminder to Adam and Eve of God's power, and as a sort of warning about life outside the protected confines of Eden. Just as Aslan in C.S. Lewis' Narnia books is not a "tame Lion," he notes, these aspects of creation that don't seem "nice" to us remind us that God is also a "dangerous" God.
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David Snoke is an associate professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Pittsburgh and is an elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, in which denomination he also is licensed to preach. As is true in many evangelical denominations in America, the PCA has gone through a struggle between young earth and old earth creationists, with many young earth creationists declaring that those holding to an old earth should not be allowed to preach or hold office. The PCA has decided against this exclusive policy, but the controversy continues. Snoke has written this book as a defense of the old earth position.

Snoke spends some time with the scientific arguments for an old earth, which he summarizes quite well. These include arguments from starlight, from magnetic domains on the ocean floor, and from other well known phenomena on Earth showing the passage of time. He also spends some time showing how flood geology will not account for the geological layers we observe.

However, most of the book, as the title indicates, deals with biblical and theological arguments. Snoke demonstrates how it is necessary to use our experience in the world, including our observations, when interpreting the Bible--the Bible was not written in a vacuum. The fullest and most helpful discussions in the book, in my opinion, describe the very good creation of Genesis as containing both positive, helpful, parts, and dark, dangerous parts. He does a good job explaining the place of the "sea" and "sea monsters" in Hebrew biblical thought. Snokes is very convincing showing that the "very good" creation included danger and death in the plant and animal kingdom, and danger for the human kingdom. This "dark side" also glorifies God in many OT texts.
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