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A Biblical Case for an Old Earth Paperback – August 1, 2006
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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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Dr. David W. Snoke PhD, the author of this somewhat scholarly book, is a Physics professor at the University of Pittsburgh. He presents many scientific (data) proofs to show conclusively that the earth is ancient, and insists that the Bible supports the notion of an ancient earth. Snoke writes that "young-earthers" impose their particular young-earth creation theology upon the Genesis account (insisting on a literal 7-day, 24 hour creation period)- an effort that Snoke claims does not fit the text.
If you have interest in this subject, this book will hold your interest from start to finish. Caution - it is not a book to casually read in one's spare time! Rather, this is a book to study, to work through slowly, much like a textbook. The scientific proofs of an ancient earth are explained in detail, and it takes time to "digest" these proofs, to learn them and understand them. After Dr. Snoke presents the scientific case for an ancient earth, he then gives a three chapter treatise on the Biblical case for an ancient earth (citing Biblical texts that support the notion that the earth is indeed ancient). He wraps up the book with the obvious (and not so obvious) implications of his evidence. (I won't list the implications here, as these would be considered "spoilers").
I consider this book an important text in the on-going debate between young and old earther Christian believers. As a student of the sciences myself, I never accepted the notion of a "young" earth, a literal 24-hour, 7-day creation week. I don't beleive Genesis should be interpreted that way, as it does not make sense scientifically, and since the Creator created both the earth and science, the two must be in harmony. As an aside, I am most grateful for the writings of Dr. Hugh Ross, Christian believer, Physicist and Astronomer. Dr. Ross's many books present the case for a "Day-Age" interpretation of Genesis, which has allowed me to understand Genesis 1 and 2 for the first time (without compromising my scientific background). (Some Hugh Ross books I highly recommend are Genesis One: A Scientific Perspective,Why the Universe Is the Way It Is, and The Genesis Question: Scientific Advances and the Accuracy of Genesis.
Science and the Bible are not contradicatory (but sometimes our flawed interpretations of the scriptures are contradicatory). The God that created our world also created all the scientific principles of physics, biology, chemistry, and geology, that definitively prove we live in an ancient earth, and a much more ancient universe.
Dr. Snokes' book is clear and concise, explained so that the layperson and scientist can clearly understand his reasoning on the age of the earth and why the Bible supports an ancient earth. It is well worth the time to read, especially if you have been taught in religious training (like me) that the earth is only 6,000 years old. Many youg-earth groups dogmatically teach a young earth, and even go so far as to suggest blasphemy to those that do not accept their teaching. I liken them to the Catholic Church that insisted Galileo was wrong about the eath-sun-planetary model.
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.
Somewhat detracting is the lengthy appendix consisting of his own translation of Genesis 1-11. Snoke's translation is indiosyncratic, and his linguistic procedures are poor when handling idioms or handling the same Hebrew term in contexts where it has different meanings. He admits not being a Hebrew expert. A better procedure would have been to take a standard translation and suggest changes or make clarifications in parentheses. Yet, in spite of this anti-climactic appendix, the book is very valuable showing how the Hebrew and the OT world would have understood the text much differently than modern young earth creationists do.