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Here is my endorsement for an important new book:

controversy of the ages cabalIf I had the power to require every Christian parent, pastor, and professor to read two books on creation and evolution—ideally alongside their mature children, parishioners, and students—it would be 40 Questions about Creation and Evolution (by Kenneth Keathley and Mark Rooker) along with the book you are now holding in your hands, Controversy of the Ages: Why Christians Should Not Divide Over the Age of the Earth.

Neither book intends to answer all of the questions definitively, but together they are like maps for Christians in the complex and confusing intersection of the Bible and science.

We cannot bury our head in the sand, or outsource study of these issues to others. Ted Cabal and Peter Rasor help us sort through the issues and the options, modeling for us how to use proportion and perspective in our rhetoric and strategies of disagreement within the body of Christ.

We live in perplexing days, but clear and clarifying books like this are a tremendous gift to the church. If the arguments and tone of this book are taken to heart, we will all be sharper, wiser, and kinder. I pray it is widely read.

Kenneth Keathley, co-author of the other go-to book I mentioned above, had this to say about the Cabal/Rasor book:

When people ask for a good book to read about the age of the earth, I have a new favorite to recommend: Cabal and Rasor’s Controversy of the Ages. With remarkable clarity, this book provides historical and theological context to the young-earth/old-earth controversy. But Cabal and Rasor move beyond mere description and prescribe the way to move forward—the Galileo approach. This is an important book, and it needs to be read by pastors, college and seminary students, and all who care about science and faith issues.

Here are the rest of the endorsements for this book:

“The time is long past when we have needed a very careful, thoroughly documented analysis and response to the claims of young earth creationists. But with this book, I am delighted to say that that time has come. I am very enthusiastic about the scholarship, careful treatment and irenic tone of this book and highly recommend it.”

J. P. Moreland, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, Talbot School of Theology

“In addition to a well-informed history of evangelical moves for relating Genesis to geology and then to Darwinism, the authors have given us much more. They have provided trenchant evaluation of the argumentative strategies―theological, scientific, and philosophical. They show that of the various groups known to us today―the young earth creationists, the (non-Darwinian) old earth creationists, and the evolutionary creationists―none can be exempted from critique, and none deserves the place of exclusive privilege. This book deserves a wide readership, for it is informative, fair, and incisive. I rejoice that God spared Dr. Cabal from a terminal cancer to help write this!

C. John Collins, Professor of Old Testament, Covenant Theological Seminary

Controversy of the Ages is a welcomed addition to the issues swirling around the creation-evolution debate. The book is encyclopedic in scope, and the footnotes alone are a treasure trove of information. I appreciated the argument of the book; I appreciated even more the spirit of the book. I will be recommending this work for a long time.”

Daniel L. Akin, President, Professor of Preaching and Theology, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

Controversy of the Ages provides a concise and carefully researched history of the tensions between science and theology through the years. While offering a helpful overview of matters related to Copernicus, Galileo, and Darwin, among others, the book focuses on questions related to the age of the earth. With an informed understanding of young earth and old earth theories, as well as BioLogos and Intelligent Design proposals, Cabal and Rasor provide insightful analysis of these various perspectives based on an unapologetic commitment to the truthfulness of scripture. As indicated by the subtitle, pastors, church leaders, and students will find an exemplary model of how to evaluate differing approaches to this important subject, doing so with conviction, kindness, and conciliatory civility. It is a privilege to recommend this rewarding volume.”

David S. Dockery, President, Trinity International University


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6 thoughts on “Why Christians Should Not Divide Over the Age of the Earth”

  1. Doug says:

    Is the controversy really over the age of the earth, or what God said?

  2. JR says:

    There is something to be said for old earth creationism (even though that is not my own position). Hugh Ross has been a good voice for that position. However, the authors of this book and the Biologos writers are being intellectually dishonest by changing the terminology on theistic evolution. There is no such thing as evolutionary creationism. Words matter, post-moderns.

  3. Paul Bruggink says:

    JR: Yes, words do matter. That is why Denis Lamoureux supported changing the label “theistic evolution” to “evolutionary creation” as far back as 2003, four years before BioLogos was founded. Quoting from his essay “EVOLUTIONARY CREATION: MOVING BEYOND THE EVOLUTION VERSUS CREATION DEBATE” in Christian Higher Education, 9:28–48 (2010), https://sites.ualberta.ca/~dlamoure/evolutionary_creation.pdf:

    “The most important word in the term “evolutionary creation” is the noun “creation.” These Christian evolutionists are first and foremost thoroughly committed and unapologetic creationists. They believe that the world is a creation that is absolutely dependent for every instant of its existence on the will and grace of the Creator. The qualifying word in this category is the adjective “evolutionary,” indicating simply the method through which the Lord made the cosmos and living organisms. This view of origins is often referred to as theistic evolution. However, such a word arrangement places the process of evolution as the primary term, and makes the Creator secondary as merely a qualifying adjective. Such an inversion in priority is unacceptable to me and other evolutionary creationists.”

    1. Paul Bruggink says:

      JR: In other words, the change in terminology has nothing to do with intellectual dishonesty. Evolutionary creation is simply a more accurate description of the beliefs of Christians who accept the Big Bang and biological evolutions as processes that God used to create the universe and us.

  4. Chris Taylor says:

    And whenever I come across a recommendation that tells me not to ‘bury my head in the sand’, I think to myself, “Wow! Here’s a recommendation by someone who really understands my position!”

    1. JR says:

      Paul, with all due respect, no. Biologos, et. al. have been using “theistic evolution” since the get go. The change to “Evolutionary Creationism” is a recent equivocation to try to mollify those of us who hold to inerrancy. The PCA report on Creationism and Evolution clearly distinguish from those who hold to old-earth creationism and those who hold to the Biologos view of theistic evolution. The study shows that there is a scripturally supportable view of old-earth creationism — that is actual “Creationism” and then there is the false teaching of theistic evolution, which relies on “evolution” — not actual Creationism, per scripture’s teaching.
      The equivocation by the author of the book in the OP and also in the comments here should be quite concerning to those of us who actually hold to true meanings of words, especially the Words of scripture.
      What’s next? Atheistic evolution? Heretical orthodoxy? Just no thank you.

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Justin Taylor, PhD


Justin Taylor is executive vice president of book publishing and book publisher for Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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