Wisdom of the Ages
In this chapter, Dr. Ross laments the idea that biblical creationists have published saying that for the balance of church history, the church has taught and believed in a recent creation. Dr. Ross gives examples of scholars from the 1st – 4th centuries that had doubts of the six day creation.
- Philo – “It is quite foolish to think that the world was created in six days or in a space of time at all.”
- Justin Martyr- Dr. Ross mentions Martyr, but not why he believes Martyr questioned the teachings of scripture.
- Hippolytus – from Dr. Ross “most of his writings have been lost. What scholars have recovered gives no explicit indications of what he believed about the duration of the creation days or about the dates for creation beyond his statements that humans have resided on Earth for only several thousand years”
- Eusebius – from Dr. Ross “However, nowhere did Eusebius address the universe’s or Earth’s creation dates or the length of the Genesis days.”
- Ambrose – “Scripture established a law that twenty-four hours, including both day and night of one day should be given the name of day only, as if one were to say the length of one day is twenty-four hours in extent.”
If those are the scholars upon which Ross is relying to build a case that the church has historically held an old earth view in contradiction to the “young earth” view, he is sorely lacking in having built a case to favor his view. Instead of constructing an airtight case that the church has historically held to an old earth view, his outliers didn’t really help his case.
In deafness to his own plea from chapter 1 not to be disrespectful to those Christians with whom he disagrees, on p42 Dr. Ross is disrespectful to those with whom he disagrees:
Now what man of intelligence will believe that the first, and the second, and the third day, and the evening and the morning existed without the Sun, Moon, and stars?
For an astronomer and astrophysicist, I would have expected Dr. Ross to know that the definition of a day is simply “a single rotation of the Earth on its axis”, but instead he mocks biblical creationists for their understanding of scripture’s teaching that there were days prior to the creation of the sun. This is not a problem at all for biblical creationists. From looking through scripture (2 Cor 4:6, Isa 60:19, Micah 7:8, Rev 21:23), it is not a stretch to say that God provided the necessary light until on day 4, He placed his created light sources in the heavens to bring Him glory.
The problem is for the old earthers, who must account for billions of years prior to the sun/earth standard for defining a year.
- How do the old earthers calibrate a year without the emergence of the sun/earth pair that defines a year?
- What were time units called before the sun/earth combination?
- How do they know there were almost 10 billion years…or ambiguous time units prior to the stellar objects necessary for the definition of a year actually existed?
- They have a genuine problem with time, whereas the biblical creationist does not.
A few pages later on p45, Ross continues his analysis of the early church fathers when he writes:
They wrote long before astronomical, geological, paleontological evidence for the antiquity of the universe, Earth, and life had been discovered.
Since he is trying to build a case that the universe is old instead of young, rather than actually building a case here, he simply states it. This is the fallacy of affirming the consequent.
Chapter 4 was both short in length and short on compelling arguments for Dr. Ross.