Resource Review: Creation and Change

Creation and Change is an older book from a creationist perspective. Published in 1997 and written by Dr. Douglas F. Kelly, Creation and Change stands as a shining example of how sound theology always outlasts scientific postulations. The book is around 250 pages long with an extensive Scripture verse, and topical index as well as a lengthy bibliography.

Kelly is clearly very well-read and it comes out in his book. He cites dozens of contemporary theologians and scientists, as well as an equal number of church fathers who wrote on the issues related to origins.  His book is organized in twelve chapters, five of which are specifically dedicated to the first seven days of the universe.  Most of the rest of the chapters are dedicated to the theology of Genesis 1 and 2, but there are two chapters devoted to science that we will address shortly. Interestingly, the chapters are organized into two parts. The first is a more layman presentation of the points of the chapter; the second has more technical details and goes into more depth on certain topics.  Each chapter closes with useful discussion questions.

The book was clearly meant to be used for church discussion groups as it leans heavily on theology. Kelly makes it obvious he holds a traditional reformed perspective on theology so those of you who do not hold such a perspective should be forewarned to expect a lot of Calvin quotes. Thankfully, unlike many who hold a reformed perspective, Kelly holds firmly to the book of Genesis as history.

The first chapter of the book is devoted to why Genesis matters. Kelly does an excellent job explaining why Genesis is foundational to the rest of the Bible. He also points out the limitations of what science tells us. He cites very heavily, here as well as the rest of the book, but his citations point out that he has read the atheists and the evolutionists as well as theologians.  In this first chapter, as throughout the book, he does rely strongly on the ideas of the intelligent design movement, specifically the late Philip Johnson.  This was understandable at the time as there were few creation resources available. This situation has fortunately changed and there are numerous creation resources that handle the issues Johnson did.

Chapter two is devoted to defending Genesis one and two from various attacks, while chapter three talks about the necessity of the universe having a beginning.  Again, Dr. Kelly proves he is an erudite scholar, citing numerous sources to demonstrate that Genesis is narrative history and is not contradictory to itself.  Further, he delves into the laws of Thermodynamics to explain why the universe must have had a beginning. He also discusses the idea of irreducible complexity and the necessity of life having design at a base level, again an idea borrowed from the ID community.

Chapters four and five talk about the first day of creation as well as debunk the Gap Theory. Kelly points out that well-meaning believers attempted to add millions of years into the Bible but ended up compromising the text for their trouble. He conclusively shows from Hebrew and from theological evidence that there is no gap between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2 and that no other Bible verse supports this position.

Chapter six specifically discusses the concept of the word “day” in Genesis 1 and 2.  The Hebrew word “yom” as Kelly points out, must mean an ordinary twenty-four-hour day in the context of Genesis 1 and 2. He masterfully deals with the typical old earth objections to the twenty-four-hour days, showing both theologically and scientifically that the days had to be normal days. This chapter also deals with some of the compromises on this point, such as the framework hypothesis.

Chapters seven and eight are the books only real let down. Unsurprisingly, given Kelly is a theologian, these are the chapters on science. He relies very heavily on the ideas of Dr. Walt Brown and Barry Setterfield, both of whom are rejected by the mainstream creationist community. He also uses the outdated Moondust argument as well as several other outdated arguments. These chapters are why I am glad that the Bible is not a science textbook. If it was, it would need constant updating, much like these two chapters.

The remainder of the book focuses on the remaining days of creation and is largely solid. While there remains a heavy overreliance on Brown, the theological aspects of the book dealing with the various days of creation are generally exegetically sound and affirm the truth of Scripture.

While this book is good, I cannot fully endorse it for several reasons. Chapters seven and eight are massive let downs. I will note that a new edition appears to have been released recently so some of these errors may have been rectified. Further, I do my best to steer clear of the Calvinist/Arminianist/Provisionist debate on these pages, and, as this book is unequivocally reformed, I cannot fully endorse it on a theological level. However, if you are reformed and you already have a good grasp of the science, but want a thoroughly researched and cited perspective on theology, Creation and Change is well worth your time.

Do you know what’s going to happen when you die? Are you completely sure? If you aren’t, please read this or listen to this. You can know where you will spend eternity. If you have questions, please feel free to contact us, we’d love to talk to you.

 

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