Review by Greg Neyman
© Old Earth Ministries
Dr. Henry Morris of the Institute of Creation Research is the author of the book Biblical Creationism: What Each Book of the Bible Teaches About Creation and the Flood. The date of this book is 1993, with the Master Books first edition of 2000 being the copy I am reviewing.
The synopsis on the back cover sets the tone for the book. It mentions “the doctrine of creation.” The doctrine of creation was not created until the young earth creation science movement of the 20th century penned it. As such, this so-called doctrine is a new item, something that has been attached to the church by well meaning, but misguided people trying to prove a specific agenda (a young earth). Thus we have the tone of the entire book…the Bible supports a young earth throughout its pages. However, nothing could be farther from the truth. Dr. Morris and I agree that the Bible supports creationism, however, the Bible makes no claims whatsoever as to the age of the creation. (for more on the doctrine of creation, click here.)
This will not be a point by point rebuttal as in my other book reviews. Overall, the book is well written, and does a good job of connecting the creation throughout the Bible. However, one must understand that throughout the Bible, many writers refer to creation, without giving any clues as to the length of creation. Both Dr. Morris and I agree that creation is affirmed by these authors. In his eyes, this affirms his brand of creationism (young earth). In reality, there are no Biblical references to creation that confirm creation was accomplished in six twenty-four hour days.
There is no need to discuss all of the passages of scripture here. One example will suffice to show the style and type of argument employed by the author. On page 148, Dr. Morris mentions the Gospel of Mark, in particular, Mark 10:6, “But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.” Dr. Morris argues that they could not have been created 4.6 billion years after the creation of the earth began, since it says “from the beginning of the creation.” However, Mark is not implying any specific age when he makes this statement. If we take this passage at face value, one would have to conclude that God created man and woman on the first day of a six day creation. Clearly this is not the case, as Genesis chapter 1 tells us they were created during the sixth creative day. Dr. Morris cannot claim that this contradicts a billions of years old creation, when it also contradicts a six day creation. Therefore, the proper understanding of this passage, for both young and old earth creationists, is that the entire creative period, however long you believe it to be, is considered as “in the beginning.”
One other feature of the book is that Dr. Morris introduces attributes of the creation, and of individuals, which the text does not support. Here are some examples.
About Genesis 1:29-30, he states “neither men nor animals were intended to die at all” (page 22). This is inferred from a young earth interpretation, and is not actually supported in the Bible. The Bible does not claim there was no death before Adam's sin (click here for more)
Supports the “Water Canopy” model. This model is no longer accepted by most young earth creation science advocates (page 24)
About Genesis 2:20 (Adam naming the animals) he says that Adam did not name the fish, the “beasts of the earth,” or the creeping things. The fish and creeping things do appear to be omitted. He goes on to state “only the created “kinds” of these animals were included, not the multitudes of genera, species, and varieties that later proliferated from them.” There is no proof that Adam only named a “dog kind” a dog, and did not name the wolf, coyote, hyena, etc. We see here the necessity of the young earth argument…to shorten the naming process for these animals, in order to squeeze this event into a single day. Basically we have an insertion of young earth ideas into the Bible…however the Bible does not support this. In their defense, however, the Bible does not “rule this out” either.
In the next paragraph, he states “…Adam’s giant intellect in comparison with our own.” Another popular notion within young earth creation science is that Adam was the smartest man ever. The idea is that since God created Adam as a perfect being, therefore after the fall, as man reproduced, the decay started by God meant that in reproducing, man became less intelligent. In reality, there is no possible way of knowing how intelligent Adam was, thus we have another instance of a young earth creationist idea “added” to the Bible. If this were correct, as the human race progresses through time, we would become less intelligent as a whole. One only need look at our current level of technology to debunk this faulty thinking. (Also, if Adam was so smart...why did he sin?)
When God clothed Adam and Eve (Gen. 3:21), Dr. Morris says “This clothing entailed the very first death (physical death, that is) in the world.” The passage does not say it was the first death…this is another insertion of the young earth idea of no death before sin
At the end of chapter one, he states “The Genesis creation record is real history, not some esoteric allegory. It is an account of real people, real places, real events, at the very dawn of the history of God’s created universe. This literal understanding of these primeval days is, as we shall see, completely supported by all later references to them in the Bible, God’s revealed Word.” As an old earth creationist, I can agree completely with this statement!
In the eyes of the author, his book provides proof that the Bible supports a young earth. In reality, the Bible does not make a claim as to the length of creation...it is up to us to determine, with all available tools. When you take the Bible together with the scientific data, it supports an old earth. However, if you approach it out of context, as young earth creationists do, you have to twist science to make it fit the Bible. No such twisting is necessary if the Bible is read with an old earth perspective...it is a perfect fit.
In conclusion, if you approach this book as a study of what all the Bible authors said about creation, then you may learn a few things. However, it is too full of young earth additions to the Bible text to be of any real value. For the old earth creationist, rest assured that this book presents no threats to your belief.
To learn more
about old earth creationism, see
Old Earth Belief,
or check out the article
Can You Be A
Christian and Believe in an Old Earth?
Feel free to check out more of this website. Our goal is to provide rebuttals to the bad science behind young earth creationism, and honor God by properly presenting His creation.