Creation Science

Creation Science Book Review

Refuting Compromise


© Old Earth Ministries

First Published 11 June 2003


     The young earth creation science ministry Answers in Genesis published a new book in 2004 titled Refuting Compromise, by Dr. Jonathan Sarfati.  This book went along with their ministry theme for 2004, Operation: Refuting Compromise.  While it is not surprising that they argue against the position of progressive creationism, it is surprising that in this book they take aim straight at one individual, Dr. Hugh Ross of Reasons to Believe.

     Normally, young earth creation science ministries focus on winning souls for Christ, not in tearing down the efforts of other good Christians as they also seek to win souls.  Therefore their effort against this so-called compromise begs the question “Why?”  Why attack another ministry which is winning souls for Christ? 

     There is a fundamental difference between old earth believers and young earth believers, and I believe this is at the core of why they would write such an inflammatory book.  Answers in Creation, Reasons to Believe, and other old earth ministries will defend anyone’s right to believe what they want to about the creation.  I’m an old earth creationist, but if you want to believe in a young earth, that’s great!  I’ll sit right beside you in church, worshipping, fellowshipping, and witnessing to others.  The reason for this is simple…the Bible does not say “Believe in a young earth and thou shalt be saved.”  I don’t care what you believe about the age of the earth, because it’s not relevant for your salvation.  Evangelist Billy Graham says, "I believe that God created man, and whether it came by an evolutionary process and at a certain point He took this person or being and made him a living soul or not, does not change the fact that God did create man. ... whichever way God did it makes no difference as to what man is and man's relationship to God."

     However, young-earth ministries see the creation as a core doctrine. They believe that failure to believe in a young earth undermines the gospel, mostly due to their mistaken belief that there was no physical death of any kind before sin (old earth creationists accept animal death prior to sin, and the belief that there was no “spiritual death” for mankind before sin (see Death Before Sin).  This error in scriptural interpretation regarding death before sin is the number one reason for the existence of young earth ministries. 

     Even with this difference of the added doctrine of creation, why is it such a big deal?  In the introduction to the book, the author addresses why the book is needed.  He claims that Ross “reinterprets Scripture” to bring it into harmony with secular science (page 14).  Is he correct in this claim?  You bet!  Consider the following example.

     Suppose I invented the original camera, and wrote a book on it which became known loosely as the “camera bible.”  One of my users of this book, a person who made his living in photography, would swear by his book and camera.  However, if he was told that there was a new way of taking pictures in color, he would be skeptical.  It is contrary to his 40+ years of training and use of his black and white camera. 

     The same is true in the creation debate.  If you have believed in a young earth for many years, and suddenly someone claimed that they had evidence the earth was old, would you not be skeptical?  For the photographer, upon seeing the new camera, and a print in color, he would have to change his thinking about photography.  For the creationist, upon seeing the evidence for an old earth, he would have to reconsider the creation, compare it against the Bible, and reach new conclusions.  The difference with young-earth creationists is that they are afraid to accept an old earth, instead preferring to live in a black and white world.  In short, they are trapped by their traditional way of thinking, and refuse to entertain any evidence to the contrary.

     Is there a conflict with death before sin (and, therefore, an old earth)?  No…old earth creationists have shown that Scripture can be interpreted without causing a conflict.  Young earth creationists call it compromise…however, is it compromise, or something else?

     God created the world, and all that is in it.  Old earth creationists consider the entire creation, using a scientific frame of mind.  To do anything else falls short of God’s Word.  In Acts 17:11 , Luke tells us about the Christians in Berea, and their desire to learn the truth.  “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether these things were so.” 

     If God tells us something in His Word (or, in His creation), is it not our duty to examine it in light of all the evidence?  That is what the Bereans did…when they were presented the Gospel, they examined the scriptures to determine its truth.  When old earth creationists are presented evidences from science, we examine the evidence, along with the scriptures, to determine its truth.  We consider the creation, and all its evidence, its “color.”  Unfortunately, young earth creationists wish to cling to their black and white world, and ignore the overwhelming evidence from God’s creation, choosing instead to create the facade of  “creation science” to hide behind, creating all sorts of excuses to dismiss the evidence that we see in God’s creation.

     God created the earth, therefore if we examine His creation, it will truthfully tell its age.  Over 99 percent of scientists accept the earth as old (they are the experts)1.  There is no compromise in accepting the evidence from God’s creation as truth…especially when this evidence does not conflict with the Bible.  One can accept the earth as old, and still believe in an inerrant Bible.  From a theological point of view, this new book is unnecessary.

      As for the claims in the book, Dr. Sarfati accuses Dr. Ross of going outside his area of expertise, into areas of biology, biblical languages, etc.  Yes, Dr. Ross addresses areas outside his main area of astronomy, however, he does not do so blindly.  Reasons to Believe has a team of experts in all these fields, which Dr. Ross receives advice from.   (Dr. Sarfati also goes outside his area of expertise.  He is a physical chemist, and he deals with geology, astronomy, etc. in this book, making him guilty of the very thing that he says Ross is guilty of.)

     In the evidences that Dr. Sarfati disagrees with, it is usually a matter of interpretation, not a matter of Dr. Ross presenting bad information.  For instance, for the Hebrew word for "day", it can be interpreted either as 24 hours, or as a long period of time.  Dr. Ross does not make a mistake in is only a matter of young earth creationists reaching a different conclusion with the same Hebrew word.  The number of Hebrew scholars who support Dr. Ross bears this out.

     In my review, I have not addressed every issue raised, as many have already been refuted on this and other websites.  On the whole, I don’t recommend this book to anyone, as it is based on differences of opinion, and bad conclusions in theology and science. 

     When you are ready to begin the review, click on the individual chapter links in the gray column on the right.


1  Estimating the number of scientists who believe in a young earth is almost impossible.  Consider the following, which we present as an rough estimate.

   There are 65 scientists listed on ICR’s list of young earth scientists (granted, this is not a complete listing of all scientists who are young-earthers).  Limiting our numbers to geologists,  ICR lists 12 people that are in Geology or related fields.  By comparison the Geological Society of America has over 17,000 members (keep in mind that not all geologists are members, just like not all young earth geologists are listed by ICR).  That equates to 12 young earth geologists and 16,988 old earth geologists, or .0007 percent.  This is by no means a scientific determination, but can be used to give a rough estimate.

    Another estimate of so-called "creation scientists" claims there are 480,000 scientists in the United States, but in the relevant fields of earth and life science, there are only 700 who believe in creationism, or less than 0.15 percent of scientists (

   It could also be argued that ALL scientists accept an old earth.  I use the word ‘all’ because young earth scientists are not scientists. By definition, a scientist makes observations, then formulates theories about those observations. By contrast, a YEC “scientist” has made the theory first (that the earth is young) and then he looks for observations to confirm it. They are performing science backwards, thus deserve the term “theorist” rather than “scientist.” This is not to say that they are not smart, intelligent persons. Many have made important scientific contributions, but in the area of the age of the earth, their preconceived ideas about the age of the earth invalidates any scientific work they do in this field of research.




     If you are not a Christian, and you have been holding out on making a decision for Christ because the Church always preached a message that was contrary to what you saw in the scientific world, then rest assured that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, and you can believe in Christ and receive salvation, while still believing in an old earth.  Click here for more.


    Are you a Christian who believes in young earth creationism?  Now that we have shown the many difficulties of the young earth creation science model in this and many other articles, how does this impact your Christian life?  If you are a young earth creationism believer, click here.



Young Earth Book Review Home


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Refuting Compromise  Chapter List


  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Chapter 11

  Chapter 12


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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.