John Byl, Professor Emeritus of Astronomy, Trinity Western University

"This book gives a good overview of the various models of origins. It clearly shows that our philosophical starting point dictates how we do science, and how we explain the scientific evidence. Dr Rau is best when discussing biological issues, his specialty. In cosmology, I find that he minimizes problems with big bang cosmology, and downplays the feasibility of alternative cosmologies."

 

Byl presents a very concise but accurate overview of the purpose of the book and the six models, followed by a critique based on his YEC position. Below I respond to quotes from his review. Byl states:

Yet he simply dismisses these doctrines as only human creations, not divine revelation. Moreover, he seems to suggest that, since we cannot know the mind of the original author, we should reserve judgment on alternative interpretations of the Bible.

Comment: Yes, I do believe that although the Bible is God's revelation, doctrines are human creations. How else could we explain the conflicting doctrines of various churches? And yes, I do believe (with many Bible scholars) that since we cannot know the mind of the original author, in many cases we must indeed reserve judgment.

However, if our science depends on our worldview, then there are really only two options: (1) mainstream science, based on naturalism, or (2) theistic science, based squarely on the Bible.

Comment: Well, yes, I say roughly the same thing in the very first paragraph of the book. The question comes in how we interpret the Bible. All churches believe their doctrines rest 'squarely' on the Bible, according to different interpretive frameworks.

It is noteworthy that the only model that Dr Rau associates with an inerrant word of God is YEC (young earth creationism).

Comment: Although it is true that in the book I only directly mention inerrancy in relation to YEC (because they emphasize it so much), four of the views (PE, DE, OEC and YEC) all hold that the Bible is inerrant (a word that does not occur in the Bible, by the way). B. B. Warfield, whose name is nearly synonymous with the modern evangelical doctrine of inerrancy, was willing to consider an evolutionary model (p. 47).

The other models reflect various degrees of compromise between naturalism and Christianity. ...

Here one might well ask, why should Christians re-interpret their Bible in terms of "evidence" that is selected and interpreted from an anti-biblical, naturalistic perspective? And, once we start embracing naturalistic science, where do we stop? As the past century has amply shown, churches that embrace evolution generally end up denying fundamental tenets of Christianity.

In sum, Dr. Rau's plea for Christians to be more open to other models and theologies is unlikely to be heeded by many adherents of YEC. To them, such exhortation to question the plain reading of Scripture is merely a modern version of that sly old challenge: "Did God really say?"

Comment: The mainstream Protestant churches that embrace evolution certainly would not agree that, "churches that embrace evolution generally end up denying the fundamental tenets of Christianity." Are you prepared to declare C. S. Lewis and John Stott (to choose only two examples) heretics? Some YEC supporters are, but I think you would be hard pressed to find recent Christians who presented Mere Christianity and Basic Christianity more clearly, or who had a greater impact on the evangelical church worldwide. The faith does not stand or fall on evolution, but on the historicity of the resurrection. My plea is for Christians to look at the evidence, whether about science or what happens when a church or an individual embraces evolution, rather than repeating statements they have heard that cannot be supported by the evidence.

The full review can be found at:
http://bylogos.blogspot.com/2013/02/overview-of-origins.html