More Than a Theory, by Hugh Ross
The book by Hugh Ross, the leader and founder of the Christian Reasons to Believe (RTB) Ministries seeks as its premise to “Present a creation explanation [of the universe as it is] in scientific form”. (p16)
Ross clearly has a firm belief in the Christian Biblical scripture. As he says in his biography on his own website: “Hugh’s unshakable confidence that God’s revelations in Scripture and nature do not, will not, and cannot contradict became his unique message”. He criticises scientists for exploring natural explanations for natural problems because “strictly natural outcomes reflect no care, no reason, no hope” (p13)
He seems to think that “naturalistic” scientists are being more dogmatic when they pre-dismiss supernatural, or at least potential supernatural, explanations. He criticises Eugenie Scott for her statement that “science and scientific testing must be limited to direct observations of events occurring in nature or under controlled laboratory conditions”. Ross claims this dismisses theoretical physics, astronomy, and other disciplines but fails to elaborate on how. Science is the study of nature. It is by definition a way of seeking naturalistic explanations for naturalistic events. It is a tool we can use to study reality and what it discovers becomes part of that reality. It reminds me of the old joke – what do you call alternative medicine that has evidence for its success?
Likewise, what do you call the supernatural with evidence for its reality?
Ross manages to dismiss Young-Earth creationism of the sort propagated by Ken Hamm with his Creation “Museum” and by the incarcerated Kent Hovind. He claims that forcing a “creation timescale of only a few thousand years…on Genesis I would make other biblical passages [on creation] contradict each other” (p17). He rightly states that scientific evidence of the age of the universe cannot be simply ignored. But to fit the science into Genesis I Ross has to treat Genesis I as non-literal - but of course literal enough so that is remains theologically consistent.
Ross is clearly a biblical inerrantist. However, the biblical inerrancy he propagates is one which needs the “application of appropriate biblical interpretive techniques”(p20) in order to determine its compatibility with God’s second revelation - Nature. Ross tries to interpret the Bible to fit the science instead of the other way around – which is what he would accuse YEC of doing – and I would welcome this but he realises he also has to expand the meaning of science to include the supernatural which is why he dismisses naturalistic scientists.
Ross seems to speculate that in propagating a scientific model of creation and putting forward some tests, he can demonstrate that his model is correct and therefore proving (at least as far as scientific modelling goes) that there is a creator (oh, and he is the Yaweh of the Bible) behind it all thus giving Christians “Reasons to Believe.”. And here’s me thinking that “the just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17)