Monday, 2 November 2009

Book review - More Than A Theory

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)

Chapter 1.

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)


  1. did nature create itself?

    if yes, explain. ill accept empirical data, i know how fond you are of it.

    if no, something must be outside of nature.

    if this could be the state of reality, and you are seeking naturalistic explanations for naturalistic events, how can you hope to find it?

    im hoping for something better than science is advancing and someday we will figure it out.


  2. I don't know.

    How was Nature created?

  3. by something that wasnt nature.

    since it exists, and seems to have had a beginning, and things dont create themselves, dont we have to assume that it was something besides nature?

    which leads us to a place where nature is not the whole of existance.

    is this not logical?

  4. Even if there is something outside of everything (illogical in itself), by definition we have no way of interacting with it because we are subject to the way "everything" works; we are part of "everything". If you could interact in some way with something outside of "everything", then that way of interaction must necessarilly be part of "everything" and therefore it is by definition "natural".

    Therefore science can only explore natural phenomena.

    Now excuse me as I have a sore head...

  5. BTW, how do you know Universes can't create themselves? I'm not saying they can but you have to rule that out first.

    If the rules of this universe did not apply before the universe existed, then why could Universes not create themselves through some unknown process? Why could some previous universe with different rules that always existed not have given rise to this one?

  6. This might be a little interesting to read. Someone who actually knows what they are talking about!