The Biblical Flood, A Case Study of the Church's Response to Extrabiblical Evidence, by Davis A. Young. William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan, and, jointly, The Paternoster Press, Carlisle, 1995. 327 pages, footnotes and index. Paperback; $19.99.
The second rule of science, after "methodological naturalism," was coined (I am told) by the Epicureans as "Consider ALL the evidence."
Dr. Davis A. Young, professor of geology at Calvin College, writes about the use -- and abuse -- of this rule through the many centuries of scientific and theological investigations of the Genesis flood (Gen 6:9-9:29). He has produced a jewel, a book which deserves a place on the shelves of every person who takes both Christianity and the study of science seriously. It is difficult to praise this work enough, or to recommend it too highly to PSCF readers. The target audience is the non-geologist scientist, the Bible teacher, the preacher, any person, clergy or laity, who sincerely struggles with the problems of interpreting Christianity through the eyes of science and science through the eyes of Christianity.
This is a "fun" book to read. Technical terminology is kept to a minimum, commensurate with telling the fascinating story, chronologically, of the attempts of thinkers through the ages to deal with both the Genesis record and scientific data. Of particular interest is chapter 4, The Impact of the Exploration of the New World.
Young is perhaps too kind to Calvin and Luther, who wrote after data from those explorations was available, yet, curiously, ignored nearly all of it. In the final chapters, the modern-day flood theories of Whitcomb and Morris are analyzed. Young is critical of many current evangelical writers for their "departure...from a familiarity with and an appreciation of mainstream science..." (pg. 301), suggesting that writers of a century ago occupied "higher intellectual ground.".
The book's usefulness is enhanced by generous footnotes, an adequate index, and by the author's pattern of concluding each chapter with a short "Analysis and Application." Young argues that debates on the flood have been confused by appeals to obsolete data and discredited theories; often appeals have been made, uncritically, to "yet another miracle" to bridge a difficulty. If Christians are to witness effectively to today's scientifically literate civilization, he asserts, we must necessarily include today's knowledge of geology,
paleontology, and other scientific disciplines. This book is a first-class overview of this knowledge. Get it.
Reviewed by John W. Burgeson
IBM Market Research (retired)
Published in PERSPECTIVES, the quarterly journal of the ASA, (American Scientific Affiliation) in Volume 47, #4 (Dec. 1995).
ASA's web site is www.ASA3.ORG