Ross is a Christian astronomer who doesn't want to avoid issues of origins. He tackles them head on.
“What is needed is a strategy of engagement,” he writes. “Christians who take the Bible as a trustworthy revelation from God need to study science and engage with scientists at the highest academic and research levels.” (12) He encourages Christians to “demonstrate how a creation model provides a more productive stimulus for ongoing research than does naturalism.” (12)
In this book, Ross turns to Job, probably the oldest book in the Bible. “Job helps us resolve nearly all the Genesis creation controversies,” he writes. (13)
That is a tall order and I am not sure he fulfills it.
Ross addresses several issues as he goes through Job and here are a few.
One of the most divisive issues among creationists is whether there was animal death prior to Adam and Eve's sin. Ross suggests there was carnivorous activity, based on Job, before Adam's sin.
Ross challenges naturalistic evolutionary models. He argues that soulish animals, with their innate capacities to serve and please humans, are of supernatural design rather than natural process. He defends the uniqueness of humans among animals, citing scientific studies.
Ross is an “old earth” creationist. Of papers delivered in 2009 (“year of Darwin”), Ross notes, “They reported, for example, that the scientific case for a long history of life on Earth is now beyond doubt, and so is the historical record of life's progression from simple, small-bodied life-forms to more complex, larger-bodied life forms. How many people realize, however, that this scenario exactly parallels what the Bible teaches? The crucial difference … The Bible credits God's creative involvement, not just natural processes, for the big changes scientists observe in the record of Earth's life.” (124)
As with prophecy, I am disturbed when the Bible is seen to reveal a concept, after that concept has happened (prophecy) or been discovered (science). I see Ross doing that. An example is dark matter. Ross looks at Job 38:19-20. “God treats darkness as if it is something that resides somewhere in the universe.” (61) Ross goes on to write of dark stuff, comprising, scientists say, some 99.73 percent of the universe. Ross finds dark matter referenced in the Bible after its discovery. I would rather see a Christian astronomer predict what will yet be discovered, based on a biblical model.
Ross has certainly provided material for discussion. He describes himself as a “public advocate for fact based faith.” (168) In this era when people of faith are forced to address scientific discovery, Ross's work is very valuable.
Hugh Ross (PhD, University of Toronto) is founder and president of Reasons To Believwe (www.reasons.org). He is the author of many books. As an astronomer, Ross has addressed students and faculty on over 300 campuses in the United States and abroad on a variety of science-faith topics. He presents powerful evidence for a purpose filled universe.
Baker Books, 238 pages.