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A Matter of Days: Resolving a Creation Controversy Paperback – Jun 2004

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  • Paperback: 301 pages
  • Publisher: Navpress Publishing Group; 1ST edition (Jun. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1576833755
  • ISBN-13: 978-1576833759
  • Product Dimensions: 22.4 x 15.9 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,460,551 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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TWO PASSIONS MOTIVATE THE WRITING OF THIS BOOK: THE STUDY OF GOD'S Word (the Bible) and the study of His creation (science). Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Peter Uys HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 17 Sept. 2006
Format: Paperback
It has been noted that the Christian faith has suffered as much at the hands of certain of its adherents as those of its enemies. A strictly literal or concretist interpretation of scripture alienates many ordinary people and of course many scientists, who would otherwise be receptive to the gospel message.

This book addresses the question of the duration of the creation days of Genesis in the light of both scripture and science. Still dividing the Christian community, the matter revolves around the Hebrew word "Yom" in the creation account. Young Earth Creationists ascribe a concrete meaning of 24 hours to these days whilst Old Earth Creationists consider the word to mean a long period of time.

In a spirit of civility, the author weighs up the evidence from the Bible and from nature, that is, God's revelation and God's creation. Sympathetically considering the reasons why Young Earthers are so dogmatic about the duration of these creation days, Ross firmly believes that the controversy ought not to divide the community of believers.

From the earliest times, Jewish and Christian theologians like Philo, Josephus, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Augustine and Eusebius have held a tolerant attitude towards differing interpretations of the length of the creation days. It was only in the 17th century that two British scholars, John Lightfoot and James Ussher introduced the dogma of 24-hour days.

Chapter 7: Anchored In Scripture, looks at 21 major scriptural passages that address creation. The meaning of the Hebrew words Yom, Ereb and Boqer are analyzed here in their biblical and linguistic semantic contexts.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Mr. R. J. Paul on 25 Nov. 2007
Format: Paperback
I had read years ago an explanation of genesis (first creation account) as written for the 'perhaps slightly dumb pastoral society of the old days, and I wasn't very convinced of this summary. This book goes into the 'day-age' theory in a lot of detail, as well as outlining the various ideas about literal six day creation, and the historical pespective on the interpretion of 'days' in the creation account. What I found so facinating is the establishment of the perspective of the viewer of the creation. We are used to looking at the earth via pictures from space, but it dosn't say in genesis that God's spirit was in orbit around the earth, looking down, it says that God's spirit hovered over the water, so the perspective is drawn down to God's perspective, above the water, but under the vault of the sky. This little bit of interpretation is just one of the evidences which makes this book so interesting to read. So the viewer of events of creation 'looking around and up' makes more sence than the sun being created after the earth, as in some interpretations I've heard, daft. Another thing here which might get you thinking is the authors idea of.. it's like creation is done outside of time, instantly by the thought or word of God, and then in time, creation occurs in creation 'days'. Read the book anyway, it'll explain it better.
And then our Darwin throws in the spanner of evolution. I can also recommend 'Who was Adam' by Fazale Rana and Hugh Ross.
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Format: Paperback
A very rational and convincing understanding of our origins, consistent with the evidence that we have.
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4 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Andrews Voice on 6 Jan. 2009
Format: Paperback
Hugh Ross bless him, may have a genuine heart and desire to see people not put off by trying to marry the Bible to science. However in his analysis and conclusions on this topic he is I am afraid wrong.

I am not going in to why that is as I cannot do it justice. There is plenty on the internet to challenge his biblical interpretations that do in fact conclude the days in Genesis do actually mean a period of 24 hours.

Ross is too keen to interpret the Bible in light of science rather than the other way round.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 71 reviews
234 of 260 people found the following review helpful
An outsider's view 11 Feb. 2005
By Royce E. Buehler - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book ended up mysteriously on the desk of a colleague of mine, an X-ray astronomer. Knowing that I was a Christian - though scarcely any of the reviewers here would agree with that assessment, since I have no doubt that Darwin was right, a criterion that seems to matter more these days than relying on the blood of Christ for salvation - he passed it along to me.

Ross didn't change my mind about anything. He has a good grasp of astronomy, and explains it pretty well, but I would suggest he's out of his depth in those rare passages when he argues directly against evolution. I'm not his intended audience, obviously. He wants to speak to those who adhere to young-earth creationism, or to those who are wavering in their faith because they have been told you that you can't be a Christian and also believe the universe is more than a few thousand years old.

Nevertheless, he won me over. This is someone I would be proud to worship with: he approaches his subject, and his adversaries (be they secular or young-earth creationists) with civility, "gentleness, meekness, self-control". Attributes not uncommon in my experience among biblical inerrantists, but rarely on display from any side when creationism is the topic.

Ross's central concern is what the Bible has to say about creation. Of his 23 chapters, only four deal with the astronomical evidence for an old universe. One of those, and a couple of others, deal with arguments for intelligent design drawn from astronomy (and as one who's delved deeply into both astronomy and biology, I think those are the most solid ID arguments at the moment.) Most, however, deal with general issues of biblical interpretation, and with the biblical evidence for an old universe. This is a man who is serious about placing his trust in the Bible.

That the book displays the fruits of the Spirit is the most important reason for my 4 stars. But it also displays considerable freshness of insight. Since I take all of Genesis 1 to be metaphorical, I have no dog in the "day-age/ 24 hour day" fight. It seems to me both sides have pretty good knock-'em-down prooftexts, which would lead to a draw if it weren't for the fact that a certain spirit of conformity in the church makes people prefer to go with the crowd rather than to play Berean and dig deep. But Ross offers a raft of biblical arguments for day-age that I hadn't seen before, as well as new links between 20th century cosmology and the language of the Bible. (For example, the passage about God "stretching the heavens like a tent" has been a trifle embarrassing to biblical literalists, since it seems to suggest the stars and planets sit in a two-dimensional sheet over the earth. But as Ross points out, something very like this is an analogy frequently used to explain the Big Bang: the 3-dimensional universe expands as the surface of a 4-dimensional sphere, and students are often encouraged to picture a stretching 2-dimensional sheet as a guide to understanding the theory.)

Ross's chief motivation - other than a respect for truth, and a desire to set forth the truth as he understands it - is evangelical. Many millions of people, having been exposed to and convinced by the overwhelming physical evidence for the great age of the universe, will think of Christianity as just a pack of irrelevant nonsense, if they are told that one must reject essentially all of science in order to accept Christ. There is an offense of the Cross - but this isn't it. If the day-age interpretation of Genesis is correct, then rather than the offence of the Cross, this is just a fence around the Cross, placed there by Christians too stubborn to distinguish tithes and cummin from "the weightier things of the law"; and Ross fears its effect will be to keep sinners from crossing over into life. ("Too stubborn" is my phrasing; I think Ross would find a kinder way to say it.)

In my own judgment, the insistence on discarding the theory of evolution is another such fence. Most of those who can't get past the "six literal days" fence won't be able to get past that one either. But many may; and this makes Ross's contribution a valuable one.

One final word of my own. Those who insist that the Bible "plainly" speaks of 24-hour days in Genesis (and for that matter, those who insist that it "plainly" speaks of age-long days, or that the first 11 chapters of Genesis are "plainly" to be taken as literal history) are not merely reading what's in front of them. They are accepting what other men have told them about how the Bible "must" be read. Whenever you hear someone say: "God said it, I believe it, that settles it," what they are actually saying is, "I say God said it, I believe it, and I say that settles it." It may masquerade as humility before "God's word", but it is more often pride, or a fearful conformity to churchified traditions of men.

Everyone who picks up the Bible and reads is placing an interpretation on what he sees. The only protection against mistaking one's own, or one's congregation's, ideas for "what God says" is prayerful humility before God, and a loving openness to what fellow Christians everywhere find when they look in His word, and when they look into the new hearts He has given them. That's what I found in this book, and that's why I can heartily recommend it to creationists of all stripes.
78 of 85 people found the following review helpful
A Matter of Days 8 July 2004
By Frank Taylor - Published on
Format: Paperback
"A Matter of Days" could also be titled, "A Matter of Interpretation" because this is what this book is really about-a matter of which interpretation of the biblical and natural record is the correct one. The hub of the controversy involves the meaning of a creation 'day' as noted in Genesis. Young earth leaders claim that each creation day was strictly a 24-hour period. Do their claims have solid proof- or does the data point to the days of creation to be long epochs? Utilizing historical, biblical, theological and scientific data, the author Dr. Hugh Ross helps the reader answer this question. Surrounding the 'hub' of the controversy are lightening strike subjects like, "Doesn't belief in an old earth equate a belief in evolution?", "Was there any kind of death before the fall of Adam?", "Does the Bible speak of a "big bang" of creation?" and "Is God's plan a restored paradise (like Eden) or a whole brand new creation?" Mindful of people's feelings about each of these subjects, the author masterfully and humbly leads the reader to logical conclusions.
I would say that the last chapter really shows how fair Dr. Ross is willing to be with such a controversial subject of 'Old Earth vs. Young Earth'. He recommends that the church and the world outside evaluate the different creation models in an objective, easy to apply and understandable way. He notes that effective models help explain how and why particular phenomenon arises and that they are capable of predicting future discoveries and anticipating breakthroughs. With this in mind, the author provides two sample, non-exhaustive models of the Young Earth view and Old Earth view respectively. This provides the reader an objective way to analyze, over time, which model best represent reality. This book is like a breath of fresh 'common sense' to anyone who has been touched in some way by the controversy. I highly recommend that you read it.
88 of 98 people found the following review helpful
Finally! 28 Jun. 2004
By Mark Ritter - Published on
Format: Paperback
The latest book by Dr. Ross treats the age of the earth controversy in a way most of us cannot - with repect and charity. But this book doesn't just tell us why the old earth view is more plausible from a scientific standpoint, although it does that well. Dr. Ross does several things unique to the whole controversy.
He not only uses science to support his interpretation of Genesis, he uses the Bible itself. He takes us out of Genesis One (a stronghold for those of young earth persuasion) and into other creation accounts in the Bible showing that they too support an old earth interpretation. And he is not bound by the English translation, but goes right to the Hebrew translations of eminent world-class Hebrew scholars.
He also does the correct thing at the end of the book by laying out predictions. If the young earth interpretation of Genesis is correct, then there are many things that will be revealed in the coming years (e.g. there will be fewer and fewer scientists accepting the big bang model, or, more actual scientific evidence will support a thousand-of-years-old universe). On the other hand if the universe is old, more and more evidence will be revealed to support that (e.g. radiometric dating will prove more accurate and reliable, the big bang model will stand up even stronger under new evidence, etc.)
Here is my prediction: The dyed-in-the-wool young earth creationists will not read it, but they will reject it as heretical, never the less. Many people who are undecided will read it and because of the beautiful logic, ease of reading, and Dr Ross' general tone of reconciliation and harmony and his uncompromising love for God, will be convinced that both the Bible and what we see around us in nature are from the same One.
47 of 55 people found the following review helpful
If you read the book you have to admit its right 29 Oct. 2004
By Dave Lermer - Published on
Format: Paperback
The people who rate this book low are wrong. I read the book cover-to-cover and when I look at the negative reviews, I can tell that those people definitely didn't read the book. They're just coming up with hate mail. Very sad to see Christians doing that.

But the book all by itself makes sense! Mr. Ross is a real scientist and a real Christian and he understands both science and the Bible really well. Unlike the so-called Christians who are writing all the hate mail about him, Mr. Ross doesn't attack anybody. He just sticks to the facts. I hope anyone who wants to know the TRUTH will read this book. Obviously the people who write all the wild crazy stuff in the reviews did NOT read the book. You will learn a lot about how there are other parts of the Bible that talk about creation, too. And that it isn't a compromise with the devil to believe that the creation that God made really does tell us about God. Mr. Ross tells us that the Bible is the error-free word of God. He says that God does not lie in God's creation. If we pay attention to the Bible and to God's creation, we will understand God better. The Bible doesn't make scientific statements. But Mr. Ross shows that good science that has proven true shows that the Bible is true.
30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
Where have all the bell-curves gone? 29 Mar. 2009
By Rhyme N. Reason - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Does anyone else remember 'normal' bell-curves from math class? As graphs, they used to be taught as a statistically accurate way to describe/predict the distribution of grades typically earned by students in a class (or scores earned by students taking a well-written test, etc.) wherein the majority of the students earned a more or less average sort of score (the middle of the bell, with "C" being the average and most prevalent grade, and a proportionately smaller number of "D"s and "B"s flanking the "C" students), and wherein a much smaller number of students either "F"lunked or "A"ced the exam.

I grant that starting in the 1970s U.S. high schools and colleges began to teach and grade toward a different standard of accomplishment (the self-esteem of the student), rather than mastery of the material being tested, but unless the graphing process itself is tampered with in some underhanded way [e.g., my college eliminated "F" altogether, substituting "NFT" (i.e., 'not for transcript') instead, but I honestly think the students who earned "NFT" for a course they had taken were not fooled into feeling 'nifty' by the grade they received (unless, perhaps, they misunderstood that to be the correct spelling of the word)] such graphs still prove informative.

Well, 'grade-inflation,' properly graphed using the same scale and left-right labeling orientation as the old 'normal bell-curves,' shows up as a plotted line (wavy or straight, as the case may be) that ascends when viewed from left ("F) to right ("A"). And, other things being equal, the relative steepness of the slope gives a general sense of the degree of grade inflation, etc.

As of the writing of my review, the Amazon tally of reviews for this book shows 25 five-star reviews ("A), 3 four-star reviews ("B"), 1 three-star review ("C"), and 31 one-stars ("F"). I don't know about the graphical perceptions of others, but that tally looks most like an INVERTED bell-curve to me. (Tilt your head toward your right shoulder, remembering that the highest grade is shown to the LEFT, and look again if you need to.)

I personally understand the 'star'-rating system used here to be a form of grading. (Anyone disagree?) If that's true, then perhaps we might reasonably expect something like a 'normal' bell-curve in the review totals, but we do not see that. And so, if normal bell-curves show a fair and representative grade distribution, and ascending lines reveal the effects of grade inflation, WHAT does an inverted bell-curve indicate? Surely, it indicates 'skewed' results.

There are at least several possible reasons for these obviously 'skewed' results: (1) No persons of average intelligence and knowledge of the topic(s) covered in this book reviewed it; only geniuses/topic scholars and ignoramuses/simpletons reviewed it, and none of them found it of average quality. [This is not my personal explanation.] (2) The book is actually very ordinary/average, but slightly less than half the reviewers ALL wanted to extol the book for no reason having to do with honesty/fairness, while at the same time slightly more than half the reviewers ALL wanted to trash the book for no reason having to do with honesty/fairness. [I've read the book myself, am very aware of the literature on this topic, and do not consider it to be of ordinary/average quality; likewise, I've read the reviews of it posted here and none of the reviewers strikes me as being INCAPABLE of knowing what either 'average quality' or honesty/fairness is, though perhaps I'm mistaken about that.] (3) The book is either EXCELLENT or ATROCIOUS, and approximately half the reviewers are either incapable of recognizing the difference (for whatever reason), or they are being disingenuous. (I have read the book carefully, found it to be excellent, and am not lying about that opinion here.)

Without quoting my fellow reviewers individually to contradict them, let me state the following information that I know to be true about Dr. Ross, as demonstrated by this book:

1. He is a competent and well-informed scientist.
2. He is a competent and well-informed Bible exegete.
3. He constructs and integrates his interpretive models of both the data of nature and of the data of scripture fairly, and consistently seeks to integrate ALL the available relevant facts of nature and ALL the relevant passages of scripture.
4. He provides his REASONING for favoring his models over those proposed by others, and critiques the MODELS of others without resorting to name-calling or the use of overgeneralizing/hasty dismissals. (Read: He is a gentleman, and he shoots down faulty interpretive models, not people, using sound reasoning.)
5. He attends fairly to the data sets of nature and scripture in forming his argumentation, rather than resorting to 'cheerleading.'
6. A Christian, he believes in the inerrancy of scripture and his theology is biblical and orthodox. At the same time, he does not require nonChristians to ASSUME the inerrancy of scripture as a ground rule, but provides evidence that supports the inerrancy of scripture as a conclusion to which the relevant data leads, and which it ultimately requires. (His models are not exercises in 'circular reasoning.')
7. He believes, both as a scientist and as a Christian, in the special creation of life-forms, including humans, by God, just as they are described in the Bible, which he understands to be relating true history.
8. He believes that scientists (as interpreters of the data of nature) and theologians (as interpreters of the data of scripture) are not infallible, himself included, and he consistently argues for the acceptance of adequate explanatory models that satisfy the most data, and that demonstrate the best predictive power (i.e., they mesh with new data as it is discovered).
9. Coming from a Christian standpoint, he recognizes that God neither lies in what He says (the Bible) or in what He does (the laws and historical artifacts of nature).
10. He proposes resolution of the conflict between young-earth and old-earth creationist views on the basis of the comparative soundness of the two models, as borne out by their explanatory and predictive power ALONE. (He is willing to follow data/truth wherever it leads.)

(Yes I do remember that this is supposed to be a review of A MATTER OF DAYS....)

So my review is: Ross' book is fabulous, scientifically and exegetically sound, well-informed, well-written, courteous (almost to a fault), and well worth your time. Get a copy, mull it over at length, and decide for yourselves, folks.
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