Book Review -- The Age of the Universe

Allen Roy (
Sun, 22 Feb 1998 20:37:45 -0700 (MST)

I thought those on this list would find this an interesting book. :-)

Book Review: by Allen Roy

"The Age of the Universe: What are the Biblical Limits?"
by Gorman Gray
Morning Star Publications, Washougal, WA.
138 pages. illustrated.

The book can be obtained from the author for $10.00. (email address is:
Or, the bulk of the book can be found online at:


1. Thesis and Introduction
2. Hazards in Bible Interpretation
3. Unwarranted Assumptions Corrected
4. Biblical Cosmogony - A Paraphrase and Commentary
5. Creation Passages Illustrated with known Astronomical Features
6. Needless Obstacles to Creation Science
7. Relativism Questioned for its Biblical Basis
8. Objections to Undefinded Age Answered
9. Theistic Evolution Promoted by Mandatory Young-Universe Doctrine
10. Closing Thoughts and Summary
A: Historical Background fo the Origins Debate
B: Absolute Biblical Truth: On what Basis
C: Geology from a Biblical View
D: Hebrew Dictionary Aid for Critical Words
E: Language Challenge for Hebrew Students

The Author:

Gorman Gray is a retired tooling engineer from the aircraft industry who
has use his retirement opportunity to fill what he feels is a major
weakness in Creaionry thinking. He is a graduate of Multnomah Bible
College of Portland, Oregon.

Forward: by David Eckman, Ph.D, Associate Professor of Hebrew, Wester
Seminary, San Jose, CA.

"I have received training in lower criticism and higher criticism, from
genre criticism to canonical criticism. And through that training and my
own studies of the Hebrew text, I came to certain conclusions about the
text in Genesis one. These conclusions were based not upon any great
interest in science or creationism. They were based upon what I believed
careful literary technique and a close reading (this is used in a purely
technical sense) of the Genesis one account would bring. My conclusions
were as follows:"

. the viewpoint of the observer in Genesis one was from the surface of the

. the text presupposes an earlier creation of indefinite length in Genesis
1:1,2 followed by six days of preparing a stage for the human drama,

. "the earth" of Genesis 1:9 ff was the land mass that came forth from
the waters,

. "the heavens" of Genesis one was the sky the birds flew about in,

. the contemporaneity of the Deuteronomistic history (the history from
Genesis to 2 Kings) and Job and particularly Ezekiel with his account of
the anointed cherub implies a watching good and evil angelic host,

. "Asah" and "bara" are two discinct Hebrew terms, both implying the redoing
of previously existing materials; the former deals with the remaking of
something and the second (while only being used of Yahweh) usually involves
creating something incredibly different,

. and finally, Exodus 20:11 refers to the remaking of the planet and not
the creation of the same.

"My conclusions were based upon years of academic study in the biblical
languages, and lo and behold Mr. Gorman Gray has noted the same things
though the careful study of English texts of the bible and the use of
Hebrew-English tools. That delighted me, because I have had the belief
over the years that a careful and diligent study of the English text with
the available tools could at times bring the same results an academic
study of Hebrew might bring forth." (pp. 6,7)

In Chapter 1 the author states: "The writer holds to the plenary, verbal
inspiration of Scripture and absolute authority of the autographs. 'Every
jot aad tittle' is inspired, including the chronologies which establish
Adam's creation and all organic life at about 6,000 years ago." (p. 11)
And he feels that 'The young universe theory rests upon a superficial
reading of translations of Genesis 1:16, "And God made two great lights...
the stars also,' and of Exodus 20:11, 'For in six days Yahweh made heaven
and earth.' It is understandable that some readers would draw these
conclusions when the text is so rendered, and consider these verses
'incontrovertible evidence' for a young universe."

"Actually, the original Hebrew in both Genesis and Exodus says nothing
about the time of creation for the stellar heavens. For that matter,
(p. 13)

The problem is that we are dealing with translations and not the original
autographs. Missunderstandings come when persons take literaly the
English translations as if they came directly from God's mouth. "Whenever
a translation is made, the original language is 'changed' into a
less-than-perfect representation of the autographs. The translations of
the year 1611 or 1985 or of today are no exception. The words suggested
here [i.e. alternate translations] represent a RETURN to the original,
contextually determined meaning, not a 'change' at all. 'Changes' made by
translators exist throughout all Bible versions. In some cases these need
correction, or at least explanation, to make the text better represent
what the Holy Spirit gave to us." (pp. 14, 15)

"Young-earth proponents deserve commendation for their confidence in the
absolute truth of Scripture. but let us examine the original text with our
thought systems open to revision when confronted with the word of God. What
did the Holy Spirit really say?" (p 16)

In Chapter 2, Hazards in Bible Interpretation, the author says, "Because
EVERY ONE OF US is vulnerable to error, we should be drivien to our knees --
the ultimate place of safety." (p. 17) Then he list the following major
sources of error.

1. The hazard of proof texts
2. The hazard of less-than-perfect translations
3. The hazard of human persuasion and social pressure
4. The hazard of 'reading in' extraneous thought (eisegesis)
5. The hazard of misleading definitions
6. The hazard of strong delusion from Satan
7. The hazard of ignoring simple hermeneutics (the art of interpretation)
8. The hazard of crediting Bible writers with knowledge of modern science
9. The hazard of a faulty paradigm
10. The hazard of excessive reliance on intellectual skill

Four main unwarranted assumptions are discussed (in Chapter 3) which have
diverted young-earth creationists from the truth of Genesis. They are:

1. Genesis 1:1-2 is a summary of the Creation Week.
2. Genesis 1:1-2 is part of the first day of the Creation Week.
3. "Asah" means to create 'ex nihilo.'
4. Exodus 20:11 is refering to the stars, planet earth and the sea.

In Chapter 4 the author presents a paraphrase and commentary of the
Biblical cosmogony. This is probably the most important part of the
entire book. Don't miss this chapter. There is no room to critique this
chapter in this review. Get the book or the online copy.

Certain planets and other associated satellites are compared with the Biblcal
record of the condition of planet earth during the Creation Week in
Chapter 5.

In "Needless Obstacles to Creation Science" (Chapter 6) the author states,
"All things considered, there is no Biblical basis and very little, as
well as only questionable scientific basis to prove a young universe.
Major scientific objections have been raised toward a young universe
concept. Plausible attempts have been made to counter some of the
objections, but none of these attempts produce explanations that influence
well-informed groups. Young-universe creationists have alienated
themselves and the creationist message from the mainstream sciences by
this flawed "Bible" concept, causing many sincere people to head for
liberal explanations." (p. 59)

He says that we sould consider that:
1. Scientific objections may be partly valid.
2. Young-Universe scenario gives an unsatisfactory picture.
3. Pre-encoded starlight involves illusion.

The Biblcal basis for Dr. Russell Humphreys' book, Starlight and Time, is
questioned in Chapter 7. The author does not attempt to critique the
cosmology, but rather the Biblical basis for that cosmology. The parallel
comparison of Humphreys' and Gray's views on Genesis 1 and Exodus 20 is
most instructive. Let the reader judge which view would Timothy [a
hypothetical Hebrew reader of long ago] most likely espouse.

In Chapter 8 the evidences for a young earth (and other points) are
discused. "Most of the young-earth evidence relates to post-flood
geology, so this writing does not disagree with young ages for the
universal flood and its consequences." (p. 89)

Also, "Commitment to certain theories can be destructive to scienctific
inquiry in the same way that evolutionary assumptions close the minds of
their supporters. When one's mind is liberated from a mandatory young-
universe mindset, there is greater potential for discovery." (p. 93)

"We are properly repelled by the theory of evolution, a concept which
requires an old universe WITH an old geology, but we ought not to react by
requiring a young universe if the Scriptures have not defined its youth."
(p. 94)

A cosmology imagined to meet objections finishes up the chapter.

The concern of Chapter 9 is the effect that the misinterpretation of Genesis
has made on sincere people to constrain a belief in theistic evolution or
progressive creation by reaction to young-universe creationism. Like so
many creationists, the author was once an evolutionist, and he notes:

"Evolution is science fiction. Millions of years of biology exist only in
the imaginations of men and thier books.... Spontaneous generation NEVER
occurs in any ordered system, whereas spontaneous dissolution of ordered
systems occurs constantly. Evidence is not the problem. Blindness is the
problem. Evolutions hitchikes on science. It contributes nothing, but
gets a free ride at science's expense,... With fake credibility in the
language of good science and groundless assumption of enormous geologic
time, evolution has gained a RELIGIOUS monopoly in academic life. It is a
preposterous hypothesis, carried along by good, established science, free
of charge. The "veil cast over all nations" has deluded even brilliant
minds to reject the obvious and embrace the ridiculous."

"This is not to say that evolutionists never provide any good
contributions to science. When they keep within their fields of research
(outside of mythological religion), they sometimes produce useful work.
But as soon as they assert claims about geological ages or evolutionary
mechanisms without providing factual proof (which, indeed, they cannot),
they work not as scientists, but as religionists. Evoluion is fact-free
'science.' Satan has long employed the device of using truth to peddle
falsehoods.... So does evolution, housed in a museum of science with a
cadre of lettered devotees; what better sales device with which to hawk a
religious fiction?" (p. 98, 99)

"Theistic evoluion attempts to marry a tiger to a lamb. To insist that
the entire cosmos was created during six days tends to promote the
marriage of tiger and lamb. That perverted marriage receives
encouragement because what we call the 'package principle.'... The
evidence for old heavens is quite convincing -- nearly incontrovertible.
But because many prominent creationists are deeply committed to a young
universe, many questioners are tempted to reject biblical creationism in
the package, as they reject the young-universe concept. From there it is
an easy step to accept theistic evolution. These potential believers
reject a young universe on very persuasive scientific grounds, and accept
evolution without good supporting evidence as a result." (p. 99)

"Augustine's centuries-old advice could help us here, 'If something in the
Scriptures seems to be absurd ... either the codex is faulty or the
translator erred or you have not understood it.' It is natural for the
average inquiring mind to regard a young universe as absurd,.... Let us
consider the probability that we have not understood Exodus 20:11 and
Genesis 1 correctly, lest we continue to lure those inquiring minds toward
theistic evolution." (p. 99)

In closing (Chapter 10) the author states, "A sound interpretation 1) must
be understandable to ordinary people, 2) must not force the original
language, 3) must answer problems experienced by other ideas, 4) must
maintain a coherent whole where everything fits, and 5) must interpret
each relevant Scripture without depending on collatral scriptures for its
interpretatin." (p. 102)

"Whenever our minds become fettered to any less-than-perfect translation,
whenever we are unwilling to examine the clear latitude and force of the
Hebrew text, we become like beached whales whom no amount of reason can
dislodge. We simply continue muttering whatever our preconception taught
us. We can go no further." (p. 103)


I hartily recommend this book. It says in one place what I've read in
paragraphs, chapters and articles in other sources. This book is long

Allen Roy