Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Book Review (1): The Ultimate Proof of Creation

The next several posts will serve as my review of Dr. Jason Lisle’s The Ultimate Proof of Creation (May 2009, Master Books). Dr. Jason Lisle received his doctorate in astrophysics from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He runs the planetarium at the Creation Museum, lectures on scientific and philosophical issues pertaining to biblical creation, and, apparently from the appendices of this book, answers many of the e-mail inquiries and comments that come in to Answers in Genesis. I have a number of copies of this book, and I would be glad to send you a copy, at no charge, just for engaging in a dialogue with me regarding the content of my review.

Lisle begins with acknowledgements, expectedly to the folks at Answers in Genesis, such as Ken Ham, but he also honors the late Dr. Greg Bahnsen, whose biblical apologetics ministry was in part the inspiration for the book. Bahnsen is beloved by many evangelical Christian leaders and laymen, yet some of his theological positions, such as Christian Reconstruction, Theonomy, and Postmillennialism, stirred curiosity at best and controversy at worst among the leading Reformed theologians. Lisle doesn’t get into these potentially controversial topics in his book, as his topic leans much more heavily on Bahnsen’s presuppositional apologetics. Though Lisle doesn’t use much technical jargon, he weaves issues of metaphysics and philosophy into practical and tangible elements of the lay Christian’s everyday life in such a way that no Christian, or atheist for that matter, would be confused by the logical flow of Lisle’s arguments.

Ken Ham writes a brief forward, focusing on the importance for Christians to be able to give an answer to those who ask them the reason for their hope (1 Peter 3:15). He makes two important claims: First, Ham says that most Christians are sadly lacking in their understanding of why they believe what they believe. In turn, they are unable to give a sound, logical answer to those who criticize their beliefs, and this reality leaves poorly equipped Christians on the defensive, instead of on the offensive with the gospel, where we ought to be. Second, Ham suggests that many non-Christians use unsound, illogical, and irrational arguments when denying or attempting to refute the claims of biblical Christianity. However, because of Ham’s first point, these unbelieving critics are often not adequately or accurately countered with what Lisle will reveal in this book – the ultimate proof of creation.

Lisle begins with a short introduction, but it’s an important one. He acknowledges the bold title of his book and assures his readers that he will explain it more as he goes along. Lisle states that “persuasion is subjective;” people are often persuaded by poor arguments on the one hand, yet unpersuaded by very good arguments on the other hand. In other words, says Lisle, people are not consistently rational. In general, humans don’t think clearly. Why? Lisle says we have worldviews and presuppositions that have formed over our lifetimes, and these perspectives change how we see evidence for truth. But before moving on in this line of thinking, Lisle defines some important and repeated terms, such as “evolution,” “creation,” and “unbeliever,” and provides a brief outline of the book’s chapters. We'll continue this review tomorrow, beginning with chapter 1.

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