Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Book Review (7): The Ultimate Proof of Creation

Lisle’s conclusion reminds his readers that the debate over origins is a war of worldviews. Even this is no surprise, as our ultimate standard, the Bible, prophesied that we would face such opposition at the intellectual level. Appendix A, called “Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth,” is an important overview of the sad truth that Christians will disagree with other professing Christians on the origins issue. Lisle mentions that, though Christians have argued over different ways to read and interpret the Bible, there’s really only one right way to do this, and that’s in the “natural” or “straightforward” way. In other words, reading and interpreting the Bible with the “grammatical historical” approach is the only rationally defensible way to do so. We read the Bible understanding the context and the purpose or intent that the author had when he wrote it - and this takes some effort!

Lisle says, “Upon inspection, we will find that worldviews based on non-natural readings of the Bible have the same defects as secular worldviews… When we apply the “AIP” test (looking for arbitrariness, inconsistencies, and/or the ability to account for preconditions of intelligibility) to non-natural approaches to Scripture, we will find that such views do not pass the test.” Lisle refutes a few of the more common views to Scripture that fall under his definition of non-natural. These faulty and ultimately irrational views include: “The Scriptures bow to ‘Science’ View,” revelation through nature, various metaphorical views, and the eclectic view. He suggests that these views are ultimately self-refuting, and that proponents of these views uphold a double standard by expecting their readers to read them in a natural way when they themselves refuse to read the Bible that way.

Appendix B, called “Answering the Critics – Part 1,” is the first of two concluding extras in the book. Here, Lisle posts actual arguments sent to Answers in Genesis along with his replies and analysis. In some cases, there are counter-arguments and counter-replies as well. This appendix includes the practical application of the basic tools Lisle has introduced in the first half of The Ultimate Proof of Creation. Appendix C, called “Answering the Critics – Part 2,” is the final portion of the book, and Lisle again posts dialogues in which he has engaged through Answers in Genesis, either online or via mail. This appendix practically applies the more advanced tools Lisle has taught throughout the second half of the book.

If the reader does nothing else with Lisle’s book than read the Appendices, he or she has still walked away with a wealth of practical tips for defending or even merely considering the Bible’s truth and authority. Lisle does the Christian community a favor in writing The Ultimate Proof of Creation, and if any agnostics, atheists, or particularly thoughtful professing Christians who deny or even doubt the truth of biblical creation read his book, they will be forced to provide more obviously irrational answers to questions they don’t want to ask (for that reason) or see the futility of their worldview. By equipping Christians to defend their faith, Lisle also brings non-Christians and non biblical creationists to an uncomfortable place where they will either deny the clearly presented ultimate proof of creation and cling to their irrationality or hopefully by grace swallow their pride in repentance and take not a blind leap of faith into the dark against all reason, but a small and reasonable step of faith into the light.

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