Progressive creationist Dr. Hugh Ross of Reasons to Believe recently appeared on Canadian talk show 100 Huntley Street to promote his newest book, Navigating Genesis: A Scientist’s Journey Through Genesis 1–11. Hugh Ross believes God created the universe gradually over six overlapping time periods only figuratively called “days,” spread over billions of years since the supposed big bang. He claims biblical support for his unbiblical point of view by misreading many Bible passages.
Hugh Ross twists the Bible to fit man’s fallible opinions about origins, embracing cosmological evolution and geological evolution. While he does not accept biological evolution as such (though he still accepts the basic evolutionary progression over millions of years, but claims God kept stepping in to create the millions of species, over time), he is enamored with whatever else evolutionary secular scientists have to say. For example, his “Adam and Eve” were created in a world already bloody with many years of death and suffering—even the death and suffering of soulless pre-Adamic human-like people. Dr. Ross has the wrong starting point!
Astonishingly, Hugh Ross suggests that if we would just agree with his way of re-interpreting Scripture to conform to secular historical science, droves of unbelievers would happily accept Genesis 1–11 and then get saved. Ross goes on to say,
If we Christians can resolve this issue in a peaceful way it’s going to attract non-Christians to enter into dialogue with us. But if we continue to fight and treat it like a salvation issue, it turns them off.We at Answers in Genesis are biblical young-earth creationists, and we have never claimed that what a person believes about origins is a salvation issue! (Read what I wrote about this in “Does the Gospel Depend on a Young Earth?” and “Millions of Years—Are Souls at Stake?”) A natural reading of the first few chapters of Genesis explains the origin of sin, suffering, and death. That enables us to understand why Jesus Christ died on the Cross to defeat sin and death.
However, we also know that around two-thirds of young people are leaving the church in America by college age, and the research we detailed in the book Already Gone shows clearly that the teaching of evolution and/or millions of years is a major factor in these young people doubting and then disbelieving Scripture. The solution to this problem is not to offer them a contorted creation “story” that claims to accept the truth of Scripture while all the time denying it!
Hugh Ross believes that God created decay and death as part of His original “very good” creation. Thus in Ross’s world death, suffering, and evil were God’s idea, God’s plan, and God’s fault. But by claiming this, even though Ross believes that Adam’s sin brought about death in Adam’s kin, he erodes the understanding needed to make sense of the gospel.
Furthermore, without the bizarre twists imposed on them by Hugh Ross, the history in Genesis affirms what we observe in both physical and biological sciences. We remove stumbling blocks to saving faith in Jesus Christ by showing people that Genesis really can be trusted from the very first verse. Instead, Hugh Ross’s “reasons to believe” are produced by altering what God says to fit Bible-denying notions like the big bang. Hugh Ross is one of the compromisers of our day who is leading generations astray with his teaching that undermines biblical authority.
In the interview, Dr. Ross says that astronomers “can look back to the very beginning of the universe. We can literally watch God creating the universe.” You see, because it takes time for light from the far reaches of the universe to reach us, Ross believes astronomers are seeing his six “days” unfold over billions of years. He has no clearly defined limits for the events on each day, so whatever secular scientists claim, he has a way to conjure agreement from the Bible.
We know from the history in God’s Word that the universe is only about 6,000 years old, so Hugh Ross is wrong. (Biblical young earth creationists have models that suggest how light from the distant reaches of the universe got here within the 6,000 years available in the biblical timeframe.)
Ross claims “dozens of creation texts” in the Bible support his billions-of-years interpretation. However, neither the passages he names (e.g., Job 37–39, Psalm 104, Proverbs 8) nor those on his website (except, of course, Genesis 1–2) “take you through the content of the six days of Genesis 1” as he claims. Some have isolated verses referencing the Creator or His creation, but they do not recount the history as Genesis chapter one and two plainly do. Genesis was written as a cosmology and most of the passages he cites certainly are not meant to be a detailed cosmology.
Dr. Ross misrepresents God to unbelievers by stuffing millions of years into the Bible and disconnecting death and suffering from its ultimate cause: man’s sin. This does not encourage faith but suggests to them that God’s Word is not trustworthy and damages the salvation message.
The interviewer on 100 Huntley Street makes much of Dr. Ross’s PhD in astronomy. This verse of Scripture comes to mind: “for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God” (John 12:43).
Read more about this interview, including comments from some of our PhD scientists, in News to Know: “Creating Confusion in Genesis with Hugh Ross.” Also, be on the lookout for our upcoming reviews of Navigating Genesis, to be published in both condensed and in-depth versions, coming soon!
Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,
This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.