Bulletin Banner

Return to 1st Quarter 2022 articles.

Book Review column title

Baby Dinosaurs on the Ark?

by Janet Kellogg Ray, William B. Eerdmans Publishing, © 2021,
$13.88 paperback, 213 pages, ISBN-13: 978-0802879448

The book cover

Janet Kellogg Ray is a biology teacher who was raised as a creationist and realized as she went through her educational experience that what she had been taught was scientifically and logically impossible. This book does an excellent job of exposing the problems of young-earth creationism. Ray explains why that interpretation of Genesis causes more problems than it solves.

However, Ray's most significant error is assuming that the creationist literature accurately interprets the original language of Genesis. She does not even discuss the fact that we cannot force the Hebrew word yom to mean a 24-hour day. She also does not distinguish the difference between the Hebrew word bara (create) and asah (make). In Ray's mind, taking the Bible “literally” is the method of the groups she attacks. We have said that taking the Bible literally means looking at who wrote it, to whom and why it was written, and how the people it was written to would have understood it. The organized creationist groups do not do that, and neither does Ray.

Ray buys into the Biologos approach to evolution and faith. In fact, Deborah Haarsma, the president of Biologos, wrote the forward to the book. Ray accepts the current version of evolutionary theory and accurately conveys and promotes the modern understanding of neo-Darwinism. The problem is that, like any area of science, things are changing fast, and discoveries constantly change scientific insights. (See the book review for Dismantling Evolution.)

Ray's understanding of biology is far beyond mine, but she is less informed on geology. For example, confusing clastic sedimentary rocks with chemical precipitates is the same mistake denominational creationists make. She also confuses stars with galaxies. However, her statement that scientism and materialism are not science is spot on.

This book shows what is wrong with the creationist material and how to bring modern evolutionary theory into harmony with faith. Of course, Ray and I do not agree on everything, but we do agree that there were no dinosaurs on Noah's Ark.