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The Rocks Don't Lie

by David R. Montgomery, W. W. Norton Publisher, © 2012,
302 pages, $17.95 (paperback), ISBN-13: 978-0-393-34624-4

Picture of BookDavid Montgomery is a geologist and a professor at the University of Washington. While he is not a religious figure, and does not have a church background he is very well informed on creationism and the history of the evolution/creation controversy. This is not a book about faith or the Bible. It is a book about the consistency and accuracy of dealing with the evidence for Noah's Flood, and what it can be used to explain.

The reason we are reviewing this book is that we frequently have Christians who say they cannot understand why the flood described in the Bible cannot be used to explain the Grand Canyon, the Niagara dolomite, or the age of the earth being less than 10,000 years. We have frequently discussed the biblical problems with young-earth theology. We have also said that taking such a position is a negative with college students and even high school students who have had a course in earth science. This book explains why.

The book is divided into 13 chapters and includes an index. Montgomery writes very well, and his explanations are clear and easy to understand. This is not a book that supports atheism. Montgomery's approach is more about reading the Bible as literature. He writes, “The back and forth through history between science and religion is more of a dance than a war.” Montgomery does not take the Genesis account or the story of the flood to be literally true. Rather he views it as a literary work. He says “a literal reading of the Creation in Genesis does not do the story justice” (page 251). He views the Genesis record as “a symbolic polemic intended for early monotheists rather than as a Bronze Age scientific treatise.”

This book is accurate in its science, and does a good job of showing the weaknesses in flood geology. Many fundamentalists will view its religious message as compromising the biblical record in order to fit science. While not agreeing with all of Montgomery's biblical views, I found the book useful. I recommend it to those interested in understanding why many scientists reject denominational creationism and its attempts to use Noah's Flood to explain the historical geologic record of the earth.