“If you truly want to understand these subjects, you have to roll up your sleeves and jump in.”
Falling Down a Rabbit Hole
When I produce a documentary, I like to do all the research myself.
The problem I faced with Genesis, however, is that I wasn’t researching just one subject; I was researching thirty. They included complex topics such as stratigraphy, baraminology, hermeneutics, genetics, and cosmology (to name a few). There’s a good reason experts have PhD’s in a single area: when you dive into these subjects, it’s like falling down a rabbit hole.
But you can learn a lot by jumping in and looking around.
That’s one of my take-away’s from this project: if you truly want to understand these subjects, you have to roll up your sleeves and jump in. The world God created is impossibly complex, and most scientists will admit they only understand a fraction of it. But you can understand part of it. You just have to start somewhere.
Here are 10 books I found extremely helpful in my ‘falling’ process:
The New Creationism – Paul Garner – This is the single best overview of all the topics in the creation/evolution debate. It’s not terribly long, but provides an excellent guide to the main issues. A great place to begin learning about these topics; also great for high school students. Buy it here.
ROCKS & FOSSILS
Earth’s Catastrophic Past (2 volumes) – Andrew Snelling, PhD – Every creationist should own a copy of this set. It was one of the most important books I read to create our film. Dr. Snelling is a clear writer, so even though it includes a lot of technical detail, it’s also one of the most comprehensive looks at Genesis. It includes extensive material on geology, fossils, plate tectonics, radioisotopes, the Bible, and much, much more. Buy it here.
Footprints in the Ash – Steve Austin, PhD – This slim book provides a good overview of Dr. Austin’s work and research at Mount St. Helens. Filled with fascinating photographs, it accurately shows what happened at the volcano, then explains what that means for understanding the natural history of the earth. (It’s similar to the material included in Beyond Is Genesis History? Rocks & Fossils.) Buy it here.
Faith, Reason & Earth History, 3rd Ed – Leonard Brand, PhD and Arthur Chadwick, PhD – This is actually a textbook that could be used by a high school or college student, although it is also a good introduction to understand science from a paradigmatic perspective. The book spends a third on understanding science, a third on biology, and a third on geology. It presents the issues fairly and show the challenges on all sides. Get the complete free ebook. (Hardcover is current backordered.)
LIFE & DESIGN
Devotional Biology – Kurt Wise, PhD – Dr. Kurt Wise wrote this unique volume to integrate a Christian worldview with the biological sciences. What makes it so incredible is that he enables you to rethink natural science and history from a Christian perspective, thereby transforming how we see the world. I cannot overstate the importance of this book: it is transformative. Buy it here.
Hallmarks of Design – Stuart Burgess, PhD, CEng – What makes this book so useful is that it explores intelligent design from the perspective of an engineer. From the brilliance of the knee, to the complexity of the water cycle, to the beauty of peacock feathers, Dr. Burgess explores all sorts of design concepts in the creation. It will change how you look at the world. Buy it here.
Universe By Design – Danny Faulkner, PhD – This slim book explaining the origin of the universe, then discusses the historical development of cosmology from a creationist viewpoint. It is an excellent critique of the Big Bang, dark energy, dark matter, and other modern views. It also talks about how much work in Biblical cosmology still remains to be done. This was the primary text I used for the film. Buy it here.
The Created Cosmos & The Expanse of Heaven – Danny Faulkner, PhD – While we were in the process of filming our documentary, Dr. Faulkner was finishing two new books on astronomy. The Created Cosmos examines what the Bible reveals about astronomy, specifically addressing what the it talks and what it does not. The Expanse of Heaven, on the other hand, is a comprehensive treatment of astronomy, interpreted within the biblical model of creation. Buy them here.
BIBLE & HISTORY
Creation & Change – Douglas Kelly, PhD – Perhaps the best single book on the textual and historical arguments for accepting 6-day creation and a young earth.He assesses both the biblical details and the scientific data to show there is a convincing and scientifically viable case. This new edition contains important revisions and additional chapters to bring this insightful and relevant volume up-to-date. Buy it here.
Coming to Grips with Genesis: Biblical Authority and the Age of the Earth – ed. Terry Mortenson, PhD – An excellent overview of the textual and historical arguments concerning Genesis. It is a collection of articles by different scholars concerning everything from the church fathers to physical death. It also includes an excellent essay on the genre of Gen 1:1-2:3 by Dr. Steve Boyd that I relied on for his section of the documentary. Buy it here.
Finally, two quick points: 1) Every area of study has its own vocabulary. If you don’t know a word, try to look it up. When I first read Earth’s Catastrophic Past, I kept an unabridged dictionary next to me. 2) If you don’t understand something, just keep going – it will make more sense as you go along.
One of the things that’s so rewarding about studying science is understanding more about the way God made the world. But what is also instructive is that views of science are changing and shifting.
I think that is probably one of the more important things to recognize – unlike events that happen in history or the creation itself, science is not ultimately fixed. This is why all science books need to be updated regularly, including those in creation science. It’s a bit like a river constantly flowing – you just have to jump in to begin to understand it. So grab one of these books and start reading. It’s extremely rewarding.
Alice in Wonderland © Walt Disney Company, 1951.