It has been a while since I have studied the age of the earth/evolution debate. But I feel like I need to stay on top of it. Compromise in this area is common. I really enjoyed Kelly’s book. He is a theologian, not scientist. Therefore what he asks is, “What does the Bible say and how can I get science to fit into what the Bible says.” Thus he begins with the text and works his way outwards. This is how it should be.
He does a good job of showing that the debate is usually between theistic and naturalistic assumptions. Faith and presuppositions govern both groups. This does not rule out the study of the material world. But it does rule out us studying it without certain presuppositions. He differentiates between empirical science and naturalistic science. He also works through the seven days of creation. He is clear where he disagrees, but he is not normally derisive of his opponents. The book is a bit dated, having come out in 1997. He is well read, quoting numerous pro-evolution and anti-evolution men, secular and Christian scientists, as well as numerous scientific studies in foreign languages.
When he approaches science he is humble and tentative, but still comes to some solid conclusions on things like radiometric dating. Throughout the scientific chapters he notes how assumptions about the past govern our research in the present.
The value of this book lies in his solid exegesis, his humility, and his ability to expose the assumptions that govern how we operate.