Book Review: Faith, Form, and Time by Kurt Wise

Faith, Form, and Time: What the Bible Teaches and Science Confirms about Creation and the Age of the UniverseFaith, Form, and Time: What the Bible Teaches and Science Confirms about Creation and the Age of the Universe by Kurt P. Wise

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I had never heard of Kurt Wise before a friend recommended this book. It was an excellent read. Several things of note from the book.

First, he is a YEC, global flood guy who believes in everything the Bible says. The book operates on this assumption. In other words, he operates from the view the God of the Bible exists. He is not an ID guy or something like that. He assumes a literal fall with sin and death entering the world at that point.

Second, he does not treat evolutionists or OEC as if they are idiots. In other words, he is gracious throughout the book and a good model of how to interact with those we disagree with. He states in various places that evolutionists have good reasons for believing certain things.

Third, he does not assume YEC answers all the questions out there. At numerous places in the book he indicates the need for more research from the YEC guys to answer specific questions put to them by OEC folks. This approach spurs on the need for more research by Christian scientists. If I was a young Christian looking to study biology, geology, or similar disciplines I would find a good ally in Wise.

Fourth, he does indicate that YEC answers more questions better. In other words, YEC is not just more plausible via Scripture, but even via science it is more plausible. He often uses phrases like “it would seem” or “at this point in study” or “if YEC is true then this scientific finding makes sense” and so on. He does not say everything evolution says is rubbish and stupid. But he does indicate that YEC does a better job answering more questions, though it does not answer all of them.

Fifth, he does a lot work with the post-Flood world and Babel. I am not convinced of all that he says in these sections. But again the goal is not absolute assurance, but plausibility. Can a worldwide flood account for the earth as it is today? He gives numerous examples of how the flood can do this. This was one of more fascinating sections of the book as he described shifting plates, an Ice Advance, as he called it, the creation of canyons via large amounts of rain, etc. Many YEC folks focus on the global flood, but Wise spends more time on how a post-flood world would create the geological formations, etc. that we have. Also his section on Babel was unique, at least as far as my reading goes, but only served to increase the plausibility of the Biblical account when laid alongside the world as it currently is.

Sixth, some of this was way over my head. Two sections, that on DNA and the part on tectonic plates, were hard for me to follow. There is quite a bit of technical language in the book.

Finally, what Wise does best is convince you that YEC/global flood/Babel are just as plausible, if not more plausible, than evolution or OEC. But he does this without treating either group as fools and without giving the impression that we just point at Genesis 1 and tell people to shut up. He also does it in such as way as to encourage Christian scientists to explore the world.

He does have some strange dispensational/pre-mil views that show through here and there, but overall do not impact the value of the book.

Highly recommended to all Christians who are interested in the topic.

My Rating System
1 Star-Terrible book and dangerous. Burn it in the streets.

2 Stars-Really bad book, would not recommend, probably has some dangerous ideas in it or could just be so poorly written/researched that it is not worth reading. Few books I read are 1 or 2 stars because I am careful about what I read.

3 Stars-Either I disagree with it at too many points to recommend it or it is just not a good book on the subject or for the genre. Would not read it again, reference it, or recommend it. But it is not necessarily dangerous except as a time waster.

4 Stars-Solid book on the subject or for the genre. This does not mean I agree with everything in it. I would recommend this book to others and would probably read it again or reference it. Most books fall in this category because I try not to read books I don’t think will be good. There is a quite a variety here. 3.6 is pretty far from 4.5.

5 Stars-Excellent book. Classic in the genre or top of the line for the subject. I might also put a book in here that impacted me personally at the time I read it. I would highly recommend this book, even if I do not agree with all that it says. Few books fall in this category. Over time I have put less in this category.

View all my reviews

Just War Criteria #2: Right Intention

Earlier I looked at the first just criteria for going to war, just cause. Here is the second in the words of Charles and Demy.

Right Intention: Morally guided force will seek to advance a greater good and secure a greater peace then heretofore had existed. Aquinas insists that belligerents should have a right intention “so that they intend the advancement of good, or the avoidance of evil.” “It may happen,” he notes, ” that war is declared by the legitimate authority and for a just cause, and yet be rendered unlawful through wicked intention.” Unjust war is perhaps best illustrated by what does not constitute right intention. Such scenarios include a sovereign’s pride or reputation, vengeance, national aggrandizement, blood-thirst or lust for power, and territorial expansion. For war to be just, its aim must be a greater good, and that greater good is justly ordered peace…A just response acknowledges the greater goal of a just peace and goes beyond sentiments of hatred and vengeance that are so typical of human behavior. It is cognizant that anything apart from just cause negates the morality of the response.

Again, referring back to my last post, this criteria assumes a moral standard that can be determined through time and wisdom. Many of us look at this criteria and throw up our hands saying, “Who can really know if an intention is good or bad?”  But this assumes no moral standard or at the very least an inability to determine right from wrong in concrete situations.

One more thing to remember is that this is not the only criteria. In other words, good intentions are not enough to make a war righteous. Many a country has violated other just war criteria by declaring that their motives are good.