A Review of Desmond Ford's "Genesis Versus Darwinism"

You can look up Ussher to see how he got there. I’m not concerned about the exact 4004 (Ussher needs some small tweaking), but the approximate 6000 years is correct. 2000 years to Jesus, work your way back to Moses and Abraham, the flood and the patriarchs from Noah to Adam. The numbers are there.

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Integrity is not giving two contradictory answers to two audiences. That’s politics.


You are making it seem that re is a similar level of uncertainly is even on both sides. It seems to me that the reality of the situation is more complex. Science is not uncertain about the age of the earth as much as they are scientifically skeptical. This is keeping with the scientific method. Many bible believers are 100% certain about the interpretation of Genesis, and others who came after, that the earth is quite young.

While there are checks and balances and methodological systems in place to referee scientific ideas, there is no such system in place to referee belief in creation. One only has to have a sincere belief that the bible is literal to believe in a young earth and no more information need be taken in. So in reality, these two sides are profoundly different in how they reach conclusions.


Depending on what church you do to.
5950, 6014,…10,000
Greatly depends on some assumptions. And which genealogy you use.

Did T-Rex come before or after man was created? That makes a difference.


I have been told that nature is God’s second book. Taking the second book as it reveals itself it contradicts the first. Since the first book, especially the Genesis story is ancient and it is based on an oral tradition, I give the second book priority. It is here, real and around us. We can be uplifted by it, and experience its grandeur and delicacy. We can touch it, study it, read primary experiences of it. And we can create fields of study around it.

Other than having a quibble with the word “ignorant”, I would add a big caveat. That understanding science is more important than the Genesis story if one is to take part in the larger world, beyond the confines of the church. Ford puts it like this:

I add that knowing about science is more than reading the creation apologist web sites. Those sites are misleading and the arguments will not get a person very far when speaking to people familiar with science.

Bryan, thanks for introducing me to a new word “Noachian”. :sunglasses:


In science I can do experiments. Then you can repeat the experiment. Then the next person can prove/disprove using a different experiment. And them we repeat this every year.

If you really want to get your eyes open; go to another church. Each church has texts that prove what they believe. They usually don’t make this up. Example; right out of the mouth Jesus, “today you will be with me in paradise” and several supporting texts for death to heaven with out delay. (there are examples) Please, I don’t want to argue this. Everything in the bible has more than one way to think about it. A LDS says ‘I am right, the profit is right, the bible is right, God is right and you are wrong’. “I have texts that prove it.”

You should hear several different types of Jews tell the creation story.
You should hear several different types of Muslims tell the creation story.
You should hear several different types of Christians tell the creation story.
Now tell me what the bible says.

Some churches have profits that go beyond the bible. Considering what some churches say about women I would think you should believe a man-profit first. lol


Masoretic text is the one to use. Copied by scrupulously fanatical scribes. It’s the most accurate. Samaritan Pentateuch has dodgy numbers that don’t add up - Methuselah died 14 years after the flood. Septuagint also has dodgy numbers - evidence of editing/correction.

How does your bible read? The land animals were created on day 6, before man is what my bible tells me.

No assumptions to throw things off.

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At the time in his life, Dr Ford is passing on his final thoughts on a long, anxious topic for contemporary Adventists. As almost no others have been willing to go on the record at great length regarding their resolution to the persistent problem of Genesis and its interpretation, Dr Ford should be great commended. (Of course, this publication also points up the great restraint that church employment has placed on freedom of expression by church employees.) Although I personally do not think that progressive creationism is the solution to the problem of Genesis, Dr Fords’ s book should contribute to public discussion by its forceful and documented presentation of an option largely avoided in the SDA world.
One small caveat: Dr Ford seems to not trust editors. Most of his books would greatly benefit from a gentle but persistent culling. This one seems to fit the pattern.


It is His 1st book, His general revelation. The Bible is the 2nd book, the reporting of His Special revelation, the way of fulfilment since so few found it in nature.

Trust The BEing!


That depends on which “old Jewish myth” you read.
The old creation story is Gen 2:4
or maybe you like the newer Babylonian creation story in Gen 1:1.


Use great care in attacking the integrity of one of your brothers in Christ! Those of us who have known Dr. Ford personally can attest that he is humble, sincere and full of integrity - and that does NOT necessarily mean we agree with everything he says.

Pago, you fail to understand the definition of integrity and you continue to condemn others quickly and freely. I find that shameful. And it doesn’t seem Christlike to me.



Agreed, but fortunately he is much better on the self-publishing front than many one might read. It is surprisingly well done considering the lack of professional editing. Still, the book could have had a better impact with a good editor’s assistance. Everything I have ever published has been bettered by a good editor.


Thank you, thank you, Bryan, for this book review. As a person with little scientific background, I have been struggling with this issue for some time. What I have read leads me to at least realize the great discrepancy between what our study of the world makes evident and the way the Bible describes creation. I have been content to say that “I don’t know and I don’t see it as essential to salvation to have a definitive answer…” Most of what I’ve read is either on one side or the other, so I am now anxious to read Dr. Ford’s book which apparently grapples with both sides.

I do have a number of questions about the biblical account, such as, How could Cain have gone to another city to find a wife, if Adam’s family were the only people who populated the earth? I have heard a number of arguments against the great ages of the patriarchs, and I think understanding how the culture of those days viewed these ages is important to know. Another question: why do archaeologists find only more primitive societies the farther back they excavate, if there was once only a perfect society, beginning with Adam and Eve? And why does our DNA today only show origins from various different races instead of going back to the same ancestors? I suppose if I were more knowledgable about science, some of these questions would be cleared up. But I have to say I strongly agree that we must not hide from modern science!


It is always easier to hide from it, but I think we miss the richness of God’s second book, which is one of Ford’s main points. What I like about Ford’s approach in this book is that he very strongly supports the theological truths of Genesis while still trying to respect the scientific truths of God’s second book. I think we all need to keep growing in our understanding of these two books. To assume that what we knew 100 years ago is adequate for all time is to forget that God has often led His people through truth in stages.

I do not believe that everyone needs to grapple with these issues, but for those who feel a need for greater clarity, I think the church needs to allow the latitude, and even the encouragement, to keep exploring. One of my fears is that we have church leaders who want to shut the discussion down and simply say that there is only one way to interpret Genesis, period. I just pray that these leaders will develop the humbleness to admit that they do not have all the answers.

  1. Many of the books written from an evolutionary standpoint have been full of absolutely fascinating details that I can appreciate, whether or not I believe in evolution.

  2. Current church administration, for all its calls to unity, may be responsible for the church’s splitting. I suppose they think they are bringing about the “shaking”!


You’re creating a problem where there isn’t one. Genesis 1 is the chronology and Genesis 2 gives more detail as to what happened, non-chronologically.

Plus, I bet you have NO evidence that Genesis 1 is Babylonian, because there isn’t any. Don’t take sceptics’ word for it, put the Babylonian creation myth side by side with Genesis and you’ll find the two are dissimilar and Genesis definitely wasn’t copied from anything Babylonian. I can provide more info later if I have time.

(This of course leads to the JEDP hypothesis, for which, once again, there is NO evidence. It’s a figment of critics’ imaginations, wishing to bring the Bible into disrepute, but it’s 2015 and there is still not a shred of evidence for it.

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Integrity is not being two-faced. That is what Desmond Ford is. (Excessive. - webEd) He gives a different (and contradictory) answer depending on who he’s giving the answer to. That shows that his entire purpose is to undo the fabric of Adventism but placate those who begin to realise it.

Have a read of The China Letters by David Lin. Exposé of Ford’s weak arguments and his contradictions par excellence. Maybe you can’t see it because you haven’t analysed what he says/writes critically, being too eager to accept what he says because he has the title Dr. (You do not have to make your points in a disrespectful manner. - webEd)

If, as Ford claims in his book, the theological meanings of Genesis can be maintained, even if creation happened differently and much longer ago than we traditionally hold, and if a localized Noachian flood does not detract from the theological meaning of the story as told in Genesis, then why find such ideas heretical enough to label them as against SDA beliefs. Sure, an older creation and death among animals before the fall are contrary to traditional beliefs, but the main reason given for holding firm to a literal creation week and no death whatsoever before sin, is that we would lose the Sabbath and the Salvation story would have no meaning. Since Ford seems to show that these interpretations are not required to save the Sabbath or the Salvation story, then why require that they be the sole correct interpretation of Genesis.

Of course, the argument soon comes up that EGW wrote that these things are true, sometimes emphatically so, so case closed. Often, for those who finally realize that science does not support traditional, Fundamentalist interpretations of Genesis, use the EGW argument as their trump card. I think we need to be careful using that approach. EGW was every much a person of the 19th century as the author of Genesis was a person of the BC world. Given that people from both these eras had only rudimentary understandings of God’s second book (EGW and those of her day obviously having a greater understanding, but still much less than we do today)., how would we expect them to interpret the creation story? Unless we assume that God cares that people of former eras have as great an understanding of nature as later eras, why would God even inspire someone of an earlier era to tell the story in such a way that it would be scientifically accurate for all times?

I truly believe that the Genesis account is there to teach us about God and Salvation, so we cannot modify the way the stories are told when we are telling them for theological edification. Their meanings are embedded in the way the stories are told. At the same time, though, we should be extremely cautious in reading too much into the scientific and historical nature of these stories. Some Biblical ways of relaying theological truth play loose with historical and scientific facts, demonstrably so, in obvious cases because the author does so transparently. One obvious case of this is the genealogy at the beginning of Matthew. The theological truth being conveyed by this genealogy remains true, even thought the genealogy has been obviously contrived. Do we really believe that no other Biblical stories haven’t been contrived in similar ways to make a theological point? Are we really wise enough to know when such stories have been told in these ways and when they are to be taken 100% literally?

I happen to like the creation story just as it is told; it is truly epic. I grew up accepting it as a literal account in its finest details. I would love for it to be that way and for science to provide evidence to boost my faith in this way of looking at the story. But, and this is a difficult but to accept, what if the story is told this way intentionally for its theological message without any attempt to reflect scientific or historical authenticity? Jewish scholars have long been comfortable with just this sort of view of the creation account. It almost seems absurd that we, as Christians, who have inherited this book from the Jews, should somehow believe we know better. Genesis was written by Jews, within the Jewish storytelling tradition. where the primary point of a story is not it’s factual accuracy, but in its utility in teaching a truth about God. Why is it so scary for some to see attempts by some theologians to read Genesis as it may well have been intended to be read in the first place?


You are right there is no evidence that could ever be found that would…
Here is a comparisons.

Compare:Ancient Israelite Creation Story / Babylonian Creation Story
Source:Genesis 1:1 to 2:3 / Enuma Elish
Date of writing (liberal belief):8th or 9th century BCE / Late 12th century BCE
Date of writing (conservative belief):13th century BCE, the time of Moses / Late 12th century BCE.
Author (liberal belief):“P,” authors of the Priestly tradition. / Unknown.
Author (conservative belief):Moses / Unknown.
Creator(s) of the universe: A single God, YHVH / A God battling a Goddess.
Initial state of the earth: Desolate waste; covered in darkness. / Chaos; enveloped in darkness.
First development:Light created. / Light created.
Next development:Firmament created - a rigid dome over the earth separating the earth and heaven. / Firmament created; also perceived as a rigid dome.
Next development:Dry land created / Dry land created.
Next development:Sun, moon, stars created. / Sun, moon, stars created.
Next development:Creation of men and women. / Creation of men and women.
Final development:God rests and sanctify the Sabbath. / Gods rest and celebrate.

Many believe the Jews got the first creation story from Babylon. It only appears after Babylon. The second creation story Gen 2:4 is older than the first. There is no Babylon equivalent.


Thanks Bryan for a kind review. Please note the artwork for the book (top of the article) is for the General Abridged version, but the book review is about the big original book. There are three versions of Genesis versus Darwinism, which have three different covers: 1. the big one with the evidence, which is here reviewed. Then two abridged versions, one for the general public and the other for Adventists. Both abridged versions are abridgements of the early part of the large book without all the scientific sources. The abridged version for SDAs has about 8 or 9 extra articles particularly of interest to them. The books are up on Amazon and Kindle, but when one self publishes, it is difficult to distribute books. Thanks to a friend in America we have sent out quite a few books gratis to thinkers at Adventist institutions.

There are people who might read these books who are at many different levels and those at the top could do with less text because they already know a great deal. But the books have been carefully argued so that others who haven’t read much can follow the arguments. People tend to dip into books and may look at one particular chapter over another, and so Des has deliberately repeated arguments and states that he has done so. This is because he is a teacher and uses repetition as a teaching device. The book went out and was read by quite a few friends (theology, science, evangelism). We incorporated most, maybe all, of their suggestions. I read and edited it at least six times. Easy for people to criticise who do not understand what it takes to publish such books. We look forward to reading theirs. By the way, this subject is of most interest to Adventists. When you find an Adventist publishing house that would publish Des please let me know. Then self-publishing would not be necessary.