Book Review: Peril in Paradise: Theology, Science, and the Age of the Earth
by Rich Deem

Peril in Paradise: Theology, Science, and the Age of the EarthMark S. Whorton, Ph.D. has written a book written for Christians that examines creation paradigms on the basis of what the Bible says. Many Christians assume that the young earth "perfect paradise" paradigm is based upon what the Bible says. In reality, the "perfect paradise" paradigm fails in its lack of biblical support and also in its underlying assumptions that it forces upon a "Christian" worldview. Under the "perfect paradise" paradigm, God is relegated to the position of a poor designer, whose plans for the perfect creation are ruined by the disobedience of Adam and Eve. God is forced to come up with "plan B," in which He vindictively creates weeds, disease, carnivorous animals, and death to get back at humanity for their sin. Young earth creationists inadvertently buy into the atheistic worldview that suffering could not have been the original intent of God, stating that the earth was created "for our pleasure."

In contrast, old earth creationists believe that the universe was created with a perfect purpose, in which human beings are to choose good from evil and bring glory to God in doing so. The "perfect purpose" paradigm states that God created the universe as a temporary place, in which evil and suffering fulfill the will of God toward a higher goal than just to give us pleasure or a nice place to live. We, the followers of Jesus Christ, manifest the abundant grace of God, even in our sufferings, witnessing for the gospel to our fellow human beings and also the angels.

Dr. Whorton's book goes beyond the superficial doctrines espoused by the young earth "perfect paradise" paradigm to examine underlying assumptions and extra-biblical teachings of the movement. Peril in Paradise examines verses cited as support for the perfect paradise paradigm in context to determine their actual meaning. In addition, the book compares the perfect paradise paradigm to the perfect purpose paradigm proposed by old earth creationists. Since the book sticks to the scriptures almost exclusively, it cannot be claimed that old earth creationists ignore the scriptures in preference to "fallible science."

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Last Modified November 3, 2005


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