Hugh Ross – Iron Sharpens Iron 2007

(This is from a series of posts on the Iron Sharpens Iron Men’s Conference in Hartford, CT on March 24, 2007. To view the whole series, click here.)

Here is a brief summary of Hugh Ross’ afternoon seminar called “Creation as Science.”

Hugh spoke about the testable creation model that he and the people at Reasons To Believe have been working on developing. He explained the Anthropic Principle – how everything in the universe tends toward man, toward making life possible on earth and sustaining it. He described the fine-tuning of the universe and how human life on earth can only exist within finely-tuned parameters. Forty years ago astronomers could only identify a few of these characteristics, but by the year 2001 they had identified more than 150 finely-tuned characteristics necessary for life. These findings reduce the odds that any given planet in the universe would possess the necessary conditions to support intelligent physical life to less than one in 10173.

Hugh discussed a few of these in detail such as: the gravitational coupling constant, the strong and weak nuclear force coupling constants, the age of the universe (and the narrow window of time during which life is possible), the expansion rate of the universe, the mass of the universe and others. His comments on the mass of the universe were especially memorable. He held out a dime and made the statement that if you added or subtracted the mass of one dime to the mass of the entire observable universe, then life could not exist anywhere in the universe.

He also talked about the unique fitness of our planet to sustain life, and the unique location of earth that allows human beings to observe and measure the solar system, the Milky Way galaxy, and the universe.

He debunked the various ways some scientists have tried to avoid bringing God into the equation – such as life seeded on earth from other planets and the multi-verse theory. He introduced us to the concept of the gambler’s fallacy, where a person assumes a greater sample than the evidence allows for.

He challenged skeptics to test the creation model. If the anthropic principle is false, then new research will show a decline in evidence for the fine-tuning of the universe. But if the anthropic principle is true, then new research will show an increase in evidence for the fine-tuning of the universe. The website at Reasons to Believe posts new evidence for the anthropic principle every day.

Hugh also spoke on many other topics and gave a generous and extended question and answer time. He spoke about black holes, the Big Bang, water on Mars, the ten space-time dimensions and many other fascinating subjects. You can find information on all of these topics and more at the Reasons to Believe website.


  1. Bethany says:

    This topic has always challenged me. I was raised in a “Theistic Evolution” household and it made a lot of sense. But then I was at a conference where the Young Earth speaker brought up a theological conundrum that has yet to be resolved satisfactorily for me. If death and destruction and “bad” existed before Adam’s sin, then Adam’s sin was not really responsible for it. Yet so much of Christian theology seems to rest on the fact that the world was “good” before his sin, and all the problems with both creation in general and mankind specifically followed. I’ve heard all kinds of “stretching it” explanations from Old Earth Christians, but none really solve the dilemma.

    I know ultimately that the Bible doesn’t say “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and (Theistic Evolution/Young Earth Creation) and you shall be saved.” But it’s a significant theological concern, particularly as we witness to a world obsessed with Science over Faith.

    So, I’ll just keep puzzling…and would love to read other people’s thoughts.

  2. Ray Fowler says:


    As an old earth creationist Hugh Ross takes a lot of heat from both sides in the debate. He is criticized by young earth creationists for holding to an old age for the earth, and he is criticized by old earth evolutionists for holding to creation. I don’t agree with everything in his books, but he makes a lot of good points and presents a lot of interesting information. This was the first time I got to hear him speak, and I liked him as a person. He was humble, intelligent, unassuming and had a good sense of humor as well. I don’t know that we will ever solve all of these questions this side of heaven, but it is good to ask questions, to learn and to investigate – as long as Christians on both sides of the debate can remember that we are all on the same team!

  3. Ray says:

    I used to be a progressive creationist as a young adult but later found that the evidence was much stronger for theistic evolution. I have read some of Hugh Ross’s works and note that he really does not use terms such as theistic evolution or progressive creationism. He seems to accept the findings of modern cosmology re the age of the universe and the earth and let’s the reader or audience take it from there. Bethany has a good point if one believes that Scripture is inerrant. It is very clear that it teaches that death did not exist prior to the Fall and yet the evidence that it did is overwhelming. Some try to get around it by believing that death did not exist in the “garden” but did outside and when “Adam and Eve” were expelled, they became susceptible to death. However, I think that this is a cop-out and that there really is no answer to Bethany’s question outside of rejecting the inerrancy of Scripture and believing that the Genesis story is a myth constructed to explain why human kind sin and die. Bethany’s point is why the Creationist Movement is so adamant toward Theistic Evolution and modern scientific findings.

  4. Sharon Gamble says:

    The verses I can’t seem to escape in Genesis, are the ones that talk about “And there was evening and there was morning – the first day”, etcetera. If the Bible is written to all people at all times, what is the simplest understanding of an evening and then a morning? yup. One 24 hour day. Bottom line, God could do it in a day or an hour or a minute. He’s God!! You are right, Ray, that there is much we won’t know this side of heaven. Each of us needs to come to the Scripture with teachable hearts. Always, we need to share what we find with love and humility. Hugh Ross sounds like a neat guy in that department…

  5. Ray Fowler says:


    Thank you for your comments. I agree that the biggest challenge for an old earth creationist is to deal with the question of death before the fall. In fact, we were talking about that just this morning at our Saturday morning men’s group. However, I don’t believe one has to let go of the inerrancy of Scripture in order to allow for non-human death before the fall.

    Here is what I see in Scripture. God’s words to Adam and Eve in the garden were specifically concerning human death – “You must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” (Genesis 2:17)

    Romans 5:12 comes the closest to saying there was no death before the fall: “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin . . .” (Romans 5:12) But then the rest of Romans 5 goes on to speak of the death and resurrection of human beings.

    The closest parallel to Roman 5:12 is 1 Corinthians 15:21 which says, “Since death came through a man . . .” which at first seems to be speaking of death in general, but then goes on to say, “…the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man.” (1 Corinthians 15:21), which puts the whole verse in the context of human beings once again.

    Another challenge to old earth creationism is the repeated refrain in the creation account: “And God saw that it was good.” I believe Hugh Ross would argue that the cycle of animal death is part of the good way that God has created this planet to work, providing food for other animals and nutrients for the soil. Ross would say that this was part of the way that God was preparing the planet for its first human inhabitants.

    I don’t necessarily agree with Ross on this one, and I don’t know if there was non-human death before the fall or not, but I don’t believe a person who believes this way must also reject the inerrancy of Scripture. I believe there is room in Scripture for both.

  6. Ray Fowler says:

    Romans 8:20-21 are also difficult verses to reconcile with death before sin. “For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.” (Romans 8:20-21)

  7. Ray says:


    I believe that the verses in Romans and Corinthians have always been interpreted by the church through the centuries as referring to death of all life. It has not been since modern times with the advent of geology, paleontology, biology, etc. that the controversey really started because of the implications that I mentioned in my response. What I am saying is that if one is a Theistic Evolutionist, one must also accept that the Bible is not inerrant. Genesis 1 shows progression towards human appearance on earth and a case can be made for theistic evolution. However, Genesis 2 is a separate account of creation that has all the elements of an allegorical myth that was written to express theological beliefs. Its chronology is at odds with Genesis 1 and teaches that humans were a completely separate creation from other living things whereas the same scineces that give us the anthropic principle is overwhelming that humans were not a separate creation but are higher order animals descended from other animals and that it took millions of years to finish the process. Jesus and the apostles were wed to the science and cultural beliefs of their time and believed in a literal Adam and Eve, a talking serpent, etc. as written in Genesis 1. Even if we take Genesis 2 as an allegory it is at odds with Theistic Evolution hence Christians who believe in inerrancy dismiss Theistic Evolution as error not Scripture. It seems and open and shut case to me because the evidence is strong for theistic evolution which indicates that humans evolved in different ways and places over millions of years and certainly not from two persons located where the Biblical Garden of Eden was located. Bethany simply has stated that the problem is that the Bible (and historical Judaism and Christianity) teaches that death of all living things resulted from the sin of two human beings whereas there is undisputable evidence that death occurred when the first microscopic life form evolved on earth over 3 billion years ago. In any event, one usually believes what they want to believe regardless of the evidence. There are many other reasons other than this problem that I have with inerrancy but it would be best for all of us to say that we agree to disagree and go our individual ways of belief in this particular matter. (Forgive any typos, done in a real hurry.)

  8. Ray Fowler says:


    Well, I don’t see any conflict between Genesis 1 and 2, but I do agree that we are a long way from understanding exactly how science and Scripture all work together. I hope Christians will continue to study and examine this awesomely amazing and beautiful universe in which we live in order to better understand our awesomely amazing and beautiful God who created it. And I hope that we will continue to study and examine Scripture that we may better know the God who reveals himself to us through his Word.

    Thank you once again for your comments, and you’re right – this is one of those areas where we may just have to agree to disagree. See you around the blog!

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