On today's broadcast, Ken Ham, founder of Answers in Genesis, a ministry devoted to upholding the authority of the Bible, talks about the teachings of Darwin and encourages parents to search the Bible for answers to questions posed by their children.
On today's broadcast, Ken Ham, founder of Answers in Genesis, a ministry devoted to upholding the authority of the Bible, talks about the teachings of Darwin and encourages parents to search the Bible for answers to questions posed by their children.
Ken: You know, from the writing of Darwin, from his own letters, you know, when he published "The Origin of the Species," very interesting, he knew that that was going to create quite a furor, and you'll notice that in "The Origin of the Species," he didn't talk about the origin of man, because he felt that would be too much at that stage for the people in the culture to cope with. Then, 10 years later, he wrote the book, "The Descent of Man," when he just laid it all out.
What he was really up to was he wanted to explain life without God.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Thursday, February 22nd. Our host is the president of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine. So we'll hear from Ken Ham today. You can't talk about how life began without talking about God and whether He exists. Stay tuned.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today, thanks for joining us. We have a guest joining us today who shares a pet peeve that I have. You introduce the guest, and then I'll tell about the pet peeve, how's that?
Dennis: Well, we have a guest who is a creator of sorts.
Bob: Of sorts, that's right.
Dennis: And he has created the Creation Museum near Cincinnati.
Bob: It's in the process still of Creation, taking millions of years, right?
Ken: That's true. It's evolving slowly.
Dennis: Evolving slowly. Ken Ham joins us on FamilyLife Today. Ken, it's good to have you.
Ken: Thank you, it's great to be with you.
Dennis: Ken is the founder and president of "Answers in Genesis," which is headquartered near Cincinnati and soon to be open, the Creation Museum. I said it with tongue in cheek, but truthfully I don't know of another place like this anywhere on the planet – the Creation Museum. Is there another place like it?
Ken: No. There's a couple of small Creation Museums but nothing like this one. This is the first of its kind. This is the first time anyone has ever tried to construct a walk-through biblical history using animatronic dinosaurs and people and so on to tell the world the Bible is true and counteract the teaching of evolution in millions of years.
Bob: And that leads to my pet peeve, okay? Because I'll never forget this – there was a Sunday paper, I'm reading through the paper, and here's an ad for a children's video that you can order called "Fairy Tales and Fables." And, you know, I've got kids, so I thought, "Well, I wonder if my kids would like this video."
So I start reading through it – 24 video classics in full color and fully animated for one low price – Little Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Gretel, Jack and the Beanstalk, Robin Hood, the Golden Goose …
Dennis: Yeah, those are all good stories.
Bob: The Big Dipper, the Boy Who Cried Wolf, Noah's Ark, Curious Tiger, Thumbelina – now, wait, you heard it.
Ken: I heard it, Noah's Ark.
Bob: I remember getting this, and I thought no wonder they're selling this thing so cheap in the newspaper. They added Noah's Ark as if it's a fairy tale or a fable.
Dennis: And you're not alone, Bob, in getting on your soapbox. You're going to have to move over, because I know that Ken Ham has a real beef about Bible stories.
Ken: Well, that's true. A lot of people today just teach the Bible as a collection of stories rather than as real history. And I even find that, even with a lot of Sunday school materials that are presented as a story. But we need to understand that Genesis 1:11 is real history, and that's the history that's foundational to our doctrine in the rest of the Bible.
Bob: Well, and I've found this – even as I teach through the life of Jesus in an adult Sunday school class, I'll say, "Let's look at the story of" – and then I almost correct myself and say, "No, it's not the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000. Let's look at the account."
Ken: Account of – of Jesus. The word "story" to a lot of people today sort of means fable or fairy tale or something like that. That's why I appreciate that, because I like to use the word "account" or something like that.
Bob: Well, your Creation Museum is an account, a living account, of how God created the heavens and the earth, right?
Dennis: And, Ken, I've heard you say that if a family wants to come to a Creation Museum near Cincinnati …
Bob: … they're going to have to wait until this summer, because it doesn't open until the end of May or early June, but a lot of families may want to do this as part of a summer vacation.
Dennis: Exactly, and I'd encourage them to do that. But if they were going to take a day, that's one thing. We don't quite have a day here on FamilyLife Today. I can't ask the broadcasters to move over. Can you give us a quick tour? Because I've walked through the Creation Museum. I came to your ministry's headquarters about a year ago and had the privilege of walking through it, and it's really an impressive facility.
Ken: Well, it really is, and not only do we have inside, we have outside. We have nature trails that are teaching nature trails – carnivorous plant bog, butterfly garden, hummingbird garden, waterfalls, bridges, suspension bridge, all sorts of fun things on the outside.
Dennis: All right, take us through a high flyby on the whole walk through the museum.
Ken: Okay, a supersonic jet ride through the museum. We come into the portico, there's a big mastodon skeleton, there are some dinosaur skeletons, there's a giraffe, and there are some exhibits about those. Then you walk into the lobby, and you see animatronic dinosaurs and people together. Now, that says something straight off. It's challenging people. "Hey, dinosaurs and people lived at the same time."
There are some living exhibits in there as well. We have what's called a "prehistoric fish." What that means is it's a fish that, finding the fossil records supposedly millions of years ago, yet it lives today, and it forgot to evolve. And so there it is, living in our aquarium.
We have a waterfall, and we have another big 42-foot animatronic dinosaur. We have some finches – variation within finches showing you there's one kind, but you can have different of species within one kind. So this is just the lobby.
And then beside that, we have a bookstore, which is themed after dragons and dinosaurs, because we believe the dragon legends were probably accounts of what we today call dinosaurs. And so you go into what's modeled after them – and medieval castle in the bookstore.
And then when you go into the museum proper, we go for a walk through the Grand Canyon. A long time, and a little bit of water, or a lot of water and a little bit of time, and then the display on Mount St. Helen's and the Grand Canyon – how layers can be formed quickly. We have a dig site with a Creation paleontologist and evolution paleontologist digging up a skeleton but they have different interpretations of the same evidence, because we're talking about how do you connect the past to the present?
And then we go into a room where we say, "Well, we start from the Bible," and there are two worldviews. You either start from man's perspective of things, or you start from God, and so there are two worldviews.
Dennis: And I want to stop you there, because as I walked through it, that room really set the tone for the rest of the walk through the museum. And that, to you, is the basis for the entire interpretation of what took place in the six days of Creation, right?
Ken: Exactly, because after we talk on those two worldviews, we say, "In this museum, we admit we start from the Bible. We're going to show you when you build your thinking on that it makes sense of the world, and we can use observational science to confirm that. We're going to answer the questions of the world and help you understand that you can believe the history in the Bible. If the history is true, then the message of the Gospel is true."
And so then we go through, and we look at what happens when you take the Bible out of the culture and so on. We have a number of interesting places. We have a theater where they actually summarize Genesis 1, but then we walk into the Wonders Room – 18 videos, and this room is phenomenal. You can spend a lot of time in there.
After you come out of the Wonders Room, you're going to say "There's a God. We have to believe in God," because we go through a bit of everything – you know, geology, biology, astronomy, a bit of everything, and just the wonders of Creation.
And then there's the Creation of Man – what happens there? We have this whole walk-through biblical history. A ramp that goes down, and the reason it goes down because the fall of man, everything went down. And so we go through Creation, and the creation of Adam, Adam naming the animals, answering questions, how he could name the animals. We have animatronic Adam, by the way, and the animals coming to him in the forest and so on – then the Tree of Life.
Then we come to the fall. We go through a cave. After we go through Creation, we come to corruption, and there's a cave, and the fall of man occurs, and everything changes after that. Previous to that, everything is beautiful. When you come out of the cave, it's a whole different environment. Now there's animals eating each other, and we see Adam earning his food from the sweat of his brow, Cain kills Abel, the first terrorist, the first murderer.
Then, after that, we come to a cave where Methuselah talks about his long life and something to come, and that's the flood. And we walk out of that cave and here come into this big area – it looks like Pirates of the Caribbean. There's animatronics –
Dennis: Yeah, there's the ark right there.
Ken: And there's the ark. You can walk into it, some people can walk over it. Then we have a whole series of displays on answering questions about the ark, how Noah could feed the animals, get them on board, look after them, and the size of the ark, and so on.
Then we go through a cave where stalactites and stalagmites are growing to show you they don't take millions of years. Then there's a whole model of the Grand Canyon and all sorts of displays about and videos about dating methods and about geology and about the Ice Age, and that's catastrophe. That's that third sea.
And then we go into confusion, the terror of Abel. You think you're walking into Babylon, and we talk about the origin of so-called races. There's only one race, skin colors, setting up that we're all descendants of Adam, we're all sinners, and there aren't any different races and dealing with racism and so on preparing us for the Gospel.
Dennis: Wait, before you move on. What color was Adam?
Ken: What color was – I would say Adam was middle brown, and the reason I say that is that we have a pigment called melanin in our skin. If you have a lot of pigment, you're very dark, what we call black but it's really brown. If you don't have much pigment, then you're very light brown, or what we call white, which is not really white.
Genetically, if Adam and Eve were middle brown, you could get children who are light and children who are dark and everywhere in between. It makes sense that Adam and Eve would have been in the middle – probably middle brown. And you don't need to ask the question about belly buttons, I'll answer it. They didn't have any belly button. I knew you wanted to ask that.
Dennis: I didn't. I already knew the answer to that one. I'm not an expert like you on this subject, but I knew the answer on that.
Ken: But, anyway, after – with the Jerusalem Room, there's the call of Abraham, the promise of a Savior, then we come into the Consummation Theater where we have an animatronic Mary explaining the Nativity, an animatronic Centurion explaining what happened on the cross, and we have a Creation paleontologist who you meet earlier presenting the Gospel in a whole interactive program and all sorts of technology.
Then they come out of that, there's a chapel, which is done up as an old synagogue, and then we have a whole plaza section, an Egyptian plaza, a coffee shop, some more fossil displays, a dinosaur display, and then a dinosaur theater, then a children's area, all sorts of interesting things.
And we are also going to have a full-time chaplaincy program so that when people come through, each one of them is given an opportunity to talk to somebody, and we believe people are going to be saved right there.
Dennis: Oh, I'm convinced of it. I want to go all the way back, though, where this battle started – well, probably not to the very beginning where the battle started, but I want to go to Darwin. What was he up to ultimately?
Ken: From the writings of Darwin, from his own letters, what he was really up to was he wanted to explain life without God. That was the bottom line. He wanted to do away with God. When he published "The Origin of the Species," very interesting, he knew that that was going to create quite a furor, and you'll notice that in "The Origin of the Species," he didn't talk about the origin of man, because he felt that would be too much at that stage for the people in the culture to cope with. And he knew that because of the influence of the Bible, that would be very difficult. And so he just concentrated on the animals.
And once he had really established his ideas and people who were familiar with them, and so they began to cope with that, and many church leaders had already started to compromise with evolution in England. Then, 10 years later, he wrote the book, "The Descent of Man," when he just laid it all out. And he explained the origin of man. Man evolved from apelike ancestors, there were races that evolved at different levels and strains. Aborigines were closest to the apelike ancestors to explain that man himself arose by natural processes. There is no God.
That's the bottom line when it comes to Darwin. Interestingly enough, Darwin's only qualification was in theology. He didn't have any qualifications in science, his qualifications were in theology, but here he is writing on these particular issues. But he had no intention of helping people say, "Oh, you can believe in God and evolution." His own writings indicate he just wanted to explain things by natural processes.
Dennis: Okay, let's move this to a practical aspect of a mom who's got a junior high son or daughter who has just come home from class today, all right? And the son or daughter announces "The earth is x hundred million years old, and the galaxies are so many billions of years old," et cetera, et cetera. Explain it in a way that a mom can address the son or daughter who has just come home from one of their first science classes where this is being taught. How would you handle that?
Ken: The first thing I would do is say, "Okay, first of all, we're going to look at the Bible, because if this is the Word of God, and it is, then we're going to see what God says first." You know, I like to teach children. As I teach children, I say, "Who is the only one who has always been there?" "God." "Has any man always been there?" "No." Any scientist always been there?" "No." "Any scientist know everything?" "No." "Who is the only one who knows everything?" "God." "So who should you always trust first, God or the scientist?" "God."
So let's go to God's Word first.
Dennis: And I want to stop you there. We shouldn't apologize for that logic right there.
Ken: No, not at all.
Dennis: Trust God and don't place your faith fully in scientists.
Ken: Fully in the words of men who don't know everything, who weren't always there. I'm reminded of Job, chapter 38 and verse 4, my favorite way of teaching children how to think about this issue. When God said to Job, "Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?" And so I teach children, "Do you know what God was really saying to Job?" "Were you there?"
So it's one thing that you can ask in a gentle way, in a nice way, but "Were you there?" Because, you see, God's always been there. So let's go to His words first, and look at His Word, where it teaches that the animals were vegetarian, to start with, and yet in the fossil record, we find animals that have eaten other animals, so how could that fossil record have existed millions of years before Adam, when God made Adam and the land animals, He told them to be vegetarian.
There is disease in the fossil record, like cancer and brain tumors and so on. Would God have called that very good? That wouldn't make sense, would it? The Bible makes it clear, death came after sin. You can't have millions of years of death and disease and violence before Adam's sin. So we go to explain the fossils another way.
How do you make a fossil? If a dead cat was left out in their front yard, it's going to decay. Had you turned it into a fossil, you've got to cover something quickly and preserve it, otherwise it will disappear very quickly. How do you bake billions of fossils all over the world? You'd have a lot of water and a lot of mud? What's that consistent with? The flood of Noah's day.
So I go through, first of all, and explain from a biblical perspective you can't have millions of years, there's no millions of years in the Bible, and I want you to remember, when scientists talk about millions of years, they weren't there, they weren't there to see all the things that have happened, and so their dating methods can't be trusted. The only dating method that can be trusted is the Word of God.
There's lots of things like that that I would do to explain those sorts of things to them.
Bob: Now, what do I do when I go back to school tomorrow, and I face my teacher? Do I confront? Do I just sit quietly and say, "I don't agree?" What should I do?
Ken: It's a very difficult thing, Bob, and that is an interesting situation because the problem is, you know, teachers are in the authority and, of course, you have to respect them. And it's very easy for a child to ask a question or say something, and the teacher knows a lot more than they do about certain things and will come across authoritative and can answer them, put them down in front of the class, or answer it in such a way that they feel like that they've been wrong in believing these things or something like that.
It's only the exceptional child at the proper age, right maturity, that can even ask those sorts of questions, I think, and have to be careful. But I suggest the best way is for Mom and Dad to obtain some sort of book, some sort of DVD, like from "Answers in Genesis," or a place like that, and to go along with the child, maybe, and say to the teacher, "I really respect you as a teacher and thank you that you're teaching my child, but we do have a different view when it comes to origins and, respectfully, we'd just like to give you this book here and ask that you would read it and understand the way that we're training our child here in what he or she believes to understand where we're coming from."
And, if I can say this, most teachers – I was a teacher myself in the public schools, and I can tell you, most teachers don't know why they believe in evolution. They just teach it because that's in the textbooks, and that's what they heard. When you start to challenge them with some carefully thought-out arguments, you find many of them don't know what to say. That's the majority of them, that's what I found.
Bob: I don't know if you have seen the magazine that Campus Crusade for Christ published called "Why Origins?" But it's a magazine that tries to present in a way that engages people around this issue and around the science of this issue in a compelling format.
In fact, it's something we've got in our FamilyLife Resource Center that a family might want to put in the hands of a biology teacher or someone in a public school setting, because it's easy to read, it's well produced, and it's engaging for someone who is interested in origins or in science.
And, of course, for years, families have depended on your book, "The Answers Book," where you answer the 25 most common questions you've been asked about the Genesis account of Creation, and that's recently been updated. It's now "The New Answers Book," and we have that available in our FamilyLife Resource Center as well.
In fact, this is a book that I think every family needs to have on their family bookshelf, because if your kids haven't asked these questions yet, they will, and, for that matter, there may be people you run into in your neighborhood or in the workplace who have some of these same questions, and you can pass this book along to them and let them see that the Genesis account is an account that holds water, and it's something that you can do kindly. It's something that you can do winsomely, as you take a stand for the Gospel.
Dennis: I'm glad you mentioned the word "winsomely," Bob, because even though Barbara and I did not have a conversation around evolution with teachers at school, we did have conversations with teachers who we tactfully and graciously disagreed with, and I just want to coach people as they go.
Don't take the biggest black Bible that you have and tuck it under your arm and look pious as you go. Go smiling. Don't go to beat them up. Begin by thanking them for their commitment to young people and their excellence in teaching, if that's accurate, if they are a good teacher, and thank them for the work that they do with young people and with your child, in specific.
And then go about saying, "Could we enter into a little dialog here about the other side of the story?" And maybe even say something to the effect to say, "You know, I know that sometimes those of us who believe in Creation come across dogmatic and a little unreasonable, and I'm not unreasonable. I really am not."
Ken: Dennis, I remember the story – story – I'm using that word "story" – I remember the account of a professor in California, I believe his name was Dean Kenyon, and some students came along one day and gave him a book and just very gently, very graciously, gave him a Creation book, and they kept pestering him nicely, "Have you read the book, have you read the book, have you read the book." He was an ardent evolutionist.
And eventually he read that book and totally changed and became a Creationist. That's the sort of thing that we can do.
Dennis: I just want to remind all of our listeners of 1 Corinthians 13 – "Love never fails." It's a great way to encounter people you disagree with – to always make sure you're smiling, and you're filled the with the Holy Spirit as you talk to them, and that you have the love of Christ in your heart.
Ken: You know what? God's way works.
Bob: And in that context then speak the truth in love and make sure that you're ready with a defense for what you believe, and that's where a book like "The New Answers Book" will help you out, or this magazine, "Why Origins?"
You can go to our website, FamilyLife.com, for more information on these resources that are available from us here at FamilyLife. Click the red button that you see in the middle of the home page that says "Go," and that will take you to an area of our website where you can get more information on these resources and, in fact, if you're interested in getting both "The New Answers Book," and the "Why Origins?" magazine, we'll send along at no additional cost the CD audio of our conversation with Ken Ham, which you may want to pass along to someone who would be challenged by what they've heard us talking about today.
Again, our website is FamilyLife.com, click the red button that says "Go." That will take you right to the area of the site where you can get more information about the resources we've talked about, or call 1-800-FLTODAY – 1-800-F-as-in-family, L-as-in-life, and then the word TODAY. Someone on our team will be available to answer the phone and answer any questions you have about the resources we've been talking about and how you can get these sent out to you.
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Well, tomorrow we're going to bring the questions fast and furious at Ken Ham – some of the most common questions he gets asked about the Genesis account of Creation. I hope you can be around for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Kenny Farris, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We'll see you back tomorrow for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
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