(Photo: A. Larry Ross Communications)
Protests have been planned, petitions have been signed, and people have voiced their opposition to the new $27 million dollar Creation Museum that will open next week in Petersburg, Ky., just outside Cincinnati. Ken Ham, the president and CEO of Answers in Genesis and founder of the museum, has not been dismayed, however. He has a message to tell, and he thinks it’s more than worth hearing.
With less than a week away until the museum opens to the public, Ham was able to take some time away from his slew of interviews and other projects to speak with The Christian Post. During his time, Ham explained how his ministry’s view of creation is more than valid when put up against other models such as evolution, and that it is biblical as well. Through the Creation Museum, he hopes to change some mindsets that people hold onto so strongly.
CP: First off, your ministry’s biggest endeavor that is coming up, the Creation Museum, is about to open its doors on May 28, Memorial Day. How is the process right now? I’m assuming things are pretty hectic.
Ham: Things are very hectic. The infrastructure is done; the quality of the exhibits is finished. We actually have a number of our supporters coming in this week for sort of a sneak preview, and it’s also enabling us to work out ‘teething problems’ and things like that. We’ll go on modifying and adding some things, providing things, putting in a few new exhibits in the next few months as well. But the bottom line is that we’ll be ready for opening on May 28.
CP: Relating to the Creation Museum, there has obviously been a lot of controversy of late from both non-Christians and some Christians. Many of them say that, for instance, your museum will falsely persuade people, notably children, into believing something that is completely false. How do you handle that kind of criticism?
Ham: First of all, people who are saying that haven’t been to the museum yet, so how do they know what we’re saying? It’s just that they know we teach the Bible is true and that we read the Bible, and they say they’re against the Bible and that’s the bottom line.
The public schools tend to teach little kids from when they are very young about the whole universe without God and that God cannot be in science. They are indoctrinating children in an atheistic religious view of things. What we want to do is to teach children that you can believe the Bible and through scientific research, support the Bible’s view of history.
Everybody teaches children, atheists among them. The Bible tells us and compliments that Timothy was taught the things of the Lord from a child. We need to take our children and teach them the things of truth from when they are a child. This museum is open to all ages: children, adults, everybody. What I’ve found is that when children get this information when they are young, when the evolutionists try to teach them or persuade them, they know the right questions to ask and sort out the problems with it, because they’ve been taught how to think.
What we do at our museum, by the way, is that we actually get both sides in one sense, because we teach what evolutionists teach. But we teach [visitors] how to correctly think about science whereas evolutionists only teach one side and teach them incorrectly about science. They are the ones leading children astray, not us.
We do what the Bible does. The Bible does not hide comparisons; it teaches both. It teaches you why; it teaches you the consequences of evil; it teaches you the consequences of all decisions. That’s what we teach. We teach about evolution, but they (evolutionists) sure hide from children evidence for creationism.
CP: A big part of your ministry, Answers in Genesis, is to prove the literal Bible’s view of creation as being more valid than the theory of evolution.
Ham: I would put it differently. We’re not trying to and you can’t ultimately prove anything relating to the past. What we’re saying is, really, a lot of the universe doesn’t make sense unless there’s a God anyway, because where did the laws of logic come from that we all agree upon? Why do we believe in reality and laws that do not change except that there’s a God that created these laws and the universe is set by them?
What we’re saying is that if the Bible claims to be the revealed word of God – and it is - then the Bible’s history has to be true. Actually, all of Christian doctrine and the gospel are based off the history in Genesis. Genesis 1-11, the history concerning the fall of man, concerning the entrance of sin on earth, concerning the Tower of Babel, all of this is foundational to the rest of the Bible.
The doctrine of marriage depends on Genesis being true. If there’s an absolute authority and if God’s the Creator, He made one man and one woman. Jesus came and said that marriage is between a man and woman. If Genesis is not true, we’re just animals and marriage is just whatever you want to make it to be. If we’re just animals, then what’s abortion? It’s just killing an animal, so what does it matter?
What we’re saying to people is that the Genesis history is true; it does explain the world, and we can use scientific evidence from the present, such as genetics, geology, biology, astronomy, and so on, to confirm the Bible’s historicity. You can’t openly prove things in relationship to the past, but you sure can confirm it.
So if the Bible says that there is a global flood, we would look at the fossil record and say that the fossil records that reflect a catastrophe fit with the flood. The Bible says that God made kinds of animals to reproduce after their own kind, so the more you look at animals and plants and put them in groups, great variation within a kind, there is a genetic pool of information for each kind that enables great diversity within a kind. You can get many species of dogs, but they are all one gene pool; they’re all one kind. So the evidence directly supports that.
There is no evidence where you see information added into the gene pool to get something that wasn’t there to change one kind into another. That’s what you don’t see.
CP: From what you’re saying, it seems that you think that evolution should not co-exist with Christian thought. So do you think that a concrete view on creation is an integral part of faith? Is there a problem, for example, if two Christians disagree on how to interpret the beginning of Genesis?
Ham: First of all, there are many Christians that believe in evolution. There are many Christians that believe in billions of years. We are not saying that if you believe in evolution that you can’t be a Christian, not at all. Because the Bible says that by grace you are saved. You don’t save yourself. It is by confessing the Lord Jesus and that he was rose from the dead that you are saved. [The Bible] doesn’t say you have to believe in six days or in thousands of years.
However, here’s what I would say. I was talking recently to an atheist, Dr. Eugenie Scott. I don’t know if you know her, but she’s the head of NCSE (National Center for Science Education) which is a group set up to oppose creationists. She’s one of the ones involved in creating a petition against us. But she said to me that there are many people of faith that believe in evolution and have no problem with that. They can explain evolution with the Bible.
So I said, ‘But tell me, can those that believe in evolution and millions of years believe in a literal Genesis?’
And she said, ‘Oh no, you can’t do that.’ She said, ‘You can’t believe in “Ken Ham’s” interpretation of Genesis.’
And I said, ‘”Ken Ham’s” interpretation … let me put it another way. Ken Ham and Martin Luther and John Calvin and John Wesley and millions of Americans and many Ph.D. scientists and Peter and Paul and Jesus.’
Here’s what I would say, a person who believes in millions of years of evolution as a Christian, it doesn’t affect their salvation if they are truly born again. But what it does affect is this. When you read Genesis, for instance, it says that God made man from dust and woman from man. If you believe in evolution, you have to believe that dust to Adam represents ape-like creatures to people. Then to Eve, ape-like creatures to people as well.
If the woman came from an ape woman, then you’ve destroyed marriage, because Jesus even said we become one because we become one flesh. Where does one flesh come from? It’s because woman came from man. They are one flesh.
Also, if evolution is true, if you believe in millions of years, you’ve got millions of years of fossils laid down before Adam’s sin. The fossil record depicts animals eating each other, because you have fossils of animals’ stomachs fossilized. It’s very easy to see evidence of cancer and abscesses in the fossil record. Did God describe all of that as very good?
Not only that, but Genesis 1:29-30 says that the animals were all originally vegetarian and so was man. Also, the Bible says that thorn came after the curse whereas you find thorns in the fossil record that are millions of years old, so does that mean the Bible is wrong?
The argument we make is this: When you believe in millions of years of evolution and add it to the Bible, you actually have to change what the Bible clearly says. You have to reinterpret it. That unlocks the door to say that you don’t take this as written. You reinterpret it from outside influences, which means that you tell the next generation that you can’t take the Bible as written. So you just undermine biblical authority.
For instance, a guy like Francis Collins - who is part of the Human Genome Project and just wrote a book recently - is a theistic evolutionist. I would say that he could be a great man of God and a great scientist, but he tells people that they can believe in evolution. There is a big difference. What he can’t seem to understand – and I think part of it is academic peer pressure - is that when he studied the Human Genome Project, he was looking at genes in the present comparing genes from around the world doing what I call incredible real empirical science. But when it comes to the past and talking about the histories and origins, he can’t do that. He wasn’t there. He can’t experiment with that, so it’s very different. When he says that you can take man’s ideas of evolution, Darwin’s ideas, and add it to the Bible, he is putting a stumbling block in front of the next generation because he is really saying that the Bible is not the absolute authority. ‘God couldn’t get it right. You don’t have to read it as it’s written.’
If you look only as Genesis as an allegory, you have a major problem, because if it’s an allegory, then tell me who our ancestor was? If Abraham was real, then from Abraham if Adam isn’t real, if it’s just an allegory, it’s just a story, then what’s the real Adam who really fell in a garden and really sinned? Where did we come from? Why are we sinners? Why is Jesus called the last Adam? If the doctrine of message is built on an allegorical story, then you can reinterpret the doctrine of marriage any way you want to.
The point is that most of the New Testament writers quote from Genesis. All the New Testament doctrines have originated in Genesis 1-11, every one. Marriage - Genesis 1-11; Why is there sin? - Genesis 1-11; How did he die? - Genesis 1-11; Why is Jesus called the last Adam? - Genesis 1-11; Why do we have a seven-day week? - Genesis 1-11; Why do we wear clothes? - Genesis 1-11; Why do we need a new Heavens and a new earth? - Genesis 1-11. Genesis 1-11 is the foundation history of all doctrine of the entire Bible; so when you start to doubt that foundational history and start to rewrite it, you are undermining biblical authority.
The issue is not so much the age of the earth or evolution, the issue is reinterpreting Scripture, if you get my drift.
CP: Okay, let’s go onto a lighter question.
Ham: Actually, it’s interesting, right before we do that. I had a reporter who had just talked to Francis Collins. That was a few days ago. And she said that Francis Collins said we were putting a stumbling block in front of people to believing the Bible in telling them that they had to believe in a literal interpretation of Genesis. That’s a very interesting comment, particularly in that the atheists are out protesting the museum, because we are telling people to believe the Bible.
That upset me, because we are telling people to believe the Bible. Maybe there’s someone out there - but I haven’t met anybody yet – who because we told them to believe the six literal days and believe what the Bible has written, has left Christianity. But I sure have met many, many people, even just in the conference I was at in Washington, D.C., because of what they were taught years ago about evolution, that they learned not to trust the Bible.
One person I met told me, ‘I was brought up in a church that didn’t believe in Genesis. Because they told me I could believe evolution, I just rejected the whole Bible. At 19, I walked away from church, and I ended up in jail. Somebody in jail was distributing your literature. I read it myself, and I committed my life toward the Lord.’ I thought, ’Wow.’
We hear testimonies like that sort of testimony over and over and over again. There are many of them, so it’s the opposite of what Francis Collins says.
CP: We have time for one more question. Simply speaking, what would you say is your favorite part of the Creation Museum?
Ham: I have a favorite section, but I have to put it in context. Actually, can I have two or three different sections?
CP: (laughs) Of course.
Ham: If you really want my ultimate favorite section, it’s the theater downstairs called the ‘Three C’s Theatre.’ You see, we have a walkthrough biblical history called ‘Creation, Corruption, Catastrophe, Confusion, Christ, Cross, and Consummation,‘ and that is the ‘Seven C’s.’ We’re taking people through Creation, Corruption, Catastrophe and Confusion – the creation in six days, corruption with the entrance of death, catastrophe with Sodom’s and Noah’s days, and we’re getting into fossils and so on. We’re answering the questions of the world to say that this history’s true. Therefore, the gospel, plus Consummation is shown.
In the ’Three C’s Theatre,’ we have a [big] wide screen with three projectors. We filmed it at the Holy Land Experience, we hired some actors, and we added in special effects. It’s the most powerful presentation of the gospel that I’ve ever seen.
And the reason that is my favorite is, because ultimately, that’s what we’re all about. Ultimately, we’re on about Christianity, we’re on about the Bible being true, but we’re on about the gospel. We’re not just trying to convert people into creationists. We’d like to see people converted into Christians. That’s the difference. So that’s why that’s my favorite section - because that’s what we’re about ultimately.
But the whole place is to give logical, clear answers to show secular people about Christian faith. Another one of my favorite exhibits, which was not even meant to be a feature, is one of the first things you see as you’re entering the main hall. As you walk in, there are two animatronic baby Tyrannosaurus Rexes and two animatronic children. It’s become the most photographed section of the museum in newspapers around the world.
In fact, we just got written up in multiple pages in what I think is called ‘The Chronicle of Higher Education.’ It’s a liberal sort of publication, but of course, that photo was right there. We’re written up in a major newspaper in Spain, and that photo was there. In a major newspaper in Japan, that photo was there. We’ve got one featured in a newspaper in Germany, and that photo was there. It’s the same at the Los Angeles Times. So it goes on.
The reason is because as soon as the secular media walk in and they see dinosaurs and people together, that says something very strong to them. That says, ‘We don’t believe dinosaurs died out millions of years ago. We don’t believe in evolution. We don’t believe in millions of years.’ That one little exhibit right there does it. News groups even often ask me to stand in front of that exhibit, so they can take a picture of me with that in the background.
One of the things that you hear the secular media say is, ‘These creationists … are the people that believe dinosaurs lived with people,’ because that’s so radical to them. In fact, I was asked that question twice today by secular media. My answer to them was two-fold. One is, from a biblical perspective, God made the land animals on day six and He made Adam and Eve on day six. He made them at the same time. I said, ‘Why are evolutionists so amazed that dinosaurs and people could live at the same time? Because there are lots of animals and plants that are living today, that according to evolutionists, lived with dinosaurs, and they live with us today.’
For instance, the Wollemi Pine tree was found in Australia in 1994. They thought it became extinct 130 million years, and they don’t find it in the fossil record according to their evolutionary time scale. Their time scale is hundreds of millions of years ago up to the present. Here, according to them, the Wollemi Pine lived 130 million years ago. Of course, dinosaurs lived back then, according to them. So from 130 million years back then to now, it’s not in the fossil record. But it’s still living. It’s sitting beside people. The secular scientists call it the ‘dinosaur tree.’ It is basically the same as finding a dinosaur, so why are they amazed to believe that dinosaurs and humans could live together?
You know how many examples there are like that? Many. Like the Coelacanth fish. They thought that it probably went extinct like 65 million years ago about the time of the last dinosaurs. From 65 million years ago to the present, it’s not in the fossil record. They not only found it in Madagascar, but that Indonesians had been selling it in their fish markets for years. So it seems to be a little different way of thinking.