Ken Ham, president and CEO of the creationist organization Answer in Genesis, gave Bill Nye "The Science Guy" – his former debate opponent – a guided tour of the Ark Encounter, the life-size replica of Noah's Ark, and also shared the gospel with him.
It was an "exciting day," writes Ham, of Nye's visit to the Kentucky-based Ark Encounter Friday. "Though it did get tense due to our differences in worldviews, it was an amicable visit," he adds in the article published on the AiG website.
Ham had publicly invited Nye in May to visit the Ark, which opened last week. "We're glad Bill Nye took me up on my friendly offer to show him the Ark," Ham writes.
"During his visit I was able to personally share the gospel with him very clearly," he adds. "On the first deck, I asked him, before a crowd of people including many young people, if I could pray with him and was able to pray for him there. Our prayer is that what he saw will have an impact on him and that he will be drawn to the gospel of Jesus Christ that is clearly presented at the Ark."
In March 2014, when Ham announced he would be moving forward with plans to build the replica of Noah's ark despite its financial viability being questioned, Nye said he hopes "the Ark Encounter goes out of business."
"If he builds that ark, it's my strong opinion, it's bad for the commonwealth of Kentucky and bad for scientists based in Kentucky and bad for the U.S. And I'm not joking, bad for the world," said Nye at the time.
"Mr. Nye wanted to start his tour on the third deck where we discussed Flood geology and the ice core exhibit, which is part of the larger Ice Age exhibit," Ham writes, of Nye's visit. "This display features a short clip from our debate of Bill Nye referring to ice cores in Greenland as an objection to the young earth view. In our exhibit I answer this objection; we even have a diorama to visually illustrate the answer. As we discussed geology and the Ice Age, our discussion turned toward worldviews. Ultimately, this is the heart of the issue — we have two different worldviews and two different interpretations of the same evidence because of our different starting points."
While inviting Nye to the Ark Encounter in May, Ham said, "We have different worldviews, and it's interesting, in the Bible it says 'faithful are the wounds of a friend.' And so I'm gonna challenge Bill Nye's evolutionary worldview, but as friends we can do that — he can challenge me, and I can challenge him. But we can still be friends, even though we have totally different worldviews."
Days before its opening, Ham told The Christian Post in an interview, "Everything will be ready on the opening July 7th, which includes the Ark, the three decks of world-class exhibits, the 1,500-seat cafe, the zip line course, and also the zoo — Ararat Ridge Zoo and petting zoo."
The Ark Encounter project faced many financial hurdles, but Ham didn't give up. He interpreted many of the fundraising difficulties in terms of spiritual warfare. In a fundraising letter, he called the financial woes "an indication of the immense spiritual battle we are in."
The one thing Ham said surprised him throughout the construction project, which involved the help of hundreds of workers, was how large the Ark turned out to be, spanning 510 feet long, 85 feet wide, and 51 feet high.
"To see the real structure, makes you realize just how big it really is," he told CP. "That's the surprise for me, it's more massive than what you think. And that's what everyone has said that has come down there, even people who don't share our biblical message. Non-Christians that have come down there, they have said that this is 'bigger than they have ever imagined."