I talked about the Creation Museum a couple weeks ago and my belief that the earth was not created in six literal 24-hour days roughly 6,000 years ago. While writing the post I hopped over to the museum’s website and took the virtual tour to get a better idea of what the place is about.
There are some aspects of the museum I don’t take issue with. Exhibits portraying Biblical stories: no problem. Celebrating God’s creation: no problem. A nice building surrounded by gardens for people to enjoy: no problem.
Nevertheless, I don’t plan to take my boys there. Some of the problems I do have with the museum are serious enough to keep me away.
Human Reason Pitted Against God’s Word?
I was particularly disturbed by how many times I saw “Human Reason” pitted against “God’s Word”.
Is this the message Christians really want to send? We want people to think reason and the Bible are polar opposites? That when you open the Bible you are effectively closing the door on common sense and logic?
Most importantly, is this kind of witness going to bring people to Christ? I personally don’t think so. I think it’s going to backfire. I think it’s already backfiring whenever someone leaves the museum laughing, strengthened in their resolve to reject Christ.
The Theory of Evolution Is Valid, But…
This tells me the folks at the Creation Museum believe evolution has, in fact, occurred in the earth’s past.
Okay. They’ve just validated the evolutionary process. But next to it, man takes a straight line to the top? As if monkeys evolved but we somehow did not? They are sending conflicting messages here that only make sense if I check my reason at the door. Granted God’s ways don’t have to make sense to me, but I do know He’s a God of order not a God of willy nilly, “This is the natural law today, I think I’ll change it tomorrow.”
(When Galileo told a few Catholics the earth revolves around the sun, they got mad and punished him. Turns out he was right.)
An Old Earth Interpretation of Genesis Destroys the Foundation of the Church?
Is the Bible so weak it can’t withstand the notion of an ancient earth? Personally, I find it amazing that God might have set the universe in motion with one big ball of fire, and then orchestrated its development (intelligently) over billions of years. That’s what I call dedication. A dedication that is awe inspiring.
If God did create the universe in six days, that’s awe inspiring for different reasons; however, I can’t help thinking such an interpretation of Genesis might sometimes be more routed in fear than faith.
Dinosaurs + Man
One of the biggest issues I have with the Creation Museum is the idea that dinosaurs walked the earth with man.
Radiocarbon dating may be flawed, but does that mean we should categorically dismiss it? Perhaps we should not dismiss it, but consider it one piece of the puzzle that helps us understand God’s creation.
I’m not comfortable teaching my boys that dinosaurs walked the earth alongside man. I’m not a scientist but I’ve read enough and looked at enough evidence to conclude otherwise. I can’t ignore good science in favor of a simplistic Biblical interpretation, just because it makes some people “feel better”.
I can’t raise my boys in a bubble either. Sure I can home school them (nothing intrinsically wrong with that), teach them young earth creationism, order supporting educational materials from Answers in Genesis, and take them to the Creation Museum to drive home my point.
But what happens when they start thinking for themselves, start analyzing the data and questioning whether Mom and Dad’s definition of God stands up to reality? If I teach them dinosaurs roamed the earth with men and the earth was created in six literal days and human reason is evil, what happens when they become adults and decide the things I’ve taught them are illogical in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary?
Here’s what I imagine happening. First they feel lied to. Second, they begin to view Christianity as a simple-minded faith, one that destroys awe rather than cultivating it. Next, they become so enthralled by what the world teaches that they begin to discount the Bible altogether, concluding Christianity is a mere fairy tale concocted by people who are afraid to leave any questions unanswered.
I’ve seen this scenario happen and I don’t want it to happen to my boys.
As Christians, objectivity is important. Science is important. Weighing scientific evidence against Biblical evidence is important. Allowing science to shape our understanding of the Bible is important. None of this means God’s word is flawed.
It means our knowledge of His creation is growing and changing. If God dictated Genesis today, it might read far differently. Why? Because we have evolved to a place where we are able to understand his creation with greater intricacy.
Now, is our basic sinful nature any different than it’s ever been? Are we evolving spiritually toward some peaceful planetary utopia? Uh. No.
We are still flawed, lost, and in need of a savior to reconcile us with God. The Bible tells us how reconciliation is achieved. Alongside, we find many universal truths. Truths that don’t evolve, but are the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
In conclusion, if I were to rate the Creation Museum on a five point scale (even though I haven’t been there…yeah, I know), I would give it two stars. One star for the pretty building and the grounds. One star for the earnestness of those who financially support the museum.
Conviction is good. Trying to squelch other opinions on non “heaven or hell” issues: not so good.
I know many people have gone to, enjoyed, and are supportive of the Creation Museum, so… Am I being to hard on the place? What do you think of the scientific claims made there? Are they reasonable, or over the top?