August 2007 – You don’t have to be a Ph.D. to understand what is at stake for western culture in the evolution versus creation debate: everything.
To begin with, there’s the issue of the existence and character of God and His relationship to mankind. Then there’s the nature of truth; the question of what happens to us after death; the value of life and the trustworthiness of science and history as we know it. The philosophical foundations on which our government and civilization rest are up for grabs, as are the values and morals that we live by and teach our children. The debate also informs the ethical framework by which we do business, write laws and make public policy. And of particular interest to Christians is the veracity of the Holy Bible.
Certainly that list is but a brief expression of why the question of origins has been front and center in the culture war as far back as the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial. It’s also why those who believe the universe is the creation of a master designer – the God of the Bible – are celebrating the May opening of the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky.
“At a foundational level the culture war is really a battle between God’s Word and autonomous human reason,” says Ken Ham, founder of Answers in Genesis, the ministry under which the museum operates. “And in that way, the Creation Museum really deals with the foundational issues in the culture war.”
Ham contends that at this point in America’s history, an entire generation has been educated in a system that teaches that life evolved through natural processes. Consequently, the credibility of the Bible has been attacked and the moral decay that permeates the culture is the result.
“We want to give answers and to challenge the church and culture that we need to return to the authoritative Word of God,” Ham says.
But in influencing the culture, Ham is aiming his message at individuals rather than institutions.
“We are not trying to change things politically, not that Christians should not be involved in politics,” he says. “But our philosophy has always been that changes to the culture come from the people at a grassroots level.”
Ham’s primary weapon in his culture war arsenal is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. “We are not just about being anti-evolution, but we are about proclaiming the Gospel, so that people will be converted and develop a truly Christian worldview built on the Bible,” he says.
To that end the museum’s presentation is designed to demonstrate the truth of the Bible particularly in its account of creation.
“We’re saying the Bible’s history is true, even back to Genesis,” Ham explains. “So the truth of creation validates the rest of the Scripture, including the claim that Jesus is the only way to be reconciled to the Creator God.”
“We connect the Biblical account to the dinosaurs, fossils, American Indians, Australian Aborigines, even death and sufferings,” Ham says. “So we are answering questions at the point that the Bible’s credibility has been attacked in our day. We’re giving those answers, then proclaiming the Gospel in the context of real history and presenting it in a very clear way. That’s the uniqueness of the Creation Museum.”
Apparently the message is intriguing enough to attract supporters and detractors from around the world, including reporters from a variety of media outlets. Once there, according to Ham, the scope and world-class quality of the museum often transforms scoffers into seekers.
“They are amazed that Christians would produce something at such a high level,” he says. This excellence – on par with other famous museums and theme parks – is a primary reason the museum has received fair treatment even from secular media outlets, according to Ham.
“When they ask me how we were able to build such a world-class facility, I’m able to tell them that it is a God thing,” Ham says. “And just as God was able to bring the animals to Noah, he brought talent and funds to us here.”
The museum is located seven miles west of the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport and within 650 miles of almost two-thirds of the U.S. population.