Creation Today and Answers in Genesis get the gospel wrong (in three dimensions)

Open a Bible up to its first page and set it in front of you. That's what Genesis in 3-D really looks like.

It’s a cruel fact of life that the film industry rarely makes the sequels it should and almost always makes the sequels that even the fans of the original hardly wanted to see. Think about it. The studios have never given more than lip service (if that) to another “Serenity,” “Master and Commander,” “Buckaroo Banzai” (it’s a good movie — get over it) and “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.” Instead, we get “The Quickening,” “Book of Shadows,” “The Whole Ten Yards” and — shudder — “Grown Ups 2.”

That’s been the case since before time began, but in these last days, the peculiar syndrome that apparently afflicts most big-budget film producers has developed two new symptoms. Basically, since “The Lord of the Rings” made a kajillion dollars, everyone wants to make trilogies, and since “Avatar” made a kajillion, bamillion dollars, everyone wants to make their trilogy in 3-D (because it’s a proven fact that if making a kajillion dollars is good, making a kajillion dollars while forcing your viewers to wear silly, practically pointless glasses for two hours is better).

Of course, the good industrious folks who toil away at Creation Today and Answers in Genesis are far removed from the machinations of Hollywood, but unfortunately, it appears they’ve caught the same destructive disease. Because, well… this.

Yep, “Genesis, in 3D.” Now, I don’t know for sure how much Ray Comfort — mastermind of the nauseatingly bad, gospel-damaging film “Evolution vs. God” — is involved with this project. He is quoted in the trailer praising the film, along with his sidekick, Kirk Cameron. So that’s something. But even if Banana Ray isn’t directly involved (which is the only way I would feel comfortable calling this movie a true sequel to “Evolution vs. God”), “G3D” still comes from the same worldview (Genesis is literal and evolution is evil), targets the same audiences (anti-evolutionists and their children), gives the middle finger to the same audiences (those who like science), and has the same misguided mission (more on that in a bit), so it’s — at the very least — a spiritual successor to the “EvG” franchise.

We don’t know all that much about “G3D” just yet. We know that it’s a 3-D animated film (everyone knows that truth is best conveyed in the form of computer animation) and that they’re planning a trilogy (hence, my intro). We know it’s being produced by Creation Today, the rebranded offshoot of Kent Hovind’s Creation Science Evangelism, run by Hovind’s son and heir to his good name, Eric. We know that it will feature pterodactyls (extinct for the past 150 million years) flying above a forest that has lions in it and plesiosaurs (extinct for the past 65 million years) frolicking in the sea with modern orcas.

We know that Answers in Genesis’ roster of apologists are involved, and that Ken Ham himself is serving as a spokesman for the project and is featured prominently in the trailer. This is marginally interesting, since AiG once had major beef with the views and approach of Hovind Junior’s daddy. I certainly hope this collaboration isn’t a sign that AiG is “compromising” on its beliefs. It is a slippery slope, after all. First, zip lines, and now this? What’s next? Joining forces with theistic evolutionists to actually share the gospel, rather than devoting millions of dollars worth of time, resources and talent toward a message that has nothing to do with salvation?!

It’s a scary thought.

Look, let me be honest for a second. I know this film is going to be nothing more than an hour or so of poorly rendered choir preaching, with a factual basis that makes “The Avengers” look like a “Nova” documentary. And I get no pleasure from helping these jokers promote their movie, especially just before they launch a big crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo. (For the record, I don’t know how much they’re asking for and I don’t really care. But I do hope Christians would donate their money to fighting hunger, poverty and disease rather than this.)

However, before True Christians™ everywhere start falling over themselves to endorse this schlock, I felt someone had to take a firm stand and call “Genesis in 3D” what it is: a thoroughly UNBIBLICAL attempt at evangelism, which makes an utter mockery of the gospel of Jesus.

I’ll tell you exactly what I mean. About 1:45 into the trailer, K-Ham says this, “What we need to do is to make sure we start right at the very beginning, in Genesis, answer the skeptical questions that are causing people to doubt that that book is true, to help them understand that the history is true — that’s why the gospel based on that history is true.

As a Christian, I think statements like this are incredibly foolish and irresponsible. Oh, and just plain wrong. Guys, hear me on this: The historicity of Genesis is not the reason that the gospel is true. The gospel is true because Jesus is risen and he lives.

That is the mainstream theological view, anyway, and it’s certainly the one I adhere to, since the Bible’s pretty clear on the matter: “The Holy Spirit proved by a powerful act that Jesus our Lord is the Son of God because He was raised from the dead” (Romans 1:4). Paul goes on to write in Romans 4, “God will make us right with himself the same way he did Abraham, if we put our trust in God who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. Jesus died for our sins. He was raised from the dead to make us right with God.” And let’s not forget the inverse of these declarations, which is reiterated more than once in 1 Corinthians 15: “If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. … And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.”

Nothing about dinosaurs in there, people. So K-Ham is wrong. But why is what he said irresponsible? Why does it make me want to bash my head into a wall? Well, I’m glad you asked. Because his statement, rather than placing the standard for the gospel where it belongs (on the Resurrection and the Holy Spirit’s ability to convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment), declares that the truth of the gospel rises and falls based on the scientific evidence (which, by the way, shows beyond any reasonable doubt that K-Ham’s fantastical view of the history of the world is absurdly incorrect).

And so, the main message of “G3D” is that all one must do to disprove the gospel is demonstrate that the universe is more than 6,000 years old. Surely, even those who think that Genesis is meant to be read as literal history can agree with me that that’s a terrible idea. It’s the Jesus of the gaps once again. It is, in fact, a message every believer (True Christian™ or otherwise) should reject.

I can only pray that they will.

Tyler Francke

  • Warren Collier

    It is truly frightening that Creationists hing EVERYTHING that Christianity is about on supposed “scientific evidence.” If it was that simple, than what point is there for faith? or the Holy Spirit?

    • No kidding. Taken to its logical conclusion, the YEC worldview renders faith meaningless and irrelevant.

  • Nancy R.

    Amen. I’ve longed wondered whose side Ken Ham and his fellow evangelists for young-earth creation are on. Their message is exactly the same as Richard Dawkins’: if the earth is more than 6000 years old, the Bible is false and Christianity is nonsense.

    • I’ve actually heard some scientists who have debated folks like Ray Comfort who honestly believe that they are clever atheists in disguise, trying to undermine the creationist message from the inside out.

    • Dylan Cook

      Nancy R., you are absurd. Perhaps this will change your mind.

      • Nancy Lindsay Rosenzweig

        Absurd? How?

        • Dylan Cook

          Just watch the video. The Bible is still able to be true even with an Earth 4.6 Billion years old and a Universe 13.7 Billion years old.

  • Will

    While I recommend capitalizing the term “Gospel,” this article is otherwise amazing.

    • Hey Will! I usually lowercase it just because of my journalism background and so the gospel message doesn’t get confused with the Gospels of Mathew, Mark, Luke and John. But good call! And thanks!

  • Toddy

    March – “we’re running low on cash” – https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10200217130250031
    September – “Let’s make a 3d film…”

    • Hey, thanks for the link! I hadn’t seen that before. I really do believe these guys will be held accountable one day for the millions they wasted on nonsense while people were starving to death all over the world.

  • Niewiemdoczegoswiatdochodzi

    So you would say we are not to interpret OT as literal? But if you interpret the NT as literal, so what is wrong with the OT that it cannot be treated in the same manner?

    I think it comes to the matter of whether you would place The Bible or the wisdom of Men at a higher place of authority for yourself than the other.

    You have obviously chosen the wisdom of Men rather than God’s word.
    Whichever side you would choose on Creationism and Evolution. People always seem to find good enough evidence and reasons for themselves to support their beliefs, frequently the evidence from both sides clashes with each other.
    I personally am on the Creationist side. Their scientific arguments are stronger than the evolutionists and take a higher range of factors in the view. Plus, their claims correspond with the natural environment I see around me compared to the unreal outlook created by Evolutionists.

    TL:DR: The whole of the Bible has the authority of God. Not just the NT.

    • So you would say we are not to interpret OT as literal?

      No, I wouldn’t say that. I think we should not interpret as literal the parts of the Old Testament that are not meant to be interpreted as literal.

      But if you interpret the NT as literal, so what is wrong with the OT that it cannot be treated in the same manner?

      Not all of the NT is literal. For example, the parables of Christ are divinely inspired symbolic representations of theological truths, and I understand Genesis 1-3 to be something similar. The difference with the Gospels and Genesis is that in his chapter 1 intro, the author of Luke explicitly describes the purpose and nature of his writing and those of the other Gospels. And he describes these writings as “orderly accounts” of “the things that have been fulfilled among us,” passed down by “eyewitnesses.” And the Gospel of John, in verse 20:30-31, explains the deeper purpose: that we might believe Jesus is the Messiah and have life in his name.

      I’m not aware of any part of Genesis that claims to be an eyewitness account, or where the purpose of the book is clearly laid out. Therefore, it’s open to reasonable interpretation.

      I think it comes to the matter of whether you would place The Bible or the wisdom of Men at a higher place of authority for yourself than the other.

      You appear to think that it comes down to the matter of whether you would place your interpretation of the Bible above any information — factual or otherwise — that would cast doubt upon that interpretation.

      You have obviously chosen the wisdom of Men rather than God’s word.

      No, I haven’t. I have chosen to interpret Genesis 1-3 symbolically based on clear textual clues (the fact that Genesis 1 and 2 tell contradictory creation accounts, the talking serpent, the tree of life that appeared to serve no purpose since YECs maintain no living thing was capable of death before sin anyway, etc.) and the irrefutable physical evidence that shows that the earth is much older than 6,000 years, and it is full of fossilized animals that lived and died long before mankind appeared on the earth.

      You can think I’m a weak Christian if you like (fortunately, my faith will be judged by God — not you). But you also “choose the wisdom of Men” over God’s word, unless you also believe there is no water cycle, the earth is flat, the earth is stationary and orbited by the sun, and the sky is a hard firmament. Because that is what the Bible literally teaches (and I’ll be happy to show you any or all of these verses).

      I personally am on the Creationist side. Their scientific arguments are stronger than the evolutionists and take a higher range of factors in the view. Plus, their claims correspond with the natural environment I see around me compared to the unreal outlook created by Evolutionists.

      Right. Creationists have done such a good job explaining the vast genetic evidence for evolution, the starlight problem, fixed-action patterns, the fossil record, radiometric dating and so on.

      TL:DR: The whole of the Bible has the authority of God. Not just the NT.

      Agreed!

  • Amy Mantravadi

    Tyler, I agree with you that we ought to be spending more time focusing on the gospel and less time building creation museums. Would it offend you to know that at my Christian high school growing up we spent a whole month in our biology class watching Answers in Genesis videos? Yikes! I have a degree in Biblical Literature from a leading evangelical university, which I tell you simply to demonstrate that scripture is very important to me. I think it is a big mistake for anyone to assume that they can properly interpret the first part of Genesis, much as I roll my eyes every time someone swears they can interpret every word of Revelation. The important theological truths in Genesis are really not dependent on every verse having a “literal” meaning. You’re right: when we do that, all a person has to do is prove that the earth is older than 6,000 years, which it surely is (unless God is just playing a trick on us by making everything look old and planting a bunch of fake human artifacts that are twice that old). We do need to show grace to people we don’t agree with, but I take your point that we would be better off using our money to help the poor. Oh well…such is life…

    • Hey Amy! Thanks for reading, and thanks for your thoughts! Stubbornness and pride seems to be two things that Americans like me have particular difficulty with, but I do think if we all approached the Genesis text with just a touch more humility (i.e., if we could all just agree that the meaning of the text isn’t “obvious,” and accept that there is a variety of reasonable interpretations), then I think much of the animosity surrounding this issue would disappear. I don’t fault any believer for disagreeing with me about evolution or the meaning of Genesis. But I do fault anyone who tries to teach that one must interpret Genesis in only one particular way to be a “real Christian.” That is simply not biblically supportable, and I think it puts an unnecessary barrier before the gospel.

      If you haven’t seen this article on my site yet, you might want to check it out. I’m quite appreciative of this quote by Martin Luther during his introduction to Genesis. He interpreted the text pretty literally, but he made it clear how challenging the passage is to understand.

  • Brian P.

    I personally find the historical bodily resurrection of Jesus implausible for nearly the same reasons I find historical creation story of these YEC apologists implausible. Once “it’s a miracle!” is introduced as a mechanism of explanatory power, *anything* than be put under its banner. For me, if there’s any reason the Gospel is true, it is not because Jesus’ body cellular metabolism did something known as impossible. It’s because living a cruciform life is our possible hope of something akin to a new creation and kingdom.

    • But there is a big difference between the act of God’s work in creation and the act of God’s work in the resurrection of Jesus. The former can be studied through the scientific method, because the product of his work is visible in the world all around us. We can use science to confirm or disprove all of the claims made by young-earth creationists, and because they have been disproved, we can come to understand that the creation accounts in Genesis were not meant to be read literally (provided that you believe, as I do, that the Bible is the inspired and true word of God). The resurrection on the other hand, is not an event over which we today possess any ability to prove or disprove. The only evidence for it is in the words of scripture and the testimony of believers; the only evidence against it is that dead people — under normal circumstances — do not come back to life after several days. It is a matter of faith; I believe that’s how it was meant to be.

      • brian p

        Yes,I assumed you would see it as such. Maybe I lack nuance but for me me it is simply a religious text with incredible story inconsistent with how we know the real world works. For you it is a matter of faith. For me it is uninspiring to believe the implausible. A simple, possible act of kindness has more greatness that a fanciful tale in my world view.

        • I don’t completely disagree with you. I do think there is greatness in acts that exhibit grace, forgiveness, kindness and love.

  • Vincent Valle

    I think this “Can’t be a Christian if…”stuff may be what is driving so many young people away.

  • Dylan Cook

    The only thing Young Earthers are good for is nothing good. , I do not know why they are SO persistent. It truly mind-boggles my mind-boggled mind.