What Ken Ham’s ‘Ark Encounter’ money could buy instead

Poor Afghan girl in Kabul (photo by Mikhail Evstafiev).

Poor Afghan girl in Kabul (photo by Mikhail Evstafiev).

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was incorrect about the age of the earth, and you corrected me; I was mistaken in my interpretation of Genesis and you turned me around; I was in need of visiting a life-size replica of Noah’s ark, and you raised $70 million and built it for me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you incorrect about the age of the earth and correct you, or mistaken in your interpretation of Genesis and turn you around? And when did we see you in need of visiting a life-size replica of Noah’s ark, and raise $70 million and build it for you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’Matthew 25:31-40 (YEC Version)

Last night, Ken Ham appeared during a live Internet broadcast on one of his many websites to provide an “update” on the Ark Encounter, a planned scale replica of Noah’s ark, to be constructed according to the biblical instructions in Genesis (except this one will be built by teams of modern-day professionals rather than a single, unskilled old man, won’t be seaworthy and won’t hold two of every unclean animal and 14 of every clean one).

Predictably, Ham did not provide “updates” on anything that most people really cared to know about. He did not, for example, share how much his various ministries had actually raised to build the monstrosity, or how short he and his development team fell in their $62 million bond sale effort.

All we know for sure is that Ham and AiG had collected $14.4 million from private donations prior to the bond sale, and that last night, they announced — rather cryptically — that they had raised “enough to begin construction” on the first phase. My suspicion is that this means they have not raised enough to actually complete the phase, but for whatever reason, they feel confident enough to break ground anyway.

Despite Jesus’ fairly explicit warning against doing just that, we understand that Ham and co. believe they receive special guidance from the Holy Spirit, guidance that is so clear that it apparently supersedes anything else.

I’ll be honest with you: As a Christian, this kind of absurd, profligate waste (by an organization that purports to serve Christ, no less) absolutely disgusts me. And I’d be willing to bet anything that it disgusts God, too. That’s because I believe God has revealed his heart to us in scripture, and it is for the poor, the lost, the blind and the oppressed.

On the other hand, there is no passage in scripture that could be construed as a command for anyone to build a theme park centered around a useless boat that is about as capable of braving the high seas as the Taj Mahal, or to spend a fortune reinforcing the demonstrably false scientific beliefs of conservative Christians in Appalachia, while billions the world over go to bed hungry every single night.

For the purposes of illustration, I’m going to presume that AiG’s legions of fans and supporters come through for them, and they do raise enough to complete this project’s first phase — an amount estimated to be in the neighborhood of $70 million. So, this morning, I did some Googling around on various real ministries (i.e., charitable organizations that help the needy in Jesus’ name) to see what they might be able to buy with such an enormous sum.

World Vision
10,000,000 ducks for poor families in the Philippines
3,684,211 rabbits for poor families in Liberia
555,556 sheep for poor families in Thailand
1,400,000 fishing kits for poor families in Myanmar
107,692 dairy cows for poor families in Sri Lanka
217,391 donkeys for poor families in Nepal
350,000 stocked fish ponds for poor families in East Timor
194,444 alpacas for poor families in Peru

Gospel for Asia
12,727,273 chickens for poor families in Bangladesh
1,000,000 goats for poor families in Afghanistan
152,174 water buffalo for poor families in Bhutan
1,076,923 lambs for poor families in Maldives
2,153,846 pigs for poor families in Pakistan

Habitat for Humanity
27,505 houses for poor families in the Democratic Republic of Congo
30,382 houses for poor families in Papua New Guinea
28,736 houses for poor families in Sri Lanka
39,041 houses for poor families in India
33,333 houses for poor families in Guatemala

Samaritan’s Purse
1,166,667 emergency medical kits capable of meeting the needs of 50 people
2,000,000 emergency food packages for starving families worldwide
1,555,556 emergency relief packages for disaster-struck areas

Blood:Water Mission
7,000 wells for poor, rural communities in Zambia
823,529 biosand filters to give poor families clean water in Kenya
14,000,000 HIV testing and counseling sessions
933,333 latrines for disease-stricken communities in Uganda

Soles4Souls
70,000,000 pairs of shoes (!)

Operation Warm
3,500,000 new coats for underprivileged children in the U.S.

Gideons International
56,000,000 copies of the New Testament

Ham and his cronies, of course, would defend their project by saying the money is being used to further the gospel message. Obviously, even someone casually acquainted with the New Testament knows that for every Great Commission, there are 10 or 20 directives toward selfless service of others — particularly the poor.

But, no, fine, Mr. Ham. Good. Go ahead and build your little ark. I’m sure that the children starving to death in Sudan and Chad and Ecuador and many, many other places, will find great comfort in the fact that a ludicrously expensive wooden ship (that can’t even float) is materializing somewhere on the other side of the world.

Tyler Francke

Category: Current Events, Featured, Latest Developments, Theology

  • ashleyhr

    YECs are usually vain and sometimes have cult-leader like tendencies as well. “Follow me!” “Don’t follow those other ‘Christians’.”

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      No way! That doesn’t describe Ken Ham at all ;)

  • Kenny Pearce

    This post is awesome. I would definitely rather have 10,000,000 ducks than a replica of Noah’s Ark!

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      Thanks, Kenny. I think the world would be a much better place with the ducks rather than Mr. Ham’s ark.

  • Pearl

    After reading Matthew 25 we find Matthew 26:9, where someone who sounds a lot like you insisted the woman with the alabaster vial of precious ointment should have sold it and given the money to the poor. I am so saddened by your self-righteous indignation. You presume that God would be disgusted by Ken Ham’s venture. Where do you get the authority to make such a judgment from? It is certainly not the scriptures. Jesus believed God created Adam and Eve at the very beginning of time (Mark 10:6); He believed the Genesis record of history. Was He wrong and are you right? If this is the case why should we follow His teaching in Matthew 25?

    Have you read about the need for the Body of Christ to love one another (John 13:35)? It is this love that Jesus tells us will prove to the world that we are His disciples. This attack on your brothers and sisters, who happen to have a different take on the Bible to you, is a tragedy. It’s easy to be indignant, but much harder to love people who see things differently to ourselves. Is Ken Ham’s science demonstrably false? I’d be willing to bet you know very little of the science behind his claims. Perhaps he just sees the needs of the people around him differently to you. Jesus told the person in Mat 26 the poor would always be with us. It is the Truth of the Gospel that is our vital message; service to the poor and needy is the evidence of our love for God, not the core of Jesus’ teachings as your seem to claim.

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      Your comment is a little muddled, but are you seriously arguing that it is biblically defensible to spend millions reaffirming beliefs that some Christians already hold, rather than using it to save lives, serve the needy and spread the gospel, as all of the real ministries I mention here do? If that’s the case, then you’re right that one of us is very far afield from the teachings of scripture, but it’s certainly not me.

      You presume that God would be disgusted by Ken Ham’s venture. Where do you get the authority to make such a judgment from?

      Matthew 25:34-46, Luke 4:18-21, Galatians 2:10, James 1:27, James 2:14-17, 1 Timothy 6:17-19, Ephesians 2:10, Luke 3:9-11, Luke 6:38, Luke 12:20-34, Galatians 5:14, Luke 10:27-37, 2 Corinthians 9:10-14. I could go on, but I think you get the picture, right?

      Jesus believed God created Adam and Eve at the very beginning of time (Mark 10:6); He believed the Genesis record of history.

      Jesus responded to a question about divorce with a theological teaching from Genesis 1. It is quite an enormous leap to extrapolate from this that “He believed the Genesis record of history” — by which, I take it you mean, “he would have agreed with all of the fanciful and unbiblical fairy tales perpetuated by the likes of Ken Ham.”

      Even if Jesus, while he was in the flesh, did believe the earth was only a few thousand years old — rather than billions — he certainly never said or did anything that would imply that he thought the gospel depended on that belief. And if the belief in a young earth is not necessary for anyone’s salvation, then why do you think this $70 million is being well spent?

      Have you read about the need for the Body of Christ to love one another (John 13:35)?

      Yes, but I don’t know that Ken Ham has. He frequently describes Christians like me as “compromisers” and enemies of God. By the way, have you read about the need for Christians to judge those inside the church to ensure they are living rightly (1 Corinthians 5:12)?

      This attack on your brothers and sisters, who happen to have a different take on the Bible to you, is a tragedy.

      Now you’re equivocating. This article is hardly an “attack” on all Christians who disagree with me about the proper interpretation of Genesis or the scientific theory of evolution. My criticism here is explicitly limited to one particular project of one particular organization, which I believe is poised to waste an enormous sum of money that could and should be spent to save lives, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, care for the sick and spread the gospel.

      Is Ken Ham’s science demonstrably false?

      Yes.

      I’d be willing to bet you know very little of the science behind his claims.

      And you would lose that bet. I am quite well acquainted with Answers in Genesis and the supposed “evidence” behind its claims.

      Perhaps he just sees the needs of the people around him differently to you.

      It’s pretty clear that he also sees the needs of the people around him differently than the Bible does.

      • Marcus V.

        Even if I agreed with Mr. Ham’s view of the origins of the universe, I’d NEVER support such an enterprise.
        Geez! People are dying of starvation! Those of you who live in the US don’t see a lot of extreme poverty around, but, come on, there are a lot of countries in need. Just watch some CNN Freedom Project, or some Al Jazeera, or some BBC documentary, I don’t know.

        • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

          Agreed, Marcus. Thanks for your thoughts. It is disappointing how disinterested so many of my fellow Americans are about what happens outside our borders. May I ask where you’re from?

          • ashleyhr

            I assume you know Ken Ham is from Australia :) No wonder he has things upside down (no offence to Australians).

          • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

            Yeah, I knew he was an Aussie. If I hadn’t already known that, I certainly would have after watching his “debate” with Bill Nye, wherein he referenced the fact only about a dozen times or so.

          • Marcus V.

            I didn’t. My point stands :P

          • Marcus V.

            Sorry I never came back to answer, Tyler. I’m from Brazil so I’m far more used to poverty than you guys. Sadly.

            And I meant no disrespect to your country and fellow americans in the first comment, I want to make that clear. In fact, there are great americans doing great stuff all around the world. But I imagine regular people are less worried about poverty-related issues because they don’t see it on the streets everyday (thank G-d!).

          • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

            No offense taken! Thanks for the reply, Marcus. Good to know you!

      • Pearl

        Hi Tyler, I have looked at your reference to the RationalWiki article “Evidence against a recent creation” and I believe if you really did have a good knowledge of YEC science you would realise that virtually every one of these claims has been examined and answered by creation scientists at sites like creation.com. But let me take just one and use it as an example of why I believe evolutionism is a philosophically biased belief system.

        The very first claim made on this site refers to dendrochronology. May I refer you to an article (http://creation.com/tree-ring-dating-dendrochronology ) by Australian PhD plant scientist Dr Don Batten who writes:
        “Conventional carbon-14 dating assumes that the system has been in equilibrium for tens or hundreds of thousands of years, and that 14C is thoroughly mixed in the atmosphere. However, the Flood buried large quantities of organic matter containing the common carbon isotope, 12C, so the 14C/12C ratio would rise after the Flood, because 14C is produced from nitrogen, not carbon. These factors mean that early post-Flood wood would look older than it really is and the ‘carbon clock’ is not linear in this period.”

        The assumption that the system has remained in equilibrium for long ages is a philosophically driven precept of uniformitarianism. There is no scientific reason to believe this idea. Modern science rejects the notion of a world wide Flood and therefore would never take the idea of catastrophic plate tectonics and a world wide Flood seriously, instead they choose to make
        assumptions based on their own naturalist/materialist long age belief system. But as Christians we view the data through different eyes.

        Polystrate fossils and the discovery of dinosaur bonebeds all over the world, which contain an incredible mix of species (including modern mammals), seem to be very good evidence for the Global Flood the Bible records as part of Earth’s history. Also, the fact that societies all over the world have stories of this Flood carried by the people as they migrated to the far corners of the Earth is good evidence for the validity of this piece of Earth’s history recorded in God’s Word.

        I could cite evidence for creationist interpretations of the data used for almost all the claims made in the anti-recent-creation article you referred to, but I will touch on just one other here, impact craters, which you also mention in another article on your site. You claim that YEC scientists do not address “Vredefort and dozens of other large craters.” Let me refer you to
        Professor of Physics and Astronomy, Dr Ronald Samec’s article (http://creation.com lunar-maria ) where he states:
        “I applied ordinary Newtonian orbital mechanics to test the possibility that near side lunar maria are left over scars from a catastrophic impact by a swarm of asteroids. …. This cataclysmic event could have resulted from a swarm that struck both the moon and Earth. Since the moon is airless, the lack of erosion has allowed the scars to remain while catastrophic plate tectonics {CPT} and erosional effects acting on Earth have erased many of the terrestrial effects. But scars from these events may still remain as astroblemes and astrons, attesting to this event. Such an asteroid bombardment of Earth could very well be the trigger that cracked the ocean floor adjacent to the super continent setting the CPT event in motion.”

        In your article referring to Vredefort you suggest “history most definitely would have recorded it” if it happened in the last 10000 years. I believe the Bible records the consequence of this impact very vividly and this story is part of the folklore of peoples all over our planet. The resulting catastrophe was so immense it destroyed all land animals which breathed through nostrils, except those on the Ark (Gen 7:22). As insects do not breathe through nostrils, but through tiny tubes in their exterior skeleton, many of these would have been preserved on floating mats of vegetation, along with the seeds of the plants that would revegetate the post Flood world. If Noah and his family were not in the impact zone, it is reasonable to assume that only the results of these strikes have been recorded. After all they did not have satellite images to tell them what was happening on other parts of the planet.

        May I also suggest you take a look at two other articles on the creation.com website. They are : http://creation.com/young-universe-evidence and http://creation.com/age-of-the-earth. Both these articles give sound, scientific reasons for belief in a young Earth. Geologist Dr Tas Walker has created another excellent site. You can find it at: http://biblicalgeology.net and also The Institute for Creation Research’s site (http://www.icr.org/ )is well worth exploring. If you only look at the AIG site you are not really across the breadth of research being done by well qualified scientists who believe in biblical creation.

        The decision to accept one lot of evidence as opposed to another has nothing to do with science, it has everything to do with pre-existing beliefs in uniformitarianism, long ages, the theory of evolution and above all else naturalism. I do not feel you can really make a case when you come up against a well qualified creation scientist that will not have a good, sound alternative perspective. I know evolutionists believe they can bring forth irrefutable evidence but it can nearly always be traced back to some assumption that leads to circular reasoning.

        After watching the debate between Ham and Nye recently I must confess I was disappointed with Ham’s performance. I felt there were areas Ham just let pass, when he could have refuted them using excellent creation science research to contradict Nye’s assertions. A good assessment of the debate from another creationist can be found at http://creation.com/ham-nye-debate .

        I hope this is not too long. Things are so complex and I find short answers are often inadequate, but I have limited my response to just 2 areas (and even then I’ve just touched on the surface) when I really wanted to examine them all!!!!

        • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

          The assumption that the system has remained in equilibrium for long ages is a philosophically driven precept of uniformitarianism. There is no scientific reason to believe this idea.

          There are excellent scientific reasons to believe this idea. In fact, we cannot do any science of any kind without some reliance on the principle of uniformitarianism. If you want to reject all of science, be my guest, but the amazing technological advances it has brought us indicates to me that the scientific method — dependent on uniformiatarianism though it may be — works pretty well.

          On the other hand, there actually is no scientific reason to believe the laws of physics and nature used to operate thousands of times faster than they do today, which is what would be required to validate the YEC model in the light of most of our dating methods.

          Polystrate fossils and the discovery of dinosaur bonebeds all over the world, which contain an incredible mix of species (including modern mammals), seem to be very good evidence for the Global Flood the Bible records as part of Earth’s history.

          “Polystyrate” trees and fossils were not a problem for mainstream geology 200 years ago, and they are certainly not a problem today.

          You claim that YEC scientists do not address “Vredefort and dozens of other large craters.” Let me refer you to Professor of Physics and Astronomy, Dr Ronald Samec’s article

          There are all kinds of problems with your “theory” about meteor strikes being part of what caused the flood. The main one is that both you and the author of the article you posted seem to absurdly underestimate the globally catastrophic effects of even a single large meteorite impacting this planet.

          The effects of an impact by a meterorite larger than 1 km in size include, but would not be limited to: the scorching of the atmosphere as the meteorite enters, resulting in a discernible increase in surface temperature directly proportional to the size and number of meterorites we’re talking about; an earthquake registering somewhere around 13 on the Richter scale; a dust cloud that would blanket the earth for months, resulting in perpetual darkness and global “winterlike conditions”; and large amounts of nitrogen being released into the atmostphere that would result in toxic acid rain pouring down across the planet.

          And that is just one meteorite, measuring about 1 km in diameter. We’ve found crater caused by meteors that were 48 kms across! And this is just one. You’re talking about dozens, hitting the earth all at once.

          The issue is not even about how Noah and his family failed to take notice of this catastrophic event. The issue is how they survived it. An ark could have protected them from rain and floodwaters. It would not have protected them from nitrous acid and the searing heat followed by global winter (lasting for years, maybe even decades) that would have resulted from the catastrophic meterorite strikes you believe occurred a few thousand years ago.

          • Pearl

            Finally I have a few hours to turn my mind to our discussion. I would like to point out again that most of the claims you make, which you seem to infer are scientifically proven, are based on unproven assumptions that are based on naturalistic biases. Almost all of your claims concerning the results of asteroid impact are based on unproven assumptions. You claim nitrogen would be released into the atmosphere resulting in nitric acid rain. However, some secular scientists believe that in certain situations there would be sulphur trioxide and sulphuric acid rain. These are models, based on assumptions made by people who would never entertain the idea of a world wide catastrophic Flood.

            If a large scientific research organisation spent .1% of their yearly budget examining models for a worldwide Flood there would be an uproar. Because such research is philosophically impossible for secular scientists, we only have the creation scientists, working with pitiful funding, who begin by believing the Bible is an accurate historical document, researching and formulating alternative models to those produced by secular scientists, who begin with the naturalistic philosophy that no supernatural entity can be involved in the origin of the universe and life.

            You state so confidently that certain things have occurred, but even in the materialist/naturalist scientific community there are a number of alternatives to your claims. Some secular researchers claim that these craters were not caused by impacts at all, but that volcanism could explain all the features blamed on an impact, citing evidence for massive volcanism occurring at the same ‘time’ when they refer to the Deccan traps of India. Still others speculate that some craters were created by belches – mantle plume-induced lithospheric gas explosions, or verneshot events. See: http://www.geo.cornell.edu/eas/PeoplePlaces/Faculty/JPM/VerneshotEPSL2004.pdf

            Creationists assume the Flood occurred as it is described in the Bible. They are exploring how that may have happened (since there is only scanty information recorded) as they examine the data in the field. You refer to impact winter, but during the Flood this would not be a problem, because there would be fewer land surfaces to cause a cooler surface and hence atmosphere. Water, having a high heat capacity would cool very little in a year and the constant rain would dissipate the dust cloud you mentioned. Thus your “impact winter” would be quite a different one to the one you proposed and could possibly help a little in the heat dissipation during the Flood, as the temperatures you claimed would cause problems would inevitably be affected by the abundant water involved in the Flood. In fact, in the creation models, impacts are only one feature of one possible scenario. This approach is exactly the same as long-age
            evolutionists follow when they try to interpret the evidence within their own worldview.

            You appear to totally ignore or belittle the research of people who have worked assiduously to gain high distinctions in the scientific world, because they do not blindly accept a naturalistic understanding of the origins of life and the universe, when they are your brothers and sisters in Christ. Because they believe the Bible is an accurate historical document (not a scientific textbook as you falsely claim elsewhere, please see http://creation.com/but-genesis-is-not-a-science-textbook), you use words like “absurdly” and choose to misunderstand what I mean when I speak of uniformitarianism, knowing (I have no doubt) that I was referring to the geological use of this principal (as contrasted with catastrophism), which embraces the philosophy that geological processes have always occurred at roughly constant rates. I admit that more recently, the word ‘uniformitarianism’ has been applied in other contexts to also mean constancy of natural laws and is sometimes called ‘methodological uniformitarianism,’ as opposed to what some have called ‘substantive uniformitarianism,’ but you chose to belittle my attitude to science, suggesting I “want to reject all of science” when I’m almost certain you understood that I used the term in the traditional sense.

            We both know that even though uniformitarian geologists have long allowed for the occasional (localized) catastrophic event, modern historical geology grew out of the general ‘slow and gradual’ principle, which is still the predominantly preferred framework of explanation for any geological formation and therefore a priori, precludes the possibility of the biblical Flood. Interestingly, the evidence for catastrophic formation is so pervasive that there is a growing body of neo-catastrophists, but because of their naturalistic bias, they prefer, like you, to reject the explanation of the Genesis (global) Flood.

            You say earlier, when talking about Jesus’ view of Genesis that, “It is quite an enormous leap to extrapolate from this that “He believed the Genesis record of history” — by which, I take it you mean, “he would have agreed with all of the fanciful and unbiblical fairy tales perpetuated by the likes of Ken Ham.” Even though you are happy to extrapolate present conditions into imagined billions of years in the past, you take offence with my assumption that Jesus meant what He said, while your statement carries a number of dubious assumptions. You appear to assume that all creation scientists agree with each other, which is perhaps based on the assumption that they do not independently examine evidence and test hypotheses. This only goes to show how little you know of the dynamic nature of creation science (see http://creation.com/creationists-can-t-agree-any-more-than-cosmologists).

            I could use the words “fanciful” and “unbiblical fairy tales” to point out that the idea that all life came from one single cell, which spontaneously burst into existence and then gradually (I could say magically) mutated into every living thing that has ever existed, when we have never observed even a single mutation event that could be construed as evidence for these millions of mutations, is rather fanciful and most definitely not biblical. It comes back to the fact that it all depends on how you interpret the factual evidence through the belief system in your mind.

            It seems you have decided to belittle the work of a number of your brothers and sisters who use the historical-grammatical method of hermeneutics ( see http://creation.com/the-bible-and-hermeneutics/) and believe the Bible is inerrant; choosing to calumniate your brethren by calling them literalists when they quite clearly state this is not actually the approach being used (see http://creation.com/should-genesis-be-taken-literally).

            I believe the common understanding of these tactics is called “setting up a straw man.” If you want to revile your brethren please do it honestly. Dismissing their hard earned qualifications, while claiming that they believe certain things they have already clearly stated are not part of their framework, is either evidence of your ignorance of the people you have chosen to disparage, or simply mean and dishonest. They most definitely DO NOT believe the Bible is a science textbook and it is unfair to caricature all creationists as “extreme literalists,” while disparagingly inferring they are less educated (or is it less intelligent) than the people you agree with. Scientifically qualified YECs simply use a different hermeneutic framework to the one you have chosen to employ. This does not mean they are less able than the people you have chosen to believe, it simply means they employ a different set of axioms when they approach their work.

          • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

            most of the claims you make, which you seem to infer are scientifically proven, are based on unproven assumptions

            True, but they are very reasonable, evidence-based assumptions. We don’t “know” exactly what would happen if the earth were struck by 40-50 super-massive meteorites within a few weeks. It could plunge the planet into a catastrophic nuclear winter, or it could fill the globe with purple Jell-o and fried chicken. Anything could happen; but certain things are more likely and certain things are less likely. For my perspective, I’m fine trusting the experts who study this exact field of science for a living.

            If a large scientific research organisation spent .1% of their yearly budget examining models for a worldwide Flood there would be an uproar.

            Speaking of “unproven assumptions”…

            Creationists assume the Flood occurred as it is described in the Bible.

            Actually, you don’t, since you believe the “flood” included all kinds of things that the Bible doesn’t remotely allude to, like 40-50 massive asteroid impacts, or an influx of catastrophic volcanic eruptions in rapid succession, not to mention the complete reworking of the earth’s tectonic plates and land masses in an incredibly rapid period of time.

            You refer to impact winter, but during the Flood this would not be a problem, because there would be fewer land surfaces to cause a cooler surface and hence atmosphere. Water, having a high heat capacity would cool very little in a year and the constant rain would dissipate the dust cloud you mentioned.

            The “winter” is not the result of the earth having a certain amount of exposed land; it is the result of the sun’s ray being blocked by thick curtains of ash, smoke and airborne sediments for a sustained period of time. It doesn’t matter if the earth is covered in water or completely dry.

            Even though you are happy to extrapolate present conditions into imagined billions of years in the past, you take offence with my assumption that Jesus meant what He said, while your statement carries a number of dubious assumptions.

            You are equivocating. My acceptance of the idea that the universe is billions of years old is based on numerous overwhelming, independent and convergent lines of inquiry from the available evidence. Unlike you, my scientific views in this matter are not derived from a statement Christ made in answer to a theological question about marriage and divorce.

          • Pearl

            I have always tried to understand the logic and rationale behind other people’s beliefs and it’s taken me some time to begin to understand the logic behind an informed belief in theistic evolution. I believe most people do have good reasons for what they choose to believe – even if they haven’t consciously explored those reasons. It was only when I came to explore the science behind my belief in evolution with an open mind that I rejected it, so I’ve always found it difficult to understand why a person who claims to believe the Bible would cling to such a belief system. But finally I think I am getting a handle on your perspective on origins science and the Bible.

            It seems you put the Bible into an entirely different category to any other form of communication. If I receive a letter from a friend telling me they have “been on a road trip to Queensland,” I can speculate on how the journey progressed. I can use the information I have about the geography, climate and culture of the natural world through which they travelled, to create a better understanding of what that trip entailed. This does not mean that because I’ve included “all kinds of things that the (letter doesn’t) ….remotely allude to,” I’m making the letter any less accurate or in some way demonstrating disbelief towards my friend’s writing. It simply means that my friend didn’t choose to give me all the details to communicate the information, knowing I was able to “fill in the gaps” on my own.

            To me the Bible is a book that does not confuse adaptation to human finitude with accommodation to human error – the former does not entail the latter. Rather, the inspired author of Genesis was allowed to use the only terms available to him in his language and time to describe natural phenomena, but was not allowed to offer anything more than the vaguest, most minimal descriptions of those phenomena, thereby leaving nearly everything unsaid about their exact nature. Genesis 1 was perfectly designed to allow that interpretation which accords with actual fact. To me this is self evident. The Bible is not a science text book, but God caused it to be written with us in mind, He knew exactly how to give enough factual information for all time, allowing for us, in this time, to use the ability He created us with to fill in the gaps from our advanced understandings of the natural world.

            The most wonderful thing for an educated and informed creationist is that we do not need to feel affronted by the constant jibes from people who are locked into the world’s belief system about origins. When someone makes a ridiculous statement like, “it could fill the globe with purple Jell-o (whatever that is) and fried chicken,” or a patronising one like, “My acceptance of the idea that the universe is billions of years old is based on numerous overwhelming, independent and convergent lines of inquiry from the available evidence,” I can simply remind myself that they believe they are right and appear to have an unfortunate personality, the sort that feels it’s fine to be condescending towards those they appear to deem their intellectual inferiors.

            I can see that you believe creationists are “absurd.” Sadly, you also seem incapable of hearing the alternative model of origins because you either choose not to do so or you are incapable of understanding how many unproven assumptions lie behind your “convergent lines of inquiry.” It seems overwhelmingly obvious to me that those entrenched lines of enquiry are confined to tracks that have been carefully laid over the past 150 years by materialist/naturalists, there is no other path that is permitted and the penalty for straying from the tracks is ridicule and rejection. You claim that my assumption that there would be uproar if taxpayers’ money was spent on creation research is unproven. Let me refer you to http://creation.com/discrimination-against-creation-scientists where you will find dozens of articles supporting my assumption, I therefore contend it is a fair assumption.

            However, I admit it may be an unproven assumption on my part when I say you appear to be a person who believes he has some sort of superior knowledge and is totally incapable of stepping outside the world’s origins framework to objectively and thoroughlymexamine creationist interpretations of the data, therefore, if I am proven wrong, I most sincerely apologise. But you just don’t seem to comprehend how the great Flood of Noah’s day would have accomplished a complete reworking of earth’s surface and an alteration of all its hydrologic and meteorologic systems.

            You say, “It doesn’t matter if the earth is covered in water or completely dry” in relation to an impact winter. These are complex systems, each variable is highly significant when models are constructed to make sense of the data. Our discussion centred on the effect a hypothetical asteroid impact would have on human civilisation. For your “winter” to have any real significance it must surely involve snow and ice. The dust is only one aspect of this system, if the land was covered with water it would inevitably have a huge impact on the atmosphere. Most models for the causes of the Ice Age(s) accept that the key to an Ice Age is temperature – not cold, but warm. Ice comes from snow, and snow from moisture in the air, which in turn comes through evaporation, which comes from warm water. Hence, more warm water, more precipitation and less dust, but this is only one variable to be considered in this complex system.

            Genesis 7:11-16 gives us enough information to know that something catastrophic happened to cause the Flood. People in that time would not have understood the phenomena in the same way we do today, but the Bible contains enough detail for us to use sound science to attempt to fill in the gaps. Like secular people, we create models and test those models against the available data in the natural world. When new data is discovered we tweak the model accordingly. It is also obvious from the Genesis passage that Noah was very busy on the day he entered the ark, I doubt he would have taken the time to make observations in order to understand the mechanisms God used to burst all the fountains of the deep.

            Am I right in assuming you have a problem with God causing things to happen “in an incredibly rapid period of time during the Flood?” Why should He act slowly when He judged the world in Noah’s time? Or is it that you see God as setting the universe in motion and then taking no part in its function, simply allowing natural processes to occur and somehow using them to accomplish His purposes? If you see our Father as being actively involved but only working through natural processes how do you explain the virgin birth and the resurrection of our Creator and Redeemer? I’m a little closer to understanding your perspective, but as you can see I still have many questions.

          • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

            It seems you put the Bible into an entirely different category to any other form of communication. If I receive a letter from a friend telling me they have “been on a road trip to Queensland,” I can speculate on how the journey progressed. I can use the information I have about the geography, climate and culture of the natural world through which they travelled, to create a better understanding of what that trip entailed. This does not mean that because I’ve included “all kinds of things that the (letter doesn’t) ….remotely allude to,” I’m making the letter any less accurate or in some way demonstrating disbelief towards my friend’s writing. It simply means that my friend didn’t choose to give me all the details to communicate the information, knowing I was able to “fill in the gaps” on my own.

            This is a good point. Here’s the problem with the analogy: You could certainly speculate on what your friend’s journey like. You could deduce that, because the area your friend passed through tends to have wet springs, it must have rained during their trip. However, if you took this presumption — that it rained — and then elevated it to the same objective, factual status as the rest of the letter, this would be unreasonable. If you saw a weather report for the time that your friend was in the area, which showed that it had been dry during your friend’s trip, and you denied the truth of this report to preserve your presumption, that would be absurd.

            However, that is exactly what young-earthers do with their ideas that are not clearly taught in the Bible, like the notion that all living things were incapable of death until after Adam and Eve’s sin.

            The most wonderful thing for an educated and informed creationist is that we do not need to feel affronted by the constant jibes from people who are locked into the world’s belief system about origins. When someone makes a ridiculous statement like, “it could fill the globe with purple Jell-o (whatever that is) and fried chicken,” or a patronising one like, “My acceptance of the idea that the universe is billions of years old is based on numerous overwhelming, independent and convergent lines of inquiry from the available evidence,” I can simply remind myself that they believe they are right and appear to have an unfortunate personality, the sort that feels it’s fine to be condescending towards those they appear to deem their intellectual inferiors.

            I’m sorry if I offended you. However, my point still stands, and you can’t address simply by saying I’m mean and condescending. Saying “anything could happen because we just don’t know for sure” is not equivalent to the most reasonable, probable and educated models that scientists make regarding these phenomena.

            You say, “It doesn’t matter if the earth is covered in water or completely dry” in relation to an impact winter. These are complex systems, each variable is highly significant when models are constructed to make sense of the data. Our discussion centred on the effect a hypothetical asteroid impact would have on human civilisation. For your “winter” to have any real significance it must surely involve snow and ice. The dust is only one aspect of this system, if the land was covered with water it would inevitably have a huge impact on the atmosphere. Most models for the causes of the Ice Age(s) accept that the key to an Ice Age is temperature – not cold, but warm. Ice comes from snow, and snow from moisture in the air, which in turn comes through evaporation, which comes from warm water. Hence, more warm water, more precipitation and less dust, but this is only one variable to be considered in this complex system.

            Again, you’re not addressing the issue. Dust clouds blanketing the skies = sun’s rays being blocked = decreased temperatures. Period.

            Am I right in assuming you have a problem with God causing things to happen “in an incredibly rapid period of time during the Flood?”

            If there’s no reason for things to have happened “in an incredibly rapid period of time” other than to deceive us or to test our faith, then yes, I have a problem with that.

            Or is it that you see God as setting the universe in motion and then taking no part in its function, simply allowing natural processes to occur and somehow using them to accomplish His purposes?

            No, I do not have a deistic view of God. I believe he is the active sustainer of all material processes and that he can be directly at work within them. The Bible cites God as the source of the rain. Science shows us that rain comes from a natural process of condensation and evaporation. Are these two truths in conflict? No. God is supernaturally at work within the natural process. We are right to thank him for the rain.

            The Bible describes God as forming babies in the womb. Science shows us that babies are formed through an entirely natural process of fetal, in utero development. Are these two truths in conflict? No. God is supernaturally at work with the creation of each unique, beautiful person, working through the natural processes.

            The Bible describes God as the creator of all life. Science shows us that life descended through a natural process of common ancestry and evolution. Are these two truths in conflict? No. God is supernaturally at work in creation, through evolution and natural selection.

            If you see our Father as being actively involved but only working through natural processes how do you explain the virgin birth and the resurrection of our Creator and Redeemer?

            I never said he only works through natural processes. The Bible describes God as working through natural processes and, on occasion, interacting with the universe miraculously. I affirm both of these truths.

          • Pearl

            I should probably observe some kind of internet etiquette (which I confess I do not understand) and stop adding to this discussion, but every one of your posts causes me to think about why I believe what I believe and I can’t help but want to explain to you why sincere, well informed, educated people, have chosen to reject the world’s creation mythology. Granted this mythology is wrapped in scientific jargon and intermixed with scientific facts, but when we burrow down into the detail we find it
            unconvincing.

            You said, “If you saw a weather report for the time that your friend was in the area, which showed that it had been dry during your friend’s trip, and you denied the truth
            of this report to preserve your presumption, that would be absurd,” then likened this absurd presumption to, “the notion that all living things were incapable of death until after Adam and Eve’s sin.” I fully understand that your determination to cling to the secular world’s creation myth hangs on this point. But I can’t get away from the fact that I don’t have to go far in the Bible’s revelation to discover that it was a physical death that was required as propitiation for the sin of humanity. God told Adam and Eve death would be the consequence of their rebellion, then the blood of an animal was shed to cover the newly aware Edenic couple’s nakedness.

            Following this first recorded physical death in world history a great deal of blood was shed, including the physical deaths of innumerable Passover Lambs and the multitude of creatures that were physically sacrificed in the tabernacle and Temples. Finally, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, was to shed His blood when He was brutally, physically put to death. These are all physical deaths that directly resulted from the sin that entered the world when Adam and Eve rebelled against their Creator. For me this is a very clear “weather report” that I have carefully considered and find points to the origin of death, both physical and spiritual.

            I also find your notion that spiritual death was the real consequence of sin rather Platonic. I can only view your ideas of the immortal soul and the elevation of the “spiritual” above the physical (physical bodies being something God created and destroyed in apparent abandon over billions of years while preserving the purer spirit) as very much grounded in Greek philosophy, just like your belief in evolution. The Greeks probably formulated all three ideas, although the idea of an immortal soul may have originated with the Hindu religion before the Greeks adopted it.

            You say, “if you took this presumption — that it rained — and then elevated it to the same objective, factual status as the rest of the letter, this would be unreasonable.” I couldn’t agree more. But this is exactly what I see when I’m watching documentaries on National Geographic and other media outlets and they depict magnificent dinosaurs, carefully and realistically reconstructed from fossils. During the documentaries we are often informed that these creatures were eventually transformed
            by random mutations, which have never, ever been observed, into birds; while some other chimp-like creatures eventually became human beings. This idea is given factual status and presented in authoritative tones, along with pronouncements on the age of the universe. None of these “facts” can be tested by operational science.

            Even if we add the magical ingredients secular science wants us to believe contribute to evolution, that is, natural selection and billions of years, there is no empirical evidence that mutations have assisted in the creation of new kinds. At least in your case you admit the element of the supernatural agency, but without this, to me this scenario is tantamount to saying, “Abracadabra.” Just take millions of completely hypothetical random mutations, add natural selection and billions of years and voila, you have every living thing on the planet. It’s magic. The only component in this magical process that can be observed is natural selection, which is a designed for purpose process that fine tunes God’s wondrous creation, adapting creatures within kinds to different environmental niches. This process can clearly be observed doing exactly what creation science says it does.

            As a retired teacher and an older woman I try to teach “good things” (Tit 2:3) to the younger believers I come across. Your tone did not offend me in your past posts, please put my response to your words down to a retired schoolmarm trying to emphasise the point that disrespect is unnecessary and unproductive between fellow believers. I was simply reminding you that when believers hold opposing views on a subject, it is best to keep ad hominem comments out of the discussion and stick to the issues being considered.

            And the issue remains, you are perpetrating the secular myth that “quality” science can only be that which accepts evolution. This is revealed by your comment, “Saying “anything could happen because we just don’t know for sure” is not equivalent to the most reasonable, probable and educated models that scientists make regarding these phenomena”. Over and over again I have pointed out that sound, operational science (where systematic observation, measurement, and experiment, and the formulation, testing, and modification of hypotheses is utilised), is not the exclusive domain of
            evolutionists. Creation scientists also use this method, but they begin with different axioms. I did not say “anything could happen,” nor would any reputable, informed creation scientist.

            Creation scientists believe the Bible outlines the historical framework then make hypotheses based on those facts and put them to the test. You and other evolutionists sneer at their work because you do not accept the historical framework from which they proceed. Yet evolution science does the same thing, it assumes an historical background; evolution and long ages are the accepted starting point and the research is based on these premises. The only difference between the 2 approaches is a philosophical choice, not scientific reality.

            You accuse me of “not addressing the issue.” You insist, “dust clouds blanketing the skies = sun’s rays being blocked = decreased temperatures. Period.” Saying period does not make it real. This is a totally implausible, simplistic sketch of an extremely complex, hypothetical scenario. Claiming you champion “good” science and then ignoring sound scientific concepts while choosing to oversimplify the system and ignore obviously important variables seems illogical to me.

            Another example of your apparent lack of logic is your statement, “If there’s no reason for things to have happened “in an incredibly rapid period of time” other than to deceive us or to test our faith, then yes, I have a problem with that.” Why does the idea that God can work quickly equate with deceiving us and testing out faith? I’m afraid I cannot understand your reasoning. Our Father changed the whole nature of human existence in just 3 days. Jesus was laid to rest in Joseph’s tomb, and after 3 days He victoriously rose from the dead. The Old Covenant had been subsumed by the New and every person who would ever live on the planet was now able to come to the Father through faith in the Son’s supernatural, redemptive work and accept the gift of eternal life. In 3 days the Father brought about something far more extraordinary than that which He wrought on the surface of our planet in one year.

            You say, “Science shows us that life descended through a natural process of common ancestry and evolution,” after telling us that rain and babies are formed by natural processes through which God works supernaturally. I can test your hypotheses on how rain and babies are formed using operational science, I can’t test your hypothesis that life descended through natural processes because I cannot go back into the past to observe and test exactly what you claim happened. However, using the same data set, but an entirely different set of preconceived ideas and assumptions about the past, creationists can utilise sound, solid science to support the hypothesis that God worked
            supernaturally, not only to create the first life forms in 6 days, but to create them with the ability to reproduce after their kind. I see absolutely no empirical evidence for any of God’s original kinds ever changing into another kind.

            You say, “God is supernaturally at work in creation, through evolution and natural selection,” can you show me this in the Bible? No. Then why would you want to impose this naturalistic concept, which is based entirely on the notion that there is no “supernatural,” onto God’s Word? If you are going to champion this myth then please Tyler, stop repeating the mantras of the atheists and address the fact that creation science is being carried out by well qualified, well intentioned, intelligent brothers and
            sisters in Christ, who believe the biblical account of creation and are eminently able to utilise the scientific method to formulate alternative hypotheses on origins and test these in just the same way naturalist/evolutionists do.

          • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

            “the notion that all living things were incapable of death until after Adam and Eve’s sin.” I fully understand that your determination to cling to the secular world’s creation myth hangs on this point. But I can’t get away from the fact that I don’t have to go far in the Bible’s revelation to discover that it was a physical death that was required as propitiation for the sin of humanity. God told Adam and Eve death would be the consequence of their rebellion, then the blood of an animal was shed to cover the newly aware Edenic couple’s nakedness.

            Your attempt to minimize my view as a desperate effort to cling to “a secular creation myth” is noted. You then go on to equivocate something that actually is biblical, with your idea of immortal, prelapsarian animals, which most certainly is not.

            I don’t deny that sin requires a blood sacrifice. “In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” — Hebrews 9:22. This is the system God established. It does not logically follow, however, that therefore every living thing on the planet was incapable of death (i.e., immortal) before a single act of disobedience supposedly perpetrated by two people thousands of years ago. Not only does the Bible NOT SAY THIS, but most of what it does teach about mortality and animal death directly contradicts the idea.

            Your views in this matter simply do not have the scriptural support you presume that they do, so I would appreciate if you leave the high horse in the stable the next time you comment on my site.

            Just take millions of completely hypothetical random mutations, add natural selection and billions of years and voila, you have every living thing on the planet. It’s magic.

            No, it’s a naturalistic process, proposed to make sense of the vast evidence for common ancestry that is observed in the fossil record and every species alive today. “Magic” would be the idea that everything poofed into existence a few thousand years ago, with the “appearance of age.”

            The only component in this magical process that can be observed is natural selection, which is a designed for purpose process that fine tunes God’s wondrous creation, adapting creatures within kinds to different environmental niches. This process can clearly be observed doing exactly what creation science says it does.

            This is what really boggles my mind. We can and have observed natural selection producing significant changes within species in only a few decades, and young-earthers wholeheartedly agree that this happens and it works and it’s very powerful. But then, you claim that, even if this process was repeated, I don’t know, say 35 million times (which would give you about a billion years), there is NO WAY larger scale changes could occur.

            You say small-scale changes over a short period of time are possible, but the accumulation of small-scale changes, resulting in large-scale changes, over a very long period of time is impossible. There is no other word to describe this view but “illogical.”

            By all means, believe it if you want to, but you don’t get to call it “science,” and you don’t get to call the evidence-based alternative view “magic” when you believe in such utter nonsense.

            Claiming you champion “good” science and then ignoring sound scientific concepts while choosing to oversimplify the system and ignore obviously important variables seems illogical to me.

            Sometimes, science is simple. Occam’s Razor, you know. Your problem is that you judge what is or isn’t science by how it lines up with your preconceived views.

            Why does the idea that God can work quickly equate with deceiving us and testing out faith?

            It’s not a difficult concept. If Jesus rose from the dead in three days, but God made it look like it took three billion years, then that would be deceptive.

            I can’t test your hypothesis that life descended through natural processes because I cannot go back into the past to observe and test exactly what you claim happened.

            You can look at the evidence of the past, as seen in the geologic column and the fossil record, human and animal genomes, comparative analogy, biogeography and so on, and test the predictions of competing theories just like a detective uses the evidence to reconstruct the scene of a crime that no one witnessed.

          • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

            Look, Pearl, I responded to your last comment because I felt like you persist in mischaracterizing my views, and I am loathe to let that go unaddressed. But the fact is, that No. 1, I really don’t have the time to devote to a continued, in-depth discussion such as this, and No. 2, frankly, convincing committed young-earth creationists to accept evolution is not really something I care about.

            My goal in this site is to demonstrate that one need not reject evolution to be a passionate, Bible-believing Christian, and to respond to those who teach otherwise, like Answers in Genesis. I appreciate that you think I am mistaken in some of my scientific views, and the feeling is certainly mutual, but I can’t foresee anything being gained by continuing this discussion much further.

            All that being said, I’m sure there is much in my last comment that you are eager to respond to, so you are welcome to the last word. For my part, I need to focus on other things. Thanks for your time.

          • Pearl

            I guess I’ve worn out my welcome. I’m afraid I was born with an extremely inquiring mind and I’m sure my mother heard the word, “Why,” a hundred times a day when I was a toddler. However, I will take you at your word and respond one last time. I must confess the idea of converting you to my way of thinking has its appeal, but my main interest really has been trying to understand yours. I see you as an intelligent young man and I have been trying to understand why you believe what you believe in the light of all the evidence from well informed, qualified and credentialled creation scientists.

            You say, “This is what really boggles my mind,” so I guess you find it difficult to understand why I believe the things I believe. You then say, “We can and have observed natural selection producing significant changes within species in only a few decades.” But this is not actually true. Natural selection does not produce change. Natural selection only fixes change once it has occurred through random mutations and it was these mutations that I was focusing on. We have never observed any mutations that could add genetic information or create entirely new biochemical pathways, even after billions of dollars have been spent looking for such change. Without these mutations natural selection has nothing to work on.

            To explain the myriad of living things on our planet there would have to have been millions of these completely hypothetical mutations. Yes, there is lateral gene transfer in some organisms, but this presupposes the existence of other genetic material, it does not create entirely new genetic information. There are also “copying mistakes” created by mutations, but the change that occurs due to these “mistakes” is more often than not damaging or a degrading of the gene, it does not add the genetic information that would be necessary for one kind to change into another kind.

            It wouldn’t matter how long you gave this mechanism to work, if we have never observed mutations creating entirely new genetic information, there is no reason to believe it ever has or ever will. To change an amoeba into an elephant there would need to be entirely new genetic information created for the production of skin, blood, blood vessels, bones, hair, organs, muscles etc, etc, etc. This information had to come from somewhere and we have never observed it being produced through mutations. Instead we observe populations adapting within the constraints of the information they already possess (http://creation.com/refuting-evolution-2-chapter-4-argument-natural-selection-leads-to-speciation).

            As for the vast evidence for common ancestry you claim is “observed in the fossil record and every species alive today,” the evidence I see points to a common designer and the fossil record only holds a few contenders for those elusive transitional forms, and even these have been soundly disputed by creation scientists and even by a number of secular scientists (http://creation.com/refuting-evolution-2-chapter-8-argument-the-fossil-record-supports-evolution). There are also a lot of fossils that don’t fit within the neatly defined evolutionary order of things paraded in our geology and biology textbooks (http://creation.com/fossils-out-of-order).

            You say, “Your problem is that you judge what is or isn’t science by how it lines up with your preconceived view.” To be honest Tyler, that is exactly what I believe about you. You talk about “appearance of age,” but I do not see any. I am not conditioned to see it. When I look at geological stratification I see clear evidence for the Flood (http://creation.com/the-three-sisters-strong-evidence-for-noahs-flood-in-australia). I see just what I would expect to see if the earth had been covered with water in which millions of creatures were drowned and rapidly covered in sand and mud and vast tracts of vegetation were swamped and turned to coal (http://creation.com/coal-memorial-to-the-flood).

            Before I finally let myself be persuaded by the evidence and accepted the YEC interpretations of the vast amounts of data humans have accumulated, I had trouble with starlight and time. But after I read the work of creationist astrophysicists I realised they had excellent answers to my questions. As you know by now I am full of questions, and I have always been led to believe good science is based on this attitude. The YEC understanding of light years and a young earth is worth exploring if you also have an inquiring mind. They have equated the ‘stretching out of the heavens’ by God at creation with inflation and when I came to understand their concept of built-in gravitational time-dilating effects (http://creation.com/starlight-and-time-a-further-breakthrough) I realised that there really was no reason to hold onto my old beliefs anymore.

            I can see now that we are coming at the data and all the topics we have discussed from entirely different directions and that you will probably persist in insisting that I “believe in such utter nonsense.” I have enjoyed our discussions and have learned quite a lot about what you believe. I tried to understand you viewpoint by reading more of your articles, but I must confess that as I read all I wanted to do was post more and more questions and comments. I miss the old days in the 60s when we sat around and vigorously examined alternative points of view, quite often with much heat and intensity, but always in comradely attempts at teasing out the truth of a matter.

            I’m sorry if I’ve been a pain. I pray our Father will bless and guide you and I thank you for being so patient and taking all the time you have in answering a few of my questions. I’m sorry you feel I have been on my theological and ideological high horse, I did not intend to be in any way condescending, I was just attempting to point out that there is another side to the story you believe and champion here, and really Tyler, it is not founded on lies or stupidity, it is based on good, solid, robust science. I commend you for your work and know it is also based on honestly held persuasions. I must confess I will miss our exchanges but I know you have had enough and have been more than tolerant. I bid you a very fond farewell (I can just hear you breathing a sigh of relief).

    • Alex

      “It is the Truth of the Gospel that is our vital message; service to the poor and needy is the evidence of our love for God, not the core of Jesus’ teachings as your seem to claim.”

      This is such a shockingly bad interpretation of what the gospel is, I can only assume you have never opened a bible.

      • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

        I was confused as well. But Pearl appears to have ducked out of the conversation, so we may never know what exactly she was talking about.

        • Pearl

          Sorry I can’t spend too much time participating. When I found this site (through a Sojourners’ article) I was prompted to reply to a few posts and then got caught up with the cares of this world.

          Early in my Christian life I was connected to a group that was very much involved with social justice. We took Acts 2:45 very seriously. We lived in communal houses and shared everything we owned (I wanted to be like Dorcas in Acts 9:39). We took in homeless and disturbed people and ran an outreach centre, but we gave only minor attention to growing people’s faith in Jesus, we were too busy caring for others. When this group disbanded I joined a charismatic church and was exposed to the doctrine of prosperity. I now view the extremes of these teachings as 2 opposite ends of a spectrum and believe neither to be the core of Jesus’ teachings (although I am far more inclined to go with the social justice message than the prosperity doctrine, that never convinced me).

          I believe we can give everything we have to the poor but if we are not ensuring the gospel message is being taught, that is, “Faithful is the saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners…” (1Tim 1:15), we have missed the point. I am not downplaying the importance of caring for the poor and needy, but if that is seen as sharing the gospel, then the church will have missed its calling. What do you believe the gospel message is if it’s not letting people know they need salvation?

          It appears to me that you live in a very different culture to the one in which I was raised. My family are atheists and I came to faith without knowing any Christians personally (I was reading the Bible). The reason my family refuse to accept any Christian teaching is they feel evolution teaches them all they need to know about where they came from and where they are going. They do not believe there is any reason for them being here nor any hope beyond the grave. For them, looking after the needs of the poor is what civilised people do, it is just part of the way people have evolved as they become more intelligent and sort out the values of the culture they want to shape and nurture.

          That’s why I’m adamant that it must be the fact that Jesus is both Creator and Redeemer that the ecclesia promotes. Our responsibility is to ensure people hear about their need for salvation so that they can “hereafter believe on Him unto eternal life” (1 Tim 1:16b). I do not discount the importance of remembering Jesus’ words in Matthew 25:34-46, but I think you misread Luke 4:18-21, this surely refers to those who are poor in spirit, while Galatians 2:10 is a reminder to care for the brethren.

          It is James’ argument that describes most clearly what I was trying to say when I stated that service to the poor and needy are the product of our love for God. James points out that pure religion (James 1:27) shows itself in our attitude to others. The life of God in the soul of a person should produce love to God and others; it will show itself in the acts that James mentions here. Pure religion can produce nothing unholy, because it always acts in the sight of God and is obvious by the works it produces (James 2:26). James is speaking to Jews, people who are used to lots of religious rituals, and he
          pre-empts his directive to care for others by telling them it is the engrafted word that is able to save their souls (James 1:21), unless these acts of charity begin with the “saving of the soul” we are actually spreading humanism.

          Sorry about the length, I am definitely not a person who can use Twitter!

          • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

            Hey Pearl, thanks for sharing some of your story. The main problem I have with your perspective is still the same. This is not about sharing the gospel or not sharing the gospel. I believe the gospel should be shared across the world, and my hope is that all would hear it and accept it (which is God’s desire as well, according to 1 Timothy 2:4 and 2 Peter 3:9).

            The organizations I mentioned in this article share the gospel and minister to the physical needs of the least of these (James 2:16). That is a model I think is biblical, and that I fully support.

            Again, this is not about whether or not the gospel is important or should be preached. This is about whether Christians should support $70 million of donated money being spent on serving the poor, or the building of a project that is supposedly evangelistic, even though it’s difficult to imagine how it appeals to anyone but folks who are already Christians and young-earth creationists.

          • Pearl

            I can only agree Tyler that the organizations you mentioned do wonderful work. But it is also my heart’s desire that people in the first world hear the gospel, and from my life
            experience I believe the teaching of evolution and long ages is one of the major reason so many of my peers have left the Christian faith behind. They don’t believe the Bible’s historical record is accurate and many also question whether Jesus was an historical figure and not just another of the myths added to a big book of traditional myths.

            I honestly don’t know what I think about Mr Ham’s big boat, but when I first heard of it my immediate thought was, “Great, it may help my friends who have abandoned the church’s teaching (thinking modern science has all the answers on where we came from) think again about the Bible’s record of history.” OK, $70 million could do a great deal of good and help an incredible number of people, but it may also contribute to the eternal salvation of others.

            You say, “…..it’s difficult to imagine how it appeals to anyone but folks who are already Christians and young-earth creationists.” Well I can assure you that it already has provoked discussion amongst the unsaved. The story of Noah and the Ark has remained one of the so called myths a number of my family and friends cite when they declare the Bible is an outdated remnant of our evolutionary, spiritual development. For them to discover that an Ark could actually be built and could actually carry enough animals to repopulate the Earth after the Flood has made a few of the people I know reconsider the Bible’s teachings.

            You may find it difficult to imagine, but in fact it could be of great interest to people who are searching for answers, but have rejected Christianity because they’ve been told it’s all based on a book of mythology. To discover the historical significance of the Bible has been a wonderful breakthrough for many people. Presenting the Bible as an accurate historical document may sound “absurd” to you, but this very idea has been the catalyst for many people to come to know and accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour and I have no doubt that if this boat is built it could lead to more people turning their thoughts to the claims of the Lord Jesus Christ.

            I suppose my big caveat on this idea is that it is being built in a country where the teachings of Jesus have been linked to some very unbiblical activities. And so I can only agree with you when you say that spending that amount of money needs to be very carefully considered in the light of Matthew 25:31-40. But I can also see the other side of the argument and I’m prepared to give Mr Ham the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps he has had direction from the Father. Perhaps God is going to use this big boat to help people rethink their ideas about God’s Word, both rhema and Logos. It seems the money has been spent, so let us pray God will use this to bring people into His kingdom! It certainly sounds like a much better use of resources than the billions being spent on projects such as the SETI endeavours.

          • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

            Pearl, if you can honestly show me an atheist who has chosen to reevaluate his or her position about the existence of God, the divine nature of Jesus and the reliability of the Bible based on Ken Ham and his “Ark Encounter,” I will eat a shoe.

          • Pearl

            It’s a bit early yet for results, which I think is the whole point of the discussion, but I admit this is a fair challenge. If someone comes forward and says, “Yes, I was an atheist. I heard about the Ark Ken Ham is building and it made me stop and look again and now I’m a believer,” you will be serving up your runners for dinner. I hope it won’t be a Nike though, I still think they are sus.

  • ashleyhr

    Answers in Genesis are trying to persuade Christians that (a) Bill Nye lost the debate and (b) “There is no Debate” – the only Truth is biblical creationism. Disgusting.

    My two posts at 10.40 pm GMT on 4 March and at 2.27 am GMT on 5 March should I hope be SELF-EXPLANATORY.
    http://forums.bcseweb.org.uk/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=3421&p=48773#p48773

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      Well, they are right about there being nothing to debate. The questions of whether or not life evolved and the age of the earth have been settled science for decades.

  • Larry Bunce

    This attempt to construct a life-sized Ark could have the unintended effect of demonstrating conclusively that the story of Noah’s Ark can not possibly be taken literally. The obvious fruth conveyed by the story is that all life on earth is necessary, including the creepy crawlies that we find disgusting.

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      Theologically, I think the main purpose of the story is to show God’s perspective on sin. Of course, you do not need to read the story literally or historically to grasp that.