Young-earth creationist Ken Ham caught fibbing once again

If you're lying for Jesus, it's OK, right?

If you're lying for Jesus, it's OK, right?

For the head of an organization that is supposedly based around preaching the “truth of God’s word,” Ken Ham sure seems to lie a lot.

Just off the top of my head, there was the documented attempts at historical revisionism by his group, Answers in Genesis, which tried in 2009 to twist the words of the late Charles Spurgeon into its prescribed young-earth creationist mold.

Much more recently, the man we affectionately refer to around here as “K-Ham” or “Hammy” made the bizarre statement during a Google Plus live chat that he doesn’t “know where people get the idea that people rode dinosaurs.” He went on to say, “I mean, there’s no evidence in the Bible that that is so. I mean, when Job was looking at Behemoth, the description there, there’s nothing to do with people riding dinosaurs. We don’t know how people interacted with dinosaurs.”

While it’s certainly true that there is no evidence in the Bible that people rode dinosaurs (since, you know, dinosaurs as aren’t mentioned in the Bible at all), it is not true that K-Ham is completely ignorant of where the idea came from, since the idea came from him. That is, it can be traced to his books, such as “Dinosaurs of Eden: Tracing the Mystery Through History” (relevant excerpt seen here), and his “museum,” which includes a sculpted, saddled dinosaur that children may scamper aboard and have their picture taken upon.

Perhaps it is unfair to call these instances “lies.” Maybe they are honest mistakes. K-Ham says and writes a lot of things; he can’t be expected to remember everything he has ever said and done at the drop of a hat.

However, as a Christian, I take what Ham says about the gospel message and the free gift of salvation offered in Christ Jesus particularly seriously. That’s why I was very surprised (OK, not really that surprised) to find this on Hammy’s Facebook page this morning:

Ken Ham lies again

I included the screenshot, just in case he should be seized by the temptation for any further attempts at accidental historical revisionism (i.e., deleting the post).

K-Ham is righteously indignant at an unnamed blogger (this gentleman, apparently), whom he quotes as saying, “AiG is, unfortunately, famous for insinuating, if not outright saying, that if a literal, six-day creation six to ten thousand years or so ago is untrue, then Christianity is untrue.” Ham sputters that (emphasis mine):

That’s simply a gross misrepresentation of what we do say. Salvation is not conditioned on a ‘six-day creation six to ten thousand years ago,’ but on faith in Christ. What we do say is reinterpreting the clear words of Scripture in Genesis to fit with millions of years undermines biblical authority. Such compromise can affect the coming generations in regard to how to look on Scripture–it can cause doubt leading to unbelief. It’s an authority issue.

Now, to be fair, K-Ham is generally pretty consistent in his message that those of us believers who accept evolution are just “COMPROMISERS,” not outright heathens. But at the same time, Ham has, in fact, taught exactly what the above blogger said he has.

See our previous story on the latest creationist movie in which Ham and his cohorts are featured. In the trailer for that film, Ham says the following: “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.

His implications are perfectly clear: He believes the gospel is true because the 6,000-year-long history of the universe based on his literal interpretation of Genesis is true. Which offers a perfectly straightforward and thoroughly unpleasant inverse: If the 6,000-year-long fantasy peddled by Ham is not true, then neither is the gospel.

In other words, the statement that Ham called a “gross misrepresentation” is anything but.

So, now you see Ken Ham for what he really is: A man who not only teaches that the truth of the gospel rises and falls on the factual accuracy of the claims found at his “museum” where you can ride a fake dinosaur, but also a man who lies about having ever said that.

He is right about one thing, though. None of us should presume to be able to accurately predict what he’s going to say at his upcoming “debate” with Bill Nye the Science Guy. Normally, one can base guesses about the positions of a public figure on his past statements, but evidently, that method is completely unreliable when it comes to Mr. Ken Ham.

For K-Ham, history — even his own history — is whatever he wants it to be.

Tyler Francke

Category: Culture, Current Events, Latest Developments, Theology

  • Nancy R.

    James McGrath noted in his blog that Ken Ham did the same thing a year ago – wondering why in the world people think his organization claims that people rode dinosaurs: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/2013/02/ken-hams-saddled-dinosaurs.html
    Have a look at the picture from the children’s book about dinosaurs authored by Ham – it depicts people riding dinosaurs and using them as beasts of burden. If he claims that such speculation is unbiblical, then why is he deliberately teaching young children that such things happened?

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      Maybe it’s just unbiblical for other people to speculate on it. Perhaps Ken Ham thinks he gets a free pass? Thanks for the link, Nancy. Appreciate your thoughts!

      • Nancy R.

        What really bothers me about what Ham is doing, in this instance, is denying to adults what he is actively teaching children. That’s not just dishonesty. That’s taking advantage of young people who believe in the authority of adults and their teaching. If he doesn’t actually believe dinosaurs were pets and pack animals, he shouldn’t teach it as biblical fact (care to find some extra-biblical evidence of this?). Children don’t have the discernment that adults do to distinguish the difference between gospel and human invention, and he’s mixing them together in a dangerous way. Once these children discover that people riding dinosaurs is a laughable notion (and Ham is clearly aware that it is), they may abandon everything else those same adults taught them about the Bible – including faith in Jesus.

        • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

          I think that is an immensely valid concern, considering the sheer volume of material that AiG produces that is aimed directly at children.

  • Alan S

    I love how Ham basically has consistently said “I’m not saying that you have to believe in YEC to be saved, but if you DON’T accept YEC, you’re a COMPROMISER!!” Oh, that makes me feel a lot better! So, I’m saved, but I’m…in a sinful state of rebellion against the truth? What else does “COMPROMISER” imply, than a willful sinfulness on the pat of the one compromising?? As you suggested in your LAST post, couldn’t the geocentric Christians (of which there ARE still a few) accuse HAM of being a COMPROMISER for accepting the secular scientific view that the earth revolves around the sun???

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      It is sort of funny to imagine a confrontation between Ham and a geocentrist, flat-earth believing Christian. It makes me smile to think of K-Ham trying to chastise a believer for taking the text “too” literally.

    • Jeff

      This is actually a true statement for any theological belief on a non salvation issue. A Calvinist for instance, would say the Armenian is saved, but that he is compromising or misinterpreting scripture. A Lutheran and a baptist would say the same thing about each other. The only way to not have this view would be for those who are not convinced one way or the other on a given topic. This is christian tolerance: doing our best to study God’s Word, and coming to a conclusion on an issue. When I say I believe the Bible teaches “A” then I MUST also believe that those who claim otherwise are wrong. If this is a non-salvation issue, then we can debate the topic respectfully (not something I am seeing here sadly), call each other wrong, and yet remain in fellowship with one another.

      • Alan S

        When one says that someone is “compromising”, there is a moral judgment being made. That’s different than just saying that someone is wrong, which does not carry any moral connotations, in my book. So, for example, I am a credobaptist, but I am a member of a paedobaptist denomination. I DO believe that paedobaptists are WRONG, but I would not say that paedobaptists are “compromising”. There’s a world of difference between being wrong and compromising. Certainly, Jeff, you must see the difference?

        • Jeff

          Actually I do not see the difference. Maybe it is an issue of semantics though? From my perspective, (using baptism as an example) the infant and paedobaptists are not only wrong, but the are compromising the Bible in order to force it to say what it does not. From my point of view, this is what is meant by saying someone’s theology is wrong.
          I believe the Bible is not only inherent and authoritative, but also perspicuous (clearly expressed). Thus, if someone (myself included) is errant in their beliefs (baptism, Lord’s supper, calvinism, evolution, YEC, etc) they must be compromising the Bible by allowing something to stand above the clear teaching of the Bible.

          For me this happened when I was first saved. I thought it was up to the individual if they got saved (because from my point of view that is what I thought happened to me). I interpreted the Bible through that lens. It wasn’t until later when someone pointed out my bias that I realized I had been compromising the Bible.
          I am sure there are still areas I do this that I am unaware of – but that does not mean it is not compromising Scripture.

          • Alan S

            I think it’s more than semantics. When you look at what Ham in general says (and HOW he says it!) about those who differ with him on his understanding of creation, it’s pretty obvious that he is making judgments on the motives of those who differ (just read his letter responding to Deborah Haarsma’s dinner invitation for one example). I don’t do that (at least I hope I don’t!) when I disagree with my paedobaptist and Arminian (yes, I’m a Calvinist) brethren (ok, to be fair, I HAVE been guilty of making such judgments against Arminians! :) ); point is, though, when it comes to interpreting Scripture, being wrong does not always mean that one is sinning. But Ham seems to think that (at least in the area of creation, origins, etc.) being wrong DOES entail sinning.

          • Jeff

            I agree he is making judgements, but I believe they are more along the lines of de facto judgements. For instance, I too am a calvinist (good on you!), I believe arminians are misinterpreting/twisting Scripture in order to come up with their theology. The de facto reality is they are doing this – whether or not they are doing it by intent (in this case their motives may be ok, but their end beliefs are not).
            I too have read Ken Ham’s response to the dinner invitation and felt it was completely in keeping with Christian love.
            1. He pointed out debates/discussion he had previously had with Mr. Ross (in addition to others from AIG)
            2. he felt that through the many interactions both sides had had ample opportunity to express their view and to raise their objections to the other’s views.
            3. He felt both parties did not appear willing to give in to the opposing viewpoint, despite the above points.
            4. To then attend a dinner with the goal of continued discussion on the issue of origins seems pointless and actually contributing to strife between Christians

            Finally, I believe any wrong theology is sinning. If God intended the first few chapters of Genesis to not be taken as literal, historical narrative – then I am sinning in claiming they are the opposite of that.
            In the same way, if God intended those first few chapters to be taken as literal, historical narrative, then those who disagree would also be sinning.
            Unless we do not believe the Bible (God’s revelation to mankind) is able to be understood, there does not seem to be an alternative. To say/believe the opposite of what God says is to call Him a liar.
            Of course, sadly I am sure there are numerous theologies I have that are in fact sinful. I believe God is faithful though and will show me my errors and those I never discover on this side of heaven will be straightened out when I see Him face-to-face

          • Alan S

            I don’t feel like taking the time to read his response again, but his comparisons of those who differ with him to Sanballat and Tobiah, as well as his general tone, stand out in my memory as examples of a failure to exhibit said Christian love. That is my opinion, anyway.

          • Jeff

            To save you from reading the whole article, I will simply enclose this short quote from it , “I don’t consider Dr. Ross a personal enemy (as Nehemiah considered some of his detractors)—he is actually a pleasant person. But he is what I would call an enemy of biblical authority. He already knows our views, and we know his.”

            Yes, those are still stern words – but the whole context does convey both the statement of unwilling to compromise (a good thing) while at the same time making sure his words couldn’t be taken as an attack of the character of Dr. Ross (at least not without twisting them out of context)

            Ken Ham (and others like myself) consider using something outside of the Bible to change the plain meaning of the text an assault on biblical authority – since it is placing a higher “value” on extra-biblical sources. We instead go the other direction. We take the biblical text at face value (looking at literary clues to see if it is historical narrative, poetry, teaching, etc). If it is impossible to have come up with millions/billions of years for creation by only looking at the creation account – then by definition someone is rejecting biblical authority and instead submitting to the claims of scientists.

          • Alan S

            Well, let me ask you this….if it is impossible to have come up with a moving earth by only looking at the creation account, does it mean that “by definition” heliocentric Christians (i.e., you and I) are rejecting Biblical authority and instead submitting to the claims of scientists? There are an awful lot of Bible verses I could go to in order to show you that the earth does not move; historically, many prominent theologians DID do just that to disregard the arguments of Copernicus and Galileo. I can imagine that many of those theologians could have used the same basic sentiment that you used above, but in their case to dismiss the “heliocentrists” who were “rejecting Biblical authority and submitting to the claims of ‘natural philosophers’ “.

            When the physical evidence from God’s creation all points to a particular inescapable conclusion, maybe it’s time to reconsider one’s interpretation of Scripture. We Christians always seem to assume that the scientists are interpreting the physical Creation incorrectly; but maybe it’s time to consider humbly whether Christians are interpreting the Scriptures incorrectly.

            Let’s be careful here. The church doesn’t have a great track record of success when it has tried to use the Bible to refute a scientific theory. That fact ought to give us pause before we try to do it again.

          • Jeff

            I think it is important to note that the Bible isn’t a science book – I think we both are in agreement there. But, I believe when the Bible speaks on scientific issues it is accurate. Examples are circumcision on the 8th day (best day for blood clotting), washing hands under running water (common practice at the time was still water), etc.

            There are obvious poetic references to aspects of creation. Job 38:7 talks about the stars singing. Some Christians believe this is actually a reference to sounds that stars make, but I believe it could simply be a poetic term (since it’s context is within a poetic book) Psalms is also filled with poetic terms regarding the earth and start, that may or may not have a literal component to them.

            The church has often been wrong with their interpretation of the Bible (just look at the teachings that required the reformation!) However, when it comes to Galileo, the problem wasn’t so much the Bible, but the church’s adherence to Aristotelian philosophies (and the incorrect biblical interpretation that resulted from it).

            Further, the verses used to “oppose: heliocentricists (the sun moved) are simply descriptions of what was viewed to be happening. We still do this today. We say the sun rises, or the sun sets.

            The account in Genesis is different. It is not written from man’s perspective (as if he was watching it happen). It is writing in the same grammatical form as the rest of the historical narrative in the pentateuch. It uses the “waw consecutive” – a hebraic grammatical term used only in historical narratives. It uses specific additions to the word “day” that limit it to a 24 hour period (a morning and evening, the 2nd day).
            In other Scripture that refers to the Genesis account it is always assumes to be literal. Moses said the Sabbath was in reference to the 7th day (again bound by the grammar to be a literal 24 hour day). And Jesus (God who knows all things, who definitely was able to understand evolutionary theory), when referring to Genesis considered it to be a literal description of the actual events.

            Finally, the theology of original sin coming from Adam, death being something bad (as opposed to the agent pushing change in the evolutionary process — i.e. good) that came out of the fall, al;l creation groaning, Jesus being the new Adam, etc —- All of these come out of a literal understanding of Genesis.

            This is why with Dr. James White I say, “I consider biologos a gross act of compromise, the entire website… they have no biblical leg to stand on, that it is a movement (theistic evolution) that is fundamentally undercutting the authority of Scripture and attacking Scripture”

          • Alan S

            “However, when it comes to Galileo, the problem wasn’t so much the Bible, but the church’s adherence to Aristotelian philosophies (and the incorrect biblical interpretation that resulted from it).” Of course, I never said the problem WAS with the Bible. The problem WAS with incorrect Biblical interpretation, whatever the source – Aristotelian philosophy or not. But my point was this: it was ASSUMED that that interpretation was inerrant, and many theologians (Reformed and RCC alike) would not reconsider that interpretation. I submit that the same thing is true of many folks today who ASSUME that the YEC interpretation is inerrant.

            As stated earlier…I’m a big fan of Dr. White’s (and I was listening to his Dividing Line when he gave the quote you give). I just disagree with him on this secondary issue.

          • Jeff

            I think the method of interpretation used by the church at Galileo’s time is similar to that used for TE. Both of them used a secular lens through which to interpret the Bible. Yes, the church at the time had the wrong understanding, but I believe that is secondary to HOW they got the wrong belief. I believe in the same way TE allows scientists to dictate an alternative to the plain reading of the Text – then they adjust the Text in order to allow for an old earth view.

            Unless (I haven’t asked before) do you believe a plain reading of the text (apart from an understanding of evolution) could reasonably lead someone to believe the earth is millions or billions of years old? Again, I mean that to be an honest question – I haven’t though to ask TE’s about it before.
            As a secondary question: James White said that if TE’s used their Genesis hermeneutic for the Gospel – they would basically end up rejecting the orthodox position on this primary issue. Do you see a different hermeneutical method you use for the first few chapters of Genesis as compared to the rest of the Bible – or do you believe you are being consistent in your approach?

            Finally, I cannot be open to a view that (at least every time it has been presented to me) compromises the text, the authority of Scripture, the Gospel, original sin, death, redefines what God calls good, and challenges Jesus’ own statements regarding Genesis.
            Perhaps I haven’t been presented to a form of TE that actually seeks to answer ALL of these objections. But so far I have only seen an attempted response to a couple things, and then dismissing the importance of the theological things they don’t have an answer for.

            I have searched the biologos website and actually would not recommend them as a christian website due to their lack of concern for the Bible as demonstrated in their willingness to partner with outspoken heretics like Greg Boyd and N. T. Wright. I haven’t throughly gone through Hugh Ross’ stuff yet, so maybe he is a little more theologically sound?
            I find R. C. Sproul’s change to young earth interesting. He had been fully convinced of the science of evolution and so tried for years to fit it into the biblical account. Finally, he said he had to reject TE all together because he was tired of all the theological hurdles he faced in trying to combine the two concepts. As a result, he has since rejected evolution and submitted to YEC.

            also (I know long response! thanks for your patience with me!!) I found James White’s statement to be worded very strong. It seems to me to be similar to Ken Ham’s tone on the subject. Do you see it differently?

          • Alan S

            No, I don’t think that the Bible is teaching evolution or the fact that the earth is 4.6 BYO, etc. I don’t find that many Theistic Evolution approaches (there’s not just one monolithic TE approach, btw) DO suggest that the Scriptures teach such a thing. This is why I was shaking my head at both Dr. White as well as his interlocutor, who seemed to suggest that a certain passage in the Bible hinted at evolution. Many, if not most, TE Christians do not accept such a concordist approach (which is held by Old Earth Creationists like Hugh Ross – who DOES think the Bible actually teaches an old earth), opting instead for an accommodationist approach. Under such an understanding, God is not seeking to reveal scientific truth to the original recipients of Scripture, but is instead accommodating to their understanding of the physical cosmos in order to convey truth about Himself and them. He’s not trying to correct their understanding that the world was a flat disk, or that there was a solid dome separating the waters above from the waters below, or that the sun and moon moved around the earth.
            So here’s where your analogy between the church of Galileo’s time and the TEs of today breaks down: the church back then ASSUMED that the Aristotelian understanding of the world was accurate, and in true concordist fashion, believed that the Bible was in “concord” with this “fact”, and made out certain verses to be actually TEACHING this. When Copernicus/Galileo came along and cast serious doubt on Aristotle, the church had so closely tied their interpretation of passages to Aristotelian cosmology, that it became difficult to let Aristotle go, because it seemed as though to do so would undermine the authority of Scripture as well. But most TEs, as accommodationists, would have never made this tragic mistake, because they recognize that scientific theories and facts are NOT BEING TAUGHT in Scripture, and so they don’t tie their interpretation of Scripture to whatever scientific theory seems to have the best empiric support at the time. In reality, YECreationists and OECreationists, being concordists, are much more akin to the church of Galileo’s time. It’s the concordist hermeneutic common to all these that seems to be the problem.

            As far as the question about the gospel, not all books in Scripture are interpreted the same way. Genre has to be taken into account. There may be quite good reason (and many conservative OT scholars think so) to interpret Genesis 1-11 in a manner different from the rest of Genesis, and especially different from the gospels or the NT epistles, or even other OT books like (say) Ezra or Kings. The best thing I can do is recommend some more reading on your part. To start, I would suggest reading Gordon Glover’s “Beyond the Firmament” and John Walton’s “The Lost World of Genesis”.
            As far as Biologos, I can’t wholeheartedly endorse everyone involved with the organization. It’s a broad organization by nature. Not sure NT Wright should be considered a heretic…would Dr. White even describe him as such? Boyd, as an Open Theist…well, that’s a different story!! :) I’m a little uncertain where Sproul currently stands. I’ve seen videos of him endorsing Old Earth Creation, but maybe that was before he changed to YEC. But regardless, there are plenty of conservative (and REFORMED!) folks, past and present, who are fine with OEC or even TE. Tim Keller, C. John Collins, Walt Kaiser, Hank Hanegraff, Alvin Plantinga, J Gresham Machen, CS Lewis, John Stott, AA Strong, Charles Spurgeon, BB Warfield, William Lane Craig, John Lennox, and the list could go on. The point only being that many within even conservative evangelical leadership have opinions that differ from YEC. Please try to hear where they’re coming from, and why they hold the views they do, before you completely write them off. Maybe you will still hold the same position as you do now, but at least you will have a better understanding of where they’re coming from (and perhaps even some sympathy, even if not agreement).
            As far as White’s statement…yes, I do think it was worded strongly. But that issue really isn’t the focus of his ministry. I don’t know how old you are, but I’m 41, and I’ve been a Christian long enough to know that if I only listened to or read people who agree with me 100% of the time….well, then I better start my own podcast and begin writing some books, because I won’t have anything else! :)

          • Jeff

            I’m not sure if I am not presenting my position/challenges clearly, or if I am misunderstanding what you are trying to explain to me.

            When I read your response to my Galileo/TE analogy, it still seemed like it didn’t really answer my objection. TE assumes evolution is correct, and therefore it must come up with an alternative explanation for Genesis, right? For instance, if you were absolutely convinced that macro evolution (molecules-to-man) was scientifically impossible, would you use a different method of interpretation for Gen 1-11?

            Within those chapters, I can find no grammatical reason to treat them differently from Gen 12-50 (or the rest of Moses’ writings). As far as I can tell, Moses used the same type of writing to convey the story of Abraham as he used for Adam or Noah. I agree that different types of writing need to be treated differently. OT vs NT. Gospel vs Acts vs letters to the church. Historical narrative vs poetry. etc… That is the main reason I struggle with even considering TE as a legitimate biblical option.

            I also agree the Bible is not a science book. It’s purpose is not to teach science facts. However, I also believe when it speaks on the subject of science (nature, weather, origins, etc) it will present facts – not present a story that would lead people to believe a lie until science was able to show them the truth 5,000 years later. I believe God created the Bible to be a clear presentation of the truth. If He wanted to simply communicate that He was creator – He would have said that.
            Shoot, I think He could have said He used a process that took eons and eons and people at that time could have grasped the basics of it (even if they didn’t understand the science) After all, the Bible says people lived for hundreds of years in those first few chapters of Genesis, and Moses’ audience didn’t have a problem grasping that – even though their life spans were significantly shorter – even today I struggle with imagining what a 900 year life would be like, and how scientifically that would work!

            I again agree that YEC is not a litmus test for orthodoxy, so of course I believe there are conservatives who reject it. There are conservatives who reject calvinism and believer’s baptism too – I respect them too, I just believe they are wrong and falling into one interpretation error or another.

            I do read books written by those I disagree with (Tim Keller, Focus on the Family, Martin Luther, etc). But I admit, I prefer not to read books on the very subject I differ from them on. I have done that in the past, and whenever I see a twisting of the Bible, it is just hard to not want to highlight the book with a black sharpie :)
            For instance, I would not enjoy reading a book on arminianism written by an arminian. But I could read a book on the holiness of God written by an arminian.

            I prefer to hear a different position in the context of a debate. This is why I enjoy listening to James White. I get to hear the opposing view, presented by those who adhere to it – and hear their rebuttals to challenges to their view.

            My question about you liking James White was based on my understanding of why you dislike Ken Ham (to my perspective, they seem to say the same things about the non-YEC view and it’s adherents)
            I am 33 (probably why I am not yet as even-tempered as you!) God saved me 7 years ago

          • Alan S

            Yes, TE DOES assume that (broadly speaking) evolution/common ancestry has been confirmed so strongly from various branches of science that we have to either accept that evolution is true or accept that God has created the universe to APPEAR as though evolution is true. For theological reasons, we reject the latter option.
            I understand what you are saying, and I think it’s true that the evidence we have for evolution HAS forced us to reconsider some of the traditional interpretations of Genesis (just like Christians had to reconsider some of their traditional interpretations of Scripture passages once they were presented with the strong evidence for heliocentrism). But where you see that as a negative thing (putting man’s fallible opinions about how the natural world works OVER the Word of God), I see it from a different perspective: since both God’s Word and God’s Works (Creation) have their source in God, they can never contradict one another; when really solid evidence from God’s WORKS appears to contradict an interpretation of Scripture, then we may need to go back to the drawing board when it comes to our interpretation. As I’ve said before, we as Christians quickly assume that it’s always the “secular scientists” who are interpreting the science wrongly (even dishonestly!), when perhaps it’s the Christian theologians who are interpreting the Bible wrongly. In Galileo’s day, theologians eventually were forced to reconsider (and amend) an interpretation of certain passages that had been held to for hundreds (thousands?) of years. And WHY? Because they were faced with evidence from the natural world that they couldn’t ignore. Were they allowing science to trump God’s Word? I don’t think you would say so. So in the same fashion, I’m suggesting that Christians need to take the evidence from the sciences seriously; there is a reason why 99% of scientists in the relevant fields accept evolution (and that includes Christian scientists, not just the unbelieving ones). Until the evidence for evolution, the ancient age of the earth/universe, Big Bang, etc. came along, there was no compelling reason to have to interpret Genesis 1 outside of a YEC paradigm, I admit that (although plenty of important theologians disagreed on it’s interpretation LOOONG before Darwin or Lyell ever came onto the scene). But we can’t just close our eyes to the evidence now that we have it. We need to do what the theologians eventually did after faced with Galileo’s evidence – we need to go back to the Bible and reconsider whether another interpretation might be right. Even BB Warfield said as much; I can’t remember the exact quote, but he basically says “If evolution is true, we need to reconsider our theology”. If you want the exact quote, let me know, and I can find it.

            When you say that you believe that the Bible isn’t a science book, but when it DOES teach on science, it presents facts. So then, do you think that the world is a flat disk, and that there is a hard dome separating the waters above from the waters below? Do you believe that the sun revolves around the earth? That was clearly the “science of the day” in the Ancient Near East when the Bible was written; and the BIBLE NEVER CORRECTS THAT UNDERSTANDING, in fact it fits in neatly with the contemporary understanding of the physical world. Instead, it accommodates to their understanding; in Calvin’s words, God speaks baby-talk to them; he relays spiritual, theological and moral truths to them without muddying the waters by correcting their “science”.
            I LOVE Dr. White’s debates. I got a ton of ‘em on my shelf! :D It would be fun to see a debate on the subject with him.
            Oh, I understood why you were asking me about White. I think the difference for me is that it doesn’t bother me because White doesn’t harp on it a lot. Ham does. That’s it, nothing deeper. :)
            Praise God for saving you! I am thankful to call you my brother, regardless of differences on this subject. And if you were being serious (?) about me being even-tempered…THANKS! :D

          • Jeff

            I get what you are saying about believing science confirms evolution and you also believe in the Bible, and so feel you must combine the two in your interpretation of Genesis.

            I do not believe the Bible teaches the world is a flat disc, that there is a hard dome separating the waters above from the waters below, or that the sun revolves around the earth. Yes, most intellectuals of that day probably believed those incorrect ideas (just as most intellectuals of today believe evolution without any proof – just blind faith). As I said, the Bible is not a science textbook, so I do not believe it was written to correct all wrong understandings.

            However, again, when it relates information – I believe it is factual. Regarding heliocentrism and the Bible; it is a fact that the sun appears to move across the sky. That is why today we still use the terms “sunrise” and “sunset”. It is a scientific fact the sun will set today (in my time zone!) at 17:17. The church confused the fact of the sun’s relative motion across the sky with the fact of the earth rotation creating that relative motion. So, in this case, I believe the Bible is actually accurately presenting a scientific fact. People just got confused as to which scientific fact it was teaching.

            I agree that God uses “baby-talk” with us, and that likely this is present in Genesis (and the rest of the Bible). For instance, I know Jesus commanded Lazarus to come back to life – but how did that happen physiologically speaking – I don’t know. In the same way, Genesis says God spoke things into existence in clearly defined 24 hour periods (something that could have been left out if He was not wanting to cause people to believe a lie about creation). I do not know exactly how it happened beyond this. I do not know if there was *POOF* plants, stars, animals… or if He spent the entire day speaking into existence all the little details and then assembling them. He gave me enough information to know how long He took, and that it was the power of His Word (not a natural process) that caused it – that’s about it.

            I must say, you are the first genuine conservative, reformed person I have spoken to that holds to a TE position. Not saying, there aren’t many many others (as you have previously listed), I just haven’t had a conversation with someone who like you: desires to submit to the authority of the Bible, God’s sovereignty, and is also simply convinced that evolution must be true. It has been a pleasure to work through this with you.
            And I did mean my previous statement it as a genuine complement. For you to be patient with me, and hold someone like Dr. White in high regards despite his strong words opposing your position I believe is a great testament to the unity in Christ that we can have. I still see both the OEC and TE views as unbiblical and compromising, but I no longer automatically feel that those who hold that view are compromisers (if that makes sense… people vs viewpoint).
            And yes – I have listened to almost all of James White’s debates as well as the “New Testament Reliability” TV show he did with Wretched Radio – that dude is crazy smart! I too would love to hear a theological debate with him on Genesis 1-11 — not so much focusing on the various ways (YEC vs TE vs OEC) of interpreting the scientific facts, but going to the Bible and seeing what it does or does not allow for.

          • Alan S

            You say: “I do not believe the Bible teaches the world is a flat disc, that there is a hard dome separating the waters above from the waters below, or that the sun revolves around the earth.” I agree, with an important caveat. I don’t believe it’s TEACHING those things either, as though these were doctrinal items. However, the Bible DOES speak of the physical creation in terms of the assumptions universal to the Ancient Near Eastern hearers; it DOES NOT correct those assumptions! Let’s flesh that out a bit: let’s look at the example which you bring up, the sunrise/sunset language of the Bible. From all we know about the ANE, it was universally believed that the SUN moved around the earth; it wasn’t just “the intellectuals” who believed that, everybody did! So when we TODAY use the terms “the sun rose/set”, we use it “phenomenonologically” (sp?); we don’t actually BELIEVE the sun rises/sets, we just use the language of appearance. But, importantly, when the writers of the Bible used those terms (for one example, Ps. 19:6), we have every reason to believe that they meant it quite literally! So if that’s the case, while the Bible isn’t teaching geocentrism, it does sometimes teach spiritual/theological truths through the use of the then-universally-held, but INaccurate understanding of the physical world. That being the case, I don’t see how you can hold that “in this case, I believe the Bible is actually accurately presenting a scientific fact.” If the scientific fact is that the earth revolves around the sun…how does the Bible accurately present this?? I think the answer is plain: It DOESN’T! God apparently wasn’t that interested in correcting their “cosmology”…He had significantly more important things to teach them, and perhaps to spend time correcting their every misunderstanding of the physical cosmos would have just been a huge distraction.

            If the Bible isn’t accurately presenting scientific facts, it doesn’t mean God is lying to us, either. Let me attempt to illustrate why that’s the case. Let’s say you were sent as a missionary to some remote jungle tribe who still believed that the sun moved around the earth. You want to show them how the regularity of the laws of nature points to a Creator who loves them, so you say “Look at how the sun rises in the East, and sets in the West, like clockwork! You can depend on it! How much more can we depend on the One God who is behind it? Now, let me tell you more about how this One God saved sinners through His Son….”. In this scenario, you would completely understand in your own mind that the sun doesn’t really rise/set, and yet you also know that the tribe will understand your words quite literally, because they actually believe the sun DOES move around the earth. However, you don’t want to get bogged down and distracted from the REAL purpose you are there…to lead them to Christ; so you just do the wise thing, and speak to them in terms they can relate to, EVEN IF you are perpetuating an incorrect understanding of the physical world. Because at the end of the day…whether or not they believe the earth ACTUALLY revolves around the sun really doesn’t matter; what’s important is that they know Christ. So, though this illustration probably isn’t perfect, I hope you can see through the illustration why it might be part of God’s wisdom to forego correcting the astronomy of the ANE so that He could focus on an infinitely greater purpose.

            Thanks again for your kind words, I also have enjoyed this discussion. No rancor, no name calling. I don’t know how many Reformed folks are TE, though as I mentioned, Tim Keller is open to it, and BB Warfield -the great defender of inerrany – was as well. There is another commenter in here who is staunchly reformed and also TE, though I can’t remember who it is off the top of my head. When I first considered TE, I also was concerned that it was just a “liberal” position, which made me hesitant to consider it. So when I found out about Warfield, Keller, C.S. Lewis, and others, it made me more open. Trust me when I tell you that I am in NOOO way “emergent”, I am about as big a fan of Rob Bell, et al., as I am a fan of colonoscopies; I only mention that because though there may be some tangential agreement between some emergent-types and me on the evolution issue, it in no way means that I agree with them on other matters.

            I have to repent of envy sometimes when I consider the gifts Dr. White has that I wish I had. He’s a great guy, I got to meet him once and talk to him; I even got him to autograph my copy of “The Potter’s Freedom”. I doubt that he’ll do a debate on this topic though, just because it doesn’t seem to fit his areas of expertise. His book on the King James Controversy was the nail in the coffin of my KJVonly beliefs (taught to me in the churches of my upbringing). And Potter’s Freedom was the book that finally brought me firmly over into the Calvinist camp.

            Finally, let me ask you this: have you read any books explaining and defending the age of the earth, the theory of evolution, etc.? If you haven’t, may I suggest that you do so? Because if you haven’t been compelled by the weight of the evidence for evolution, you may not really understand why people like myself feel so strongly about revisiting our interpretation of the Bible.

          • Alan S

            Btw, I thought you might find this interesting (I’m actually just listening to it now). Two leading believers who amicably debate the topic of YEC. It’s not a formal debate like you’d find with James White, but worthwhile both for the insight and the way it models respectfulness.

          • Jeff

            I wouldn’t mind listening to it if you have a link (or the names of the guys?)
            I wish I could find a debate/discussion where both sides were limited to the Bible. Most of the ones I have listened to are with the OEC (or TE maybe?) using their interpretation of scientific facts and the YEC using their interpretation of the Bible. Or both sides only referring to science – and their interpretation of that science. To have a debate where both sides had to show how their position was compatible with Genesis 1-11 and also with the rest of Scripture. THAT would get me excited!

          • Alan S

            Whoops! That would help…http://www.civitate.org/2015/01/the-city-podcast-an-amiable-disagreement-on-young-earth-creationism/

            Here is the link to the article written by Gordon about YEC referenced in the podcast. file:///C:/Users/alan/Downloads/1412974198SRC_1_3_144-173%20(1).pdf

          • Jeff

            sweet, thanks!

      • Alan S

        Oh, and btw, I think that I do debate the topic respectfully (which doesn’t mean that I never employ sarcasm), and certainly remain in fellowship with all kids of friends and family who are YEC or who reject evolution. I don’t think that I’ve ever insulted anyone who had a different view from mine. It would have been nice if Ham would have been gracious enough to fellowship with Deb Haarsma of Biologos and accept her dinner invitation, but alas, no.

        • Jeff

          I am sorry, but your post did not seem respectful to a Christian elder (even if you believe his viewpoint is wrong).
          In your very post you say:
          Ken Ham does not require YEC for salvation
          Ken Ham does believe rejection of YEC is compromise
          Therefore:
          Ken Ham must have a different definition of compromise than you since you believe it is willful rebellion (impossible for a Christian per 1 John 3:6)
          Yet, you reject this logical conclusion and instead chose to accuse him of basically damning those who disagree with him. Please help me to understand how this is respectful? Did I misunderstand you? If I did so, I am sorry; please help me to better understand your point.

          • Alan S

            Be specific, please. Quote the statement I made that was disrespectful, and explain why you think it was such. I have explained why I think it’s cold comfort to be accepted as a compromising Christian. Just not getting why you’re so adamant about me being disrespectful. (?)

          • Jeff

            I may have imported my own feelings into this one, I’ll admit.
            When I make a clear statement such as “Arminians are Christians, they are just not holding to a biblical view of God’s sovereignty” and then someone says, “you don’t believe arminians are Christians because you accuse them of not believing the doctrine of the sovereignty of God” I feel disrespected. I think it is because they are basically calling me a liar – when I am not lying.
            I felt the same when you made the statement about Ken Ham and seemed to question whether or not he believed old earthers were 2nd class Christians (or perhaps not even Christians at all).

          • Alan S

            I believe that he most likely does think we are Christians. I do, however, believes his actions and words betray the fact that he nevertheless DOES consider us to be 2nd class Christians. Again, that’s my opinion, but I think it’s a well informed one. Do I like Ken Ham? No, not really. Is it because he’s a young earth creationist? No, because I know and love many YECs (friends and family, as well as Christian public figures like James White). It has more to do with what comes across to me as smugness. That’s just my subjective opinion, but I don’t think it’s disrespectful.

          • Jeff

            I completely agree with your above statement not being disrespectful. I do not think everyone should have to “like” Ken Ham, or even agree with him. To disagree is not disrespectful. I also agree with your earlier statement regarding the usefulness of sarcasm, however, sarcasm (something i too am fond of, maybe too much!) does cut. It is designed to. I think it is a wonderful tool when talking about heathen beliefs (like Elijah and the prophets of baal). Jesus and Paul also frequently used sarcasm – but I did notice they didn’t seem to use it against believers. Jesus used it on the pharisees, and Paul on the judaizers. But when confronting believers, they condemned wrong actions and beliefs – sternly even; but I don’t recall them mocking or being sarcastic with them.
            As an aside, I appreciate the tone you are demonstrating with me here. I do not feel you are compromising your view, or pretending you agree with me – yet you are not disrespectful toward me. Thank you!

          • Alan S

            “To disagree is not disrespectful.” Amen! Our culture really needs to hear that today!

            I can be very sarcastic by (fallen!) nature; apparently others recognize that – my sister bought me t-shirt for Christmas that says “I speak fluent sarcasm”. :) But because of that I have to conscientiously restrain my tongue (or “keyboard” in this case?) sometimes; I try very hard to avoid flat-out name calling and ad hominem, and to give benefit of the doubt when at all possible. Nonetheless, I am sure that I fail at it sometimes too! :) Interesting thought about Jesus and Paul and their use of sarcasm; I will take that on board.

            As far as the tone…you’re welcome! I try, I really try, to have a personal policy of not writing anything in an internet comment that I wouldn’t say to a person if I was in their presence. One of the prime evidence’s in our modern world (in my opinion) of the truth of “Total Depravity” (shout-out to you my fellow Calvinist!) is the cesspool of internet comments, made by both unbelievers AND (sadly) professing believers. I’m actually enjoying our interaction.

  • ashleyhr

    Tyler
    I’ll flag your post at Randy’s blog (where I commented yesterday before even seeing your blog). Note that Ham has said something very similar AGAIN this week about the implications of not accepting Genesis (the way he accepts it). But he also has an agenda of accusing critical bloggers (even mildly critical ones like Randy) of “gross misrepresentation” of his views etc – in order to make himself look better (ie more victimised) to his narrow-minded fanbase.

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      Thanks, Ashley!

  • TogetherWeStand

    Instead of pointing the finger at Ken Ham for having a dinosaur children’s ride it would seem to me that Tyler Franke should concentrate on telling the truth himself. He recently lied to me claiming that he in no way has remotely indicated that evolution is taught in the Bible, though there is a webpage on this site claiming that Ecclesiastes 3:18-20 does just that and the website name (godofevolution) would lead anyone to assume differently. There is also a very sad image of an evolved ape carrying the precious cross of Christ at the top of each web page.

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      The conversation our resident troll is misquoting from can be found here, where he said, “You are honest in admitting that you believe evolution is taught in the Bible,” and I replied, “I have said nothing remotely like that.” I was under the assumption (which I believe to be quite reasonable) that “TogetherWeStand’s” original accusation was referring to the current discussion we were engaged in, rather than “everything I have ever said.”

      The Ecclesiastes passage he mentioned is one of our memes, where we make humorous points with silly pictures. (Despite his claim that he makes his living teaching young people how to argue, he doesn’t appear to be able to tell the difference between a joke and a serious statement.) He could have also referenced this meme.

      In both cases, the obvious intention of the pictures was something of a bridge-building exercise, pointing out that the entirety of scripture is not so rigidly opposed to the scientific theory of evolution as some claim. All the same, I do not believe, nor have I ever said, that the Bible teaches evolution. In fact, what I have said on numerous occasions is that the Bible is not a source of scientific information at all, and it is a misuse of the text to attempt to discern scientific information from it.

      I believe it to be a divinely inspired book, infallible on all that it was intended to teach, which includes deep and everlasting truth about God, his nature, his workings through history and his relationship with man and the condition of man. At the same time, it was written by ancient human people, and its truths are in some ways conveyed through an ancient and limited understanding of the natural world. I believe this to be a vessel that is as incidental and irrelevant to the Bible’s timeless message as the fact that it was originally written in ancient Hebrew and Greek.

    • Aceofspades25

      Oh scandal… how dare he have a picture of an evolved ape (otherwise known as Homo sapien) carrying a cross.

      • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

        Yes, quite the scandal.

  • Acey916

    Hey good read :) Its sad that Ken Ham has to put ultimatums on people for believing stuff like evolution (which is undoubtedly true, and the earth is not 6000 years old, its much much older closer to 4.5 billion years old) But because Ken Ham does not agree with people who can live in reality he resorts to calling you not Christian, if you dont “buy” into his strict literal form of Christianity then it seems like he denies that you are even a Christian. Its sickening that people actually listen to this guy or even worse go to his museum. The fact he claims people have no idea where we got the “riding on dinosaurs” from is proof alone to his dishonesty. Look at his museum which seems like its in the 4th dimension, riding dinosaurs is the norm. Honestly how ridiculous is that? The claim that people used to ride dinosaurs, the claim that people even lived at the same time as dinosaurs is just absurd. Its like these Young Earth Creationists do not even try to learn the facts of biology or history. They do not realize how crazy it sounds that humans lived with dinosaurs, also, they do not realize how impossible it would have been for humans and dinosaurs to share the earth together (at the same time) The atmosphere would have been thicker when dinosaurs lived, the climate was drastically different 65 million years ago (not 6000) humans would not have been able to survive the climate at that time, thus, living side by side with dinosaurs is impossible. How do young earthies account for no record of dinosaurs in ANY written human history??? They say this: “Dinosaurs were so common, so common place, that nobody felt it was relevant to write about them, or mention them. Its like nobody talks about cows or sheep today” – Ken Ham. This was a quote I read of his a few weeks ago. But he is wrong people did write about all the animals they lived with, and sorry Mr. Hammy but Dinosaurs are never mentioned. If dinosaurs lived next to humans I think we would expect to find cave paintings of them, or even one mention of them. But we dont because its absolutely crazy to truly believe we lived side by side with dinosaurs. I really cannot understand how people can believe some of this stuff. Is it ignorance or is it stupidity? Or is it a mix of both? Thats what I cannot seem to figure out. I have nothing against Religious people, I do have something against stupid people though. I believe what they teach (young earth Creationists) is harmful to society, its not science, its not even close to being real science, it damages they way people think critically and accept truths, overall I believe young earth creationists need to be stopped before they plummet us back into the dark ages!

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      Thanks for the support, man! Glad you liked the article. I honestly don’t understand how Ken Ham manages to maintain the following he does while pulling stuff like this. I suppose he’s just very good at what he does (sales and marketing).

      • Acey916

        Yeah he knows how to sell the product. I totally agree :) Thanks for the response!! Love ur blog/site :)

        • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

          Thanks! I appreciate the support!

    • Jeff

      Well, the Bible is not a zoology textbook. And of course dinosaurs cannot be mentioned (the word wasn’t even invented yet!) however, the word ‘dragon’ along with its descriptions do seem to accurately describe some sort of sauropod. Also, the consistency of dragons in cultures around the world seem to indicate a possible currently extinct animal. I can empathize with those who feel Ken Ham is overly harsh in his description of those who hold to a old-earth view. The reason I can empathize with it is because I have and continue to experience the exact same thing with fellow Christians calling me “dumb” “uninformed” “ignorant” and/or “legalistic” for holding to a young earth view. Just reading your post demonstrates the exact same attitude you accuse Ken Ham of. I am all for being convinced in your perspective, I also acknowledge the fact that both cannot be right (at least one of us is wrong). However for a young-earther to automatically question an old-earther’s faith OR for an old-earther to accuse the young-earther of pushing humanity back to the “dark ages” (your words) are both wrong for the same reason.
      Grace and peace my friend

    • Bailey Nix

      Actually there are depictions accurately portrayed in caves, pottery, tombs All over the world. Egypt, Babylon, Orient, Africa, Europe, American Indian. .all you have to do is search..the answers are there.

      • Hesster

        One might as well argue that the existence of depictions of humans with
        animal features means ancient people interacted with time traveling
        furries.

        Those ancient depictions that aren’t faked are hybrids that take traits of existing animals the people were familiar with. It’s also possible ancient people may have come across fossilized skeletons and made them based on those

        Humans have made up a lot of mythological animals throughout history. That some of the should coincidentally resemble actual extinct creatures shouldn’t be surprising.

        And BTW, even if ancient people DID interact directly with dinosaurs, it wouldn’t disprove evolution OR the scientifically determined age of the Earth any more than discovering the coelacanth did. The only thing it would mean is some dinosaurs survived the extinction event into modern times.

        • Bailey Nix

          There are many more evidences that go against the evolutionary theory..Of course science ignores them, and I do understand why.290 million year old modern human footprint found in New Mexico..
          laetoli footprints. Manganese ball shaped deposits found in the Atlantic and other oceans that no evolutionis can explain,and yet do fit in the creationist view..Science knows how these develop , they are observable, and they know when they quit forming.

  • Christina McDonald

    What I find offensive is this guy saying he knows all about the bible when his degree isn’t even in Christian studies. Zip zero nada. He even had the audacity to take on a former minister who had PhD’s in Christianity and other Christian related studies. As far as I’m concerned he just came over from Assie land, saw a ripe plum in the bible belt ready for picking and put down roots and a shoddy museum.

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      Sounds about right to me. Thanks, Christina!

  • MattTheWingle

    Is Ken Ham’s comments on salvation and creation not simply saying, “If we can doubt the words in creation and the biblical authority then we can doubt the biblical authority for salvation.”?

    I’m not saying that the way he said it is right, or even if that is what he means, but the fact remains that if Genesis isn’t true (remembering it isn’t a scientific text book, but a vook which speaks more of the reason for creation) then it casts doubts on the rest of Scripture, and therefore what it says about our salvation.

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      Is Ken Ham’s comments on salvation and creation not simply saying, “If we can doubt the words in creation and the biblical authority then we can doubt the biblical authority for salvation.”?

      No, that’s not all he’s saying. Our perspective is not, “Genesis is wrong and untrustworthy.” Our perspective is, “Genesis is not literal,” which is something many church fathers and theologians have believed and written about since very close to the time of Christ (way before anyone was talking about evolution or billions of years, in other words).

      We Christians who accept evolution still absolutely believe in the truth of Genesis, its trustworthiness, its inspiration and its infallibility. So when Ken Ham describes our view as “doubting biblical authority,” he is completely misconstruing (aka, lying about) our perspective.

      If we actually were encouraging people to “doubt” Genesis or the Bible’s authority in general, then his argument would be quite valid. But since no Christian is actually saying that, Ham’s position is, essentially, “Disagreeing with my view of the Bible is equivalent to doubting biblical authority and undermining scripture’s teachings about salvation.” Which should be deeply disturbing to anyone who does believe in the importance of the gospel message.