A year ago today, popular children educator Bill Nye and the president of Answers in Genesis, Ken Ham, debated one another at the Creation Museum in Kentucky. Has anything changed within a year?
Bill Nye was recently interviewed by the folks at BioLogos. Two things stand out to me in the interview:
- For Bill Nye, “creationism” means believing in a Young Earth that is only 6,000 to 10,000 years old. Other forms of “creationism,” including Old-Earth Creationism as articulated at Reasons to Believe and Evolutionary Creationism as articulated at BioLogos simply do not count as “creationism.”
- For Bill Nye, the science of evolution does not allow a reasonable person to see any divine “plan” in nature… at least for him.
If you accept the black-and-white categories laid out by both Bill Nye and Ken Ham, it leaves very little room for talking about harmonizing the God of the Bible’s Creative activity with contemporary science without compromising either the Biblical authority on the one hand or modern Science on the other. I was not very thrilled with the debate as it just seemed as though the participants kept talking past one another, something that comes out in the Answers In Genesis video linked below.
Has there been more fruitful dialogue to come out of the Nye/Ham debate over the past year? I will let you be the judge, but from where I sit, it does not help the situation when even Christians find themselves unable to see past their own prejudices, confusing making a stand on the Truthfulness of God’s Word with merely being uncharitable towards others with whom they disagree.
But allow me to make a positive illustration: At the National Conference on Christian Apologetics that I attended in October, 2014, with a few Veracity friends, I had the privilege of meeting Dr. Michael Behe, one of the leading lights of the Intelligent Design movement, discussed here earlier on Veracity. I also met Hugh Ross, the president of Reasons to Believe, a favorite here at Veracity. I told both gentlemen that I was a bit bothered that while there were Young Earth, Old Earth, and Intelligent Design people represented at that conference, the Evolutionary Creationist camp represented by BioLogos was conspicuously absent (this is ironic since WORLD magazine soon thereafter made the counter-claim that BioLogos excluded prominent critics from a BioLogos conference … I guess WORLD magazine never covered the National Conference on Christian Apologetics… more *SIGHING*).
What Michael Behe and Hugh Ross said was refreshingly encouraging. While both disagreed with the view of Darwinism held by the folks at BioLogos, and both nevertheless continue to try to persuade others to their point of view, both men still count a number of their critics at BioLogos as being friends.
Wow. What a novel concept: Embracing fellow believers in Christ as friends, even when you strongly disagree with them on a particular non-salvation issue.
Perhaps if others in the creation/age-of-the-earth/evolution debate within the Body of Christ had that type of attitude with one another, then when you have debates with folks like Bill Nye, it would not seem like you were always talking past the other person.
Thanks, Dr. Behe and Dr. Ross!
February 7th, 2015 at 6:24 pm
I too am concerned by this division. It seems we have made the age of the earth a litmus test to show if you are a true believer. My take is do we as Christians want to win an argument or win souls? We need to stop fighting among our selves and do as Paul did, be all things to all people. “To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.”(1 Corinthians 9:22 ESV) Thanks for another great post. David
February 7th, 2015 at 8:05 pm
To his credit, Ken Ham does not consider belief in “millions of years” as a “salvation issue”…. at least not directly:
The age of the earth for Ken Ham is indirectly a salvation issue, since in his mind, it implies a type of “slippery slope” that could lead some down the road towards unbelief. The problem with this type of logic is that in many ways it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you make the age-of-the-earth a mark of orthodoxy, then it can put people in the awful position of having to choose between the Bible and science in such a way that it sets up a false dichotomy, which can lead to a lack of trust in the church and those who teach God’s Word, which is a breeding ground for unbelief.
Why Ken Ham is unable to grasp that completely escapes me.
In the final analysis, I am willing to concede that Ken Ham might be right. The earth really could be only 6,000 years old, contrary to what modern science tells us. What I am not willing to concede is the idea of putting some type of unnecessary theological straight-jacket on people that breeds distrust of other followers of Jesus Christ who do not think exactly like they do.
Such division only harms our witness for the Gospel.
Thanks, David, as always for your thoughtful comments.
April 25th, 2022 at 5:45 pm
Babylon Bee goes to visit the Ark.