Ken Ham’s new lifesize ark attraction is now open. It looks like it would be something to see, and heck, I might even go take a gander someday. But before you haul your kids over for a course in the Ken Ham view of the Bible, I urge you to think about giving your kids space to keep their faith.
Ken Ham is a dedicated Christian, but he feels that anyone who disputes a seven-day creation narrative is a foe of Christianity. He conflates this battle over the age of the earth with the battle over the origin and development of life on earth. (I heard him speak once, and he basically said you could not be a Christian and believe in an old earth, but I see on his Answers In Genesis website, he has consented to allow old-earth believers to keep their salvation—”it’s probably not a prerequisite.”) Nevertheless, keeping to one battle at a time, here is a thought-experiment about Genesis and the date of creation.
A Thought Experiment
If Michael the Archangel came down and told you that the earth is actually 3 billion years old, would you find yourself completely unable to reconcile the Genesis account with that information? Would you feel God had out and out lied in Genesis 1-3 and that the whole Bible was now untrustworthy? Or could you see yourself looking at Genesis 1-3 with a new perspective and perhaps accede that Genesis could be true in the sense that it describes God’s action in creation and declares that everything begins with God, even if it is not a 24-hour-day-by-7-day narration of events? Perhaps you could see these verses as less a scientific description and more of an ancient poetic account? Is there absolutely no other way to look at those verses except in the way you believe them to be interpreted?
Before the 1600s people believed in the Ptolemaic system to explain how the stars and sun and moon moved around the earth. They believed the Bible supported this view of the universe. Psalms declared that “the world is firmly established; it cannot be moved.” After Galileo’s telescope revealed that the earth did in fact rotate around the sun, this new view of the solar system had to be accepted. But did that make the Bible untrue and make God a liar? Or did it just mean that man had used Scripture in a way it was not intended to be used? Once discovering the heliocentric view of the solar system, men realized the Scripture could be interpreted in another way.
Leaving Room for Faith
You can go through life believing in a young earth. If you are right, then yippee. If not, it probably won’t affect you one way or the other. But that is not true of everyone. Some of our kids are going to look through the metaphorical telescope and become convinced that the earth does move—or more to the point that the earth is older than 6,000 years. Don’t set your kids up to reject the faith because they can’t accept a young earth. Leave room for other orthodox interpretations of Scripture. And leave room in your own mind for the thought that you could be wrong.