Showing posts with label young earth. Show all posts
Showing posts with label young earth. Show all posts

Friday, March 8, 2013

Two Creation Ministries Endorse The Bible Miniseries

Posted by Christine Pack

I love Young Earth Creation ministries, absolutely love them. Talk about a hard road for a Christian to walk, that is by far one of the hardest in this day and age. And I should know, because as a non-believer I was one of the most strident and most outspoken evolutionary thinkers around. In fact, I used to take particular delight in mocking and ridiculing Christians, especially Young Earth Christians. Christians were bad enough, but Young Earth Christians? Christians who rejected all the scientific evidence (or so I had been taught) that destroyed their young earth timeframe? Oh my, just turn me loose. I was ready to let fly with "carbon dating" at a moment's notice. So imagine my dismay, then, to find myself one day.......saved. A new creation in Christ. Born again. I was, in so many ways, like an actual baby. I would crave the Bible the way a newborn baby craves milk. And as I was reading and reading and reading through the Bible, the Holy Spirit began to do the work of dismantling my old, worldly ideas. The old man was gone, I was being rebuilt. I sometimes joke that this was a period in which God was breaking me down like a Marine sergeant, only to be building me back up in truth. I had so many wrong ideas about life, about the world, about myself, about marriage, about relationships, and, well, about everything. Except for one thing: I was pretty sure that science had proved evolution. I say "pretty sure" and not "convinced" because during that breaking down/building up period, I was truly no longer convinced that I had ever gotten anything right in my life, prior to salvation.

Enter the Young Earth Creation ministries. Yes, I did come around on the young earth/evolution issue, which just goes to show that perhaps God has a sense of humor. The mocker was now the mocked, and trust me, the irony of this is not lost on me. There are two young earth ministries, in particular, with which I have become very familiar: Answers in Genesis (AIG) and Creation Ministries International (CMI). These ministries are filled with scientists who have studied the evidences for and against young earth within their particular fields of expertise - archaeology, biology, chemistry, astronomy, physics, etc. - and have come away with the conviction that young earth is the most plausible explanation for the state of the earth today. It's been very exciting to me to have access to great articles, books and DVDs on the subject of young earth. No longer does the Christian have to just smile feebly and plead "Just have faith in Jesus!" when the secular Darwinian humanist mocks him with "scientific" data; we now have data of our own, and believe me, there are no village idiots at either of the Creationism ministries linked above.

As far as Creation Ministries International goes, I have listened to many of their testimonies, including testimonies by Dr. Carl Weiland, Dr. Jonathan Sarfati, and Dr. David Catchpoole. In fact, I have burned Dr. Catchpoole's testimony to CD for the purpose of handing it out to evolutionary atheists and skeptics. I have also handed out In Six Days, a young earth apologetics book which Dr. Sarfati contributed to. And, one of my all time favorite books is Gary Bates' Alien Intrusion. And Answers in Genesis? Our family has been to countless AIG seminars, including hosting one with Paul Taylor (AIG-UK) at our own church. We also have hundreds of dollars worth of AIG resources, and I've  purchased and given away many, many, many AIG items as witnessing materials. We've visited the Creation Museum three times since it opened in 2007, and I also regularly point the readers of our blog here to Answers in Genesis as a valuable resource. I'm saying all this to demonstrate how well I know these ministries, and that I truly do value them and their contribution to Christianity.

So I was surprised when I found out that both Answers in Genesis and Creation Ministries International recently endorsed the Bible miniseries now playing on the History Channel. (As an aside, if I had to hazard a guess as to why I think these ministries have written favorably about this series, I would say that it is probably because the series does show Adam and Eve as historical figures, and does depict a global flood, issues which are of utmost importance, obviously, to young earth ministries because these ideas are so profoundly under attack in today's secular culture. But more about that later.) You can read the Answers in Genesis article here, and the Creation Ministries International article here.

We recently wrote about our concern over this miniseries, given that the Board of Advisors for the miniseries includes seeker sensitive pastor Rick Warren, and Prosperity Gospel preachers Joel Osteen and T.D. Jakes. (You can review the Board of Advisors for the Bible miniseries here.) The miniseries was also produced by a devout Roman Catholic, former Touched By An Angel star Roma Downey, who, while a talented actress, has some very problematic theological views, at best.

Also, after viewing the first episode of the Bible miniseries myself, I am truly surprised that such highly respected ministries as AIG and CMI would endorse such a series. The problems are numerous, including many extrabiblical details that take far more than creative license in the telling of certain stories, including angels in Sodom who were attacked by the crowd and had to run to Lot's house, screaming for help, but who then went all Ninja warrior and threw down some moves on the Sodomites so Lot's family could escape. That's from Genesis, Chapter......nah, just kidding, that's not in the Bible.

Or how about the depiction of Abraham taking Isaac up the mountain to sacrifice him? This one was far more troubling to me, in that it was bad/bordering on blasphemous in its depiction of God. On a personal note, the biblical account of Abraham and Isaac is one of my favorite passages in the Bible, but it must be properly taught and understood. I learned this story as a young girl in a theologically liberal church that did not give any context or any explanation of this as a one-time event meant to point us to Christ, our ultimate sacrifice, and to show that even though God stayed the hand of Abraham over his son, his only son, whom he loved, that when it came time for God's hand to fall upon his own Son, his only Son, whom he loved, God did not stay his own hand. BUT, out of great mercy and love for mankind, God let his hand fall upon his Son so that his wrath could be appeased and atonement could be made for undeserving sinners. Understood in its proper context and its place in redemptive history, that story of Abraham and Isaac is almost unbearably sweet to the saved sinner who looks upon it and marvels at God's great love. But without such context or an understanding of the redemptive theme of the entire Bible, in which the historical account of Abraham and Isaac is meant to point us to the future, greater Sacrifice yet to come, that story just seems cruel, and God comes off as arbitrary, capricious and easily angered. In fact, the story of Abraham/Isaac that I learned as a young girl in a liberal church, in the disjointed way that I learned it, separated from its place in redemptive hisstory, was a story that stayed with me and troubled me for years. I can also definitively point to that particular story, as one of the reasons I ultimately walked away from the church in my late teens. Who would choose to worship a God who would tell a father to murder his own son? Who could love a God like that? And yet, the Bible miniseries also depicts the story of Abraham/Isaac in the same way: disjointed, a bit arbitrary, and without any teaching about this event as a part of redemptive history.

To sum it up, what the Bible miniseries got so wrong (skimming over the redemptive theme of the Bible), is exactly what Answers In Genesis, in my opinion, has always gotten so right. Ken Ham in particular has been consistently faithful to show why getting Genesis right matters, and not just in the details, but in the overall message of the Bible. Simply put, AIG has been a light in the darkness regarding this issue. Is this not true? In the "7 C's of History" section of the Creation Museum created by Ken Ham and AIG, there is a cohesive theme, and that theme is the unfolding redemption through Christ. For those who have been to the Creation Museum, think about the way the sacrificial system is presented in the museum walk-through, as well as the types and shadows of the first animal slain to cover the sin of Adam and Eve, Abraham and Isaac, the Passover, etc., all meant to point to Christ, our final and greatest Sacrificial Lamb, all meant to point us toward the ultimate message of the Bible: that God has made a way for sinful man to be reconciled to a high and holy God.  I mean come on, that's brilliant stuff, glorious stuff. But this Bible miniseries does not make that just strings disconnected stories together in a disjointed way. Big problem.

So, can a case be made that the "God" of the Bible miniseries is an accurate portrayal of the God of the Bible? I contend that no, such a case cannot be made. The "God" presented in the Bible miniseries is NOT the God of the Bible: in the Bible miniseries, "God" is arbitrary, capricious and easily angered. But in reality......

God is NOT arbitrary.......from the very first pages of the Bible, He is beginning to lay out, through glorious types and shadows, the redemptive theme of the Bible and his plan to reconcile wicked sinners to himself.

God is NOT capricious......He is very long-suffering, attested to numerous times in Scripture (Exodus 34:6, Numbers 14:18, Psalm 103:8, Psalm 145:8, Romans 2:4, 2 Peter 3:9).

God is NOT easily angered......He was clear about his instructions to Adam and Eve, and his anger was righteous and just.

With this Bible miniseries, I have been feeling like I was reliving The Shack controversy all over again. During all The Shack hoopla, we had people mad at us, furious, for daring to challenge the portrayal of God in The Shack. The argument was that, well, hey, maybe it's not totally accurate, but at least people are interested in God because of it! (and never mind that the "God" of The Shack was presented heretically, with the Trinity being tossed out, and a sly form of Universalism undergirding the story). With the Bible miniseries, we're hearing much the same argument. Many Christians are stating that the Bible miniseries will spur lost people to be interested in the Bible. Christians are telling me, Stop being so nitpicky over doctrine! At least this will get people interested in the Bible! But how can that be true? I contend that (as in The Shack, as in the Bible miniseries) a wrong portrayal of God and his character and nature won't make lost people want to know God more; it will only serve to make them more confused and unclear about who God really is. If that's not clear enough, let me put it this way: if someone came to me and described a man who was violent, verbally abusive and addicted to pornography, and THEN told me they were describing my husband, I would be furious! That is not an accurate description of my husband at all. So it really does matter that we are honest in what we say about others, doesn't it? And beyond that, shouldn't we be striving to be the most honest, the most accurate of all when attempting to depict God? Well, the "God" in the Bible miniseries is NOT the God of the Bible. Nope.

Now please understand me: I am not saying categorically that there is not any way EVER that God couldn't somehow use this series to reach someone. God can and does use imperfect means to accomplish some of his purposes (after all, He uses us to carry the gospel forth, right?). For instance, if someone came to me and said, you know, I watched that series, and came under conviction, and I'd like to talk about it with you because I know you are a Christian, I wouldn't say, well, you can't really be under conviction because that series is blasphemous! No, I would go through the gospel, and it could be that, by God's grace, that person truly becomes a born again believer, which only proves that God is merciful to use very imperfect means, at times. My main point, however, is that I don't think this series, because of its profound theological weaknesses, should be purposefully and intentionally used as a tool to reach the lost, while at the same time recognizing that God, in his infinite mercy, might even use something as doctrinally and theologically weak as this to reach someone. But I personally could never recommend this series as an evangelism tool, it's just simply too problematic.

These are not minor quibbles. As noted above, AIG has always done a tremendous job at showing the redemptive theme that runs through the the question is: when they screened this series, why didn't they "get" that the Bible miniseries so profoundly fails to portray this redemptive theme in a coherent manner? But apparently, somehow they missed this. And as much as I appreciate these valuable Young Earth ministries, perhaps I should point out that the issue of Young Earth Creation (including a literal Adam and Eve and a literal global flood sent as a judgment on wickedness), although important, is not the only issue we need to be contending for today. Doctrine is important, doctrine really does matter, and just as it has been important for born again believers to reclaim and hold the line on truth regarding the biblical account of creation, it is also important for us to hold the line on how God's character and nature, as well as his overarching plan for the redemption of sinners, are portrayed. And in this, the Bible miniseries is an epic Fail.

 Additional Resources 

The Bible on the History Channel: A Review (Answers in Genesis article)

The Bible.....On the History Channel? (Creation Ministries International article)

History Channel’s ‘The Bible’ Exalts Man Over God

Theological Errors of the History Channel's Bible Miniseries, Part 1 (Pirate Christian Radio)

Rick Warren Lays Out The Theology of The History Channel Miniseries, The Bible (Pirate Christian Radio)

Wretched's Review (Todd Friel)

Joel Osteen a Consultant on Bible Miniseries

Roma Downey on Being Catholic

The History Channel’s Bible Miniseries Mishandling of God’s Word (Mike Ratliff)

Touched By An Angel, But Which Kind? (Berit Kjos)

The Bible Miniseries Board of Advisors

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Paul Taylor Discusses Water on Mars, Earth

Posted by Christine Pack
“Isn't it interesting that many scientists look at the planet Mars these days, and they see this canyon across the center of Mars. And they say, the only way that could possibly have been formed is if the planet Mars was completely covered once with water. They even call it the 'Noachian epoch' on Mars. Isn't it amazing? That serious scientists will tell you that a planet which today has next to no water on it must at one time have been completely covered with water. But you try telling them that a planet which is seventy percent covered with water was once a hundred percent covered with water, and they laugh at you.” (Paul Taylor, Creation Today)
Biographical information on Paul Taylor, from the Creation Today website:

Paul Taylor,
Creation Today
Born near Manchester, England, Paul graduated with a degree in Chemistry from the University of Nottingham, and later obtained a Master’s degree from the University of Cardiff. Both are part of the Russell Group, the elite group of 20 British universities, approximately equivalent to the Ivy League colleges in the United States. He was a science teacher in state comprehensive schools for many years, the equivalent of U.S. public schools. He taught in the North-West of England and then in South Wales, eventually becoming a Head of Department. Later he ran a business that trained people in industry and government in general ICT skills and web development. Most recently, Paul was the senior speaker and manager of Answers In Genesis (UK/Europe), the United Kingdom branch of the creationist organization based in Kentucky. In his role at AIG–UK, Paul authored more than eight books, was an itinerant speaker around the country, appearing on radio and TV programs, including brief debates with atheists such as Richard Dawkins and Steve Jones.
“You covered it with the deep as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains. At your rebuke they fled; at the sound of your thunder they took to flight. The mountains rose, the valleys sank down to the place that you appointed for them. You set a boundary that they may not pass, so that they might not again cover the earth.” (Psalm 104:6-9)

 Additional Resources 

Download the first chapter of Paul Taylor's book The Six Days of Genesis
The Six Days of Genesis
Talks Given By Paul Taylor
More Talks Given By Paul Taylor
The Historical Account of the Global Flood, Paul Taylor

 Young Earth Apologetics Resources 

Answers in Genesis
Answers in Genesis Video
The Creation Museum
Creation Ministries International
Already Compromised
Already Gone: Why Your Kids Will Quit Church (And What You Can Do To Stop It)
The New Answers Book, Volume 1
The New Answers Book, Volume 2
The Answers Book for Kids, Volume 1: Creation and the Fall
The Answers Book for Kids, Volume 2: Dinosaurs and the Flood of Noah
The Answers Book for Kids, Volume 3: God and the Bible
The Answers Book for Kids, Volume 4: Sin, Salvation, and the Christian Life
Demolishing Supposed Bible Contradictions Volume 1
The Lie: Evolution
Big Book of History
Adam's Synchronological Chart of History (James Ussher)

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Wisdom of This World is Foolishness

Posted by Christine Pack

Evolutionary scientists insist that the millions/billions of years framework is what makes the evolutionary worldview make sense. With billions of years, they think, anything could happen, including unimaginably complex genetic coding and life arising from non-life materials. But this is perhaps the most absurd argument ever put forward, and truly evidence of futile thinking (see Rom 1:21-22, 1 Cor 1:20, 1 Cor 3:19). With this kind of logic, I should be able to shut the door to the pantry in my kitchen, give it enough time, and have it automatically order itself. This is the "logic" of evolution. But it flies in the face of what we know to be true in observational science, and that is that the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics makes a mockery of this reasoning. The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics explains that items go from order to disorder, from new to decaying. That's why shirts get threadbare after repeated washings and the dustbunnies in my pantry, no longer how long I wait, will not order themselves.

Time has no inherent design capabilities. Time is a measuring stick, that's all.
"For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools." Romans 1:21-22

photo credit: Natalie Blackburn via photo pin cc

 Additional Resources 

Bill Nye The Science Guy's Crusade for the Minds of Your Kids

Answers In Genesis (AIG)

Creation Museum

Institution For Creation Research (ICR)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Nazarene Professor Calls Creationists Cult Members

Posted by Christine Pack

It's not the mortar blasts from the world that surprise me.  They are to be expected.  It's the "friendly fire," as with this USA Today op-ed piece by Karl Giberson, a professing Christian and a professor at Eastern Nazarene College, who says:
"Ken Ham and his Creation Museum in Petersburg, KY are becoming less relevant, as they speak for - and to - an increasingly smaller band of hyper-conservative biblical literalists.  Ham's followers, ironically, are what (we've been warned about): a cult, with their own separate science."
The longstanding method of attacking creationists - a term used to describe Christians who believe the earth was created in 6 literal 24-hour days, as the Bible says in Genesis 1:1-31 - has been to paint them as, well, the village idiot.  But then Ken Ham and his brilliant ministry, Answers in Genesis, came along, and while a person could certainly say a lot of things about those guys over at AIG, you couldn't call them stupid.  Case in point, this list of scientists from the AIG website who have rejected the evolutionary worldview.  These scientists are doctors and professors, many of them with multiple degrees, and the majority of them distinguished in areas of study that are purely science related (biology, astronomy, palaeontology, chemistry, physics, biochemistry, zoology, botany, etc.).  In other words, they're not literature professors with PhD's who have decided to weigh in on topics outside their area of expertise.  These are, by and large, men and women who have rigorously examined the scientific evidence in their fields of study and have become convinced that the scientific data speaks more to a young earth than a millions/billions timeframe.

So now that creationists can't be painted as idiots - not with any intellectual honesty, anyway - the next rule in the playbook is to present them as cult members.  So let's just examine that idea and see if it has any validity.

Cults are characterized by several distinctives, but the most outstanding characteristic is a refusal to hear dissenting views or to accept any incoming data that would challenge the prevailing belief or beliefs held by that cult. So let's say you were brainwashed into the cult of Stars Are Made From Sparks Coming From Elvis Presley's Motorcade in the Sky.  Any evidence in this cult about stars being formed any other way would be suppressed. Cult members would not be allowed to examine the scientific evidence for themselves to see how, in fact, stars are made.  They would just have to take the leader's word for how stars are formed.

See how silly it is to try to paint creationists with this brush?  There is no "main creation guy" trying to keep information out.  As far as I'm concerned, anyone can - and should - examine any and all data pertaining to this topic.  As a former agnostic evolutionist, I was challenged by a friend to examine the evidence side by side for both young earth creationism and old earth evolution, which I did.  I'm not saying everyone would reach the same conclusion I did, but what I found was that there was a tremendous amount of scientific evidence in support of a young earth.  Here's just one little tidbit from Dr. Jonathan Sarfati of Creation Ministries: if the earth were millions of years old, we would not have any oceans, but instead, we would have vast saltbeds where there once were oceans.  Why? Because the amount of salt in the oceans increases incrementally each year.  Not a big deal at all in a young earth scenario, but a huge big deal when you're talking millions/billions, in which cases, the oceans would have turned to pure salt, thick enough to walk upon. Hmmm, bet you never learned about that in Freshman Biology.  I know I didn't.  In fact, quite the opposite.  I had a Biology professor who saw it as his personal mission to separate all the self-identified Christian students from their Christian beliefs.  My own college experience had a profound impact on my worldview....and not in a good way.  I came out of college absolutely convinced of evolution, and it was due mainly to the prevailing view in liberal academia that Christianity was just a set of silly superstitious beliefs, an opiate for the masses, something to keep people warm at night if they couldn't stomach the thought of a world without a God.  The only intellectually honest view was secular humanism.  This was never formally taught (at least it wasn't 20 years ago, but times may have changed), but this view was always implicit, no matter what the course was.

What is so interesting to me today is that the area of creation apologetics has just exploded in just the last decade alone, with more and more discoveries being made that support the young earth view. My challenge would be for anyone curious about this to go and research this for themselves.  Don't take my word for it.  There are a number of groups devoted to teaching the young earth view, and with compelling, scientific evidence.
"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." (Matthew 7:7)

 Additional Resources  

Answers in Genesis

Creation Museum

Creation Ministries International