Bill Nye & Ken Ham

The Current Argument about an Ancient Question

By Kersley Fitzgerald

Do you remember the movie Sweet Home Alabama? Reese Witherspoon plays a New York fashion designer who has to go home to Alabama to divorce her high school sweetie (the always lovely Josh Lucas) so she can marry her socialite fiancé (Patrick Dempsey). Hijinks ensue as rural Alabama meets high-end NYC.

The funniest part of this movie wasn't Nathan Lee Graham's designer or "a baby in a bar" or even Reese sucker-punching her intended's mother (Candace Bergin) when she insulted her mamma. It was the reactions of the audience. People from big cities loved the movie because it showed how ridiculous rural southerners can be. Southerners loved the movie because it showed how ridiculous big cityites can be. A grand time was had by all as all found validation for their respective cultures.

A similar reaction seems to be in the air for the recent debate between creationist (Answers in Genesis co-founder) Ken Ham and Bill Nye the Science Guy. The Global Post says Bill Nye won by virtue of tree rings (an argument our own Steve Webb makes in his latest article). Albert Mohler claims Ken Ham won because he recognized his prejudice while Bill Nye hid behind his "reasonable man".

If you have been around GotQuestions ministries for any length of time, you know the official viewpoint is literal 24-hour, 6-day creation approximately 6000 years ago. All to include dinosaurs mentioned in the Bible, no gap between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2, and a full-on global flood that explains many of the more puzzling geological formations.

And it is the belief of this writer, who saw Ken Ham in conference twenty years ago.

So why, you may ask, is, an off-shoot of GotQuestions, posting articles from an old-earth geologist?

The Gospel. Because the age of the earth is not a salvation issue. Because we do get questions from people who would like to accept Jesus as their savior but are hung up on the timeline.

Because if Bill Nye ever came to the realization that he can do nothing to pay for his sins, we want it known that Jesus will take him with his beliefs about the age of the earth, just as Jesus took all of us with whatever understandings and misunderstandings we have.

Dispensational theology, which GotQuestions is a proponent of, teaches that at every place possible, the Bible should be interpreted literally. While the Scriptures do use metaphor, passages should not be spiritualized if there is a viable literal translation. Over-spiritualization leads to misinterpretation and, eventually, heresy.

It could be said that those who believe in an old earth are using this framework in regards to geological and astronomical evidence around them. Interpret things literally. The corresponding concept to spiritualization being the existence of miracles. Bill Nye and other atheistic materialists completely reject the possibility of an outside Force acting in a way that supersedes the laws of nature. Old-earth creationists allow for just enough miracles to reconcile secular science with Genesis 1.

So, as we dispensationalists would accuse the tendency of covenant theologians to over-spiritualize literal events, atheists and old-earth creationists would accuse new-earthers of relying too heavily on miracles to shoehorn nature into a biblical worldview.

Which is why Ken and Bill can have a huge debate and millions of viewers of varying opinions walk away with their beliefs not only intact, but bolstered. Just like the audience of Sweet Home Alabama. Same evidence, different interpretations due to different presuppositional apologetics.

And yet God is big enough. He's big enough to take us with all our theories and our pride and our unanswered questions and our doubts. He's big enough for our debates and arguments. And He's big enough for our worship — our messed-up, ill-informed, sin-riddled acknowledgement of Who He is.

So what should our response be when we meet up with someone who doesn't interpret the data as we do? Be kind. Diligently studying the Scriptures. Accept that God is not afraid of anyone's science. Relax! And be humble. In reality, none of us know exactly how the universe was created. And to be accepted by Jesus, we don't have to.

TagsControversial-Issues  |  Current-Issues  |  Science-Creation

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Published 2-5-14