Watch Bill Nye the Science Guy debate Ken Ham with Answers in Genesis on the question “is creation a viable model of origins in today’s modern, scientific era?” and see my reflections below.
My Reflections on the Debate
One of the things I enjoyed about this debate was the demonstration of two people looking at the same evidence and coming to different conclusions. I thoroughly enjoyed the fact that Ken Ham brilliantly exposed that there exists an unspoken false assumption that there is a difference between science and creation; academics and religion; etc. Creationists are too often caricatured as narrow minded simpletons who ignore facts in order to hold on to their religion. Ken Ham did a great job of pointing to the fact that the biblical view is not simply convincing as a viable model of origins for him, but also for countless other scientists who draw their conclusions of origins based on the scientific method, and then compare their conclusions to the bible only to find out that they are in harmony.
The only thing I wish was discussed a little more was the fact that there are bible believing Christians that do not hold to the young-earth model.
I believe that God reveals Himself in 2 ways:
1) General Revelation – this is where God reveals Himself through creation (Psalm 19:1; Romans 1:19-20). People that study God’s creation are called scientists.
2) Special Revelation – this is where God reveals Himself through the scriptures. People that study God’s scriptures are called theologians.
I believe Ken Ham did a phenomenal job at demonstrating how two scientists (people studying God’s creation) can look at the same evidence (general revelation, such as fossils, etc.) and come to different conclusions regarding the age of the earth. However, I don’t believe that he was very open to the idea that two theologians (people studying God’s word) can look at the same evidence (special revelation; i.e. the bible) and come to different conclusions regarding the age of the earth. I am in no way suggesting that because there are Christians on both sides of the origins debate that the bible is open for interpretation on all points. There are certain things the bible leaves no wiggle room on which are referred to as Essential Christian Doctrines (things you must believe in order to be a Christian) – See our Statement of Unity for reference.
I am saying, however, that I believe the question of the age of the earth is not one the bible strives to be clear on. I have heard both young-earth creationists and old-earth creationists give compelling arguments based solely on what the bible says (not looking at science and then trying to fit the bible into their ideology). Whether or not the bible is clear on the age of the earth is not the question. My point is that the bible doesn’t strive to tell us the age of the earth; that is – the point of the bible is not to tell us about science. The bible is not a science book, though we can extrapolate conclusions of science based on claims in the bible. For example, the hydrologic cycle (Ecclesiastes 1:7; Isaiah 55:10), the shape of the earth (Isaiah 40:22), the innumerable amount of stars (Jeremiah 33:22), and a host of other scientific topics are all discussed in the bible several centuries before they were discovered using the scientific method… however, I don’t believe God’s point in writing the bible was to tell us everything we need to know about science. Rather, the bible’s point is to tell us everything we need to know about God.
Though I wish a little more credibility was given to Old-Earth Creationists, I still believe this debate was great in so many ways; especially because it received so much publicity – even from the secular media – and Ken did a good job presenting his case. This means that possibly millions of people who otherwise would have never listened to a creationist have now heard an intelligent Christian present his case, as well as the gospel. I hope that this debate with Bill Nye is just the beginning of many opens doors for similar debates with as much (or more) publicity from the secular media. I hope that more outspoken and militant secularists like Penn Jillete and Bill Maher, who are often very harsh and vocally condescending towards creationists, will move past the rhetoric and step up to take on the challenge to reason with more Christian apologists who, like Ken Ham, can confidently and intelligibly give a reasonable defense for the Christian faith.