There are things I know are going to make me look judgmental when I sit down to write them. This would be one of those things. I have been chewing on the rational behind the Creation Museum, and now the Ark as attractions which are claimed to be ministries of, or with, Answers in Genesis (AIG). No matter how I twist it around in my mind, I can’t come to a place where I go, “That’s a good idea.” It was the posting of the picture to the left, and all of it’s “Corporate” look and feel, that finally pushed me to post my thoughts.
Are they really a ministry? I’ll leave that up to you, the reader, to decide. Ken Ham, the seemingly major front runner in leading these projects, is dedicated to convincing people that the account of Geneses claims a six literal day creation at some point less than 10,000 years ago. I understand his drive. I too believe that when a Christian teaches people that the earth is millions of years old, they take away all authority from scripture.
As Christians we should be feeding off God’s word daily. I recently saw a quote that said it perfectly: “The Word is supposed to be daily bread, not cake for special occasions.” But if we’re teaching people that they can’t understand the plain truth of scripture even from the first page of it, how can we expect them to read any more of it? How can we expect them to believe in a resurrection, but not a creative power? So it is with much respect for Ken Ham, and his overall goals that I even air my thoughts.
I know many might ask, “So you just expect people to check their intelligence at the door?” to which I respond with, absolutely not. I expect them to use their God given intellect to get better educated. There are plenty of God loving scientists that view the world through true Biblical creationist eyes. They publish papers, and work in many various areas of science. Evolution isn’t nearly as provable, and certainly not as plausible, as some like to claim it is. Further, the theories offered in an effort to try to meld the creation account to the evolution account are more ridiculous and full of holes than either creation or evolution are when they stand by themselves. It is for this reason, that I understand, and to a major degree even encourage Ken Ham’s passion to teach the truth on this topic.
I am grateful for AIG and their hard work to be educated and produce content for sale that my family can purchase to help in educating my children while using a biblical world view to do so. I’m grateful for the efforts they have put into debates, and seminars to teach creation. I’m grateful for their drive to share their scientific perspective which in the end counters the religion of evolution. There are many parts of the AIG ministry that I whole heartedly agree with, and can easily support. So why the problem with the Creation Museum and the Ark?
Because I believe that building them is mostly fruitless (notice I said mostly), and that they are an extreme waste of time. I think they may be misguided, a misuse of resources, and wholly unneeded. I know they talk about how “God has worked and came through” in the projects, and perhaps that is true. Perhaps this is all a God thing. But if it is, it makes entirely no sense to me, and I do not and can not understand it. I think more than likely, if God is blessing it, it’s despite their decision, not because of it. We can look through every patriarch in the Bible, and at our own lives, and see that God has a long history of blessing fools despite their foolish decisions.
So why do I think it’s foolish? The Creation Museum used $27 million in donations to build it and the Ark is estimated to cost an additional $24.5 million a total of approximately $51.5 million. That is a ton of money. Now I have no issue with a business being formed by a Christian, and operating, even as these do, in a for profit manner. The problem I have with this, is that this business was built on the backs of Christian donations. It is pitched as a ministry, doing the work that God has laid out for us, and so people feel wonderful giving to such a worthy cause!
But do you remember the work God laid out for us? Take care of the widows and orphans, feed and clothe the poor, love your enemies, and make disciples teaching them to obey everything Christ commanded. How do these projects fit in?
In making disciples, God never said to convince them that Geneses was true (though as I said, I understand why we try). He told us to preach the Good news to them. It’s God that does the work through the preaching of his word. I hear people use the statement, “God can use anything to reach people” in order to explain why projects like this aren’t a big deal. Even in a case that it is not a biblical Gospel presentation, that somehow God can use it. While I know God has the power to use anything, this mindset is ridiculous. If you think it’s not a silly mindset, then start sending your tithes and donation to Howard Stern, or Richard Dawkins and support their ministry, because based on this argument you must believe God will use those “ministries” to reach people as well. You see why we have to be careful not to flippantly dismiss things with this argument?
God has told us the means he will use. He will use the preaching of His word by broken men to reach the lost. He never said that we had to build extravagant attractions in order to teach and preach. In that light, the Creation Museum, and the Ark, are really nothing more than over sized bands for Sunday worship, or a community activity that serves no purpose other than to fill a fun meter, with some God stamped on top.
In fairness, When I have seen Ken Ham speak, he always manages to work the Gospel into what he’s talking about. But that doesn’t take away the wastefulness of the projects. We simply don’t need to try to draw a crowd of that size. In fact, I’d argue that it’s likely that Joel Osteen draws a larger crowd on Sunday morning each week, than the creation museum draws in an entire month. So if drawing a crowd is the plan, we’ve certainly gone the wrong route. Why not just hire Joel, and then when we get the crowd, we’ll let someone preach the real Gospel?
The flood was approximately 4300 years ago. 2300 years had gone by since the flood when Jesus Christ was walking the earth. People likely knew less about the boat then, than they do today. Yet no matter how much I search the scriptures I never see an example of the great Apostle Paul saying, “You know, if we just build an Ark, then these people will understand, and then they will believe.” You know why I can’t find it? Because it’s not there. Instead what is there is, “So faith then cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17).
The museum and Ark miss every calling except the call to be ready to give an answer… It doesn’t feed the poor, in fact it caters to the rich. At $30.00 a ticket per person, this outreach doesn’t look to the poor at all. In fact it completely ignores them. It’s not looking out for Widows and Orphans, again it’s catering to the rich. Well I suppose, maybe it caters to the rich orphans and widows. And the $30.00 per person is just the beginning. That doesn’t get you access to the whole place, just the museum. If you want to use the zip lines they have so you can do that tour, it could cost you as much as 120.00 per person for 3-4 hours of FUN!
Again, this is a good business, I simply don’t see it as ministry and that is what sticks out to me. This business is built on the donations from Christians who believe they are doing a work God actually wants them to do. The opportunity cost is simply too high for it to make sense to me. This isn’t a house being built for a laborer of God, which the laborer is entitled to have within reason, but this is a business built on the name of God, to make profit. I can not see how this is any different than taking donations to buy a bunch of lawn equipment with Jesus Christ’s name painted on the side in order to cut peoples grass and send them a Gospel tract with their bill. The only difference is that The Creation Museum and the Ark do not capitalize on the lawn care market, they capitalize on the tourist, and vacationing markets. At least with lawn care, we’d be GOING…
Had the $51.5 million been given to a ministry like Feed My Starving Children it could have produced 234,090,303 total meals and fed 3054 people 3 meals a day for 70 years! Or 200,000 people 3 meals a day for a year! There are opportunity costs to everything and these projects are no different. The money given to these projects could have fed the poorest of the poor, but instead they entertain the richest of the rich.
Our ability to justify such a gruesome reality as a “right” or “work of God” no doubt starts with our ability to justify the smallest, most worthless purchases in our lives. An act that I myself am not immune to. I am in no way trying to “judge” or “condemn” Ken Ham or the people involved in these projects. I have little doubt that Ken loves God, and his intentions are as pure as a man’s can be. But I can’t help but look at this monster project and wonder if we’re not misusing our resources when we accomplish so much with an opportunity cost so high, and never even stop to at least give it a thought. Is the Ark, the Creation Museum, or any project like them, a good project before God?