|CBDs Exclusive Interview with Ken Ham|
CBD: Please tell us something about your background. How did you become an advocate for creation science?
KH: I was brought up in a Christian home in Australia and was privileged to have a father and mother who not only taught me the Christian faith, but also that we would be able to defend our faith. In those early days in Australia, my father taught me how to defend the Christian faith against liberal theology that was rampant in the church. As a matter of fact, the church in Australia has a very small percentage of Christians (probably less then 2%, who would be actual born-again Christians, with around 5% attending church on a regular basis). In many of the towns we lived, there were very few churches. The pastor of one particular church was quite liberal in his theology, so my father made sure each of his children knew what they believed and why they believed it. He also taught us to recognize those who compromised the Word of God.
During my high school years, I was taught evolution/millions of years and recognized that it was in conflict with my Christian faith and what I had been taught at home concerning the book of Genesis. In Genesis, for example, we read that animals and man were vegetarian originally, and death was the penalty for sin. However, if one believes in millions of years, then there is death, disease, and bloodshed before man appeared.
I recognized that if I would believe in millions of years, it really undermined the gospel message that clearly says that God created a perfect world, which was marred by sin, with death as a consequence. This is why Jesus Christ came to die, to be raised from the dead, and to pay the penalty for our sins.
At school I was taught that man had evolved from some ape-like ancestor, whereas the Bible taught that Adam was made from dust and the first woman, Eve, was made directly from his side.
I also understood from New Testament passages such as Matthew 19:4-7 (and Paul in Ephesians 5) that the whole basis for oneness in marriage is based upon the literal history that Adam and Eve were one physically. I therefore recognized that if a person believed in evolutionary process, as is taught in the public school system, then it destroyed the whole basis of the doctrine of marriage.
My father taught me that Genesis was the foundation of all Christian doctrine in the rest of the Bible. It was therefore clear to me that if what I was taught in school was correct, then the whole Bible could not be trusted and Christianity was a false religion.
|I remember going home to my father and asking him for answers to questions about so-called ape-men and the millions of years. At that time in the history of Australia, there were no Bible-upholding materials available to help me, whereas today there is a plethora of books, videos, and CDs that deal with all these matters, with answers from a scientific as well as biblical perspective. |
Although I had seen my father defend the Christian faith in many situations, he told me that in this area of creation/evolution, he didnt have answers. At the same time, my father told me that this didnt mean that there werent any answerswe just had to wait for them. He also had taught me that since we werent there in the past, and didnt know everything, then it could be easy to jump to conclusions about mans fallible interpretation of how old the earth may be. So I began a search for answers.
I found some literature from various sources and began to see that there really were scientific and biblical answers to what I was falsely being taught in school. I came across a book called The Genesis Record by Dr. Henry Morris, which answered a lot of my questions. I remember showing my father some of these materials, and he was as excited as I was to know that there were ways to defend the Christian faith.
When I became a school teacher, one of the first things that happened to me in the classroom was when a student came to me and said, Sir, we know youre a Christian, but how can you believe the Bible when it says God made Adam and Eve, and we know that it isnt true because of what were taught in our textbooks concerning evolution.
Well, I recognized right there that evolution/millions of years was a big stumbling block to these students and their being receptive to the gospel of Jesus Christ. I began to teach them the answers that I had found and noticed the students were extremely interested in this subject. Many years later, I met some of these students, and they told me that because of what I taught in the classroom, the Lord used it to bring them to saving faith.
As a teacher in a local church, I was also invited to speak at various Bible studies, youth groups, and even in other churches. I found that the majority of Christians didnt have the answers that I had found concerning creation/evolution. They thought that Genesis didnt matter, and so they believed in millions of years, evolution, and so on. I began to recognize a great need to minister in the church as a result of all this.
|Eventually an organization was founded in Australia, which was originally called the Creation Science Foundation, now known as Answers in Genesis. AiG is the largest parachurch organization in Australia.|
In 1987, my wife, Mally, and I moved to America as missionaries to America, to help pull the American church back to its foundation. I had been to America on a number of speaking tours before this, and found that most of the U.S. churches had the same problems we had in Australia. Pastors, deacons, and elders, by and large, didnt believe that Genesis was important. The Lord laid a burden on our hearts to come to America. We recognized it was the most powerful nation on earth and was (and still is) the center of the Christian world.
CBD: In 1994, you co-founded an organization called Answers in Genesis. What motivated you to start this ministry, and what is its mission?
KH: AiG-Australia (which had loaned me to the Institution of Creation Research for seven years), believing there was a great need for a more intensive creation ministry in the U.S., decided that instead of returning home, we should remain. And we concluded that we should begin a ministry that was central to the major U.S. population centers. We moved to Northern Kentucky (in the greater Cincinnati, Ohio, area) to begin a creation ministry with a vision also to build a Creation Museum unlike any the world has ever seen. The greater Cincinnati area is within a one-day drive and 1 ¼-hour flight of two thirds of Americas population, so, demographically, it is a phenomenal place to be. Also, Cincinnatis large international airport has direct fights not only across America, Canada, and Mexico, but also to much of Europe.
The mission of Answers in Genesis is really twofold. It serves as a ministry to Christians, to a) equip them to be able to defend the Christian faith against the influence of evolutionary humanism, which is attacking the Bible in a major way, and b) challenge Christians, including Christian leaders, to repent of compromising regarding the book of Genesis with mans fallible theories concerning millions of years and evolutionary ideas. It also is a ministry to challenge non-Christians that the Bibles history can be trusted from the very beginning, which is why they can also trust the gospel message and Christian morality that is founded in that history.
CBD: The media tend to focus on the controversy between evolution and creationism, but within the Christian community there is also considerable debate about origins, which can be confusing for believers. For example, some people argue for progressive creationism, others for the gap theory, and still others for theistic evolution. Briefly, how do these viewpoints differ from your own?
KH: If you go back in history to the late 1700s, you will not find ideas such as progressive creationism, the gap theory, theistic evolution, and so on. In the Bible commentaries from the late 1700s and early 1800s, however, a monumental change occurred in the history of Christendom. The idea of millions of years of earth history started to be popularized by certain scientists. Many theologians, particularly in England, adopted the millions-of-years belief and added that idea to the Bible to re-interpret the days of creationand to also reinterpret Noahs flood as a local event rather than a global one.
Eventually, many church leaders incorporated Darwinian, evolutionary ideas into the Bible, as well as mans ideas concerning astronomy like the big bang. As a result, various re-interpretations of Genesis arose in history, such as day-age, the gap theory, progressive creationism, theistic evolution, etc. All of these positions have one thing in common: they are all attempting to add mans ideas of millions of years into the Bible.
The reason we see this issue as a very important one is because ultimately what these positions do is accept mans fallible ideas and re-interpret the infallible Word of God, thus leading to a loss of biblical authority. As a result, generations have been brought up to believe that you can re-interpret Gods Word on the basis of mans ideas that come from outside the Bible.
Eventually in England, biblical authority was eroded more and more. Now we see where the nation of England is today, where they hardly have any vestige of biblical Christianity left in public life.
The same ideas went straight to America, and you can also see today that the Ten Commandments are being ripped out of courthouses, and creation, prayer, and the Bible are being thrown out of school. We see gay marriage as rampant across the nation, all because there has been a loss of biblical authority. It can be traced back to the compromise concerning the book of Genesis with mans fallible ideas.
When I speak in churches, people sometimes say to me: we are gap-theory here or were theistic evolutionists . . . or were progressive creationists or we believe in the day-age theory. They then ask me my position, and I always respond that it is the biblical onemy point being that not one of the other positions comes from the Bible.
The reason Answers in Genesis sees that this topic as so vital is because ultimately what we are dealing with here is the Word of Godbiblical authority. Do we take God at His Word, or can we re-interpret the clear meaning of the Scripture to fit with mans fallible ideas from outside the Bible? This is what has led to the loss of Christian influence in America. That is why we see billions of dollars spent on fighting the social ills of this country by well-intentioned Christian organizations, and yet we see that were losing the Christian perspective in the culture.
CBD: In your opinion, what impact has the teaching of evolution had on education? On our society as a whole? How can parents help their children develop a worldview that is consistent with Genesis?
|KH: The increased teaching of evolution over millions of years really is connected to the increasing school violence, the gay marriage issue, abortion, the Ten Commandants being torn out of court houses, increased pornography, lawlessness, etc. Now, a lot of people misunderstand me here when I discuss this. I am not blaming evolution/millions of years for immorality. But the point is that the more people believe that the biblical account of origins in Genesis cant be trusted, the more they will not believe Gods Word as the absolute authority.|
Its interesting to note that Barna Research has found that of teenagers in church today who call themselves born-again Christians, less than 9% of them believe there is such a thing as absolute, moral truth. I believe that this is a direct result of generations being taught that Genesis history is not literal history. As a consequence, they philosophically have been led to believe that the Bible is not the absolute authority. And thus mans opinions can reinterpret the word of God.
There is no doubt that the humanists see the teaching of evolution and millions of years as a direct attack on Christianity, for it is a direct attack on the reliability of the Word of God. The more you see whole generations of young people being trained to believe that everything can be explained without God, and they see that creation/Bible/prayer are being taken out of public schools, we must realize that, in actuality, religion has not been taken out of public education; instead, Christianity has been replaced by a different religion, one that teaches that everything about this universe can be understood in terms of naturalism: it is an atheistic religion.
Theres no doubt that students eventually become consistent with what they believe about their origins, and if there is no God, then life is a result of natural processes. So, who determines whats right or wrong? Who determines whats good and whats bad? What is evil and what is good? Who determines what marriage should or should not be? The reason we see the gay marriage issue as so rampant across the culture (even in parts of the church) is because people no longer believe that the history in Genesis concerning Adam and Eve is literal truth. Therefore, marriage can be a man and a man, or a woman and a woman . . . or whatever you want to make it to be. It is only if the Genesis history is truth that it must be one man and one woman for life, as the Bible clearly teaches and as Jesus and Paul make it obvious from the New Testament in referring back to Genesis.
|Parents need to recognize that if they want their children to have a Christian worldview and believe the Bible, and thus believe and apply biblical morality in their lives, they have to believe the history in Genesis 1 to 11, which is foundational to all Christian doctrine. Ultimately, every single biblical Christian doctrine, directly or indirectly, is founded is the history of Genesis 1 to 11. From this history come aspects of geology, biology, astronomy, anthropology, physics, chemistry, and so on. |
What the world is teaching through the public education system and a secular media is not true. Parents need to be able to do what 1 Peter 3:15 tells us to do: be ready to give answers for what we believe. They need to show their children that real observational science actually confirms the Bibles history in Genesis. Because the history is true, therefore the gospel and its morality (based on that history) are true.
|CBD: What guidance or advice can you offer homeschool parents as they seek to teach their children the truth about the beginning of the universe?|
KH: We really need to understand that the battle over origins comes down to physical authority. We need to teach our children that the only way they can understand the present world is to know what happened in the past so they can connect the past to the present. The Bible claims to be, and I certainly believe it to be (and know it to be), a true revelation concerning the history of the universe, and it tells us the major events of the past so we can understand the present. Genesis 1 to 11 is the history that enables us to have a big picture in biology, geology, astronomy, anthropology, and so on.
We also need to help students understand that the Bible is not a science textbook per se (in fact, remember that science textbooks change every year!). The Bible gives us a picture in science so we can have the right approach to evidence. It enables us to understand, for instance, that death came into the world after Adam sinned. So, therefore, in geology, the fossil layers could not have been laid down before Adam sinned. The Bible also helps us understand that God made distinct kinds of animals and plants to reproduce after their own kind. Genetics actually confirms it, because what we find is that although there can be great variation of any kind (like the dog kind), these animals always reproduce after their own kind. Dogs always reproduce dogs.
We need to ensure that our children understand that the Bible is not just a book of religion or a book of morality, but in fact is a history, in which the message of Christianity, like the gospel message and Christian morality, is founded. Real observational science concerns the Bible history. It enables us to be equipped to defend our faith so we can show the world that the Bible is true, and that because the Bibles history is true, therefore Christianity is true.