As you know, we’ve been critical of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo) — the Australian entrepreneur who has become the ayatollah of Appalachia. He runs the online creationist ministry, Answers in Genesis (AIG), and he also created the infamous, mind-boggling Creation Museum.
Our criticism is because he rejects science — unless it’s AIG’s perverted “creation science” which is consistent with a nothing in this world except a literal reading of Genesis. His insistence on a simplistic, word-for-word reading of Genesis is what supports his young-earth creationism. Nevertheless, Hambo and his creation scientists ignore the fact that there is nothing in scripture to contradict the many passages declaring that the earth is flat, stationary, and rests on pillars while the sun, moon, and stars revolve around it. See The Earth Is Flat, and also The Earth Does Not Move.
Perhaps it’s in reaction to our criticism, we don’t know, but they’ve just posted something that does respond to some of it. Take a look at Is the earth immovably set on pillars or hanging on nothing? Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us. They begin by stating “The Problem,” in two scripture passages that we mentioned in our posts:
For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s, and He has set the world upon them. (1 Samuel 2:8)
He stretches out the north over empty space; He hangs the earth on nothing. (Job 26:7)
The first was one of many flat-earth passages we quoted in The Earth Is Flat. We discussed the second, from Job, in The Earth Does Not Move. We weren’t concerned with whether the second passage contradicted the earth’s resting on pillars; we discussed whether it contradicted many other passages describing the earth as being stationary. We said:
What’s that all about? It’s the same earth that the same book of Job says has a place and rests on pillars (Job 9:6 — “Which shaketh the earth out of her place, and the pillars thereof tremble.”), and that also has a foundation (Job 38:4 — “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth”). Whatever “hangeth the earth upon nothing” means, it definitely doesn’t say that the earth moves (except when God shakes it) or that it’s located anywhere other than the central hub of the universe. Maybe it means that it’s not turtles all the way down.
By the way, AIG didn’t have to go to the book of Samuel for their “pillars” quote; there’s a much handier one in the book of Job — but then the contradiction with their other quote from Job is even stronger. Anyway, here’s what AIG says:
At first glance, these verses appear to contradict each other: how can the earth rest on pillars and at the same time hang on nothing?
In addition, the idea of earth having “pillars” and “foundations” seems to defy observations made by astronauts who have seen our planet from afar. To some, it may even sound vaguely like certain pagan beliefs, such as the Hindu idea that the earth is supported on the backs of four elephants that stand on the shell of a gigantic tortoise. But we should not view these biblical statements as myths, because God’s Word is truth.
Okay, it’s truth. Now what about those pillars? Let’s read on:
The supposed contradiction quickly disappears when we examine the context of each passage and recognize it as figurative language. … This sort of poetic imagery (pillars, foundations, etc.) is commonly used in Scripture to describe how God upholds the world.
Ah, it’s “figurative language,” so AIG doesn’t have to take it literally. That’s a relief. We continue:
We know that the earth does not literally have foundations and a cornerstone like a building; instead, God uses this figurative language to create a mental picture for Job.
Uh huh. But we also know that the world is considerably older than 6,000 years, yet AIG won’t retreat from that. Why not? Well, presumably those parts of Genesis aren’t “figurative language.” How does AIG know? They just know, that’s all. Here’s more:
Critics of our ministry often ridicule Answers in Genesis because we endorse the historical-grammatical hermeneutic. They claim that we must take everything in the Bible in a wooden literal sense.
That’s right, and we’ll continue to do so — hermeneutic or hermaphroditism notwithstanding. Moving along:
However, the historical-grammatical hermeneutic recognizes figures of speech are used in everyday language, and we should interpret them as such.
As we said in Creationists And The Scriptural Value Of Pi, in which we discussed AIG’s flailing about to explain two scripture passages indicating that the value of pi is 3:
A few poetic or metaphorical passages about the heavens, and even a math error or two, are insignificant in a book that was never intended to be a flawless science or math text. But those who adopt rules like AIG’s Statement of Faith are compelled to struggle with difficulties of their own making.
If creationists can manipulate the text to the extent that they do in order to preserve the illusion that scripture is accurate about the value of pi — when it obviously isn’t — why can’t they employ the same skill to understanding the six days of creation, and thereby harmonize Genesis with modern science? They could thus be spared all the mind-destroying nonsense they force upon themselves to oppose the theory of evolution and so much else that science teaches us.
So we shall continue to criticize AIG for their selectivity in deciding which passages are literally true and which aren’t. If they want to be consistent, they’re all true (except for obvious poetry and dreams). If they’re worried that they’ll look ridiculous being flat-earthers, they have nothing to fear. They already look ridiculous for being young-earth creationists. In for a penny, in for a pound.
See also: The Struggle of Answers in Genesis.
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