Ken Ham: Is Belief in Young Earth Essential?

We found another peculiar post from Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo). It’s at the website of his on-line ministry, Answers in Genesis (AIG), which owns and operates the infamous, mind-boggling Creation Museum.

Hambo’s intellectual répertoire is limited, so his latest is somewhat repetitive of stuff he’s already said: Does the Gospel Depend on a Young Earth? Oops — we just noticed that it’s dated 08 December 2010. He’s recycling one of his oldies. No problem, we didn’t post about it before. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us and most of Hambo’s scripture references omitted:

Can a person believe in an old earth and an old universe (millions or billions of years in age) and be a Christian?

Many believe they can. Old Earth is what we learn from geology, but it’s certainly necessary for evolution. Therefore it’s relevant to mention the National Center for Science Education’s list of Statements from Religious Organizations supporting evolution; and also (2) The Clergy Letter Project, a strong, pro-evolution statement signed by over 12,000 Christian clergymen. Here’s the Wikipedia article on it: Clergy Letter Project.

We know that the scientifically-determined age of the Earth is no problem for many denominations, but what does Hambo think? He gives us a bunch of scripture passages, and then he says:

Numerous other passages could be cited but not one of them states in any way that a person has to believe in a young earth or universe to be saved. And the list of those who cannot enter God’s kingdom, as recorded in passages like Revelation 21:8, certainly does not include “old earthers.”

We’re not surprised that scripture doesn’t condemn belief in old Earth. Genesis was written in the days of the Babylonian Empire, when no one even considered such a thing. We’re also told:

Many great men of God who are now with the Lord have believed in an old earth. Some of these explained away the Bible’s clear teaching about a young earth by adopting the classic gap theory. Others accepted a day-age theory or positions such as theistic evolution, the framework hypothesis, and progressive creation.

It’s interesting that ol’ Hambo knows who’s in heaven and who isn’t, but we should expect that from the ayatollah of Appalachia. Let’s read on:

Now when I say this, people sometimes assume then that it does not matter what a Christian believes concerning the supposed millions of years age for the earth and universe. Even though it is not a salvation issue, the belief that earth history spans millions of years has very severe consequences. Let me summarize some of these.

Ol’ Hambo says that the age of the earth is irrelevant to salvation; nevertheless he still thinks it’s of vital importance. He must be a very holy man to know such things. He continues:

To attempt to “fit” millions of years into the Bible, you have to invent a gap of time that almost all Bible scholars agree the text does not allow — at least from a hermeneutical perspective. Or you have to reinterpret the “days” of creation as long periods of time (even though they are obviously ordinary days in the context of Genesis 1). In other words, you have to add a concept (millions of years) from outside Scripture, into God’s Word. This approach puts man’s fallible ideas in authority over God’s Word.

That’s true. The bible is a young-Earth book — and a flat-Earth book too. Here’s more:

As soon as you surrender the Bible’s authority in one area, you “unlock a door” to do the same thing in other areas. Once the door of compromise is open, even if ajar just a little, subsequent generations push the door open wider. Ultimately, this compromise has been a major contributing factor in the loss of biblical authority in our Western world.

Yes, it’s a slippery slope. But whatcha gonna do? The bible can’t be used as a science text. Moving along:

A Christian’s belief in millions of years totally contradicts the clear teaching of Scripture. Here are just three examples:

We’ll skip his examples — no, wait — here’s one of them.

[Various] passages make it obvious that physical death of man (and really, death in general) entered the once-perfect creation because of man’s sin. However, if a person believes that the fossil record arose over millions of years, then death, disease, suffering, carnivorous activity, and thorns existed millions of years before sin.

Indeed. But so what? Hambo explains why that’s important:

By dying on a cross and being raised from the dead, Jesus conquered death and paid the penalty for sin. Although millions of years of death before sin is not a salvation issue per se, I personally believe that it is really an attack on Jesus’ work on the cross.

Ah, there we have it. Hambo personally believes that. Therefore it must be important. He concludes by saying:

All biblical doctrines, including the gospel itself, are ultimately rooted in the first book of the Bible.

He gives a few examples, like “Marriage consists of one man and one woman for life.” Curiously, many people in the bible had more than one wife. Anyway, Hambo says the whole ball o’ wax depends on Genesis. You gotta believe it all or nothing. In for a penny, in for a pound.

Where does that leave us? At the start of his essay, ol’ Hambo tells us that even an old-Earther can get to Heaven. At the end he seems to suggest otherwise. So there you are, dear reader. If you’re confused, don’t worry. Just put your faith in ol’ Hambo. Then you can’t go wrong.

Copyright © 2013. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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11 responses to “Ken Ham: Is Belief in Young Earth Essential?

  1. Only a tiny fraction of the fossil record records carnivorous activity, disease, death and suffering in real life. And yet, Ham thinks the entire fossil record is made up of only historical records of death, disease, carnivorous activity, and suffering as depicted in science fiction films and comics where we see dinosaurs going after each others’ throat on a daily bases. It’s obvious that this is where Ham is getting inspirations for his drivels from — watching science fiction films and reading comic books, strips, and fantasy novels involving dinosaurs and prehistoric life.

  2. Ceteris Paribus

    Ham says: “All biblical doctrines, including the gospel itself, are ultimately rooted in the first book of the Bible.”

    Maybe Ham also can point to the place in the first book of the bible which prophecies that the funds for starting construction on his Ark Park will be in his pocket before the state of Kentucky’s Ark Park subsidy deal runs out next May.

  3. Ceteris Paribus says: “Maybe Ham also can point to the place in the first book of the bible which prophecies that the funds for starting construction on his Ark Park will be in his pocket before the state of Kentucky’s Ark Park subsidy deal runs out next May.”

    As I have mentioned before, I have been following the rate of donation at arkencounter.com since April. Over the last seven months they have raised about $ 1,160,000, but they still lack $ 10,794,000 to reach their stated goal of $ 24,500,000. At the current donation rate, our young earth will be five years and five months less young before they have raised the entire amount.

    So next May — no. Nowhere near it, unless they can suddenly locate a donor with very deep pockets and YEC inclinations.

  4. Hmm, if Ken Hamfist is advocating that “You gotta believe it all or nothing,” why is he not out there stoning adulterers, gays and rape victims, or killing disobedient and disrespectful children? Oh wait, his all-wise and all-powerful skydaddy had second thoughts (huh!?) about such things and decided that, rather than having his servants kill them, such offenders must instead be punished for all eternity…

  5. @H.K. Fauskanger: If you ever design a website just for tracking Ham’s project, please call it arkencountercounter.com.

  6. Ham, baiting “Darwinists”: “Can a person believe in an old earth and an old universe (millions or billions of years in age) and be a Christian?”

    Yes, in fact one must believe in an old earth to be a Christian. That’s because Ray Martinez is the only “true Christian” and he believes in an old earth (though a young biosphere, and never says how old either is). See? I can play the “Scotsman” fallacy just like Ham, but the facts are:

    1. Most self-described Christians believe that the earth and it’s life are billions of years old, and ~half fully accept evolution and common descent.

    2, Most self-described creationists believe that the earth and it’s life are billions of years old, despite denying evolution and usually common descent.

    Ergo, if a YEC activist does not direct ~50% of his YE arguments to OECs and IDers (yes I know none do), he can reasonably be expected to be running a scam, peddling what “he knows ain’t so.”

  7. The problem is of course that there is no universal definition of what a “Christian” really has to believe. By the more liberal definitions, a “Christian” is just a person who believes brotherly love is a good idea and thinks Jesus as described in the gospels was kind of cool. No problems with “Darwinism” there. Yet to others, being a “Christian” means that you HAVE to believe that all of humanity descend from one single couple who lived less than 10 000 years ago, Adam and Eve being created directly by the deity with no genetic relationship whatsoever to the animal world, and then undergoing a literal, historical Fall.

    If that is what being a “Christian” means, the origin story of “Christianity” is completely at odds with the scientific worldview, and you would simply have to answer that honestly, no, you can’t be such a “Christian” and accept modern biology at the same time.

    Sometimes people express themselves as if there is some kind of international court in Hague (or wherever) that can offer binding pronouncements on what a “Christian” really has to believe. But “Christian” is not a protected title, to say the least. You have things like Mary Baker Eddy’s “Christian Science” which has very little to do with classical Christianity, and yet nobody could stop her from slipping what she presumably perceived as a well-sounding adjective into the name of her doctrine (incidentally followed by an equally unjustified well-sounding noun).

  8. HKF – you are right on. Ham labels anyone who does not believe exactly as he does “Compromised Christians”. Contrary to the Ayatollah of Appalachia, I contend that faith is idiotypic and that there are no two Christian ‘believers’, who have an identical set of beliefs and biblical interpretations.

  9. One can have all sorts of fun with people like Ham. Such as to ask which is worse, a “Compromised Christian” who accepts evolution, or a Jew who peddles YEC. While people like Ham, WND, etc., provide endless entertainment, the ones to really be wary of are the ID peddlers. They all seem to know that YEC, and most forms of OEC, are nonsense. But they know better than to publicly criticize them, even as the occasional “they’re wrong too” afterthought that YEC peddlers do with OEC and ID That’s, because they are hell-bent on maintaining a “big tent” against “Darwinism.” Their sound bites have been gradually “trickling down” to audiences that are not fundamentalists, and often not even regular churchgoers.

  10. Although millions of years of death before sin is not a salvation issue per se, I personally believe that it is really an attack on Jesus’ work on the cross.

    Radiometric dating and counting tree rings are the same as the Romans and Jews who, in medieval times, were shown mocking and torturing Jesus. Ever see medieval paintings of Jews whipping and torturing Jesus? The Jew who gives Jesus vinegar and gall to drink on a sponge, the sponge-bearer, was given the name Stephaton in the Middle Ages. Oh, how they loved to paint Stephaton torturing Jesus on the cross with his cunning vinegar and gall!

    If you count the rings in a tree and it’s over 4,300, the time since Noah’s Flood, you’re the same as Stephaton (the record for a single bristlecone pine is 4,900.) If you count varves in the sediment under a lake and get anything over 4,300, you’re Longinus (up to 60,000 varves in Lake Suigetsu in Japan have been calibrated by radiocarbon dating). If you do an ice core of the Greenland Ice Sheet and count the layers, you’re Pontius Pilate. And radiometric dating, uranium-lead, potassium-argon, isochrons? You’re Judas frickin Iscariot.

  11. “Hambo’s intellectual répertoire is limited, so his latest is somewhat repetitive of stuff he’s already said: Does the Gospel Depend on a Young Earth? Oops — we just noticed that it’s dated 08 December 2010. He’s recycling one of his oldies.”

    You mean he’s regurgitating his own regurgitations? Has the man no shame?