This evening Kel, the kid, and I participated in a pastor's perk tonight as we got a sneak peak at the new Creation Museum of Answers In Genesis [AIG] in Northern Kentucky. There's been a lot of hub-bub recently, even talks of protest on their opening day, so I thought I'd give you my impressions on our experience. First, even though the facility isn't 100% finished, it appears that the finished product will be amazing. There were a couple annoying design features [a oddly located stairwell ends one part of the museum] but overall the construction was attractive. Adjacent to the museum is a garden area that, when fully matured, will be a place where couples will want to be wed. Kelly and I were saying that the quality of the displays and the overall ambiance was more impressive than the disappointing Freedom Center. I really can't believe they were able to do it all with private funds. AIG has definitely got the skills to pay the bills.
That being said, there was plenty there that left me scratching my head. Some of it was rather innocuous, such as a display of Moses holding the Ten Commandments written with the Masoretic vowel marks which were added thousands of years after Moses died [I'm a geek]. Some of it was just confusing, such as the bookstore being called Dragon Hall [OK, dinosaurs = real, dragon = not real, and the Dragon in the Bible is symbolic of Satan?]. Some of it was semantics, as they continued to pit "Biblical Wisdom" against "Human Reason" [so belief in the Scriptures is unreasonable?].
But, even after observing the museum, I found one thing disturbing more than any other: AIG speaks beyond the reach of Scripture. There are quite a few examples I could give here, but let me offer just one.
There is the concept known as Pangaea, which was the super-continent that was supposed to exist before plate-tectonics took over and spread them out to where they are today. This process, as evolutionary scientists propose, would have taken thousands, if not millions, of years. The AIG people suggest that it all happened during the Noadic flood, in a time period lasting little more than a year.
So they take a theory of Pangaea [which is not yet 100 years old] and try to fit it into the Biblical narrative; they attempt to explain certain natural topography by using Scripture. Now they could be right, or they could be wrong, but the truth is that they have no idea. So why even attempt to make a definitive statement? Because they accept the premise that the Bible has all the answers we have about everything [i.e., Answers In Genesis]. But Genesis 1 isn't meant to be a scientific reading. It's a way to let God's people know one inescapable concept that His people need to know: God created everything. Beyond that, we need to be careful how authoritatively we state what we know about creation.
But that lack of 100-percentness does not diminish our faith. For instance, I personally believe in the six-literal-day creation that AIG purports; throughout the museum was the Hebrew word "Yom" which means "day". But AIG states that if you don't believe in the six-literal-day creation that you aren't a true Christian. Friends, that's bunk. I would say it's imperative that you believe that God created the universe [isn't He the center of the universe, the only one who could offer grace?] but (dis)belief in one aspect of the creation story does not a(n) (un)believer make.
I have good Christian friends who don't agree with "six-literal days," not because God couldn't do it, but because it doesn't fit into an "old earth" point of view. "AH-HA!" AIG people cry. "They're letting popular science determine the way we view God!" But isn't trying to fit Pangaea into the Noadic Flood the same thing, accepting a theory as fact in implementing it in your Biblical interpretation? Why can't we accept that some things are unknown, and teach that faith is a stretch? Why do we feel a need to try to manipulate the Bible into something it isn't?
I really believe that the AIG folk are well-intentioned people but parts of this museum and their view of Scripture bother me.
So here's my final take on the Creation Museum:
1) Would I recommend that Christian parents take their children there? Yes. They did a very good job of trying to make parts of the Bible come to life. The rooms about Noah's ark did a great job trying to show the size and scope of the boat. Some of it was extremely graphic for younger kids [some rather "nekkid" Adam and Eve figures and skinned sheep sacrifices], but there is a benefit there. I think kids would find it fascinating.
2) Would I recommend that Christians take non-Christian friends there? Not really. There is too much in the museum that defies popular science with insufficient explanation. I think it would cause more harm than good, even though I think AIG sees at as a possible evangelistic tool. It's just me, but I'd say there are better ways to explain the message of Jesus than in this form.
3) Would I recommend that you go? Sure, why not? It's always useful to come to grips with the way you view the world and this museum is a good opportunity to do so. I'm not quite sure it's worth the $20 fee, but they gotsta make ends meet somehow. Judging from the license plates in the parking lot, I think people are going to come from all over to see this anyway.
On Friday we're going to the Cincinnati Museum of Natural History at Union Terminal. It's another opportunity to attend for free one of these museums. I'll be on the look-out to see how the pagan effort compares to the Creation Museum.