Creation Museum Part 2

(this is a continuation of Creation Museum Part 1)

After passing through the Paleontologist room where the idea of “Same Facts – Different Views” was introduced, the Museum creators felt the need to dwell on the point for a bit. The next room contained a series of large wall plaques that portrayed the differences between “Human Reason” and “God’s Word” for a few different subjects.

The creation of the universe, the evolution of life, and the evolution of humans were among those subjects.

Same Universe Same Plants and Animals Same Apes and Humans

Up to this point, no reason is really given why we should trust God’s word more than human reason. I’m fairly sure that this display room was set up just to hammer home the notion that there can be different views because of different starting points, not to proclaim which starting point constituted the “correct” view.

We were led down the comparison path just a bit more with a summary of two perspectives on history.

The present is the key to the past God's Word is the key to... everything

If you enlarge the first picture (that’d be the “Human Reason” one), you’ll notice a fairly standard timeline of time and space, starting with the Big Bang and progressing through the evolution of humans. Very sensible. That, of course, is contrasted with a history timeline based on a literal reading of the book of Genesis… a full 6,000 years since the creation of the universe. It lists the “Seven C’s of History” with a brief description of each.

09a_ShowMeMore From what I’d seen so far, I came down pretty firmly on the side of human reason. But we were approaching the area that began the explanation of why God’s Word was clearly superior to human reason.

The kids pointed the way…

Oh… Billy, there’s a darn good reason why you never heard this before in school… especially in a science class.

(Hint: because it’s not science.)

Why start with God's Word? The next section begins with the posing of a simple question. Why start with God’s Word? It seems an innocuous enough question, doesn’t it? I wondered how they were going to answer that question.

Here’s how… “God’s Word is True.” Ta-dah.

The justifications for this claim are as follows (from the plaque):

  • 40 authors, writing over 2,000 years, spoke the SAME MESSAGE.
  • Scrolls, discovered in the last century, confirm that the ORIGINAL WORDS have been preserved.
  • Archaeology has repeatedly confirmed that the Bible’s HISTORICAL DETAILS are accurate.
  • Hundreds of BIBLE PROPHECIES have been fulfilled, and none has failed.

With the liberal use of bold and ALL CAPS, I found myself thinking that maybe I’d stumbled upon an internet message board.

Though I would refute all four points above in varying degrees, they are all secondary to the main reason why God’s Word is true… at least according to the Creation Museum creators.

09_GodsWordIsTrueIf you haven’t read it already, the main reason why we should trust God’s Word is that “ABOVE ALL, the GOD of TRUTH, the CREATOR of heaven and earth, inspired the men who penned the words.”

That’s it. We got four easily refutable bullet points and a statement based on circular reasoning (the bible is the inspired word of God because it says so). Even I was a little disappointed in that. There was one additional plaque that made the claim that the church has survived every attack ever made on it (evolution, The DaVinci Code, etc), but it wasn’t so much an argument for why we should trust God’s Word so much as a self-serving resume of dubious achievements.

The next room was a smaller room that showed stages of biblical history from a people perspective. The prophets (Isaiah, Moses, and King David) were followed by the empty tomb of Jesus and the apostles. The only apostle they showed was Paul, who looked suspiciously like Ray Comfort.

The Prophets of the Old Testament Where's Jesus? The Apostle Paul... or Ray Comfort?

At this point, I was still incredibly impressed with the physical quality of all the exhibits, but found the substance of the arguments lacking… which really wasn’t surprising. There isn’t really an argument of any substance for a creationist viewpoint. I had just expected a little more creativity.

As it turns out, we just hadn’t gotten to the “good stuff” yet. That came after the story of Noah. But first we got to go through the story of Adam and Eve, the Garden of Eden, the Fall, and Noah’s Flood… all of which had some special gems.

I’ll cover those in the next posts.

(The tour will continue in part 3)


15 Comments

  1. Huh, those are some pretty shallow and fallacious reasons to believe the bible. So far I’m unimpressed.

  2. * 40 authors, writing over 2,000 years, spoke the SAME MESSAGE.
    No they didn’t. There are thousands of contradictions in the Bible.

    * Scrolls, discovered in the last century, confirm that the ORIGINAL WORDS have been preserved.
    1. No they haven’t – the Bible has been fraught with translation and intepretation errors. 2. Even if the scrolls showed that all translations and interpretations over the course of history were 100% accurate it still doesn’t prove the Bible is “God’s Word” any more than the original manuscript of Carrie proves a girl with telekinesis burned down her school and killed most of her classmates.

    * Archaeology has repeatedly confirmed that the Bible’s HISTORICAL DETAILS are accurate.
    So the Earth is actually flat and supported on pillars? Wow, I’m astonished.

    * Hundreds of BIBLE PROPHECIES have been fulfilled, and none has failed.
    Right. Just like those of Nostradamus and Sylvia Brown have all been fulfilled.

    What a bunch of loons. The lengths they’ll go to in order to convince themselves and others their BS is true never ceases to amaze me.

    • Thanks for the refutations, Buffy. I just didn’t have the energy when I was writing about it. ;-)

      It’s amazing the mental hoops that they’ll jump through, isn’t it?

    • “40 authors, writing over 2,000 years, spoke the SAME MESSAGE.”

      Not to mention that the people who canonized the Bible threw OUT all the other religious texts that DIDN’T share the same message or agree.

      • Throwing those parts out was God’s will, of course. ;-)

        • arachnophilia

          no no, if they did that, the bible would agree with itself. it doesn’t. therefore, they didn’t.

          the christians that canonized the christian bible threw out many christian texts that massively disagreed on matters they considered of major theological importance, yes. even still, some disagreement remains — why four slightly different gospels, for instance? three of which are mostly the same, and one that’s way different?

          in any case, the jewish rabbis who compiled each individual section of the tanakh/old testament didn’t seem to have the same philosophy, and put in just about anything they could find. the only extra-biblical stuff in that area seems to be all after the time they stopped adding anything. but you do get some pretty big disagreements there, like whether or not god is just.

    • arachnophilia

      “So the Earth is actually flat and supported on pillars? Wow, I’m astonished.”

      i don’t think that’s what they mean. they’re probably reading those bits as idioms (even though they’re a basic beside-the-point description of the ancient hebrew understanding of cosmology). it’s sort of actually really hard to play the “literal” game, because if you really read the bible literally, it does talk about certain things that really do violate some basic modern understandings of the world. like, that it’s round. or that the it goes around the sun. this, of course, is to be expected of a book that was written between 2600 and 1800 years ago. if it accurately described modern astronomy, contrary to all of the surrounding cultures, maybe that’d give their points a little bit of validity. but it doesn’t. once again, when you mix science and the bible, you’re not only betraying science.

      but i think what they’re talking about in that point is the historical material. they’re probably not even aware of the distinction between the “history” books of the bible and the “folk history (fable)” books of the bible, but they use the word “archaeology.” that tells me they mean stuff like the kings of judah and israel, etc.

      what’s interesting is that they’re still phenomenally wrong on that point. there is quite a bit of archaeological data from that period and region, but so far, nothing actually matches what the bible says. some comes sorta close, but only sorta. in general, the archaeological data confirms what the academic literary people will tell you from textual criticism: the authors of the bible were extremely biased revisionists.

      but i find the first point the most interesting: “40 authors, writing over 2,000 years, spoke the SAME MESSAGE.”

      i mean, this isn’t even close to correct. i’m not sure i can give you an accurate number of authors, but they’re probably counting the torah as one author, moses (really more like 5), isaiah as one person (really 3), all of the pauline epistles as actually by paul (they’re not), etc. you get the idea. 2,000 years is way, way off. the oldest dates we can figure from textual criticism are about 600 BCE, maybe a little earlier. the latest dates for the new testament are 2nd century AD. that’s maybe 800 years.

      and they most certainly do not say the same things. hell, a book like job was fundamentally written to refute the premise of books like jeremiah. there’s massive disagreements on theology. even the part they’re really concerned with, the creation story, is contradictory. genesis contains two creation stories that simply do not agree on a great many details.

      it sort of makes me wonder if they’ve ever actually read or studied the bible. that combined with the “confirmed prophecies” (like tyre being uninhabited) tells me that they’re viewing the bible through the same set of fuzzy goggles they view everything else with.

      • in general, the archaeological data confirms what the academic literary people will tell you from textual criticism: the authors of the bible were extremely biased revisionists

        Which was the usual practice for “historians” of that time. Make my nation, tribe, or faction look good, and make their enemies look bad.

  3. Those reasons are almost carbon copied from Josh McDowell’s stuff. The interesting thing is that it was reading his gigantic “Evidence that Demands a Verdict” that really started making me question my beliefs. As a Christian, I found the arguments lacking in substance or thought, and it made me wonder if there were any better arguments out there. I started researching arguments for God on the Internet, hoping to find the answers. I looked to see if there were any arguments that were actually intelligent. Well, there were, but they were the arguments written by the non-believers. I left the church.

  4. caerbannog

    The “God’s word vs. man’s word” theme can be co-opted by just about anyone.

    This morning, I saw this bumper-sticker on an old rusted-out motorhome:

    Man created beer. God created weed.
    Who do you trust?

    Folks who are fans of Ham’s museum should also be in favor of legalizing pot.

  5. “40 authors, writing over 2,000 years, spoke the SAME MESSAGE”

    No, they don’t. Different books of the Bible carry different ethical messages, different doctrines and different versions of stories. For instance, the four Gospels present very different accounts of Jesus’ birth, ministry, and death, as well as different lineages for Jesus. Also, the Gospels, Acts, and Pauline letters present very different descriptions of Jesus’ true nature and the reason for his crucifixion. I recommend Bart D. Ehrman’s JESUS, INTERRUPTED for a good introduction to the topic.

    “Scrolls, discovered in the last century, confirm that the ORIGINAL WORDS have been preserved.”

    No, they haven’t. We don’t have any original copies of Biblical texts, only later manuscripts. To boot, many of the codexes disagree, with passages added or deleted and vocabulary changed. Even if the stories had been preserved flawlessly, they remain stories, not factual accounts of history.

    “Archaeology has repeatedly confirmed that the Bible’s HISTORICAL DETAILS are accurate.”

    The Bible is a collection of history and mythology. While some details may be true (i.e., so-and-so was king during this time), other details are not. For instance, there is no evidence outside of the Bible that the Hebrews wiped out the Canaanites, or that there was a mass enslavement of Hebrews in Egypt.

    “Hundreds of BIBLE PROPHECIES have been fulfilled, and none has failed.”

    It looks that way in the Bible, because the authors of certain books just looked at older prophesies and made their stories fit the prophesies. Circular reasoning city!

  6. “The church has survived every attack ever made on it.”

    So have cockroaches.

  7. Do not understand this part of the museum.
    My intelligence tells me God is real, my experience and knowledge and awe and wonder of the world of nature is evidence of the Great Designer but I think it’s a mistake to get too bogged down with religion and the “we are right you are wrong syndrome.”
    Christianity is a relationship with a creator not a membership to a religion or right view of the world.
    Life is a journey; I learn all the time; I am open to persuasion.
    I do think this argument is a bit silly, when we should be learning from each other. I do agree, however that the modern world has a very biased view and children in our so called civilised society are not given both sides any more. I treasure my childhood upbringing and my deep interest in science and nature would make no sense if God hadn’t been in it. creationists and evolutionists need to be more open-minded. It’s obvious that some of them are afraid of being wrong; they are trusting in themselves instead of the higher being.

    • Belief in a god is a personal thing and if your faith brings you comfort, that’s a good thing. I agree there are some issues where the “we are right you are wrong syndrome” get in the way of productive discussions… love, spirituality, etc. We can all learn something from each other, but we can not learn everything from everybody.

      The Creation Museum, however, is leaving the realm of esoteric ideas, and moving into a realm of pure, physical science, making claims about the natural that are entirely unsupportable by the evidence.

      The section of the museum described in this post is where they lay the foundation for their arguments about God’s Word versus science. They are not presenting the “other side” of the argument about evolution. They are presenting nonsense. Much as “astrology” is not “the other side” of “astronomy.”