Creation Museum Part 4

(this is a continuation of Creation Museum Part 3)

God Plants a Garden After the despair of Graffiti Alley, we headed into the Garden of Eden and the biblical creation story. It’s worth noting here that the Garden of Eden room was absolutely incredible from a quality standpoint. Like much of the rest of the museum, the craftsmanship that went into these displays was tremendous.

The path winds through the garden and touches upon different aspects of the creation story… Adam and Eve, Adam naming the animals, the serpent watching them bathe, etc. There are actual waterfalls, amazingly realistic plants, a “Tree of Life” that had spectacular detail, and (of course) dinosaurs. Before we get to those, however, let’s take a look at the displays and the accompanying plaques that explain them.

Adam and Eve hanging out in the Garden of EdenGod didn’t want Adam to be alone, evidently, because “It is not good for the man to be alone.” It seems his desire to “dwell with humans for eternity” (see Part 3) didn’t include keeping Adam company himself. He needed to do that by proxy.

This is where the bible starts off with sexism, which it continues to promote with abandon in both the old and new testaments, not the least of which in 1 Timothy. Adam was created from dust, according to Genesis, but Eve was made from one of Adam’s ribs… as a helper.

Here are the plaques pertaining to Adam and Eve at the museum.

God Forms Eve From Adam's Side Male and Female One Flesh - Doctrine of Marriage

This is also where the the arguments for “traditional” marriage come from… not from any sense of logic or reason, but directly from the bible. It’s the only basis for denying marriage rights to homosexuals, which is sad. And it’s sad that this notion of using the bible as a guide to morality continues to be perpetuated in our society. To anyone who’s actually read the bible, it should seem an absurdity of the highest order. Two thousand year old dogma does not make for a genuinely enlightened society.

Adam names the animals The tour continues with a scene portraying Adam naming the animals. According to one of the plaques (not pictured), Adam only named “birds, cattle, and beasts of the field – probably only animals closely associated with man [...]” It seems “beasts of the earth” and “creeping things” were not included (based on the scene at the museum, however, Adam did name penguins… go figure).

Then the plaque’s text starts in with pretending to be scientific with this statement.

If the created kinds correspond to modern families, as many creation biologists believe, then Adam named fewer than two hundred animals. Naming all these animals would require only a few hours, at most.

This argument of “kinds” is used throughout the “Noah’s Ark” displays as well, in an attempt to argue that all the animal “kinds” could easily have fit on the ark. I’ll get to that later, but this is where the museum first brings it up, if I recall correctly.

02a_NoCarnivores Of course, Adam would be naming goats and sheep and other common herbivores. Perhaps he would name common carnivores as well, but that posed no danger to him, since before the Fall, all the animals, including the dinosaurs, were vegetarians. The idea that, before the Fall, there was no death, doesn’t seem to apply to plant life. Across the path from Adam naming the animals, we get our glimpse of one of the vegetarian dinosaurs in the Garden of Eden who seems to have a fondness for pineapples. In the background, the gentle, herbivorous brachiosaurus is seen as well. Another dinosaur in the Garden is shown to have a greater fondness for apples.

Strangely enough, there are no examples shown of tyrannosaurus rexes or velociraptors in the Garden.

Pineapple Dinosaur and Brachiosaurs Apple-loving Dinosaur

There are plenty of examples further along the tour that show before-and-after consequences of the Fall, such as poison, venom, scavengers, etc… but I’m getting ahead of myself. At this point, the Garden of Eden is all pure and death-free (except for plants).

Adam and Eve bathing while the serpent spies on them

Here is the first hint in the display that things are about to go horribly, horribly wrong. This scene was pretty spectacular, with real waterfalls and extremely detailed rocks, trees, and plants. Adam and Eve are innocently hanging out in a pool while the decidedly sinister-looking serpent rests coiled in the tree above… plotting his evil deeds, no doubt.

There’s no mention of how the serpent got into God’s perfect garden in the first place… or why he chose to manifest himself as a serpent instead of something more innocuous… like a vegetarian kitten or something.

Here are some close-ups of the scene with the accompanying plaque.

Bath time for Adam and Eve No Knowledge for you! The Serpent

If you enlarge the photos, you can easily see the amount of work that was put into these displays to get the terrific level of detail. Regardless of whether you buy into the story or not, the displays were sincerely impressive.

The plaque in the middle is a good example of a problem with a literal interpretation of Genesis. The Creation Museum (and its parent, Answers in Genesis), is very clear about its literal interpretation of the bible. Yet the verse depicted here makes the statement that, if you eat the fruit of this one tree, you will surely die… that day. But that didn’t happen. Apologists will try to say that the verse means that Adam and Eve will die “spiritually,” not physically (and some later translations removed the temporal restriction)… but that’s not what the verse says. This is a common tactic among people who claim a literal reading. It’s literal when it suits them, but metaphorical when it doesn’t.

We are so screwedThe serpent lures Eve into chomping on the knowledgey fruit (by telling her the truth, by the way), and she gets Adam to do the same (yet another biblical reason for sexism… it was all Eve’s fault)… and that’s where things go all to Hell… so to speak.

God’s gloriously perfect creation (except for the deliberate setup for failure and the presence of a supposedly evil serpent) was all wrecked because Adam chose to disobey God, choosing instead to listen to his only companion in the world and eat a bit of fruit.

Cosmic Pain! This led to a whole host of consequences. As the Creation Museum puts it in the sign to the right…

With Adam’s sin, death and suffering entered the creation for the first time. Disease and natural catastrophes also began at this time. The creation is no longer perfect, as God originally designed it, because in Adam, we committed high treason against the God of creation.

Whoa there! WE committed high treason? I think not. I also think that in this story, the creation was extremely far from perfect. And if this biblical god decided that, because Adam ate some fruit that he wasn’t supposed to eat, an appropriate punishment was to create disease, natural catastrophes, suffering, and all kinds of other nastiness… pretty much forever… then I think that this story is about as far as you can get from an acceptable moral teaching. It’s reprehensible.

After the Fall, all kinds of “bad” things supposedly happened. The first blood sacrifices happened (pictured below), carnivores and death appeared (pictured below… but now with velociraptors which were noticeably absent from the Garden of Eden), and (gasp!) hard work appeared!

We're having beef AGAIN?! Carniverous Velociraptor Why did I eat the damned fruit!?

There is an entire section of plaques explaining things that happened after the Fall. I mentioned them earlier; venom, death, disease, carnivores, “Red Tooth and Claw,” scavengers, cosmic aging (seriously), conflict, poisons, weeds, burdensome work, etc. Here are a few examples of the plaques:

Carnivores Scavengers Weeds

The plaque on carnivores states, “We do not know how meat eating first entered the world” but it’s possible that “the diet of some animals merely changed.” Actually, we do have a pretty good idea of how meat eating first entered the world. It’s pretty well explained by evolutionary theory. The plaque is absurd. The plaque on scavengers says pretty much the same thing, thereby descending to the same level of absurdity.

The plaque on weeds is the funniest, however. It basically says that, because God screwed up the original design, allowing things to get out of hand, he had to then step in and introduce the “overproduction of plants” to compensate for all the extra animals that would be around eating them. So plants had to “struggle against other plants for survival” (OMG natural selection!) and they grew where they weren’t wanted, hence becoming weeds.

Seriously?

The fact that some people can actually believe this story and these explanations are factual just boggles my mind. When read as an allegory, it works just fine, much like Aesop’s Fables. But nobody seriously believes that a talking fox tried to get some grapes, failed, and then walked away, muttering that the grapes were probably sour. It’s a story. That’s all.

That’s what the biblical creation story is, but the Creation Museum is alarmingly deceitful in its attempt to portray the entire story as true and scientifically accurate. More worrisome is the fact that many people agree with the museum’s viewpoint… and those people are indoctrinating their children to believe the same anti-intellectual nonsense that they themselves believe. It’s a recipe for societal disaster. When ignorance is promulgated as a virtue, as it is within the walls of this museum, civilization is harmed in an insidious way. When we stop seeking answers about our world, instead relying solely on ancient religious dogma, we take a grand step backward on the evolutionary ladder.

…and that is a bigger fall than the biblical authors could ever have imagined.

(the tour will continue in part 5)


22 Comments

  1. Excellent work, Dan. Your sensible writing makes this virtual tour bearable. I agree with you completely!

  2. Christophe Thill

    There’s another problem in their display. The snake should have legs, as it was condemned to crawl on its belly only as a punishment for the deception it had worked…

    • LOL! I was thinking about that just the other day. A curse to crawl on your belly would be kinda pointless for something that already does crawl on its belly.

      That would be like God cursing me with an eternal love of bacon. Ha! ;-)

      • Ha! Reminds me of that brilliant Ricky Gervais bit. (If you haven’t seen his account of Creationism, you should YouTube it, fast!)

        But seriously, those animal sacrifices were disgusting! What is it with Christian obsession with blood and gore?

    • arachnophilia

      the story in genesis never actually said the snake had legs, just that he was cursed to go about on his belly afterwards, so presumably he did not before. that he had legs before is a somewhat reasonable assumption (they’re probably explaining why snakes don’t have legs, right?) but it’s not the only reasonable assumption.

      but, uh, that’s a really cool looking snake.

      • Speaking of things Genesis doesn’t say – it never says the serpent was Satan. Identifying the serpent with Satan doesn’t show up until well into the New Testament.

        So much for literalism.

  3. They were going to have a T. rex in the garden, but as the were building the joint, they found he wasn’t going to fit. So the stuffed him in a warehouse until they found him a home in the dinosaur den. Of coarse, had he been left in the garden of eden as an example of vegetarian carnivores, we would be mocking them even more.

  4. Have you noticed this?

    The Scavengers plaque states that they were designed to clean the world of EXCESS plant material…

    but the Weeds plaque states that God created a perfect balance, with an amount of plants exact to the needs of the existing animals.

    Seems contradictory, isn’t it?

    And how can animals overproduce only when death has been introduced? I would expect the garden of Eden to become very crowded very soon if no one died there.

    Brg

  5. “So plants had to “struggle against other plants for survival” (OMG natural selection!) and they grew where they weren’t wanted, hence becoming weeds.”

    I heard Ken Ham speak when I was a kid. One of the topics was “what happened to dinosaurs?” He showed slides of alligators and some other unknown animals. He read some Bible verses that referenced certain dragon-like creatures. He said they WERE on the ark, but after the Flood, they all reduced in size. Some died out, but some are still here. About 8 months ago, it just hit me: Duh! That’s evolution! I was going to write a post on it, but since it had been so long since I’d heard him, I wanted to fact check before I wrote down things he didn’t say. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any reference to it on his website, so I thought maybe I just made it up in my head. But I probably didn’t. It’s interesting how they have to believe in evolution even to fit their Creationist theory. They just don’t know it.

    • Not only that, but it is super-speedy macro-evolution, which they say is “impossible.”

    • arachnophilia

      yes, they like evolution when it suits them. and when it’s completely bullshit and anti-scientific.

      (but, um, yes, some dinosaurs are still here. there’s a good chance you’ve eaten one recently. and no, those dragons in the bible are not dinosaurs.)

  6. One small thing: presumably, they would claim that there was nothing wrong with being a pre-fall serpent.

  7. It is incorrect to say that the sexism of the Literal Creationists comes directly from the Bible. It is more correct to say it comes from their faulty interpretation of it. Many of us feel an accurate reading of the Greek and Hebrew paints a very different picture of gender relationships indeed. Literal Creationists and other Fundamentalists tend to have a poor understanding of the Greek and Hebrew lexicon.

    • arachnophilia

      literal creationists and other fundamentalists tend to have a poor understanding of a great many things.

      and it is wrong to say that their sexism come from the bible — it comes from elsewhere, and the bible merely supports it. they don’t actually take much of what they believe from the bible.

      but it would also be very, very wrong to say that there is not sexism in the bible. certainly genesis 2+3 is a good example, as is the timothy verse referenced. but there are some counter-examples as well, heroic feminine figures in the bible, that shouldn’t be ignored either. but even in cases like ruth or esther or judith (depending on your bible), their heroism is still tied to certainly sexist ideas. but the bible really is not any one thing.

      and hey, for a book written so long ago, what do you expect, right?

  8. arachnophilia

    There’s no mention of how the serpent got into God’s perfect garden in the first place… or why he chose to manifest himself as a serpent instead of something more innocuous… like a vegetarian kitten or something.

    because it’s a snake. he didn’t get to chose what he was. are you asking why the author chose a snake? might have some relation the surrounding religions, where serpents were often important spiritual entities. but in this story, he’s just a snake. sort of the point, actually.

    The plaque in the middle is a good example of a problem with a literal interpretation of Genesis. The Creation Museum (and its parent, Answers in Genesis), is very clear about its literal interpretation of the bible. Yet the verse depicted here makes the statement that, if you eat the fruit of this one tree, you will surely die… that day. But that didn’t happen. Apologists will try to say that the verse means that Adam and Eve will die “spiritually,” not physically (and some later translations removed the temporal restriction)… but that’s not what the verse says. This is a common tactic among people who claim a literal reading. It’s literal when it suits them, but metaphorical when it doesn’t.

    i’d like to point out that “in the day” is actually an idiom, and doesn’t mean “within a 24-hour period.” but, um, not in the way they think. it’s used as a temporal locator, used to tie together two specific events. in many modern translations, this phrase will be rendered idiomatically. see the new JPS version: “for as soon as you eat of it, you shall die.” basically, it means “when” and the implication is immediacy.

    oh, and, yes, physical death. the people who wrote the torah really no conception as of a “soul” as anything other than the thing that made you alive.

    The serpent lures Eve into chomping on the knowledgey fruit (by telling her the truth, by the way)

    i’ve always loved that observation. god lies, the snake tells the truth.

    and she gets Adam to do the same (yet another biblical reason for sexism… it was all Eve’s fault)

    no no no, you’re reading 19th and 20th century sexism into it. look for the 6th century BCE sexism — it wasn’t eve’s fault because she’s not a person. read the end of chapter 3 very, very closely. adam doesn’t blame eve for tricking him; he blames god for putting her there in the first place.

    I also think that in this story, the creation was extremely far from perfect.

    quite. there’s a reading of genesis that paints the book as a chronicle of god’s mistakes, and why it’s better to have a system of laws (ie: the torah) that does not involve direct interaction with and direction from god himself.

    And if this biblical god decided that, because Adam ate some fruit that he wasn’t supposed to eat, an appropriate punishment was to create disease, natural catastrophes, suffering, and all kinds of other nastiness… pretty much forever… then I think that this story is about as far as you can get from an acceptable moral teaching. It’s reprehensible.

    that’s how they’re reading it. a… more enlightened… reading is also possible. if we accept the premise that god’s creation wasn’t perfect, we can look a little deeper. that premise should be obvious — even god himself admits as much in the story, as he creates by trial and error, making man things as he needs them. anyways, a careful reading also notes that it’s the tree of life that grants adam and eve immortality, thus they are created mortal. and if there can be death in the garden of eden, that opens the door for all kinds of stuff. why is adam specifically given domesticated animals? well, the lions might eat him. and reading the next few chapters just as carefully tells us that there’s a whole separate world going on outside of eden: who is cain worried about being killed by? and who does he marry? basically, their whole story is biblically untenable.

    but now with velociraptors which were noticeably absent from the Garden of Eden

    noticeably naked velociraptors. with the jurassic-park-style broken wrists.

  9. Remember boys and girls bearing false witness is not really a sin when you’re Lying For Jesus.

  10. “God made male and female fit for different roles from the beginning.”

    Ah, fundamentalist sexism. Using an old creation fable to justify outdated gender roles. Classic.

  11. The vegetables Adam is growing took thousands of years of artificial selection to produce. Where did they come from?

  12. I take issue with you Dan, on your view that God screwed up his world. You are made in the image of God and you find his plan reprehensible. If it was God’s intention to give man free will, what would be the point of creating a servant who had to obey? You also forget Satan’s part in all of this. Since the beginning of time He has been bent on bringing destruction to the abundant life God promises. I am in awe that with God he turns situations intended to be bad into good. Satan thought he had won a great victory when Jesus was murdered on the cross but completely unprepared for the resurrection but you will be telling me I am sure that you do not even believe in the resurrection. The Holy Spirit is real, the resurrection happened. There are things science cannot explain. The only way to find truth sometimes is to earnestly seek it. It’s no good having set views. You may think from my posts that my views are strong and fixed but no. I am open to persuasion; you cannot be a scientist if you do not have an open mind. You have to search time and time again to collect evidence. When miracles happen, it blows me away and rocks my scientific mind to the core. If you looked into the reality of salvation it may help you understand more about God. It is unfortunate that there is so much religion and extremism in the world it has muddied the waters of truth. One of Jesus famous lines was “the truth shall set you free”. He never condemned anyone and ate with prostitutes and drug addicts. Most of his time was spent with the down and outs and healing physical infirmities. Much talk is made today about respecting peoples rights to be and do whatever they want and try to categorise people. I believe people are born in sin and the world shapes us. We have choices too and we are not born in equal circumstances. We all have the potential to commit murder, be homosexual, become addicted to alcohol, drugs and to be nasty as hell. What kind of world would it be if we all did those things? but even our righteousness is as filthy rags so without God we are nothing; without love we are nothing. I have no right to condemn or judge anybody but whatever is true and good think on these things. To live in peace, to marry and be in a loving family, to be free of addiction, to make music to worship God and to live an interesting life with wonderful leisure activities are my ideals. They are possible with God but temporal on this planet. God’s plan is for a life after we die but evolutionists dismiss that when deep in their soul if they look in the mirror they would maybe find their destiny. My science is useless without the One who gives me life and the opportunity to worship Him is an integral part of my life. Why not listen to some of Andre Crouch’s music and find a spirit-filled person and reconnect with your maker. Ha.

    • For the record, I don’t think that God screwed up the world… since I don’t believe in God. Understand that I’m simply relating the story as portrayed by the Creation Museum (and Genesis) in this post.

      The Genesis story (as with many other biblical stories) clearly shows that the God of the story is not perfect, omnipotent, omnisicent, or omnipresent. You ask why create a servant who had to obey? Why create a servant at all? That aside, if God in this story was perfect, how could he ever create anything that wasn’t perfect? If he created something that was faulty, it would show that he, himself was imperfect.

      So, in the book of Genesis, God DID screw up the world because he made it imperfectly. You can’t blame Satan. Wouldn’t God have created him, too? Was that another mistake? The bible is filled with contradictions of this nature.

      I’m going to ignore the rest of your comment because it was pure proselytizing and gibberish.