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Human Reason

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.


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)

Creation Museum Part 3

(this is a continuation of Creation Museum Part 2)

Modern World Abandons the Bible Before we got to head into the Garden of Eden to see the biblical creation story played out, we first needed to see (evidently) what the consequences are for  failing to agree with biblical teachings. If I recall correctly, the next section was called “Graffiti Alley.” The intent, I’m assuming, is to show how degraded society can (and has) become when the scripture is abandoned.

Today Man Decides... WhateverNews clippings, graffiti, and very clever video all gave examples of societal decline. The video was shown as looking through a window and listening to conversations of teens on the phone or talking to their friends. One moodily-lit wall portrayed various news clippings in a collage.

News Clippings Along with some walls of graffiti, there were a number of signs declaring what happens when scripture is abandoned or compromised.

“Scripture abandoned in the culture leads to… relative morality, hopelessness, and meaninglessness.”

“Scripture abandoned in the home leads to… a generation no different than the world.”

“Scripture compromised in the church leads to… scripture abandoned in the home.”

Scripture Abandoned in the CultureScripture Abandoned in the Home Scripture Compromised in the Church

There’s no reason or evidence given for these conclusions, however, and the notion that abandoning scripture in the culture leads to hopelessness and meaninglessness is just patently absurd. My life is filled with hope and meaning and none of it has anything to do with religious doctrines.

No more church in 40 years?! They do have a sign posted that is probably meant to shock, but had the opposite effect on both Craig and me. If something in this museum was a cause for hope, this sign was it. Somehow, I doubt that the prediction will come true, however… but it’s not a bad thought.

The world's not safe anymore. Graffiti Alley was lit in a dark, sinister way in stark contrast to the rest of the museum, presumably to help set the mood of hopelessness and despair. The decor is that of a city’s back alley with crumbling brickwork and broken windows to complement the graffiti and proclamations of societal decay due to the abandonment of scriptures.

It is in this alley that we were introduced to the idea that one of the greatest secular threats to a biblical worldview is the idea that the world is millions of years old (Curse you, science!)… vividly portrayed by a giant wrecking ball which has smashed into the side of a church.

Millions of Years Wrecking Ball From that point on in the museum, the idea that the universe is more than 6,000 years old is bad… and wrong… and unbiblical. They, of course, even go so far as to say that it is unscientific (see the idea of “Different views because of different starting points” in part 1). It’s patently absurd, of course, to say that the universe is only 6,000 years old, but that doesn’t stop the museum creators from doing everything they can to justify their position, no matter how ludicrous it is.

Undermining biblical doctrine But a television monitor in the next room showed just why they have to do it. I caught it at just the right time to snap this picture.

“‘Millions of Years’ undermines every major doctrine of the bible,” it says. The caption reads “Long ages would undermine the basic teachings of Christianity.”

I, along with millions of other folks, including Christians, don’t think so. It may undermine the literal reading of Genesis, but there are plenty of Christian teachings that don’t rely on a timeline at all. Love thy neighbor, do unto others, etc… I don’t think there’s any shortage of beneficial advice in the bible that is free from the restrictions of such a timeline. But perhaps the folks at the Creation Museum don’t consider them to be “major” doctrines.

10_ThereIsStillHopeSo after the “horrors” of the scripturally bankrupt Graffiti Alley showing how society is in a horrible state, we were shown that there was still hope… and the place to find that hope is at the beginning… a mere 6,000 years ago.

11_EternalPlan Here’s “The Creator’s Eternal Plan” as stated by the Creation Museum…

The six days of creation set the stage for the fulfillment of God’s great eternal plan. He created humans in His likeness, desiring to dwell with them for eternity. Knowing they would rebel, God, in eternity, had already planned for the Son of God to step into history to provide the  free gift of salvation.

I pondered this statement for a bit. It says that God created humans because he wanted to hang out with them. That seems a bit un-godlike… to attribute a simple emotion like loneliness to God. Why else would he want to dwell with humans? That aside, he created them knowing they would rebel. Why do that? Why not make humans that wouldn’t rebel?

That hardly seems like a perfect creation, especially when it states that he knew beforehand that they would rebel! That’s intentionally creating a failure. But before he even created them, he planned to fix them by sending the “Son of God” into history (that’s himself, by the way) to give the “free gift of salvation”… to the humans that he created in such a way that they would screw things up and need salvation. It’s hardly a “free” gift, anyway, now is it?

It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, and the only way that it can possibly be explained is with the cop-out answer of “The Lord works in mysterious ways.”

I had hoped to get to the Garden of Eden in this post, but I forgot about Graffiti Alley. Coming up next, though are the Garden of Eden and the Fall.

…with dinosaurs.

(The tour will continue in part 4)

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)