Thoughts from My Visit to AiG’s Ark Encounter & Creation Museum

Those who have visited Answers in Genesis’ Ark Encounter or Creation Museum will have their own perspective on the experience and its value. I’ve just returned from my own first-time visit to both and have some observations and thoughts for those who haven’t yet made the pilgrimage.

Is it just a big entertainment business making a few people rich?

Revenue is an inherently tempting thing. Just getting a paycheck every couple of weeks brings hazards as well as blessings. One of the hazards is that as revenue increases, my life and work might become increasingly about revenue.

We’d be fools to think that Ken Ham and Answers in Genesis are invulnerable to that temptation. There are also signs that could be viewed as evidence that AiG is on that road.

The growth above is in addition to AiG’s already-expansive ventures into Sunday School, VBS, and homeschool curriculum.

Because of how evangelical ministry tends to drift, I had concerns about this before I went to Ark Encounter (Ark) and the Creation Museum (CM). Being there didn’t erase those concerns. I hope and pray that AiG won’t be sucked into the “more and more, and bigger and bigger, is better” trap that afflicts so many megachurches and other large ministries.

That said, I don’t believe that right now, AiG is just an evangelical entertainment biz, pandering to the lowest common denominator of evangelical thrill seekers and belief-validation seekers.

Some reasons why:

  • If you’re going to do infotainment at all, you should do it right.
  • Doing it right is expensive.
  • AiG is shooting for top notch quality, and usually achieving it.

Pretty much everything at Ark is top-notch and nearly everything at CM is also (Exception: The planetarium show on aliens is much in need of an update. The show on the scale of the universe more than makes up for it, though!).

Both sites—which are a good 40 minutes apart by freeway—are kept in excellent condition and surrounded by extremely beautiful gardens. Both are full of exhibits that are as good as any I’ve seen anywhere. I’m not a museum buff, but Ark & CM rival the best museums I’ve toured in visual appeal, clarity, variety and thoughtfulness of the exhibits.

I imagine it would be hard for passionate non-believers to get past that and appreciate the quality of the exhibits, but it’s probably not hard for Christians with different views on the events of Genesis to appreciate.

Are these sites effective apologetics or just preaching to the choir?

Multiple aspects of both Ark and CM surprised me—a few examples:

  • Though it has “theme park” like stuff on site (zip line, camel rides for kids, a VR show of some sort, etc.), the Ark itself is pretty much a museum housed inside an exhibit … a cool idea by any standard.
  • The love of Christ and the gospel pops up all over in all sorts of ways, both subtle and intentionally non-subtle. In places, the gospel is portrayed with extraordinary beauty and grace. I teared up a bit more than once.
  • The level of detail! Multiple times during our day there, my critical thinking circuits would go, “Hmmm, but what about this…?” only to later find that very question directly addressed. The evidence and reasoning in the answers is selective—it has to be—but AiG seems to have thought of all the questions.
  • With a few givens in place (e.g., “kinds,” no hibernation, cubit size), I found the project persuasive as a demonstration of one way Noah’s ark could have done the job literally as described in Genesis.
  • Tone: The tone is mostly educational, not polemical. I also saw less inappropriate dogmatism than I expected.

But are these sites effective apologetics? Several points on that.

  • Ark is definitely more infotainment-oriented than CM.
  • Both are clearly aimed at general audiences, not intellectual elites, though CM is a bit more toward that end of the scale.
  • Both are clearly aimed at declaring the whole gospel story and educating Christians about Genesis—not mainly equipping believers for debates with skeptics or winning over critics on intellectual grounds.
  • Ark is not presented as a “you can believe Genesis now that you’ve seen it” thing. It’s more of a “you can understand Genesis better now that you’ve seen it” thing.

If you go to learn, you won’t be disappointed. If you go hoping to use something there to win your agnostic or atheist friend to Christ—there’s good stuff for that also, but probably not in the “conversion by winning the debate” vein.

Could it be better in some ways?

You can always find ways to make something better.

Infotainment. The blending of “theme-parkiness” with “museuminess” involves some trade-offs. If you dial down the entertainment aspect, you reach fewer people, including some who would be drawn into more thoughtful engagement with the ideas. But the entertainment aspect feeds the skepticism of those who are approaching the big questions more intellectually and suspect the projects are just fun and games and money. I’d like to see CM become even less theme-parky, though it’s already noticeably less so than Ark.

Counterarguments. At multiple points in both Ark and CM, but especially CM, I was aware that there are alternate views and counterarguments against what AiG was presenting. I couldn’t recall what they were and thought the exhibits might be enhanced by acknowledging these more and maybe pointing inquirers to where they can dig deeper into those debates. For example, CM is emphatic that earth must be 6,000 years old because the genealogy in Genesis notes the ages of individuals when they died—so there can’t be gaps. The exhibit leaves it at that.

You can only say so much in exhibit format—and many of CM’s exhibits are already a lot of reading. So I sympathize. Still, maybe there’s a way to use tech to allow guests to tap a Dig Deeper icon and find out why, for example, some still see maybe tens of thousands of years in Genesis but still consider themselves young earth creationists.

Assumptions. Ark is extremely well imagined, and I use “imagined” intentionally. It’s full of detailed explanations of how waste disposal, food distribution, ventilation, water, and more may have been engineered to allow eight people to care for around 800 animals each. Some brilliant engineers had to work through all of that—which means Noah, his family, and whatever other resources he could access, would also have to have done a lot of brilliant engineering.

I don’t find that difficult to believe. There was plenty of time to design and test systems, find failure points, and design new ones, etc. Also, though “Noah built the ark,” we don’t have to believe he never hired anybody for design, materials, and labor.

But a huge portion of the project is built on the assumption that God didn’t simply put all the animals into hibernation. I’m aware of the counterargument that Genesis doesn’t mention hibernation, so we’re filling in gaps from our own thinking on that. But if you visit the Ark you can hardly help but realize Genesis also doesn’t mention intricate waste disposal, food distribution and water management systems! Any view that takes the flood and ark account as historical/factual has two choices:

  • Leave the details to God: “It’s not important to me how God made it all work.”
  • Imagine a great deal to theorize how it all could have been done.
A portion of a small animals exhibit from Ark…

A portion of a large animals exhibit at Ark …

Is it less biblical and theologically sound, or more presumptuous, to imagine hibernating animals, a smaller cubit, and a smaller ark that isn’t so thoroughly engineered? (AiG’s attitude is that maybe hibernation happened but it wasn’t necessary.)

One other fact that hit me during these visits is that the AiG concept of “kinds” (Gen. 6:20, 7:14) means they do believe in the evolution of species. They would strongly prefer not to say it that way, because they define “evolution” as the complete naturalistic, molecules-to-man package. But in AiG’s view, a “kind” is a broader category than a species, and we have far more species today than Noah had “kinds” in his day. That would mean that after the flood, specimens of each kind evolved into the many species we have today—by natural selection (see photo of CM exhibit).

Given the relationship of kinds to species and the role of natural selection, maybe we need to stop being so broadly negative about “biological evolution,” and learn more nuanced ways of communicating the differences and similarities between creationist and naturalist views of life on earth.

Should you go?

You don’t have to be convinced that AiG has all the details right to benefit from the Ark Encounter and the Creation Museum. At the very least, these projects are thought-provoking, interesting, and well integrated with the theology of God’s grand plan of creation, fall, redemption, and restoration (CM uses the “Seven C’s” of Creation, Corruption, Catastrophe, Confusion, Christ, Cross, Consummation).

Believers don’t need to see a full scale ark model to be firm in their faith in God and His Word. Ark and CM are not about that. They’re about learning and deepening understanding as well as viewing the world in a more God- and gospel-centered way.

I think you should go. Should you bring your agnostic or atheist friend? That depends on a lot of factors, but it could certainly be a route to some thoughtful conversations about the big questions of what life is, why we’re here, what’s gone wrong, and what it all means.

A small animal storage area from Ark …
The graphic novel style gospel exhibit at Ark …

(Photo credits: Me and my Pixel 5.)

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There are 86 Comments

Mark_Smith's picture

Larry wrote:

You cannot measure anything about them because they were created the way they are.

Mark, to me you are creating a straw man here. If God did what he said he did, we should expect that the light travel was appropriately created, i.e., that there are not gaps in the distance. The only way it wasn't is if God didn't do what he said he did. 

Remember, you aren't measure age. You are measuring distance. Yes, light travels over time, but it isn't required. 

 

OK, just how do you think we measure distance? Perhaps there is a knowledge gap.

Mark_Smith's picture

Light travels at the speed of light which is 300,000 km/s. Or, one light-year per year. Let's say the universe is 10,000 years old just for argument's sake. Hey, it's a nice easy number to deal with. At one light-year per year light could have propagated naturally 10,000 light-years. 

Ok, what does a distance greater than that "mean" in a YEC universe. How can you even talk about a greater distance than that? How can you measure something farther than the fastest "signal" can travel? Please enlighten this experimental physicist just how you do that...

Mark_Smith's picture

Mark_Smith wrote:

Light travels at the speed of light which is 300,000 km/s. Or, one light-year per year. Let's say the universe is 10,000 years old just for argument's sake. Hey, it's a nice easy number to deal with. At one light-year per year light could have propagated naturally 10,000 light-years. 

Ok, what does a distance greater than that "mean" in a YEC universe. How can you even talk about a greater distance than that? How can you measure something farther than the fastest "signal" can travel? Please enlighten this experimental physicist just how you do that...

Let me answer my own question. You are going to have to invoke a "miracle" or "the character of God" or the "desire of God" to explain anything farther than 10,000 light years in a YEC universe... Thus, by definition, you are beyond the realm of science and physics. QED. It really is that simple.

Larry's picture

Moderator

Ok, what does a distance greater than that "mean" in a YEC universe.

It means it is farther away. 

You are going to have to invoke a "miracle" or "the character of God" or the "desire of God" to explain anything farther than 10,000 light years in a YEC universe... Thus, by definition, you are beyond the realm of science and physics. QED. It really is that simple.

Everyone has to invoke a miracle of some sort. I think this is probably where both science and theology have let us all down. It is impossible to do science without God. But theology let that go and science did as well. The only reason to think there is a constant speed of light (or any other "law of nature") is because God created such a world in which these things work.

I would argue that you are confusing distance with time. Light years is really a measure of distance, not time. Yes, they are related to some degree, but they are distinct. Assuming that God was accurate when he spoke, there is no problem separating the two. So something could be a million light years away and only 10,000 years old because God created it that way. And since God told us he did that, we would warranted in believing that is what he did. 

G. N. Barkman's picture

On the day He created them, they were less than a day old.  That's a fact.  If they were analyzed in a laboratory, they would appear to be much older.  That is the unavoidable consequence of their having been created to duplicate the fish that were brought to the occasion.  Two categories of fish, some caught in a body of water with chronological age, and some created by Christ which were presumably identical in every way, but because of the miracle of creation, were in fact mere minutes old.

We all seem to agree that "doing science" on the freshly created fish is impossible, at least as it is customarily performed using assumptions of uniformity.  Principles of uniformity would yield conclusions based upon misleading information about the actual age of these fish.  The difference of opinion seems to be as follows.  Some, like Mark, conclude that existence of miracles destroys science.  Others, like myself, conclude that basic science can and should be conducted with the understanding that we cannot be dogmatic about ages and origins.  True science must bow to the revelation of the Creator and acknowledge that there are mysteries in the universe that we cannot explain because we don't know all the "when's" and "how's" and "what's" of creation.  We should examine what we can observe, and be willing to acknowledge that conclusions based upon assumptions of uniformity cannot be considered certain.  We can conclude that "this is the way it looks to us based upon certain presuppositions, but without knowing exactly how God created the universe, there is no way to be sure."  Since we, who are Christians, believe in the Creator, we should not feel compelled to bow to the dictates of agnostic scientific assumptions.

G. N. Barkman

Mark_Smith's picture

Larry wrote:

Ok, what does a distance greater than that "mean" in a YEC universe.

It means it is farther away. 

You are going to have to invoke a "miracle" or "the character of God" or the "desire of God" to explain anything farther than 10,000 light years in a YEC universe... Thus, by definition, you are beyond the realm of science and physics. QED. It really is that simple.

Everyone has to invoke a miracle of some sort. I think this is probably where both science and theology have let us all down. It is impossible to do science without God. But theology let that go and science did as well. The only reason to think there is a constant speed of light (or any other "law of nature") is because God created such a world in which these things work.

I would argue that you are confusing distance with time. Light years is really a measure of distance, not time. Yes, they are related to some degree, but they are distinct. Assuming that God was accurate when he spoke, there is no problem separating the two. So something could be a million light years away and only 10,000 years old because God created it that way. And since God told us he did that, we would warranted in believing that is what he did. 

There is NO WAY to measure astronomical distance without involving time... that is the point. You can't logically say (meaning velocity x time = distance traveled) a distance without implying a time.

M. Osborne's picture

If your starting definition of the discipline you call "science" is limited to only what can be measured using various instruments, etc., then you're arbitrarily bracketing out available inputs.

Thought experiment. Put a biology lab somewhere in first-century Palestine. Send one of the 5K people with their fish (let's call him "Abe") to the lab. Abe tells the lab worker, "I just watched this fish apparently come out of nowhere. Now, tell me what you can about it."

Is what Abe says relevant or irrelevant to what the lab worker does?

Michael Osborne
Philadelphia, PA

Mark_Smith's picture

M. Osborne wrote:

If your starting definition of the discipline you call "science" is limited to only what can be measured using various instruments, etc., then you're arbitrarily bracketing out available inputs.

Thought experiment. Put a biology lab somewhere in first-century Palestine. Send one of the 5K people with their fish (let's call him "Abe") to the lab. Abe tells the lab worker, "I just watched this fish apparently come out of nowhere. Now, tell me what you can about it."

Is what Abe says relevant or irrelevant to what the lab worker does?

Well, the lab worker would measure the fish and determine an age based off of size, features ,etc... But if its a miracle fish that approach is wrong. It won't work. You can determine nothing in fact about the miracle fish because it is... well, a miracle.

What other input would you use? Are you saying Abe is an input? If you use Abe then you are NOT doing science. And thus, my point stands. A miracle trumps science.

M. Osborne's picture

That seems to put science in a box; or Abe in a box; or both science and Abe in separate boxes. (Hopefully with air holes.)

If you are simply trying to find out "what happened," then surely the testimony is relevant.

And why wouldn't "science" want to be conducted within the larger context of "what happened"?

I'm not arguing for a young earth here. I'm suggesting that your definition of science isn't starting with the world-as-God made it. In the world-as-God-made-it, special and general revelation are not abstracted from each other, and there is no reason to put special revelation in one box and general revelation in another box, or worse yet, to look at general revelation as if it is so much raw data for us to interpret unaided.

I do understand that it may have radical implications for how you understand D=rt....not that it would invalidate D=rt entirely, but that it would radically resituate what is meant by it.

Michael Osborne
Philadelphia, PA

Mark_Smith's picture

M. Osborne wrote:

That seems to put science in a box; or Abe in a box; or both science and Abe in separate boxes. (Hopefully with air holes.)

If you are simply trying to find out "what happened," then surely the testimony is relevant.

And why wouldn't "science" want to be conducted within the larger context of "what happened"?

I'm not arguing for a young earth here. I'm suggesting that your definition of science isn't starting with the world-as-God made it. In the world-as-God-made-it, special and general revelation are not abstracted from each other, and there is no reason to put special revelation in one box and general revelation in another box, or worse yet, to look at general revelation as if it is so much raw data for us to interpret unaided.

I do understand that it may have radical implications for how you understand D=rt....not that it would invalidate D=rt entirely, but that it would radically resituate what is meant by it.

I am not measuring the miracle, I am measuring the age of the fish. If the fish was created by a miracle I cannot measure its age by normal means. That is the point.

Likewise, if stars are created by miracles and not natural processes, there is no physical way to measure their age (or distance to them). Instead, you have to rely upon special revelation. Thus, science is useless.

Larry's picture

Moderator

There is NO WAY to measure astronomical distance without involving time... that is the point. You can't logically say (meaning velocity x time = distance traveled) a distance without implying a time.

As I said, they are related but distinct. You are, as you said, "implying" a time. Of course. It's implying a time, or inferring a time. But again, you are missing the point. God told us he did something. Why do we say he didn't really do that? I am a YEC but I am not going to die on that hill. At this point, this is about revelation and what we make of it.

Mark_Smith's picture

How does an astronomer measure the distance to the Andromeda Galaxy? How do you think?

Mark_Smith's picture

Larry wrote:

There is NO WAY to measure astronomical distance without involving time... that is the point. You can't logically say (meaning velocity x time = distance traveled) a distance without implying a time.

As I said, they are related but distinct. You are, as you said, "implying" a time. Of course. It's implying a time, or inferring a time. But again, you are missing the point. God told us he did something. Why do we say he didn't really do that? I am a YEC but I am not going to die on that hill. At this point, this is about revelation and what we make of it.

You say He told us YEC, another Christian equally faithful says He told us Old Earth Creation... Who is correct?

Also, I think you are totally missing my point. I am saying:

If you believe in YEC you have to give up some things, like being able to determine distances. Why all the push back? You all hate scientific results anyway unless they match your predetermined beliefs... so why cling to distances?

Mark_Smith's picture

why you reject the universe is 13.6 billion because it contradicts the Bible as you read it, but you don't reject the same scientist telling you the universe is 55 billion ly + across?

Larry's picture

Moderator

why you reject the universe is 13.6 billion because it contradicts the Bible as you read it, but you don't reject the same scientist telling you the universe is 55 billion ly + across?

Because both are consistent with what God has said.

Larry's picture

Moderator

You say He told us YEC, another Christian equally faithful says He told us Old Earth Creation... Who is correct?

He told us he created a mature earth. The person who believes that is correct. 

If you believe in YEC you have to give up some things, like being able to determine distances.

But again, you haven't shown this to be the case. You assume a starting position. You haven't shown that to be correct. An imperfect analogy, but you are like someone who watches a guy add rocks to a pile at one rock a minute. You watch him for five minutes and determine the one rock a minute pace. You count 30 rocks in the pile and extrapolate how long he has been adding rocks to the pile. But the problem is you don't know how many were in the pile to start with. And when you ask him, he says 10. But you disagree and tell him that can't be right because you have watched him add one rock a minute for five minutes and since there are 30 rocks in the pile, he must have been adding rocks for 30 minutes. He says, "No, ten rocks were already there." And you respond, "You can't count that way."

You can't make the assumption about how much was there to start with it. Why not accept that God created a mature universe? That seems a lot easier than this rigamarole you are going through here. And realize that creating a mature universe doesn't even determine the age of the universe. It is, to at least some degree, irrelevant to OEC or YEC. That comes from other stuff.

Why all the push back?

Because what you are saying doesn't seem to make sense and you aren't helping yourself here, IMO. You seem to assume the Bible's description of creation is inaccurate. I don't think that is a good assumption.

You all hate scientific results anyway unless they match your predetermined beliefs... so why cling to distances?

I don't think you have any idea what I hate. But perhaps this is the underlying problem of assumptions that you want to force on the evidence in spite of what people say.

I will let it go here unless there is something striking. In the final analysis, God told us he created a mature creation. It was a miracle. But there is no reason that I can find to claim it is inaccurate and that we can't do science on it.

Mark_Smith's picture

A poll on this very website at present has 20 responses, 8 being old earth of some type. Interesting huh...

Mark_Smith's picture

 Why not accept that God created a mature universe?

 

 

I am saying IF you accept that (a mature creation) you cannot do things like measure the age of the universe!!!!!!!! As you yourself say stars etc were created mature. Age is meaningless!

If there is a mature creation, then either light was created in transit or some way of "speeding up time" happened. Either way, there is no way to measure distances in either case because the light observed did not traverse the full distance using a speed we can measure. It not a bad thing mind you. It merely means you give up being able to measure distance. You cannot talk about things that rely on processes to be measured to understand them because the processes are not natural, they are miracled. 

That is what I am saying.

Mark_Smith's picture

Your rock analogy is perfect brother!

Let's say I watch a guy stack 1 rock a minute for 5 minutes. So 5 rocks. I then leave and come back after a total of one hour. I expect 60 rocks but find, say, 900. What happened? I have no idea! I cannot measure it. The process changed midstream....

Mark_Smith's picture

If you accept a mature creation, would you agree that:

1- The "apparent age" of the universe is not relevant. All that matters is time since creation.

2- The way stars shine is irrelevant because they were all created shining.

3- There are no knew stars being formed. They were only made on day 4.

4- Distance is irrelevant because God made everything in its place, we see it as a testimony to His creation for His glory alone, not as a vast array of objects glowing by physical processes, but are instead miracles.

*I think those are all fair claims of a YEC model. Then why care about astronomy? The entire purpose of the science of astronomy is defeated by every claim of YEC.

 

G. N. Barkman's picture

How can anyone not believe in a mature creation.  Did God make Adam and Eve as babies to grow up, or as mature adults?  Can you name anything in the Bible account of creation that was not created fully mature?

I  would respond that Mark's question # 1 is essentially correct.  What can we know about time prior to creation?  I'm not quite sure what he's getting at in question # 2, but if the stars were created with emanated light in place, as would appear to be the case, it is not possible to determine their age by measuring their light.  (To posit otherwise means that no stars could be viewed from earth until years after creation was complete.  This assumption requires a starless sky for a long time.) 

As to question # 3, I can't rule out new stars being formed, any more than I can rule out new mountains being formed by volcanic activity, new islands being formed, etc.  Not sure why distance is irrelevant according to # 4, but I do realize that distance measurements requiring presumptions of vast ages cannot be validated.  This requires circular reasoning.  The non-existence of created emanated light is assumed in order to measure how long it takes for light from a particular star to reach the earth, and then the age of that star is utilized to prove the "fact" of vast ages.  If the light was created with the star from the beginning, there is no way to prove the age of the star.  (But distance is a separate issue from age, and the speed of light can still be used to calculate distance.)

 

G. N. Barkman

Dan Miller's picture

I am saying IF you accept that (a mature creation) you cannot do things like measure the age of the universe!!!!!!!!

Yeah I except that. It seems like a no brainer, not something that deserves exclamation marks  

 I think it's obvious that no one can measure the age of the universe. We we can calculate the age of the universe, based on measurements and assumptions that we can make.

The rock analogy: the problem with the analogy is that uniformity is not in it. It involves a man. And men have limited life spans as well as changing their minds about how much to work, etc. 

If we say that an extremely durable robot is adding one rock per minute. And the pile has 180 rocks. The rock building process calculates to have started 3 hours ago, assuming a bunch of things, including no other builder has been involved.

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

I don't think it necessarily follows that if one accepts the idea that God created a mature universe, you can't do science on the "age" of the universe. One reason has already been bandied about in this thread: time is relative. (Saw an article recently reporting that physicists had for the first time, measured gravitic distortion of time across a distance as tiny as a millimeter...https://www.sciencealert.com/physicists-set-a-record-in-measuring-the-di...). So, I still don't really see why time, from a certain point of view can "really" be a gazillion years and form another point of view also "really" be a few minutes, under the right conditions. So it's, again, a question of process.

There is some process language in Genesis 1, but we don't know if God "exploded" the universe into something close to its present form, rapidly moving through all the cause and effect sequences that would, from a different frame of reference, take billions of years, or if He created each astronomical object individually and all the radiation in between them all at once. One could argue that both of these are processes, just very different ones. In any case, you can solve a lot of 'old universe' science on age of the universe linguistically just by, in your head, appending the phrase "as we now calculate time from our location in the present universe" to every reference to 'years.'  Science has to make some assumptions. I don't think we should shy away from studying the phenomena we observe on the grounds that it was created mature. We should study it, acknowledging our limitations--one huge one being that we don't really know how time was working when the universe came into being vs. how it works now where we live.

Making and acknowledging assumptions about the unknowns (and unknowables) is something scientists do all the time in studies. Popularizers tend to leave that part out a lot though!

Where I think old earthers have a really big problem is in how they deal with the historicity of Adam. Though C.S. Lewis managed to take an unorthodox view of Adam and Eve (see God in the Dock for example) and not see any coherence problem with the Christian faith, I think he was on thin ice. I can't remember if he eventually landed on a real human individual man and woman or not. Maybe he did. But I think Christian theology depends on them being a real pair of humans and the first of them.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Mark_Smith's picture

Dan Miller wrote:

I am saying IF you accept that (a mature creation) you cannot do things like measure the age of the universe!!!!!!!!

Yeah I except that. It seems like a no brainer, not something that deserves exclamation marks  

 

The exclamation marks come from 2 pages of posts from people INSISTING that we can measure age and have a young universe.

Mark_Smith's picture

Aaron Blumer wrote:

I don't think it necessarily follows that if one accepts the idea that God created a mature universe, you can't do science on the "age" of the universe. One reason has already been bandied about in this thread: time is relative. (Saw an article recently reporting that physicists had for the first time, measured gravitic distortion of time across a distance as tiny as a millimeter...https://www.sciencealert.com/physicists-set-a-record-in-measuring-the-di...). So, I still don't really see why time, from a certain point of view can "really" be a gazillion years and form another point of view also "really" be a few minutes, under the right conditions. So it's, again, a question of process.

There is some process language in Genesis 1, but we don't know if God "exploded" the universe into something close to its present form, rapidly moving through all the cause and effect sequences that would, from a different frame of reference, take billions of years, or if He created each astronomical object individually and all the radiation in between them all at once. One could argue that both of these are processes, just very different ones. In any case, you can solve a lot of 'old universe' science on age of the universe linguistically just by, in your head, appending the phrase "as we now calculate time from our location in the present universe" to every reference to 'years.'  Science has to make some assumptions. I don't think we should shy away from studying the phenomena we observe on the grounds that it was created mature. We should study it, acknowledging our limitations--one huge one being that we don't really know how time was working when the universe came into being vs. how it works now where we live.

Making and acknowledging assumptions about the unknowns (and unknowables) is something scientists do all the time in studies. Popularizers tend to leave that part out a lot though!

Where I think old earthers have a really big problem is in how they deal with the historicity of Adam. Though C.S. Lewis managed to take an unorthodox view of Adam and Eve (see God in the Dock for example) and not see any coherence problem with the Christian faith, I think he was on thin ice. I can't remember if he eventually landed on a real human individual man and woman or not. Maybe he did. But I think Christian theology depends on them being a real pair of humans and the first of them.

Relativity doesn't work as a "magic pill" to explain a young universe in the YEC model... Relativity, either general or special, is about reference frames. Special Relativity works like this, I'm either at rest or I am moving. If I am at rest, I see the other thing moving towards me and the distance is shortened. If I am moving the other guy sees the time changed. Time and distance are linked and related and affect each other through velocity. The paper you refer to is General Relativity, with gravity warping space. That is totally predictable through General Relativity. Either way, neither SR nor GR can explain a young Earth in an old universe, or any other combination. One reason is the universe appears old AND the Earth itself appears old! Relativity can't fix that...

 

 

Mark_Smith's picture

I just want to be clear one more time. The problem I am pointing out is, science and the natural world it models, takes time to work. Light travels from source to destination at a speed. Sound the same. Energy is produced and needs time to transfer from one place to another. Time is intimately involved in how the universe works.

In astronomy, we can observe and measure that a star gets its energy by nuclear fusion. But while the process of nuclear fusion only takes a fraction of a second, the transfer of energy from the core where the fusion occurs to the surface where light shines takes a long time, tens of thousands of years at a minimum, and hundreds of thousands to millions of years in practicality. Stars themselves operate on millions of years time scale. That is a fact based off how they work. This is not a guess, or some unbelieving scientist's godless opinion. It is a fact. There are hundreds or even thousands of other things like this in the universe. We see them operating on long time scales and can explain them that way...

So, if the universe is instead very young, all that reasonable explanation goes out the window! The science that explained them is then untenable and in fact pointless.

Worse still, if stars are young, and God miracled the light, the nuclear fusion is NOT how the star gets its energy. It gets it from a miracle, because nuclear fusion (as in how a star uses it to distribute energy through the star) does not work on a 6,000 year time scale. It is meaningless to say a star gets its energy from fusion in a YEC model.

Another problem is, these sciences are NOT pointless and untenable. They work!

Thus the dilemma for YEC believers.

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