Christian Leader Criticizes Creation Museum

Many of you may have heard of Jay Wile.  He is the original author and former owner of the science textbooks sold under the name Apologia, which is now under different ownership.  On a recent blog post, Jay Wile made this statement:

While there are things in the Creation Museum with which I strongly disagree, overall, I found it to be significantly more scientifically accurate than most museums, including the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History.

As a result of this statement, one person wrote a comment on his blog, with a question:

Can you give some examples of things the Creation Museum is wrong on? My family is planning to visit in the near future, so I would appreciate some forewarning.

Wile on July 10, 2012 replied, stating this:

Grace, I would be interested to hear what YOU think is good and bad about the museum after you go. Here are the two things that bothered me most about the Creation Museum:

1) In the part of the Museum that tries to portray what happened to the U.S. when the Bible was abandoned, there is a wrecked church. It has been hit by a wrecking ball, and the phrase on the wrecking ball is “millions of years.” According to the museum, then, an old earth is what has destroyed the church. I see that as nonsense. There are a lot of things that have harmed the church, and an old earth doesn’t even make my top 20 list. In my mind, the number one thing that has harmed the church in the U.S. is the way most Christians in the U.S. (including many young-earth creationists) behave.

2) There are several places where the signs say that no animal died before the Fall. It is stated as fact when, at best, such an idea is an extraBiblical notion. Nowhere does the Bible even imply that animals did not die before the Fall.

What saddened me most about this posting was that a Christian leader—one that many in the homeschool movement and other theologically conservative Christians look up to—would not represent the Creation Museum correctly. And his unfair criticism might keep people from coming to the museum and getting blessed—perhaps even some Christians who are struggling in their faith due to doubts about the Bible’s accuracy in Genesis and who need answers.

Wile’s two criticisms above were not a part of his article (although he wrote in that article that there are things in our Creation Museum “with which I strongly disagree,”  a slap against us). He was primarily writing about how the Smithsonian Institution made a gaffe about using one of our Creation Museum’s dinosaurs in its advertising (see our weekly news digest, News to Note, today for more information on that) But his negative statements about our museum, now seen in the comments section of his blog posting, will, in this electronic and viral age, be seen by many people.

First, the “wrecking ball” he is referring to is found in the exhibit room we call “Culture and Crisis.”  Wile states that “according to the museum, then, an old earth is what has destroyed the church.”  He then says, “I see that as nonsense.”

Actually, he has missed the whole context of the wrecking ball knocking against the church and the message the room is presenting. My guess is that Wile breezed through without watching the exhibit’s videos and getting the full, real message there. The context is in regard to how the young generations in the church (2/3rds of whom are walking away from the church when they reach college age) are responding to the undermining of biblical authority because of compromise coming from the pulpit.

There is a video shown inside the exhibit that depicts a church service, and there are other videos depicting events inside a home. The home sits across from the church and its worship service.  The wrecking ball symbolizes the effect that the teaching of millions of years on the younger generation in the church has on their view of biblical authority.  The more that church leaders teach young people (in the exhibit’s video, teens are seen in the video attending a church service) that man’s fallible ideas about the age of the earth or evolution can be used to reinterpret the clear Word of God in Genesis, the more many of them will doubt the Bible.  They begin on a slippery slide of unbelief.  In the home across from the church, we depict various scenes of what can happen when young people begin to doubt the Bible as the absolute authority of the Word of God—eventually they end up like those in the world, not having a Christian worldview but holding more of one that’s is morally relativistic.

Our book Already Gone details actual research carried out nationally by respected researcher Britt Beemer and his America’s Research Group into why 2/3rds of the next generation are leaving the church by college age.  There were a number of reasons, but there is no doubt the teaching of millions of years and evolution by church leaders is a significant contributing factor to the exodus of youth.

Sad that Jay Wile did not correctly explain the context of this exhibit, but instead has misinformed people with an obvious jab at the Creation Museum.

His second criticism relates to the issue of death, and namely the origin of animal death.  It’s the old question: did such death occur before the Fall of Adam or after the Fall? Actually, this topic is not covered that much at all in the museum—there is, for example, a reference to animal death in the “Corruption Valley” exhibit.  But it is important to understand that the Bible has very little to say about animals—the Bible, of course, is about man and his relationship to his Creator.  It is about man’s problem (sin), the consequence of sin (death), and God’s solution in Jesus Christ.

Now we have written many articles on the AiG website (see links below to just a few) that deal with the issue of sin, death, and a “very good” creation (Genesis 1:31)—and when animal death first happened.  First, I want to point out that the fossil record is a record of animal death—and also of diseases in animal bones (like cancer, brain tumors, arthritis, abscesses, etc.), and evidence of animals eating each other. The Bible makes it clear in Genesis 1:29–30 that animals were vegetarian before sin (as humans were).  Also, God described the original creation as “very good.”  God certainly would never call brain tumors “very good.”  The point is, the fossil record that is full of animal death could not have existed before Adam’s sin. Animal death happened after Adam’s Fall. There could not have been millions of years of animal death and cancer in the “very good” creation before Adam, or the Bible’s connection of sin and death becomes meaningless.

In one of the articles linked to below, the topic of the first animal death is discussed: when God killed animals and made clothes out of skins for Adam and Eve—the first blood sacrifice as a covering for their sin.

Contrary to Wile, we believe it is strongly implied by Scripture that death of animals with nephesh (the Hebrew term for “life spirit” that is used for animals and man) occurred after sin, not before.

I suggest you read the following articles:

I hope Jay Wile’s unjustified criticisms of the Creation Museum do not deter the person who responded to his claims (or their family) from coming to the Creation Museum.  Sad that he has probably now put a damper on a visit by this family.

We praise the Lord that so many people who have visited the Creation Museum have been emboldened to proclaim the gospel and defend the Christian faith against secular attacks.  Many people have been saved at the Creation Museum.  None of us are perfect here, but at AiG we continue to strive to do our best to honor the Scriptures in all we do.

By the way, AiG extended very gracious hospitality to Dr. Wile when he visited us several months ago.  We get enough criticism from those who oppose the Creation Museum—which we expect—but it’s sad when it comes publicly from those who should be our friends in defending the Bible’s accuracy.

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,

Ken