By Shane Kastler
Last night a debate took place between Ken Ham and Bill Nye on the issue of Creation vs. Evolution. Nye the naturalist argued that the Biblical account of creation is unreasonable and should be rejected. From Nye's perspective, Biblical creationism is not only wrong but dangerous because he believes it holds back society at large. Recently he criticized “creationist” parents for teaching their children a Biblical worldview with this statement: “If you want to deny evolution and live in your world, in your world that’s completely inconsistent with everything we observe in the universe, that’s fine, but don’t make your kids do it because we need them. We need scientifically literate voters and taxpayers for the future.”
Ken Ham, on the other hand, argued for the Bible and from the Bible. But Ham is not “anti-science.” In fact he himself cited several observable facts from nature to argue for the validity of the Biblical account as the only thing that truly makes sense. Here are a few of my observations of the debate.
One point of disagreement was on the age of the earth. Ham holds to “Young Earth Creationism” which points to the Biblical account declaring the earth to be around 6000 years old. Nye's argument against this was that there are trees in California that we know are 6800 years old. Other trees are 9500 years old. My question for Nye would be: How do you know those trees are exactly that age? Were you there 9500 years ago when the tree sprouted? Of course the answer is that neither Nye nor Ham nor you nor I were there. So whatever you believe about the age of trees or fossils or anything else; unless you observed it with your eyes you are taking it by faith. It truly is remarkable, as Ham pointed out, how many different theories there are for dating something. And what a wide range of results you get based on the particular theory of testing. Ham cited an underground deposit of wood encased in rock that was tested by two different “experts.” One dated it at 45 million years old. The other dated it at 45 THOUSAND years old. I'm no scientist, but that sounds like pure guess work to me.
Another source of disagreement in the debate centered around the “Big Bang Theory.” According to Nye, something happened to set this whole creation process into motion. An explosion of some sort. I think most Christians would agree with Nye to certain extent. There was a creative cause to the earth and the universe; and perhaps there was even a big bang sound when God thundered: “Let There Be Light!” (Genesis 1:3) Even here you can see Nye being on the right track in perceiving a cause; but refusing to consider God as that cause. Theologically this can be explained.
In the debate, Nye repeatedly said, “now I'm no Theologian, but.....” This is where I wish to step in and observe. Because I might be classified as a “theologian” rather than a “scientist.” Bill Nye's utter rejection of God as a possible cause is a direct result of the sin curse. When Adam sinned; God broke the world, and confusion, pain, and misery has been the result. By our very nature, we don't think correctly regarding God. We reject Him and His ways. We think we know best. And we scoff at anyone who would disagree with us. This is not sign of tremendous intelligence, but rather foolishness. The Bible says: “The fool has said in his heart, 'there is no God.'” (Psalm 14:1) To see all of this intricate creation around you and declare that it was accidental is not only wrong, it is ridiculous. Indeed it is foolish. The Apostle Paul wrote these words: “For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools.” (Romans 1:21-22) Never has this statement been more applicable than today. In all of our so-called scientific wisdom, we have become a world full of fools. But once again, I can explain this theologically. Man is totally depraved by nature, dead in sin from a moral standpoint; and will not submit to God apart from a supernatural work of the Spirit. Bill Nye would find that statement unreasonable, because he presupposes that any argument that even admits to the possible existence of God to be “unscientific.”
The biggest observation I took from the debate was this: “without faith it is impossible to please God.” What separates Nye from Ham is simply this: Ham is, by God's grace, a believer. Nye is not. All of the intellectual and scientific arguments in the universe will not make a man believe. God must grant spiritual life. And if God does not grant spiritual life, the sinner remains spiritually dead. “A natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Cor. 2:14) All debate ALWAYS boils down to this truth.
Both Nye and Ham are scientists by trade; and both can use a dizzying array of terms that most people are unfamiliar with. They both observe the same earth and the same universe yet come to vastly different conclusions. I, on the other hand, am not a scientist. My “trade” would be the study of theology and as such I can watch a debate like this; and clearly see the word of God verifying what I observed on the stage. As simplistic as this may sound, here is a basic fact: A believer “believes” and an unbeliever does not. Nye thought Ham's arguments were foolish; and Ham thought the same of Nye's. As a Christian I agreed with Ham and on one hand was tempted to marvel at Nye's rejection of what is obviously true. But as a Christian, who was once spiritually dead myself, I know from experience what Nye is enslaved to. What is obvious to the believer is not obvious to the unbeliever, for sin has blinded their eyes. The ultimate problem is not a lack of information or flawed reasoning skills. The problem is sin; which damages the heart beyond repair; apart from the grace of God.
Ken Ham cannot convince Nye of God's existence, nor of the validity of the gospel of Christ. Only God can open Nye's eyes. The Bible would rebuke an atheistic worldview such as Nye's as being “foolish.” But the Bible also explains full well why such a foolish worldview exists. The lack of faith leads to foolishness, in all things. Moral issues, political issues, and even scientific issues. The writer of Hebrews confirms the Genesis account with this statement: “By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.” (Hebrews 11:3) Without faith we are nothing but fools. And apart from grace, we shall never have faith. If you're a Christian, pray for God to grant spiritual sight to the blind eyes of Bill Nye and others like him. You might have never been an atheist, but you were once spiritually blind and dead. And only the grace of God changed that. “By faith we understand.....” And apart from faith we perish. Ultimately, it is faith (or the lack thereof), not creation and evolution; that separates the world into two irreconcilable groups.