Ken Ham is the founder and CEO of Answers in Genesis, an apologetics ministry specialising in the defence of biblical creationism.
How did Answers in Genesis begin?
Its origin begins with my parents. My father was a believer and a schoolteacher in Queensland, Australia. He was aware of liberal trends within the church and researched what critics said about the Bible. He ensured that my five siblings and I were equipped to believe and defend the plain, historic teaching of Scripture. He taught us that God’s Word is the measure of man’s word – not the other way around.
During my own schooling, I was taught evolution. Immediately, I saw the conflict with Genesis, even though a local pastor told me that you can reconcile evolution/millions of years with the Bible. My father, though, affirmed that if you reinterpret Genesis then you have no foundation for the gospel of Christ because it is founded in Genesis.
I researched the issue of origins for myself and ended up becoming a science teacher in a public school. I was open with students about my trust in the biblical account of origins and felt increasingly interested in equipping them to think critically about the issues involved in the controversy.
This led to speaking engagements in local churches, which revealed the need for a dedicated apologetics ministry upholding the truth and trustworthiness of Genesis. In 1977, I jointly ran a ‘Creation and Politics’ conference. My wife and I also provided a bookstall, showing some creationist resources on offer.
From these humble beginnings the ministry grew. Our website (www.answersingenesis.org) now has millions of visits each year, as do our attractions in Kentucky (Creation Museum and Ark Encounter).
Following your recent visit to the UK, how would you assess the state of our churches?
At death’s door. The UK has become very secularised and disconnected from its Christian heritage. Advocacy of LGBT lifestyles, abortion, euthanasia, and even ‘intergenerational relationships’ (paedophilia, in old money) is increasing.
The church must take some blame. She has neglected teaching believers to uphold the authority of God’s Word, beginning in Genesis. Instead of impacting culture, the church herself has been impacted (and changed) by culture.
AiG receives criticism even from among Christians. Why do you think this is?
Even in Jesus’ day, religious leaders looked askance at the word and the works of the Lord. Even after Lazarus was resurrected by Christ, the religious leaders plotted to kill him and eliminate the evidence of Jesus’ divine power. Old Testament prophets often decried the corrupt religious leaders of Israel. They had a compromised view of God’s Word, accommodating pagan beliefs and practices into the worship of God.
Since the fall of mankind in Genesis 3, we have desired to make ourselves gods. The true God and his Word are then questioned and subordinated. We see similar doubt today. Many church leaders are influenced by the teaching of evolution or an old earth, and they end up yielding a natural reading of Genesis. An historical Adam is rejected. Death and disease are said to have preceded man rather than followed him (because of his sin). Noah’s Flood is said to have been localised rather than global.
Pressure from secular culture can indeed lead to compromise among religious leaders. It was true in Isaiah’s day, Jesus’ day, and remains so in ours. Particularly in the area of origins has compromise become so widespread. It damages faith and results in waning church attendance.
What of those who say creationism is only a secondary issue?
Creationism is a central issue because it concerns the very authority of the Bible – its trustworthiness to plainly relate the origin of man and the universe. This high view of the Bible is our chief focus at Answers in Genesis. Above the findings of science, history or other fields, we uphold the claims of the Bible. It alone is infallible and the filter through which we check all other claims.
Jesus himself stood on scriptural authority and held others to its standards: ‘Have you not read?’ was a common refrain in his teaching. He also took Genesis literally. In Matthew 19, he affirmed that God had made man male and female ‘from the beginning’ (v.4) – not millions of years after the beginning (per the teaching of evolution).
How important is apologetics in defending Christianity?
Offering reasonable, logical explanations for Christian belief is critical. We are surrounded by false ideas which we both can and should counter. Common questions include: Hasn’t science disproved the Bible? How did Noah fit the animals on the ark? Didn’t the Big Bang form the universe? Doesn’t Carbon-14 dating discredit the Bible? Didn’t dinosaurs live millions of years ago? Where did different races come from? Where did Cain get his wife? What about ‘ape men’?
In many churches, the misguided response to such questions is to steer attention elsewhere: ‘Don’t worry about that. Just trust in Jesus and you’ll be fine.’ This is a failure to provide the answers which are found in the Bible. It can also sow seeds of doubt, particularly among young people keen to hear explanations. Our goal at AiG is to provide scriptural answers to such questions through conferences, website articles, DVDs, books, and educational curricula.
Apologetic questions relating to Genesis are foundational. If you build a house and construct the walls and roof before laying groundwork, it will eventually collapse. The groundwork of the Bible is Genesis: it lays the foundation for the coming of Jesus Christ and the gospel message itself. It provides a solid base from which to defend Christianity against the influence of other religions and/or cults (which is the topic of our main conference in the UK this year — details at www.AnswersOutreach.org/religions).
The subject of racism is often in the headlines. Does Genesis speak to this issue?
The fact is that Darwinian evolution can fuel racism. Darwin popularised the idea that certain races were more highly evolved than others – that some were more advanced and civilised while some remained more primitive and ape-like. Australian aborigines and Africans were two groups who suffered as a result of the search for evolutionary ‘missing links’.
God’s Word, however, teaches that we are all part of one race: one family with one pair of forebears (Adam and Eve). Darwinian grounds for racism are gone. In fact, in 2000, the Human Genome Project caught up with the teaching of Genesis, confirming genetically that we are indeed all members of one human race.
That said, the Bible does speak of a segregation involving mankind. But it is spiritual rather than racial. In our relationship to God, we are either for him or against him – either saved in Christ or at enmity with God. The good news of the gospel is that people may cross from one camp to the other – from the road to perdition to the road to heaven. This is through Christ – God stepping into history and providing a sacrifice for sin on the cross. Through him, there is unity and brotherhood among all believers.
What advice do you have for Christian parents raising their children?
Families are the most fundamental of all human institutions, ordained in Genesis by God when he instructed Adam and Eve to cleave to one another and be fruitful and multiply. God designed the family partly as an educational unit to transmit the knowledge of him from one generation to the next. Malachi 2:15 asks, ‘Why did God make two one?’ (referring to the marital union of Adam and Eve). The answer is given: he seeks ‘godly offspring’. Families are to raise godly offspring who influence the world for Jesus Christ.
How do we do that? God’s Word tells us: the husband spiritually leads the household. Unfortunately, many fathers renege on this responsibility to lovingly cultivate the spiritual life of the family. Parents are increasingly willing to hand over the education of their children to a secular state. Education in what really matters – the truths of the Bible – is neglected. Consequently, many young people walk away from church after they enter college or university.
Do you have some final thoughts for UK church leaders and the readers of Evangelical Times?
My exhortation to believers is to hold faithfully to the Bible as the Word of God. Not just a guidebook or a collection of spiritual thoughts and moral precepts, the Bible is an infallible, once-for-all revelation from God.
2 Corinthians 11:3 warns us: ‘Beware, just as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety.’ As Satan beguiled Eve, in like manner he tries to deceive us with a ‘Genesis 3 attack’ to question and cast doubt on God’s revealed word. This subtle, sceptical approach worked in the garden of Eden and it persists today: Did God really say he created in six days? Did God really flood the whole earth?
We must not succumb to the Genesis 3 attacks of our age. At Answers in Genesis we aim to support and resource believers to stand boldly against these attacks, equipping them with answers to defend the teaching of the Bible from the very first verse.
Raj Sahota runs a biblical creation group in Cambridge, is currently studying for a theology degree, and blogs at freetodiscern.wordpress.com.