I have not been posting much these days, due to the fact I’ve been occupied with a few other projects. But for this post, my 300th post, I thought I’d dig out of the vault two short reactions I wrote on two posts by Ken Ham in which he attacks Deborah Haarsma at BioLogos, as well as the Old Earth Creationist Hugh Ross. These two blurbs did not make it into my book, The Heresy of Ham, but I thought I’d bring them out to the light of day for my 300th post.
Don’t Share Table with…Deborah Haarsma…
In an October 14, 2014 post entitled, “Should I Have Dinner with BioLogos?” Ken Ham discusses a recent offer Dr. Deborah Haarsma, the president of the theistic evolution organization BioLogos, made to him to meet, along with Hugh Ross, a progressive creationist, for dinner and discuss their differences regarding the “creation/evolution debate.” Instead of taking her up on her offer, and instead of even writing a blog post that tries to respectfully dialogue/debate with her on the issue of evolution, Ham decided to respond with what can be considered nothing less than inflammatory attacks.
He immediately warned his readers that, “just because someone states they believe the Bible is inspired or authoritative does not mean they take it as written!” He then proceeded to accuse Haarsma of “double-speak,” and actually said, “People like Dr. Haarsma make it sound like they have such a high view of the Bible, whereas in reality, she has a low view of Scripture and a high view of man’s fallible beliefs about origins!”
Of course, we must ask, “What does it mean to ‘take the Bible as written’?” What is a ‘high’ and ‘low’ view of the Bible?” Ham’s problem is that he is assuming that a literal interpretation of Genesis 1-11 is the inspired, original, intended message that God wanted to convey to the ancient Israelites. He is equating his faulty interpretation with God’s Word itself. Therefore, whenever he comes across Christian who does not think Genesis 1-11 demands the view that the universe is only 6,000 years old, instead of even considering that he might be wrong, and instead of hearing that person’s argument, Ken Ham immediately assumes it is an attack on God’s Word, and therefore proceeds to “defend the Bible” at all costs—never realizing that he, in fact, is not defending the Bible, but merely his own opinion of the Bible. Of course it is okay to defend your view, but Ham’s problem is that he thinks his interpretation is God’s Word.
Ham then mockingly says that Haarsma simply wants him to “agree to disagree,” and that “she does not really want me to judge her view against Scripture….” After that, Ham then proceeds to equate himself and AiG with the watchman in Ezekiel, “to warn people about those who undermine the authority of God’s Word. We have written a number of articles on the AiG website to warn people that compromising God’s Word in Genesis is an authority issue, a gospel issue, and, indirectly, a salvation issue.”
Now, the amazing thing about this comment is that earlier he had accused Haarsma of “double-speak,” because she said she believed the Bible was inspired and authoritative, but didn’t hold Genesis 1-11 to be a historical account of creation. As you can see throughout his posts, Ham always takes issue with anyone who accuses him of making a literal reading of Genesis 1-11 a “salvation issue.” Yet right here, as well as many other places on his blog, he turns around and says that very thing: “it is a gospel issues, and a salvation issue.”
Not surprisingly, Ham rejected Haarsma’s offer for dinner to talk about their views. The interesting thing, though, was the way he voiced his rejection of the offer:
“I’m reminded of how Nehemiah responded when opponents who knew what he was doing and why—and they knew what Nehemiah believed (and rejected his stand)—wanted to meet with him: Now it happened when Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab, and the rest of our enemies heard that I had rebuilt the wall, and that there were no breaks left in it (though at that time I had not hung the doors in the gates), that Sanballat and Geshem sent to me, saying, “Come, let us meet together among the villages in the plain of Ono . . . ” (Nehemiah 6:1–2)
He clearly portrays himself as Nehemiah, and BioLogos as the enemies of God’s people. In Ham’s view, people like Haarsma are Samaritans with whom he will refuse to have anything to do with. But then, in yet another impressive flourish of double-speak, Ham ends his post with the following: “Now, of course, I don’t consider Dr. Ross a personal enemy (as Nehemiah considered some of his detractors)—he is actually a pleasant person. But he is what I would call an enemy of biblical authority.” This is another recurring tactic of Ham: saying something like, “I’m not saying he’s not a Christian, or my enemy…BUT HE’S AN ENEMY OF THE BIBLE!”
The last thing Ham says in this post is, “We will just continue to be busy proclaiming the gospel message with authority!” But here’s the thing, whose authority is Ham using to proclaim his message? In addition, how does arguing for a 6,000 year old universe constitute “proclaiming the gospel message”?
Hugh Ross: Master Deceiver and Bible Twister…
In a September 27, 2014 post entitled, “Hugh Ross Twists the Bible to Fit Man’s Fallible Opinions,” Ken Ham takes issue with Hugh Ross, a well-known progressive creationist, calling him “one of the compromisers of our day who is leading generations astray with his teaching that undermines biblical authority.” Ham describes Ross and his work in the following manner:
“Hugh Ross twists the Bible to fit man’s fallible opinions about origins, embracing cosmological evolution and geological evolution. While he does not accept biological evolution as such (though he still accepts the basic evolutionary progression over millions of years, but claims God kept stepping in to create the millions of species, over time), he is enamored with whatever else evolutionary secular scientists have to say.”
To that, we can simply say no, he is not trying to “twist the Bible to fit man’s fallible opinions about origins.” He is just wrestling with the text of Genesis 1-11 and trying to understand it as best he can, and that’s okay, even if he ends up being wrong on a point or two. The reason that’s okay is because, contrary to what Ken Ham claims, Genesis 1-11 simply is not a “historical eye-witness account” of the origins of the material universe.
But Ken Ham doesn’t see it that way. For Ken Ham, if you deviate at all from his YEC interpretation of Genesis 1-11, you are compromising Scripture, and trying to “conform to secular historical science.” But the thing is, there is no such thing as “secular historical science.” Science is science, period. Just because atheists like Richard Dawkins try to highjack the legitimate scientific enterprise to make it supposedly “prove atheism” doesn’t mean that the actual legitimate scientific enterprise is “secular” or “atheist.”
In any case, in light of other things he says time and time again about how if you don’t interpret Genesis 1-11 as being an eye-witness account of creation a mere 6,000 years ago then you’re casting doubt on the Bible, and you can’t believe in the resurrection, and so it really is a salvation issue—it is in this post that Ham makes an astonishing claim: “We at Answers in Genesis are biblical young-earth creationists, and we have never claimed that what a person believes about origins is a salvation issue.”
So let’s be clear, YEC isn’t a salvation issue, but then elsewhere Ham says it is a salvation issue. Not only is that logically incoherent, it is actually cultish double-speak.
Ham then alludes to one of his books, Already Gone, and make the follow claim as to why two-thirds of young people are leaving the church in America by the time they get to college:
“…the research we detailed in the book Already Gone shows clearly that the teaching of evolution and/or millions of years is a major factor in these young people doubting and then disbelieving Scripture.”
Well, I’ve read the book, and to the point: Ken Ham’s research doesn’t show that at all. In fact “evolution” doesn’t even rank in the top ten reasons why young people surveyed left the church. How can he claim such a thing when his own research contradicts what he is claiming?
Ham then claims that when someone puts forth the idea that Genesis 1-11 is not meant to be read as literal history, that person is putting “stumbling blocks to saving faith in Jesus Christ.” Because for Ham, to suggest that Genesis 1-11 be read as anything other than literal history is saying that the Bible can’t be trusted.
Ham even calls the “Big Bang” a “Bible-denying notion,” and reasserts his claim that the Bible clearly teaches that the universe is “only about 6,000 years old.” He even boasts about how his fellow young earth creationists have models that suggest how light from distant reaches of the universe made it to earth within that 6,000 year time frame. Mind you, he doesn’t explain what those models are. Fortunately, as I’ve mentioned early, I did my research, and I know what AiG suggests—time zones in space! I’m sorry, that is hardly a model that can be considered scientifically sound in any way, shape, or form.