Ken Ham and Pat Robertson fight over creation

I’m thinking we could settle this with an old-fashioned duel.

Last man standing wins.

Pat Robertson has been accused by evangelical Christian and creationism proponent Ken Ham of “destructive teaching,” after the televangelist stated that the existence of dinosaurs is evidence that Young Earth Creationists are wrong about the planet being 6,000 years old.

Christian Broadcasting Network spokesman Chris Roslan told The Christian Post on Friday, however, that “Dr. Robertson stands by his comments.”

The controversy arose earlier this week when Robertson, co-hosting his “The 700 Club” program on CBN, dismissed the theory that the earth is only 6,000 years old, which Ken Ham, CEO and founder of Answers in Genesis and the Creation Museum, took offense to.

“Not only do we have to work hard to not let our kids be led astray by the anti-God teaching of the secularists, we have to work hard to not let them be led astray by compromising church leaders like Pat Robertson,” Ham said Wednesday in a post on Facebook.

“Pat Robertson gives more fodder to the secularists. We don’t need enemies from without the church when we have such destructive teaching within the church,” Ham added in the statement shared with those following his non-profit Christian apologetics ministry on Facebook.

Ham took offense to comments Robertson made earlier this week on his show, when responding to a viewer’s question about what to tell children about dinosaurs and the Bible.

// Read more here: Ken Ham of Creation Museum Slams Robertson for Dismissing Young Earth Theory.

Just what we need.  More Christians fighting.

Over creationism.

I wonder if God is chuckling or if he’s just not amused.

What do you think?



  • pietrosquared December 5, 2012 Reply

    The fact that we argue over stuff like this while people are dying fuels the fires of those who like to think we are irrelevant.

  • James December 5, 2012 Reply

    I think it’s funny that the same science that Ken Ham would use to cure cancer, get help for surgery is needed, is the same science he rejects about the age of earth, or anything archeological that would contradict is own construct. At least Robertson is opened minded to be taught. There’s nothing anti-God about seeking the truth. Not Ham’s truth, God’s truth of the earth, man, sin, redemption, Hell, etc. It is sorrowful that we bicker and fight over these issues. This is the anti-God message we send to our children and the world. NOT Ham’s creation fantasy, but that if we don’t accept his view, then somehow we’re not believers. I don’t hear Robertson bashing Ham and his views. Frankly I think we’ll all be surprised when we meet our God face to face and all doubt will vanish into wonderous Awe for our Loving God.
    Bless you all, whatever you believe or don’t believe. God is bigger than all of it.

  • tomdevo December 5, 2012 Reply

    Arg, Todd, you sucked me out of lurking…

    I’m fascinated over the reaction that Rob Bell receives for teachings about Hell, and how young earth creationist leaders, who have for decades misrepresented evidence and science, mislead the church, and whose dogmatic false teaching has caused multitudes of young Christians to walk away from Christ in college citing this doctine as the point of turning, do not. These leaders have brought ridicule to Church, marginalized its influence in culture, and sidelined its scholars, yet we watch from the sidelines, hesitant to confront.

    If one is willing to die on the Rob Bell hill, I’m wondering why not this one? The earth is not 6,000 years old. It is a ludicrous idea. Neither does the Bible teach it, though I am very familiar with the teaching of our brothers who do believe it so. Yet, those like Ham call people who don’t believe it “secularists.” This is not Christian in-fighting. Young earth creationism, and their spokespersons, like Ham, are a movement in the Church that need to be confronted for the damage they do and the division they cause.

    If you had such a divisive member in your church, that divides and mars reputation as Ham and the young earth creationist movement, would you not confront them? Would you would allow congregants to publically decry all who disagreed with them as secularists? Ham and YECs are public voices in the church, and fodder for the press.

    This is not simple in-fighting. This is puss leaking out of the wound.

    • tomdevo December 5, 2012 Reply

      To clarify, I don’t think the issue is worth fighting over. I am addressing the issue of the movement needing confronting over the division it brings. This movement does, in my view, need to be marginalized. Most all other radical groups get marginalized on their own. Military funeral protesting quacks are understood as marginalized groups that do not represent the voice of Christ’s followers as a whole. This movement is deeply entwined with pastors and bodies of believers such their the confusion and division is not marginalized, but rather used by fundamentalist leaders themselves. Though its influence has been waning for at least a decade, they are no small influence in conservative leaders.

    • James December 5, 2012 Reply

      Dear Tom;
      Thank you for your comments. I wasn’t sure there were any of “us” out there who would confront the Ham theory as false. Like I said the same science mind who have brought us cures for cancer, disease (which is really God) will deny the truth about the earth, it’s age and even evolution. Oh, no the “E” word! Oh, heresies of hereies could evolution even be apart of “creation”???? Thanks Tom, and I totally agree that the damage that has been done to young Christians isn’t from evolution or anything else, it’s the squwashing of honest investigation and thinking. That has done more damage to young Christians than a thousand theories. And yet the prejudice and judgment to incinuate that because we hold a differing view is non-Christian makes my stomach turn. Jesus often asked his followers questions. For a thousand years people were taught “what” to believe. Jesus comes along and now teaches his followers “how” believe, how ask questions, to investiage their faith and if you honestly seek wisome…..James 1 “…ask of God who give generously and without reproach…” Far from the Ham school of theology, don’t ask, and certainly don’t think for yourself.
      Much appreciated

  • Lori December 5, 2012 Reply

    I will admit that I am a YEC (not the Ken Ham type though) and my husband is an OEC. We have both formally (i.e. graduate school) studied this issue in depth and this is the conclusion we have come to in the debate. There are good arguments on both sides, good hermeneutics on both sides and scientific backing for both sides. So why don’t we agree to disagree and agree on the most important aspect of creation and that is creation ex nihilo.

    Calling names, claiming heresy on this issue and arguing in public (rather than in an academic forum where it belongs), hurts the faith and makes the work of apologists like us all that more difficult.

  • Steve Long December 5, 2012 Reply

    Lori, there are not good arguments on both sides. It is possible that one side is entirely right. I would be in favor of the side that understands that Science as it zeroes in on truth actually reveals God and doesn’t obscure Him. This from “The Heavens declare the Glory of God’, and “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” Creationists teach a God that cannot clearly be seen in creation as they teach about creation. This jeopardizes a whole generation of impressionable and easy to indoctrinate young people who carry these notions into college and then are caused to doubt God’s breathed words when scientific conclusions that have pure mathematical basis (the language of a perfect designer) contradict young earth teaching. Our alternative in accepting a young earth idea means that in major scientific areas of advance our creator is a jokester who is NOT honestly revealing Himself in the creation so actually folks do have an excuse when they have to deal with Him in Person. I have been to the Ken Ham seminar and he clearly cherry-picked the evidence. A person could probably prove that God is purple if they are only allowed to consider a confined set of facts. They call that ‘bad science’ and it doesn’t stand up to peer review. Creationism is bad science and it is only useful to those who misunderstand the song of Creation found in Chapter 1 of Genesis. I teach the High School Class in my congregation and I know what they will face in college even in a general science class. I want them to be ready to be amazed by God’s creative genius and not be alarmed by the Godless conclusions of some college teachers who are not equipped with eyes to see God and ears to hear Him. In my mind when an atheistic teacher tells the truth about creation without attribution to God it fulfills the prophecy that every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. Just because they do not know what they are saying doesn’t mean that their words do not glorify God.

    • Lori December 6, 2012 Reply

      I appreciate that you understand that youth need to have good arguments for Christianity. I have taught students for 15 years and have included intentional apologetics teaching for them to be prepared. I am also a part of Ratio Christi, which is a college campus apologetics ministry to help students defend Christianity and build up their faith.

      There is bad science on both sides and unfortunately, I feel like AIG has contributed to this. For example, AIG claimed the canopy theory and only in the last couple of years refuted it. Many other scientists had refuted it much earlier. However, YEC is not the only side to have bad science.

      Regarding your claim that are not good arguments for both sides, I refer you to my reply to Tom.

  • tomdevo December 5, 2012 Reply

    Steve, I hesitated to say it for my lack or grace and tact. Thank you your gentle answer to Lori’s point.

    Lori, thank you for posting. Your temperance is a great example for the movement to follow.

    If you have four minutes to toss to the wind, I’ll give you a little background as to why I cannot accept your view that there is good evidence on both sides.

    I was paid as an apologist for three years to study creationist arguments in particular detail. Having grown in faith at a fundamentalist church (Calvary Chapel), I began that process as a YECist. My research method was to begin with a YEC book. When a YEC author quoted a scientist with an opposing view, I’d buy the book from which quote was derived and read it. Then to the next book, and so on through volumes of reading. Somewhere in the middle of this process, after reading numerous volumes from all points of view, I was confronted with the very disturbing and troubling reality that the vast majority of all the quotes or evidence in YEC books were either misquotes or blatantly misrepresented entirely the meaning of the author or of the scientific research. The YEC authors were using inaccurate information to make their case. One misquote is a mistake (we all err and misquote!). A few times, shows poor research quality. Virtual ubiquity shows an intent to deceive. I remember likening it to reading a JW tract on the Trinity. The demonstrated intent was to prove their point at all cost, not to be truthful. At that time as well, most YEC authors tended to quote each other as the source of their evidence. So in many ways, it was a good o’l boys club.

    I am a very strong proponent that the Church must stop studying an issue by reading a book by a Christian author who tells us what to think about the issue. We must start reading the original works, and learn to think about the information. We tend not to do this because of the intense labor required. I had the luxury of being paid to do it as my job. For the rest of us, perhaps it better that we become less opinionated on many things, and more knowledgeable of fewer things.

    The most honest statement I ever read from a YEC was that of John Mark Reynolds in Three Views on Creation (forgive me here, I’m quote from memory from over 10 years ago), where he stated that YEC is a theological view expressed for exegetical consistency, and not an evidential view. One believes it as a matter of Biblical interpretation, but it is not a view that is developed from an evidential basis, and thus really should not be presented that way. That is the conclusion my research also brought to me.

    I have many current YEC friends who are my wonderful brothers and sisters in Christ! We get along splendid. We can discuss the issue without argument (and rarely do). It is not a divisive issue or topic. We talk for more about life, ministry and evangelism. The movement is another issue, and I firmly believe they need to be confronted and marginalized. If they didn’t control the minds and opinions of so many conservative pastors, I would not have concern. However, they exert their influence through leaders who devoutly trust them as the scientific experts in the body of Christ. This, I believe, needs to be corrected.

    I hope to one day write a book to this end. As God provides, perhaps when the nest has emptied, if it is still an issue needing a voice.

    • Lori December 6, 2012 Reply

      I appreciate that you have studied this issue. I would be curious to know if you still are and have read some of the most recent work.

      As I probably cannot convince you that both sides have good scientific and biblical arguments, let me just write what I heard Hugh Ross say when I heard him speak at Biola this summer. He admitted that his view is strong in the science but that he still has issues that need to be wrestled with the Bible. He admits that his biblical interpretation can fit with his scientific view but that there are still unreconciled issues between OEC and the Bible.

      Dr. Bloom, who teaches at Biola, also stated in the Intelligent Design seminar this summer that he is 50/50 on YEC vs. OEC. He said this because there are scientific and biblical issues that cannot be completely reconciled with either view. He does not believe that YEC is a theological issue only because he points to much of the “bad science” that surrounds geology and origins science.

      I am sorry if this sounds like I’m appealing to authority, but I do feel that if these learned men, who are experts in their fields and far more studied than I am, admit their own doubts of both views, then we should not be hard over on one view over another. I myself am 60/40 for YEC and my husband is 60/40 OEC. We live contentedly under the same roof and have many robust conversations on the strengths and weaknesses of both views.

      • tomdevo December 6, 2012 Reply

        Hi Lori,
        Thank you for your reply and your questions.

        I do not represent either Dr. Bloom or Dr. Ross, so I cannot comment as to their view. I would make note, however, of their honesty. I’d be interested if you could find a single prominent YEC leader who would confess any tensions between the revelations leaving them with an ounce of unsurety of their profession.

        I do surely live in theological tension between revelations, but not with the age of the earth. There is nothing in scripture that makes the earth young. The six literal days of Genesis one is easily debunked by the simplest of readings (using a YEC interpretational argument here in reverse). The Biblical tensions, for me, lie elsewhere. The flood is one example. I have not heard an old earth paradigm with a recent (few thousand year old) global flood. All OE paradigms I’ve interacted with present a local flood that effectively kills all humanity outside of the ark. I cannot reconcile that with scripture, as the language of covering the mountains is too much water for me. It reads clearly, to me, like a global flood. The whole gathering of the animals does as well. Therefore, I live in tension there. I accept the Biblical text, I also know that we have no defendable evidence for the singular global flood from the physical records. So I remain without clear understanding of how these reconcile.

        I have some tensions with the genealogies as well. For sure there are multi-generational gaps in the records, and they were never intended to create all inclusive lineages. However, pushing Adam and Eve back to where mitochondrial DNA evidence puts them, leaves many thousands of years between genealogical touch points in the lists. That does not sit well with me. Therefore I also live with tensions as to the genealogical reasonable limits to when Adam was created, and where the evidence puts them. I know that God had a reason to list the genealogies as he did, and I don’t believe they were intended to be used in YEC argument. They are lineages for messianic fulfillment, not lists to calculate the age of something. I find it wise to not use scripture for reasons unintended. Regardless, I do live in revelatory tension here as well.

        This is the real difference between OE and YEC. OE accepts to live in theological tension in non-essentials. YEC cannot. They tend to force reconcile nature to scripture, which is why, I believe, they are forced to misrepresent the evidence (I will go so far as to accuse some of them of flat our lying) in their books. I know God’s word is perfect. I know that God’s natural revelation reveals God’s nature and invisible attributes. Neither lie, or God would be a liar. So, the flaw is with my ability to have full knowledge. I’m okay with that. It does not in the least affect the mission and work of the cross, and my faith is more rich.

        JP Moreland had quoted Augustine I believe (sorry, also from a decade of memory here) that we have a moral obligation to show that what we believe from scripture is not contradicted by natural revelation. I find this a wise reconciliation and check of our understanding of God’s revelations. The two should not contradict. Where they do, the problem is with us, and we are wise to withhold our dogmatism.

        Shankara, Hinduisms great philosopher, had the opposing YEC view. He held that where nature contradicted the vedas, then scripture had no authority. If scripture a thousand times said fire is cold, but your experience told you it was hot, then the scripture had no authority in the matter. YEC takes the opposite extreme. If the scriptures tell you fire is cold, but every time you touch it, you get burned, then your experience has no authority in the matter, and fire is cold. I believe both are wrong. If the scriptures tell you fire is cold, and when you touch it you get burned, then you fail to understand the meaning of the scripture. If scripture tells you that you are a sinner, but your experience tells you that you’re a good person, then you fail to understand yourself the meaning of good and sin. The problem is always in our understanding.

        If you are kind enough to respond, I will warmly read your response, but will not answer further. I give you last word Lori. May God richly shine His face upon you and your family. Thank you for your kind and generous interaction.

        • James December 6, 2012 Reply

          HI Tom;
          I appreciate you comments and arguments, and I will not add any rebuttle or discourse to many of your pertinent perspectives. I thank you for delving into the questions, concerns and apparent contradictions. I came to the conclusion along time ago that we do harm to the scriptures when we substitute the “story” as fact or pure science. The truth is so much higher and deeper than facts. And let’s face it, facts change. Our thinking and discovery of the physical changes. When we hinge our theology on facts and not truth we fall prey to changeableness of man himself. While God is unchanging, that is truth and a fact. But as you pointed out if hot is cold, yet my experience is the opposite then something is amiss. Either my understanding, my interpretation, or there is a higher law I’m missing. Personally I’m an OE. I used to be a YE follower. The science and the facts, while not conclusive still stack up, personally for me, that this is an OE. The first chapter of Genesis is a magnificent story of God’s creation. It is not science, biology, sociology or any ology. It is a story which gives us profound truth of a creative, loving, enormous God wanting to share His life through creation. Thanks again for your transparency, questions, concerns and thought. These traits I totally agree with and admire. Blessings to you. Warmest regard.

        • Lori December 6, 2012 Reply

          I appreciate your honesty and on several points I agree. I especially agree with the genealogies and have written on the subject to the chagrin of one of my professors. With that in mind, let me also answer another of your questions.

          Dr. Laird Harris, who passed away in 2008, was a prominent theologian in the Presbyterian church. He wrote in, “Did God Create in 6 Days?” his view of a literal 6-day creation, but argued against Ussher’s (and Ham’s) 6000 year old earth that was based on the genealogies. He also wrote that this admission however, was an argument for OEC. Also, Dr. John Baumgartner, a prominent YEC and writer for ICR and AIG on the global flood, has routinely spoken on the bad arguments for YEC and the weaknesses of YEC.

          However, I will agree that many in the popular writing world of YEC become a bit too dogmatic and argue with blinders. While I agree with Moreland, essentially that science properly interpreted will not contradict the Bible and vice versa, I also believe that we should be careful in our interpretation of a nonessential like how God created the universe.

          You have, through our discussion, proven my original point. We must, on the non-essentials, discuss our differing views with respect and kindness. You and I have done just that in our “conversation”. My original point was that I did not feel that Ham, even though he is convinced of his correctness, did that and I am saddened as to how this plays out in the media. There are certain doctrines that we cannot allow to be taught publicly that are obvious heresy (such as denying Christ’s deity), but even then we can forcefully call out heresy without resorting to name calling and polemic.

          Lastly, I appreciate your honesty in attesting to the tensions you do have in your view. I too hold these tensions in different areas and is why I claim only a 60/40 hold on YEC. However, I do not hold to YEC as an essential and the only thing I think is important for us all to agree on is creation ex nihilo and historic Adam. Almost all OEC hold to these two and on that we can agree.

          Thank you also for the last word, but I won’t hold you to it if there is something you would like to address. I too pray for God’s blessing on you as you serve Him faithfully in the kingdom.

          Soli Deo Gloria.

      • tomdevo December 6, 2012 Reply

        Lori, I failed to answer a question of yours in my response. I have not read YEC literature since my research a decade ago. I have not read any recent YEC work.

        Jerry is your mission field and the fruit of the movement Lori. He cannot see me as anything but a weak faithed heretic. I am Anakin become Vader. No words I speak to him will be heard.

    • Jerry Bonelli December 6, 2012 Reply

      The scripture is the only perfect book not filled with mans opinions or theories. Who cares what any of those other books say they are mans thoughts and opinions and are as worthless as my own opinion and not worth arguing about. The bible says the earth was created in six days and everything we see here was created during that time. If you believe in an all powerful God than that should be easy to believe. If you do not your God is weak and therefore your faith is weak and you will wrestle through your entire life every time some smart guy comes up with a new theory. No one talked about evolution before 1891 when it was created.
      Ecc 12:12 And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.
      Ecc 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
      Ecc 12:14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.

      • Lori December 6, 2012 Reply

        I understand where you are coming from and I agree that God is sufficient to create all of the universe in 6 literal days. However, I want to address two points.

        First, OEC is not evolution and should not be confused with theistic evolution. Many wonderful Christians who are conservative hold to OEC and I would be loath to question the strength of their faith.

        Secondly, while I agree that the Bible is inerrant in its original autographs, what is a believer to do when an unbeliever holds the Bible as fiction? We cannot simply quote Gen. 1-2 and expect them to accept it as truth. We need to be prepared to answer evolution and philisophical naturalism with more than quoting Scripture. This is not an issue of faith, it is an issue of knocking down intellectual barriers so that a person can hear the Gospel and make a reasoned and faith decision to follow Christ.

      • tomdevo December 6, 2012 Reply

        Thank you for your response. With few words you bring my points to full clarity.

        I leave you in the capable hands and words of Lori.

  • Steve Long December 7, 2012 Reply

    Jerry B. If I believed that there was an all powerful God couldn’t I also believe that as He exists without time (“I AM”) in Exodus) that the creative time references are merely organizing ideas for the benefit of an ancient civilization that did not have the scientific framework that we operate with. Your arguments that old earth creationists are faithless is foolish talk. I see an artistic and mathematical God who thoroughly enjoyed the creative process. He reveled in it pronouncing the various components as “good’ and “very good.” I don’t understand how you see that a T.V. time limit according to your understanding of ‘Yom’ is necessary to be amazed by a incredibly prolific God. I have heard the false argument that Yom is only used to represent a 24 hour day in the Bible and that is not true. In Genesis chapter 2 verse it says”in the day (yom) that the heavens and earth were created'” and according to your insistence ‘Yom’ only means 24 hours. You won’t find this ‘Yom’ in an NIV because the translators have your view and they have changed the wording to help us see Genesis 1 in a young earth way. The flood account is also inaccurately explained by Ken Ham’s organization. They claim it was world wide and the wording of chapter 7 seems to convey that notion however it seems that there were more than Noah and his kin that exist on either side of the flood. Consider this; Genesis 6:4, “The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.” What did the writer mean when he said “and also afterward?” The answer is in Numbers 13:33, “There also we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak are part of the Nephilim); and we became like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.” This evidence that is actually in scripture causes me consider that what Genesis 7-8 speaks of was selected for us today by the Holy Spirit as a typological argument and not as a comprehensive scientific fact. I Peter 3:18-21 bears this out when the flood event is proven to picture God’s intention in Baptism. Old Testament things are meant to be pictures of New Testament realities before they come to pass. In a sense they prophesy to God’s future activity and intention.

  • Fred December 19, 2012 Reply

    Sorry, I really can’t understand how anyone who took college biology can believe in a young earth.

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