I read The Associated Press article “Noah’s ark of biblical proportions ready to open in Kentucky” (by Dylan Lovan) in the Grand Rapids Press this morning. There is one quote from this article that makes me so sad. Sad as a word doesn’t even begin to describe the depth of emotion and righteous anger I feel to defend the gospel of Jesus, much like Paul felt in Galatians. Here is the quote, from Ken Ham, president of Answers in Genesis, the ministry that built the ark:
“I believe this is going to be one of the greatest Christian outreaches of this era in history” -Ken Ham
When did we start evangelizing people to Christianity using Noah’s ark? Is this what Jesus had in mind in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20)?
I am so serious with this.
Rather than going off in this blog post, which my inner filter is telling me not to do, I ask that readers check out a previous article I did about Noah’s Ark and how to read Genesis. It was in two parts, the 2nd part is where you’ll find the meat of my argument against the view Ken Ham is peddling:
And no, this Scripture passage is not a direct shot at Ken Ham, but it ought to give all of us plenty to pause over. Paul was not messing around, and neither should we:
Galatians 1:8-9 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!
Paul Zunker says
Noah- do you know yet how Ken is going to use this as an “evangelism” tool? I don’t know, so I can’t guess. But I would like to think that he is using the ark itself as a tool to show people that the things we read in the Bible are indeed true thus giving credibility in the mind of unbelievers to the fact that God is indeed real and then opening up a door to share with them the incredible gift of His salvation and leading them to a saving knowledge of Him. I don’t see him using the ark as THE gospel to save people which is what using the Galatians reference above would imply. I say lets give him the opportunity to explain what he means by saying “this will be one of the greatest Christian outreaches of this era”. I’m hoping he plans to use it as a tool to point people to the true gospel of Jesus Christ.
Well, the ark is a foreshadowing of Jesus. Salvation came to those who believed God’s Word about the impending flood and sought refuge in The ark (Jesus). Jesus is also referred to as The Door and the ark only had one door like Jesus is the only one way to the Father.
Noah Filipiak says
Hi Patricia, we aren’t saying that the ark didn’t happen or that it’s not important to the biblical story. But it’s the mixed motives of putting something of this scale out there. Jesus referred to the ark, as did Hebrews 11, but they weren’t trying to prove it as if the whole Bible hinged on dinosaurs being on the ark, they were simply pointing out the theological truth of it, which is in line with why God had Moses write it to the Israelites who were just freed from slavery. We are just saying Ham is answering questions the Bible never asked or cared about.
it will be as it was in the days of Noah…it’s a sign of the times! It’s an educational institution! DO you get upset about Christian schools? They educate kids in a biblically based curriculum. Ham’s Noah’s ark is an artistic museum and educational field trip. It does not give glory to God for His body to criticize one another for their particular vein of ministry. Like the hand thinking it’s better than the foot. It’s ridiculous…don’t you have anything better to do? Do you really feel like God called you to straighten everybody out about Ken Ham?
Noah Filipiak says
Hi Tracy, thank you for the comments. I’d encourage you to check out The Bible Project’s free materials on the early chapters of Genesis. And whether you interact with them or not, tons of Christians have left their faith because they’ve been taught Ken Ham’s view of Genesis is the only one and even more non-believers won’t even consider Christianity or the Bible because of these views.
Tracy Again says
Jeus is the Word of God. All Ken Ham is doing, is promoting Jesus. Everything in the Old Testament IS Jesus and points & leads to Jesus. How is this a problem for you? All of the Word of God is the Gospel. Because it’s ALL Jesus. All of the Word of God is the Good News. All of it.
“Ham said the total cost of the ark surpassed $100 million…”
Maybe it’s just me, but this just seems like a theme park for the faithful. How many non-Christians will travel to Kentucky to see this? Since faith in Jesus is not arrived at thru reasonings but thru the Spirit of God, how many people will or can believe in Jesus because they saw a model of the ark?
Personally, this seems like a huge waste of money simply for entertainment… typical of American Christianity to put on the show but miss the point. If you need the ark, it’s not faith you’ll find.
Noah Filipiak says
I couldn’t agree more, Animal. Thank you.
Tracy Thrice says
This is also true of Church buildings. And Christian schools. Have you seen the cost of an NFL stadium? It’s TEN times that! What’s wrong with Christians having a place to learn more about the Word that’s not a pauper’s place? Who cares how much somebody spends on promoting the Word of God? Why would any Christian have any negative care about that?
Do Christians really need a replica in order to believe, and will non-Christians really believe seeing one? Right now, Voice of the Martyrs has collected the names of 178,875 believers in persecuted countries who have asked for a Bible who have never owned one. They can produce and deliver these at $6 each, slightly over $1 million. I’m not saying $100 million to build an ark replica may not be the best use of the money. . . actually, that’s what I’m saying.
Noah Filipiak says
$100 million for this ark is ridiculous. I don’t think calling something a theme park and then also trying to push it as an outreach is very genuine. What I mean is, you’re going to have a lot of conflict of interest and mixed motives with this. This thing is a business. A business that is now either in a lot of debt and / or has to answer to a lot of donors. One can say “a church is a business too” – sort of, but not in this sense. A church is an organization that has to be sustainable, but that’s a lot different than a theme park that has to make money. It’s fine to have a theme park, but call it what it is.
Christ is the ark says
Wouldn’t it be easier, better and cheaper to go outside on a clear night, look up, and remember this:
Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand
and marked off the heavens with a span,
enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure
and weighed the mountains in scales
and the hills in a balance?
Who has measured the Spirit of the Lord,
or what man shows him his counsel?
Whom did he consult,
and who made him understand?
Who taught him the path of justice,
and taught him knowledge,
and showed him the way of understanding?
Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket,
and are accounted as the dust on the scales;
behold, he takes up the coastlands like fine dust.
Lebanon would not suffice for fuel,
nor are its beasts enough for a burnt offering.
All the nations are as nothing before him,
they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness.
To whom then will you liken God,
or what likeness compare with him?
An idol! A craftsman casts it,
and a goldsmith overlays it with gold
and casts for it silver chains.
He who is too impoverished for an offering
chooses wood[h] that will not rot;
he seeks out a skillful craftsman
to set up an idol that will not move.
Do you not know? Do you not hear?
Has it not been told you from the beginning?
Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?
It is he who sits above the circle of the earth,
and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers;
who stretches out the heavens like a curtain,
and spreads them like a tent to dwell in;
who brings princes to nothing,
and makes the rulers of the earth as emptiness.
Scarcely are they planted, scarcely sown,
scarcely has their stem taken root in the earth,
when he blows on them, and they wither,
and the tempest carries them off like stubble.
To whom then will you compare me,
that I should be like him? says the Holy One.
Lift up your eyes on high and see:
who created these?
He who brings out their host by number,
calling them all by name,
by the greatness of his might,
and because he is strong in power
not one is missing.
Why do you say, O Jacob,
and speak, O Israel,
“My way is hidden from the Lord,
and my right is disregarded by my God”?
Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.
Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.
Noah Filipiak says
Yes, I believe that would be easier, better and cheaper! Well said.
Ken Ham and Answers in Genesis claim that there were about 10,000 species of animals on the ark, with only two representatives of each of those species (for most of them). There are about 10,000,000 species today by most accounts. In the approximately 4000 years since the flood, where did the other 9,990,000 species come from? According to Ham, they must have arisen from the 10,000 species on the ark. So how is this not macroevolution? In Ken Ham’s universe, we see a 1000x increase in the number of species in the span of about 4000 years. Explain to me how this is not macroevolution proceeding on a tremendously faster scale than anything described as evolution in a science textbook? It doesn’t matter that Ham says we had thousands of “starting kinds” as opposed to just a few or one, as described by science. The mechanism of evolution is the same — genetic divergence of traits of a few species into a much larger number, except Ham’s evolution is comically more rapid than what actually happened.
Ham claims that evolution cannot produce new genetic information. But in their world 10,000 species turned into 10,000,000 in 4000 years (a time when there were just 100 generations of people). I guess there’s no new genetic information in those 9,990,000 other species, which must have appeared at the rate of about 2500 new species per year between the Flood and the present time! And regardless of whether it happened after the Fall or after the Flood, there must have been a miraculous appearance of all genetic information which encodes for all traits that have to do with parasitic, predatory, and defensive behavior, because according to Ham, there was no animal death before Adam’s sin. At the same time, they describe many of these traits as “irreducibly complex”. Do you see the irony that they claim these same traits, which must have evolved after the Fall (or even the Flood) by their own accounts, couldn’t have evolved even given billions of years? And then they want this taught as a science in science class?
God took His time creating life on Earth over billions of years. The most likely explanation is that He did it using evolution. Genesis is intended to teach us about God and our relationship to Him, not about science. Let’s get over it and move on.
Noah Filipiak says
Thanks a lot Jude, that’s really helpful. No matter what theory of creation a person takes, one thing is a MUST if we are to read the Bible the way God intended, on which you hit the nail on the head:
When we don’t understand this, and we are unable to “move on”, it produces a false word –something unbiblical– which is very ironic since Ham and others in his camp say their motivation is to stay biblical. They just aren’t reading Genesis the way Moses and God intended it; I don’t know any other way to say it than that is unbiblical to do that.