By Karen Wingate
John Clayton, former president of an atheistic association, used to ridicule preachers for their views on the origins of the earth. While he took glee in discovering they often didn’t know why they believed in God, Clayton secretly hoped they wouldn’t ask certain questions he couldn’t answer.
Determined to prove them wrong about creation, Clayton taught himself Hebrew so he could fully understand the Genesis account and prove once and for all that the biblical account didn’t stand up to the scientific record.
Instead, Clayton came to faith in Christ and spent more than 40 years as the director of Does God Exist? The ministry is devoted to presenting God as Creator to atheists and doubters.
It’s a story often repeated among scientists who, like Clayton, have become involved in ministries that seek to present a compatible view of the biblical record and scientific evidence for the earth’s origins. Several scientists shared with me how the gospel message became real to them after studying the complexity of the genetic code. “It simply reflects in the most powerful way the work of a divine mind,” says Dr. Fazale (Fuz) Rana, vice president of research and apologetics at Reasons To Believe (RTB).
While a variety of creation ministries exist at both regional and national levels, each has its own unique audience and uses its areas of expertise, perspectives, and resources to disciple and evangelize. Their promotion of creationism is not an end unto itself; rather, it is a tool to reach those conflicted about creation and evolution with the gospel of Christ.
Perhaps most visible among creation ministries is the Creation Museum founded by Answers In Genesis (AIG) in 2007. Ken Hamm, a science teacher in Australia in the 1970s, became burdened when he saw his students go to secular museums only to be told the Bible could not be trusted. For years Hamm dreamed of establishing a museum that would show students the accuracy and trustworthiness of the Bible.
The Creation Museum is located in northern Kentucky across the river from Cincinnati, Ohio. The 70,000-square-foot building includes a special effects theater, planetarium, and more than 160 high-tech exhibits that strive to celebrate creation and provide Christians with answers that help them defend their faith.
“There are still people who call themselves Christians that have doubts,” says Mark Looy, a cofounder of AIG. “We want to embolden their faith.”
Along with AIG, other ministries offer a variety of publications and seminars designed to equip the believer and answer questions from skeptics. Creation Ministries International (CMI) is currently creating a book and DVD set that, according to Dr. Robert Carter, a senior scientist at CMI, identifies eight critical flaws about evolution—links that most people would consider an evolutionist’s strongest arguments. The project, “Evolution’s Achilles’ Heels,” will be available through the ministry’s website in late 2013. Both AIG and CMI strictly hold to a six-day creation model and reject that God used evolution in the creation process.
Different Audiences, Different Approaches
The ministries vary in their primary focus to different target groups. In dealing with nonbelievers, John Clayton shows his audience there has to be a God behind creation and then moves to the question, “Which God?”
“Then you can use the Bible and proclaim Jesus Christ,” he says.
CMI targets its resources toward the local church. “We try to get people plugged into the resources to equip them. You don’t need a PhD to do it; you just have to be willing to do it,” says Carter. He tells of his own experience—that, while he had faith in God, he believed in evolution until a homeschooling mom made several points that caused him to dig for the truth on his own. “It was the defense of a faithful Christian that brought change in my mind,” he said.
Ministries are tapping into the powerful impact of the Internet through their websites and social media. AIG has won awards for its website, CMI has found it is reaching more young people and skeptics through the Internet, and RTB has a unique design that makes its site user-friendly to believers, doubters, and nonbelievers. RTB has recently hired a full time staff person to provide resources and dialogue through social media.
No Need to Fear
Many Christians are often afraid of the evolution/creation debate. This writer received her education at a secular university where evolution-oriented professors intimidated students, threatening to flunk them if they admitted to belief in the creation account. Yet Christians have nothing to fear from science, many creation scientists concur.
“Science is knowledge,” Clayton says. “Science is fact. God created the creation and told us what he did so it is impossible for there to be a conflict. If there is a conflict, there is bad science, bad theology—or both.”
Rana agrees. “We need to be willing to listen and learn, and have the courage to say maybe our interpretation is not right; maybe we have interpreted science or Scripture incorrectly. This is good because it forces us to study things a little further. Points of disagreement are exciting because it forces us to learn and come closer to what is actually true.”
While these various creationism ministries come from different perspectives and focus on different audiences, they all strive to use science as a tool to build bridges with the nonbeliever and to strengthen and equip the Christian. They all agree that the earth originated through a divine Designer, that the God of the Bible is that Designer, and the scientific record upholds the biblical record that we were created by God in the image of God for a relationship with God.
“The evolutionist assumes that naturalistic causes did create everything, yet the actual evidence points to incredible fine-tuning and design which is better explained by a mind,” says John Bloom, a professor of physics at Biola University. “If science today were open to the direction that the evidence leads, this conclusion would be clear. Science’s naturalistic assumptions have blinded it to the best answer.”
At the end of the day, these ministry workers are strengthened by stories of those who listen as the heavens declare the glory of God (Psalm 19:1). Their ministries are having a significant impact. Whether it’s a Nobel prize winner in chemistry reaching the conclusion that evolution could not have occurred after reading Origins of Life, published by Reasons To Believe, or a teenage girl accepting Christ after touring the Creation Museum, God is using the splendors of his creation and the dedicated lives and ministries of the creation science community to convince many that the Lord God Almighty is indeed the creative force behind the origins of our universe.
Karen Wingate is a freelance writer in Roseville, Illinois.
Examining the Beginning
Creation and Fall Vol. 3
by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
(Augsburg Fortress, 2007)
Creation, Fall, Restoration: A Biblical Theology of Creation
by Andrew Kulikovsky
(Christian Focus Publications, 2009)
In the Beginning, God: Creation from God’s Perspective
by Joel D. Heck
(Concordia Publishing House, 2011)
Saving Darwin: How to Be a Christian and Believe in Evolution
by Karl Giberson
(Harper Collins Publishing, 2009)
It Couldn’t Just Happen: Knowing the Truth About God’s Awesome Creation
by Lawrence Richards
(Tommy Nelson, 2011)