Review of our Creation Museum visit

As I mentioned I would do, here is a quick review of our trip to the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky.

Dinosaur photo
"Hello! I'm your tour guide, V. Raptor, and before we begin let me say you look like a tasty--I mean HANDSOME! ...a handsome group of appetizers--VISITORS! Visitors! I am so fired..."

Overall:  Not bad.  It is a very professional museum and very thoughtfully designed.  It certainly has an agenda and a point of view to push, but this should not be a surprise, since the museum describes itself as an “outreach of Answers in Genesis.”  It is unabashedly “young earth” in every way.

And this is not the worst of things, to be sure.  I explained my position in the previous post, but I can say that there is one thing I appreciate about Young Earthers.  They challenge the sacred cows of scientific orthodoxy, and I almost always find that to be a good thing to do, however quixotic it might be in some cases.  Sometimes, the target really is a windmill, but there are times when it really is a monster to be banished.  (For example, the dogma of the “Copernican principle,” tilted against by the Earth-Centered Shockwave theory I mentioned a few days ago.)

"Eden" image from the Creation Museum
Heads up, Adam! You've got company...

As with any museum trip, parents and children should be interactive about it and discuss what they see, during and afterward.  (My apologies to young MW, who asked me to explain the evolutionary theory very quickly, for whom I think I botched it.  I will correct that in the coming Bible Study — sorry!)  Parents should actively participate in helping their children process what they see and should help them to sort out the wheat from the chaff.  This will be true for any museum, whether the Creation Museum or any of the standard Creation-Ignoring/Hating Museums out there.  That’s a given.

Photo of decoration from Creation Museum
An artistic, post-sin reminder that you may still be in Kansas, Toto, but you aren't in Eden anymore...

However, in particular, the Creation Museum is in a peculiar position, since its strength can also be its weakness.  The fact that it sees the Bible as the primary resource for understanding the world around us is fantastic.  Ignored by other museums, the Word of God takes center stage, and that is refreshing to see.  Yet, just as secular museums’ conclusions are governed by the assumptions they bring to the facts, the Creation Museum is not immune to this fact of life (the “tyranny of assumptions” as I have called it before).  They include the Bible as a fundamental source of data (indeed, the foundational source of data), which is good, but they must interpret that data, as all data must be interpreted.  In this, there is room to differ with them in their conclusions.

This means that the Creation Museum can pose a special challenge in that, instead of constantly hearing messages and reading signs that say, “Scientists have discovered…”, your children will hear messages and read signs that say, “The Bible says…”  In this way, those who have biblical reasons for not believing every element of the Young Earth theory will need an extra measure of diligence.

Still, at least for my kids this was not a big deal, it seems.  They are generally well versed in what we believe the Bible teaches about pre-historic times, and we discussed the matter beforehand.  They were looking forward to the Bible study we had planned for afterward, but given the scattered directions in which we all needed to head after the museum visit we decided to wait until the congregational study on the topic that I will be doing soon.

Here are some quick observations on the trip…

  • The displays were all very professional looking.  In particular, the human statues (Adam & Eve, Isaiah, Moses, etc.) were all well done, and successfully avoided the distraction that poor human statues normally engender.
  • In particular, I thought the Garden of Eden and Noah’s Ark sections were excellently crafted.
  • The dinosaurs (romping around with humans, as Young Earth tenets require) were also very well done.
  • While they would accuse me of making this mistake, I suppose, since I am a ruin-reconstructionist, the connections they make in their displays between abandoning respect for God’s Word and the rot and corruption that exists in our society had good impact.
  • Their Noah’s Cafe was noteworthy for three things: (1) Tasty food! I really enjoyed the pot roast burger. (2) Low(er) prices (than I expected). (3) Real chili.  They offered both “Cincinnati-chili” and “Noah’s Chili” — the later being more like what a Texan would expect, and the former being… uh… Cincinnati-chili.  Guess which one I had.  (Apparently, during his time on the ark, Noah fantasized about turning the seven bovines they were carrying into chili.  He did good.)
  • The videos we watched were all very professionally done.  The planetarium was, regrettably, closed for maintenance, which meant that we got to see the “Created Cosmos” video for free (and it was pretty cool).  The little “video blurb” showing Adam being created from dust was fun to watch.
  • The bookstore/video/toy store was big.  You could drop a lot of money in there.
  • We really took a liking not just to the larger, life-size scenes, but the smaller dioramas, as well.  In particular, the dioramas and small displays in the Noah’s Ark section were well crafted and nicely detailed (and made us think of this Tim Hawkins comedy bit).

So, I thought the trip was a pleasure.  Bought a book or two (Lee Spetner’s Not By Chance, which I have wanted for some time) and a video (on flood geology theories), as well as some toys for the kids (mainly little dinosaurs & arrowheads).  We will have our Bible study on the topic later with each congregation, like I mentioned above.  If we were to try and make an “invite folks from all over” event out of this in the summer, I would probably want to cover the topic in a Bible study the Saturday night before we went to the museum, then plan a pleasant “chew and chat” dinner afterward to process it all in light of the principles we’d discussed the night before.  Something to think about, perhaps, and to see if there is any interest out there.

That’s the review!  If anything worthwhile comes to mind in the days to come, I will supplement this post and link to it from here.

11 thoughts on “Review of our Creation Museum visit

  1. Thank you for taking the time to put together this outing and to give such a thorough review of what you saw! (Never having had “Cincinnati chili”, although I’ve had the distinction of having San Antonio chili – the “real” stuff – and being willing to try anything clean once, I think I’d go for the former.)

  2. Glory Talbott

    Is this the same museum the Duggars took all their kids to see? I would like to go see this, too. But like you said, I would like a meeting before and after to go over some of the info. I know dates are wrong since they think the world is under 6, 000 years old but it sounds like other things about the museum are neat to see. I’m glad you all had a good time!

  3. One thing I appreciate the “young-creationists” for is that they realize that simply stuffing every event that “mainstream scientists” date before 6,000 (or even 6.000-10,000) B.P. doesn’t solve anything with regard to correlating the Bible and natural history. (That’s where the idea of “pre-Adamic man” comes from, for example.) Now I’m not saying anything you don’t know already, Mr. Smith, but not everyone among us has really looked this issue in the eye – partly because of a lack of interpretative framework by which to do so, beyond the general one of a dual creation with a change of state (“the earth had become chaotic and disordered”) in between.

    In that light, let me pass on an encouraging experience of my own. While in Jerusalem a couple of years ago, I visited the Bible Lands Museum, which is right next to the Israel Museum. The Bible Lands Museum by no means pushes an overt pro-biblical agenda on any level, indeed the dates put forward are according to the standard archaeological chronologies. But one thing I noticed is that in the sequence of events illustrated by archaological findings, as put on a chart in the Museum, the match between empirical evidence and biblical history is very close. Only the dates would need to be challenged from our perspective.

    Young-earth creationists are more than willing to do that much, focusing on sequences of events. One popular model among them is that both Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon men lived immediately after the Flood (indeed what the mainstream would call in general the “last Ice Age”, this model considers a result of Noah’s Flood). Others might argue that Neanderthal was pre-Flood along with Cro-Magnon and other hominids. The point is, as a Hebrew student I note that biblical Hebrew takes action as the framework in which time happens rather than vice versa, and I suspect the ancient approach will be more fruitful in the long run in coming to terms with the Bible’s relationship to natural history. (Not that there aren’t clear chronological indications in the Bible – quite the contrary – but learning of that peculiarity of all the biblical languages was revolutionary for me and most helpful on many levels.)

  4. Pingback: Review of our Creation Museum visit (via Thoughts En Route) « The Chronicles of Johanan Rakkav

  5. Hieronymus Fortesque Lickspittle

    The creation museum is a temple devoted to ignorance. If you’d study simply two things in depth, the fossil record and radiometric dating you’d realize what a bunch of bunk it is. Then consider the nonsense of the Noah’s Ark fable and then consider the absurd idea that primitive animal sacrificing middle-eastern goat herders had some special insights into how how the world works.

  6. Greetings, Mr. Lickspittle —

    I hope that you will forgive me for deleting the link to the petition you provided. As an American, I’m not interested in assisting those who are so ignorant about the Constitution and the Bill of Rights (really, do reread them); as a mathematician, I’m not interested in assisting the irrational; and as a human being, I’m not interested in assisting those who seem incapable of courtesy or civility. Comment if you like, but leave the petitions at the door.

    * I agree that the fossil record and radiometric dating provide evidence that the Young Earth folks are wrong. However, I appreciate their willingness to challenge such interpretations, as more is built on assumption than many folks (including, perhaps, yourself) realize.

    * I see no nonsense in the story of Noah’s ark, though I see a great deal of nonsense in assuming it is nonsense.

    * While I would argue the implications of the word “primitive,” suffice it to say that I have more cause to listen to those ancient middle-eastern goat herders than I do some modern midwestern button pushers.

    Finally, you’re welcome back if you can be civil. But if your upbringing has sadly left you truly that lacking in civility, please bray elsewhere. Thanks.

  7. I see that Mr. Smith has already left a reply, so let me just say that was the most entertainingly miserable excuse for rational skepticism that I’ve seen in a long while. It’s not even worth getting angry about. You’ve shot yourself in the foot with an AK-47 and don’t even know it; that’s what so amusing.

    Those allegedly ignorant goatherders described the most stable ship that has ever been built, almost impossible to tip over even in the face of 400-foot waves, one that would guide itself automatically into said waves, and one large enough to do the job required of it and more. They knew about functional tonality and just tuning in music long centuries before the Greeks did; these things didn’t reappear together in Western music until the 1600’s (although just tuning did reappear when polyphony arose). They could design a temple that took the best craftsmen of their day to construct. They could lay out the history of the world (in terms of sequence of action) that actually fits extremely well with what natural science tells us (the young-creationists have yet to realize this fully). And, they could pass on predictions about the future that have been fulfilled accurately, sometimes in stages taking centuries and even millennia to carry out, and which are now filling today’s headlines.

    (Sorry, Mr. Smith, I don’t mean to return evil for evil, but I hope your apparent ENTP-hood will pardon a little cheerful ENFP sarcasm! 🙂 )

  8. Angie Ward

    Mr. Smith,

    I sincerely appreciate you and your discussion on the Creation Museum. I have not been there myself, but read many reviews on it and was taken back and saddened because of the comments. I myself am a Christian and was looking forward to visiting the museum. After reading how “non-believers” were treated it made me not want to go. Behavior such as this is not biblical, not how Christ asked us to be and not something I want to support.

    The other thing that saddened me was the mockery that some of the visitors made Christianity out to be because of either past experience, or the misleading people who displayed Christianity in the wrong ways. I think many people were turned off by the hall that made the harsh comments about abortion and homosexuality. The problem with taking that kind of approach is that people assume there are degrees of sin, which is simply not the case. According to James, a gay person or someone who has had abortions is no bigger a sinner than someone who lies, who over eats, or lives an unhealthy lifestyle, or a believer who has no works. Regardless the sin, Christ loves the sinner and many “Christians” seem to leave that out during their “fire and brimstone” speeches.

    You have proven to me once again that smart people CAN believe in God and in His word! I do not follow a faith blindly or with no education about it. I am not indoctrinating my children to believe in any certain way at all. I am simply showing them by example how I live and what I know to be true and praying with my entire being that they make the choice to do the same. If they chose not to, I will love them anyway; just as Christ loves every one of us.

    I never claim to be a theologian, only someone who has been saved by grace through faith. I have used my faith to gain knowledge. The more I know, the more I believe.

    Thank you for your insightful and educated review of the museum.

    Christ follower,
    Angie

  9. Greetings, Ms. Ward — Thanks for commenting and for your kind words! And I’m glad that you think I’m smart. 🙂 My apologies for taking so long to get to my comment queue and leaving you hanging so long. I’ve been under the weather the last several days, and it’s definitely affected my blogging.

    The idea that some sins are worth smiling-and-winking at while others are intolerable is a dangerous one, indeed, and you are correct in one way: James certainly makes it clear that when we are guilty of breaking one commandment the effect is the same as having broken them all. Every sin separates us from God, not just the “really bad” sins. In this sense, the teen who tells a “little white lie” is just as in need of Christ’s sacrifice as the serial rapist.

    However, that does not mean, of course, that there aren’t certain “degrees of depravity” within wickedness, which God Himself teaches us (e.g., 1 Cor. 5:1, Luke 12:46-47, 1 Timothy 1:15, etc.) and which we see reflected in His law (e.g., some sins requiring only restitution, while others requiring the death penalty). He would certainly be an unjust God if He did not see the difference between a young woman who lies out of discomfort when asked an awkward question and a serial tortuous murderer, though both have sinned, to be sure. So, while all sins equally cut us off from participating in the Kingdom of God, it is still true that some are “greater” sinners than others.

    So, in short, there are degrees of sin. Though every single sin, from the smallest to the greatest, will separate you from God.

    And, actually, I have to admit that the “Consequences of Sin” room was one of those I liked. It may have focused more on the popular “sins du jour” — I can’t recall — but it also focused on hypocritical Christianity, which was a nice touch.

    As for your kiddos, I would encourage you to modify your approach, at least how you descibe it. Definitely do instruct them in the way that they should go (Prov. 22:6), which is the obligation of all Christians (Deut. 6:6-7) and the example set for us (2 Tim. 3:14-15). However, do teach them to prove the truth for themselves (1 Thess. 5:21), and not just to take things as a “given.”

    Sorry to take your kind comment and use it as a change to start preaching, but, what can I say–I’m a preacher! 🙂 And I’m very glad that you are engaging your brain in your faith. Not everyone does.

    Thanks again for commenting!

  10. Amy Kowalski

    Mr Smith~
    I enjoyed reading your post about your visit to The Creation Museum. My family first saw this museum on the Duggars show (just as Glory mentioned) and thought that it would make for an awesome family weekend trip. With that being said, we would VERY MUCH ENJOY being included in your summer event if you do in fact plan one! Thank you again for your post!
    Sincerely,
    Amy Kowalski~~~

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