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