Am I embarrassed that I learned extensively from creationist apologist Ken Ham in my younger years? To be sure, he does not have a PhD, he is widely ridiculed by the evolutionary establishment, and it seems that there is a growing contempt for his work in Reformed circles. Maybe I should claim just a little more enlightenment in my views. I have read Darwin, studied natural history at a college/university level, and have a thorough knowledge of Hebrew and am able to read Genesis 1 in the original language. I mean, who would want to promote Ken Ham’s work after he made such a fool out of himself in that debate with Bill Nye the science guy? I’m too smart and enlightened to identify with the likes of him…
I remember following the Twitter and Facebook accounts of Reformed scientists and scholars during the Nye-Ham debate of 2014. I thought that would be more interesting than the debate itself. It was. The amount of comments throwing Ken Ham under the bus was both surprising and not surprising too me. As the argument goes: Ken Ham treats the Bible like a science textbook and he is a fundamentalist. For all that being said, Ken Ham claims that this debate helped heavily in raising funds for the Ark Encounter, a massive ark built in the middle of Kentucky. In response, Bill Nye said that he is “heartbroken and sickened for the Commonwealth of Kentucky.”
So who is this highly contentious Ken Ham guy? He seems to be the key creationist to crap on in spite of the existence of a number of more highly educated scientists who hold to creationist views. Apparently he holds a Bachelor of Applied Science with an emphasis in environmental biology at Queensland Institute of Technology and a Diploma in Education from the University of Queensland. After teaching in high schools for a number of years, it seems that he was moved to see the destructive influence of evolutionary thinking and turned to the daunting task of publicizing a Christian perspective on creationism. This was in the framework of an academy that was fiercely opposed to his viewpoints, holding to highly critical views of Scripture and creationist views.
I would characterize Ken Ham as a Christian apologist with a grounding in both the Word of God and science. But what has always captured me about his thought is that he does not divorce his scientific studies from understanding the disciplines of history and philosophy and most importantly, the authority of the Word of God. Ken Ham is a popular speaker because he does not operate out of ivory tower academia, and I strongly believe, because the Spirit has used him powerfully to uphold the authority of the Scriptures in an age where academia is seeking too destroy Christian foundations. He has stood firm on authority when many of the challenges to young earth creationism are built on highly skeptical assumptions that focus on the appearances and what is observable. In response to this, Ken Ham has asked disturbing questions to evolutionists such as “were you there?” It is a simple question, but is not easily dismissed.
Ken Ham has not only written on 6 day creation, but also the veracity of the Biblical account. He has written on dinosaurs and the ark and the garden of Eden. He has even written a book on the problem of evil. Not being a university professor, I believe it is more than appropriate that many of his books have been directed too children and young people. As an intelligent man and a deep thinker, his books should not be dismissed by academia. His archnemesis, Bill Nye, has a similar approach. And nobody mocks Nye for this in particular. Also none of the “Christian thought leaders” who were mocking Ken Ham for the debate turned to mock Bill Nye when it came out that he promotes transgenderism, calling sexuality “a kaleidoscope.”
Ken Ham’s ideas have encouraged 10s of 1000s of people and have been developed on a higher level of academics and argumentation in other resources. Thomas Purifoy along with the narrator Del Tackett developed a historical and philosophical argument in the documentary “Is Genesis History?” asking questions about time and change. Dr. Gordon Wilson recently put out a documentary entitled “The Riot and the Dance,” revelling in the goodness of God in all the diversity of His created order. Both of these projects have begun independently of the work of AIG and CMI, the two often ridiculed organizations of creationism. Theological defenses of creationism have ranged from “Creation in Six Days” by James Jordan, “In Six Days God Created” by Paulin Bedard, and “Creation Without Compromise” from a missionary, a journalist, a professor, and a pastor. I’m sure you can find many more reasonable defenses of creationism out on the web and in publication.
So now that my ego has inflated in the halls of academia am I ready to throw Ken Ham under the bus? Absolutely not. His contribution to the defense of the authority of Scripture has been invaluable. His scientific work in light of that is even more valuable.
Christian academics around the world have been shipwrecking their faith and the faith of young intellectuals by promoting hypotheses that don’t even claim to have the answers about origins. If they only discussed evolutionary hypotheses, there might be some damage control. But then they claim that Scripture might just have to be reinterpreted, or Christians will sound dumb and unintellectual. They settle for the phenomenological evidence, when we can read history in the Word of God. Rather than relying on the veracity of the Word, many would rather go back and piece together history based on observable evidence in the present.
In light of this, kudos to Ken Ham.