A Response to Mr. Ham’s Video: “The Anti-biblical Teachings of BioLogos”
Answers in Genesis has posted a 21 minute video of a live talk given by Ken Ham called “Anti-biblical Teachings of BioLogos.” The approach Mr. Ham has taken is quite interesting. He shows clips from about 10 videos featuring BioLogos leaders and supporters, most about 15 to 20 seconds long. After each one, Mr. Ham makes a particular point about how he thinks the BioLogos view leads to the erosion of biblical authority or some related topic.
We have been tempted not to respond to this video. The people in his huge audience— those who are laughing at his remarks and applauding his words—are not going to be swayed into changing their opinion by anything we would say. There are millions in that audience and for them the choice is simple: what is most trustworthy—God’s written Word or as Mr. Ham terms it, “man’s historical science?” Mr. Ham is adept at speaking to the heart of their concerns. He also knows exactly which 15-second clips to use from the vast collection of BioLogos videos to make a strong rhetorical point.
As most of Ken Ham’s followers have already made up their minds—and are not following our blog anyway—we do not write to defend ourselves or even point out how he may have misled them. He has likely made errors in judgment, but we are aware that we have made errors too. There are many people, however, who may see Mr. Ham’s video and suspect that they are not hearing the whole story. They may be sympathetic to Mr. Ham’s message, but they may genuinely want to learn more. Just what are these BioLogos people really saying, they may ask? With that group of people in mind, here is one thing we can do. We can provide the links (we also offer a PDF version to view alongside the video) to those videos that have been commissioned by us or which represent the BioLogos view, so that people can see for themselves the full context of the message we are trying to convey.
I watched Mr. Ham’s video the day after I wrote my blog about the discovery and sequencing of the genome of a second non-human hominid species (Neanderthals are the first) that co-inhabited the planet with modern humans 30,000 years ago. That blog and the reading I had done in preparation for it were fresh on my mind as I watched Mr. Ham stir up fear in the hearts of people. As I’ve written before, I love the people in Mr. Ham’s audiences, and I love being with them. In so many ways, they have their fingers on the pulse of God. They are careful thinkers and they are dedicated followers of Jesus. Above all, they want to protect their children and grandchildren, the persons they love most in life; they want to be sure there is a safety net in place as those children grow up and venture out on their own.
Just think of it, however. We have the instruction books on how to build two different non-human beings, Neanderthals and Denisovans, whose lineage separated from our own 800,000 years ago! Geneticists are already examining them gene-by-gene. It’s not just transitional fossils anymore. We have the genomes! Once civilization has those (the genome sequences), it is not beyond the realm of possibility (heaven forbid) that in coming decades someone somewhere would put these instructions into a human egg, then after implanting into a surrogate mother, bring these beings to life again.
So many of my Christian brothers and sisters keep saying that they know God didn’t create through a gradual process because there are no transitional species. This is not true. Hardly a month goes by when there is not some fossil specimen discovered which fills in one more gap (see here for a recent example discussed on our site). The gaps get smaller and smaller. But now, not only do we have the bones of ancient species, we have the DNA too—in this case, of our closest cousins1 who also arose through this evolutionary process by which God has chosen to create us.
Scientific knowledge is accumulating at lightning speed and we are in need of Christians who understand it and put it into the light of Christian ethics, morality, and a clearly articulated view of the God who loves us and cares for us more than we can imagine. This is the community we are trying to build here at BioLogos. Unfortunately, instead of being the much-needed salt and light in the scientific world and broader culture, too many Christians have removed themselves from the discussion. Too many have hunkered down, hiding their wonderful light under a bushel, when our culture needs them to help put the rapidly accumulating information into a Christ-centered context.
If you choose to watch the linked videos, you’ll probably do so in an individual context—by yourself. However, we also encourage you to view them with friends in discussion groups in your homes and churches. Be careful though. Discussion is healthy, but argument seldom is. Romans 14 reminds us of the importance of respecting those who think differently, and our highest priority is to patiently let each person work through the issues in a manner that is best for them. We mustn’t be the cause of others stumbling. (The Joel Hunter video in the associated set of links does a great job of emphasizing this.) Still, we are a community of loving believers and discussion, well-grounded in a deep sense of care for each other and for the Church, is wholesome and thoroughly biblical.
And, given all that is being discovered in science today, it is also much needed.
1. Neanderthals and Denisovans are not direct ancestors of humans. As cousins, we all, through God’s process, stem from a common ancestral species that existed about 800,000 years ago.
Darrel Falk is former president of The BioLogos Foundation. He transitioned into Christian higher education 25 years ago and has given numerous talks about the relationship between science and faith at many universities and seminaries. He is the author of Coming to Peace with Science.