Saturday, January 22, 2011

Creation Museum Visit, 2011

Every few years I teach "The Sociology of American Religion," which includes a trip to the Creation Museum near Petersburg, Kentucky. Dr. David Menton, a retired medical school professor who is one of the scientific advisors to the museum, graciously met with the class and answered many questions.

One question that had been on my mind since our last visit was this: many mainline Christians agree with the Creation Museum that God created the universe and that life evolved within the different kinds of animals. What they do not accept, though, is that all of this happened within the last 10,000 years, nor that the Bible requires us to read it as having a chronology from Adam to now of only six thousand years. There are many old-earth creationists, who are not that far from the museum's young-earth creationists. I asked Dr. Menton what was objectionable in an old-earth creationist view? He offered that if the earth was millions of years old, then death had to have been part of the design of creation, with new life replacing old. The museum's view is that death came to humans and animals (though not, I infer, plants) with Adam's sin. Without sin, Adam and Eve and all the animals created with them would have lived forever, without successors.

This was a detail of the young-earth creationist view I had not encountered before.

Beth Prather, a student in the class, took several fine pictures. The "7 C's" is the basic understanding of history taught by the Creation Museum. "Creation's Orchard" and my own (bad) picture of the development of the horse shows what the museum means by "development within kinds" - micro-evolution, in contrast to the "Evolutionist's Tree" macro-evolution from one spark of life to all living things. The final picture is Beth on a humorous treat at the end of the museum.

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