I am sometimes a fan of Ken Ham. While I’m not a terrible proponent of his theology, I admire his steadfastness in what he thinks is right and I admire his willingness to question predominant views.
Even so, in his recent article “Hell Will Not Convince Bill Nye of a Young Earth,” Ham makes two statements I find troubling.
This quote from him is particularly sorrowful and, to borrow a phrase used often by Bill Nye in the debate, “to me, it is troubling.”
“Let’s say that I am, through my actions, doomed, and that I will go to hell,” Nye told Popular Science in the previously mentioned article. “Even if I am going to hell . . . that still doesn’t mean the Earth is 6,000 years old. The facts just don’t reconcile.”
To clear up any confusion, Bill Nye is quoted in my quote of Ken Ham. Nye basically says that whether or not he is personally going to hell has a negligible relationship with the age of the earth. While I am not saying Ham is right or wrong about the earth’s age, I completely agree with Bill that this argument is essentially a red herring.
However, as we have also pointed out (numerous times) on our website, the age of the earth is a matter of biblical authority.
This is a Ham quote, and I completely disagree with him. I think the age of the earth is nonessential scripture which does nothing to alter the main points of scripture. If we precisely knew the timeline of the Bible then it might help us craft expectations around the time of the return of Jesus, but this is dogmatically insignificant as the time-frame of such a thing should have no bearing on our behavior. Are we to act more or less moral if Jesus is coming back sooner or later? No, we should act as well as we can without regard to the time-frame. It is little more than an interesting intellectual curiosity.
As I have mentioned, the Bible is not clear on the age of the earth. 2 Peter 3:8 reads, “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” This scripture seems to me to demonstrate God’s atemporality. Ham interprets it to mean that a Genesis day is a one thousand years, where a year is 365 days, and a day is 24 hours. While I admire his consistency, it seems to me that he is wrong.
The scary part is that Ham rests the entire validity of the Bible on his own view. It should be the other way around. Ham indicates that if the earth is not the age that he considers it to be, the Bible is invalid. Could it not be merely that Ham’s interpretation is invalid?
I think Ham’s interpretation is invalid, and if I am correct then this creates a problem for those who follow Ham. Ham has created a situation such that if he were shown to be incorrect it would follow that the Bible is no longer an authority, or a reliable source of information. This could cause a great falling out of Christianity by his followers, and unjustifiably so.
Ham should be willing to modify his interpretation rather than throw Christianity under the bus.