Thursday, February 6, 2014

Why You Should Watch the Debate

A response to the Ken Ham/Bill Nye debate
By Timothy Thornton

Two and a half hours could never have gone so fast! The debate last night with Ken Ham and Bill Nye was extremely enthralling. The topic of debate was: “Is Creation a viable model of origins?” Ken Ham proposed that Creation as described in the book of Genesis is the only model of origins, while Bill Nye presented that the mainstream scientific view of evolution and millions of years of natural processes should be the only model of origins taught in schools. 

While neither of the debaters could convince the other of their own views, the debate was not a frivolous event. Some may wonder why people would debate something that cannot be agreed upon or why people would even want to watch it. However, there are several reasons that the debate was not pointless; that it was actually valuable, and if you have not watched it yet, I highly recommend you do for the very same reasons:

The debate was a clear depiction of worldviews. 

Both Bill Nye and Ken Ham use the senses that God has given them to observe the natural world around them. However, they each interpret the data they can observe in the present differently, since it represents the past. The final question posed to both at the end of the debate was: “What one thing, more than anything else, do you found your beliefs upon?” Ken Ham succinctly responded that the Word of God is the basis for all truth, and that he believes in the historical account written by the One who created everything and was actually there to tell us about it. Bill Nye responded by saying that Science was the basis for his beliefs; he also mentioned that such observational science brought joy to him and motivation for discovery. This was a fitting wrap-up to a debate that, as a whole, clearly depicted the difference of worldviews and how they determine the way a person lives and interprets the world around them. 

Ken Ham pointed this out very clearly at the beginning of his presentation. It is interesting to note that when one starts with God and the foundation that His Word is Truth, then they can understand the world around them. On the other hand, when one starts with man and the foundation that his knowledge is truth, then they cannot understand the things of God. Two verses come to mind: 
“But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.” (1 Corinthians 2:14)
“Always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 3:7)
 The worldview based on the God of the Bible is the only one that can make sense of the world around us.

The debate gives stunning insight into our culture today

Ken Ham began the debate with a presentation on the indoctrination of evolution and millions of years in our western culture. He explained that the reason moral relativism is on the rise in our world today is because the foundation for moral absolutes has been thrown out—the Word of God is denied while science is upheld even subconsciously by many Christians. 

The undermining and trampling of God’s Word is nothing new; it’s been happening since Genesis 3 when Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s instruction, being deceived by the Devil who questioned God’s Word. As such, a society that does not believe in the One True God will act and think in a manner in accord with Romans 1:18-32—
“professing to be wise they became fools” 
"For as a man thinks in his heart, so he is" (Proverbs 23:7)

In reality, there are truly only two worldviews in the world: God’s and Satan’s. Any worldview that denies the God of the Bible and upholds something else as the authority is obviously not of God and therefore can be lumped into the same category. 

Under the umbrella of philosophies that are opposed to our Creator God is the pervasive worldview known as postmodernism: truth is what you make it, morality is relative, tolerance and acceptance of many kinds of ideologies and lifestyles is promoted. Bill Nye expressed this worldview when he was asked the question: “Is there room for God in science?” In his response he mentioned that there are many people of differing faiths and beliefs around the world that support his view and teach evolutionary origins. Nye even made the statement that because many religious people have held the “scientific view” they (science and religion) “are not incompatible”. He also did not want to offend anybody and thus respected the fact that some believe in evolution and yet are very religious. He ended his response, however, by saying that “Ken Ham’s model” was certainly not compatible with science. 

Indeed, there are a lot of problems with Bill Nye’s arguments logically and evidentially, but he remarkably displayed the growing philosophy of our day. Christians who believe in the Bible, especially those who take a strong stance on the literal history of the world as found in Genesis, are at odds with a world that will accept and tolerate almost anything else.

The debate supports the Christian faith and the Truth of the Bible. 

For those who may have heard Ken Ham speak or have read anything by Answers in Genesis, the debate was an incredible refreshment and motivation. Although Ken Ham did not answer every single point or question raised by Bill Nye, he did clearly state that the Bible has the answers to all such things. The Word of an all-knowing and all-powerful Sovereign God is most certainly true, and though it cannot answer specifically every question in the world, it is the source of truth. Besides, Solomon once said, “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7). The debate was a wonderful reminder that God’s Word can be trusted. And seeing Ken Ham boldly proclaim the truth of His Word and the message of the gospel encouraged believers to stand firmly upon the Bible and defend it.

The debate gives believers necessary apologetic knowledge to defend their faith in today’s culture. 

1 Peter 3:15 says,
“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear”
Nye and Ham debated a hot topic that sparks much controversy in the western world. Bill Nye’s points were very typical of any unbelieving person, especially atheists. Ken Ham’s arguments and responses were a good example of how to approach such anti-God philosophies in our culture today. (For more on this read: Matthew Zuk’s review). 

Unfortunately, it is not just atheists and unbelievers that hold to Bill Nye’s worldview. When it comes to the issue of the origin of the universe and the age of the earth, many Christians believe the same as Nye. The view that the world is billions of years old and that humans evolved from unicellular life forms is prevalent in the church. The average person that professes to be a Christian does not believe that the six days of creation in Genesis 1 are six literal days and thus allegorizes the text to make it fit the mainstream “scientific” paradigm. 

What many true Christians do not understand is that this attacks the character and nature of God, undermines the gospel message of salvation in Jesus Christ, and also opens the door to further misinterpretation of God’s Word—the sustenance for our Christian life. For more on how the cross is attacked, read pages 105-107 in The Genius of Ancient Man. Ken Ham clearly explained the problems with accepting the view of evolution and millions of years towards the beginning of the debate. You may know someone who has mixed mainstream science with the Bible and doesn’t realize the problems that arise. This debate will help give you the answers you need to defend God’s Word to any who may question it, especially concerning origins.

The debate was also a reminder of our ultimate purpose on earth. 

Indeed, we were created by God to bring Him glory by the things we say and do (1 Corinthians 10:31, Colossians 3:17, Ephesians 2:10). He has given us the “Great Commission” to “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19) and “preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). We have a mandate as Christians to make the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ known to all people. This is the greatest message of all time; the importance is one of life and death (John 3:36). 

The entire Christian life is based upon this amazing truth that Jesus Christ paid the penalty for our sins by dying on the cross, and after three days in the tomb was resurrected from the dead. He is alive and now offers the free gift of salvation from sin and imparts His righteousness to any who would believe in Him, enabling them to enter into the presence of a Holy God after death. Ken Ham clearly presented this gospel and seemed to make sure that was the focus of the debate. 

Bill Nye was not going to be convinced by evidence, but after hearing the good news of salvation, the Spirit of God could draw his heart to believe in Jesus—and the outcome: eternal life! It is estimated that over 2 million people watched the debate in the last twenty-four hours—that means that if they were listening, they would have heard the gospel. The statements and responses made by Ken Ham are a great example of sticking to the task and not getting into fruitless argumentation. Indeed, if the greatest message of all time were not mentioned in this debate, then yes it would be pointless. 
(See our blog article on the gospel)

Paul said “to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). Amidst increasing persecution in western culture, Christians need to take an uncompromising stand on the authority of Scripture (2 Timothy 2:15) and make known the gospel message. It is the dark and blind world that we live in that needs to hear the truth! The debate indeed is a tremendous encouragement and motivational reminder. We cannot change the culture or the hearts of the unbelieving world, but God is more than capable to work in the lives of those who have heard His message. We ought to live for the Lord and teach our children to love Him as well. 

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