This week was the Ken Ham/Bill Nye debate. I’m jumping into the waters a little late, but I had a few thoughts. I’m not sure what the debate did as far as changing anyone’s mind from their respective position. Most likely if you went into the debate with a certain view point, you came out of it with the sense that your side “won”. I hope, of course, that God did use it in some way, even if in the life of one person, to open their heart and mind to him.
One of the responses I repeatedly saw on Twitter afterwards was quoting the following question from the debate:
“What can change your mind?”
Ken Ham – “Nothing”
Bill Nye – “Evidence”
This was the slam dunk for those that were Team Nye. However, it is really? The criticism, of course, is that creationists or Christians are just close minded and ignorant. Anyone that is not willing to change their mind is operating out of an oppressive and even dangerous world view. Bill Nye’s belief is that teaching creationism is holding society back and even pleads with parents not to pass it on to their children.
Scientific conclusions are based on observation and interpretation of patterns. Those patterns are used to determine how things function and how they will most likely function in the future. It is that closed system of being able to rely on repeated systems that make scientific discovery and conclusions possible.
In order to make conclusive claims, one must have a clear sense of the correct answers. Bill Nye in his response to the question is ultimately stating that there is something out there that could sway his mind. Granted, he hasn’t found it, but his admittance of this fact is important. Which answer better reflects the strength of their position? If a system were completely open, how could one concretely declare anything with confidence? How do we know a dog won’t give birth to a cat? This is also reflective on Stephen Hawking’s latest claim that there are no black holes, something that has been consistently taught for years. It seems like every few years there is some product that once claimed to be good for you actually causes problems. We need something more consistent than the theories and claims of fallible people, bound by their own limitations.
Ken Ham can answer is such a way because of confidence the system is closed. It is not simply stubborn thinking. It is based on something far more extraordinary than scientific analytics. Revelation changes the paradigm. That doesn’t mean observation and deductions are meaningless, but rather that they operate within the boundaries set by the Creator. It is what gives meaning and wonder to each new discovery, as each is to reflect the majesty and glory of the one who designed it.
Creation reflects a God who made it and is over it. He made it to operate in a particular way. He set the boundaries for land and water, day and night. He made creatures that find their homes on land or in sea. He did it all with a simple declaration, “Let there be.” It wasn’t a matter of a concoction of chemicals or processes. It was simply and marvelously divine power. People looking to find God’s signature on the universe are simply missing it, because his hand is on everything that is. Signatures are meant to identify a particular work of the artist so that it stands out from others. There is no one else who does or can do what God does. As Andrew Kuyper has said, “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is sovereign over all, does not cry: ‘Mine!'”
In saying that nothing can change his mind, Ham is appealing to the ultimate truth. Ultimate in the sense that no power, no person, no circumstance can change or alter it. Culture does not like to think of something being so concrete, so sure. Yet, there is incredible freedom within the boundaries that God has set. There is much to explore, much to understand and experience. Instead of stifling confinement, God’s order brings about an incredible joy in this ongoing dependence. It is a reflection of his faithfulness.
The law of gravity sets limits upon us, but within it we experience the joy of all of life. I’m reminded as I watched the first night of the Olympics, that even when gravity is tested with magnificent athletic abilities, it is gravity that makes these feats possible. Life without gravity would bring about terrible consequences. We need not come up with a “Plan B” in the chance that gravity will cease to be.
There is contentment in knowing the ultimate truth, that God is creator and Lord. Don’t be swayed. It’s not intellectual suicide. It is life giving freedom. Scientific discovery grounded in creationism leads not simply to wonder, but to worship. Faith that is pleasing to God is based upon the unseen. That is the nature of faith (John 20:29, Hebrews 11:1), yet it is faith grounded in a historical context. Christian, there is not a magic bullet pulled from science that will make people believe. Even if someone were to rise from the dead (John 16:31). To know the one who made all that is, means that there is no discovery that can deter from a firm belief in the one who made it. Slam dunk.