To see a grown man desperately trying to convince the world and therefore himself, of the literal truth of a bunch of Bronze Age “just so” stories is sad enough. But when you hear Ken Ham express his “philosophy” and theology, it really gets pathetic.
I heard Ken say on the radio that evolution could not be true as that would mean that death was “natural” and therefore there would be no reason to send Jesus to save us from death, which was introduced by the “fall.” I have to hand to Ken, he didn’t say a lot of words there, but there is a lot to unpack!
Let us start with immortality. First of all, Ken, you should be glad for the fall, not only to get Jesus in the world, but also you! If Adam and Eve were still alive, do you really think any of us would be here? How many generations of immortals do you think there would be? Why bother reproducing if you are going to live forever? But besides that, how would that earthly immortality work anyway?
The first question would be, was all life on earth immortal until the fall? Or just people? If animals were immortal, does that mean that god punished them with death as well after Eve crunched that Golden Delicious? If they weren’t immortal, then that means death was already “natural” it just somehow didn’t apply to people. But that is just one issue.
What does it mean to physically immortal anyway? Do you age to a certain point and stop? Do you stop aging at 20? 40? 750? Does physical immortality mean that you can jump off a cliff and live? Get eaten by a tiger and still show up for the board meeting? Enquiring minds want to know.
How would people deal with the crushing boredom? Talk about opening the door to procrastination! Would you even need to eat? Can’t starve yourself to death. No impetus to get anything done, you can always do it tomorrow. No need to work. No need to rest. To judge from the rest of the bible, Yahweh is not a big fan of fornication, so perhaps even that will not take up the time. No real need to reproduce. Many Christians, in bad times say that god sends unhappiness to help us appreciate the good times all the more. Ironically, it is death that gives life its meaning.
In The Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy, Bowerick Wowbagger is cursed with immortality. After a long time trying to come to grips with what this really means, he finally decides to insult everyone in the universe, in alphabetical order. Why not? He certainly has the time. But what would we do if everyone was immortal? Astronomy? Why bother? God created the stars. No need for medicine, farming, biology or technology. Can you imagine 5000 years of this? Five billion? Why not just create us as spiritual beings, like the angels?
Theologically, Ken’s worldview raises many more questions than it answers. To start with, why did god kill 99.9% of the living creatures on earth, saving our species (barely) but leaving us still needing to be “saved.” Since Noah didn’t turn out to be a moral paragon (didn’t god know?) why not finish the job, kill everyone and start over? Can’t god even learn from his mistakes?
And what kind of god is this anyway? If you take the story literally (Which is the whole point, right Ken?) Adam and Eve don’t know right from wrong. So god created people to blindly follow his orders? And how can you punish someone for doing something when they don’t know right from wrong? Especially the punishment that god handed out — death. So, when your three year old disobeys you, you throw him out of the house? Kind of insane isn’t it? And not only does he punish the child, he punishes all of their descendants — forever! Totally, completely, insane.
And speaking of punishments, let’s look at the ones he actually handed out. To Adam, who is being punished for listening to his wife, god curses him by making him work for his bread and to die. And all his descendants too — forever. Eve gets sexual desire combined with being “cursed” with children, and of course being ruled over by Adam. Oh yeah, and all her descendants forever as well. Now, of course she was actually talked into eating the fruit (remember she didn’t good from evil) by the serpent, who presumably did. And what did the serpent get?
Well, he has crawl on his belly and eat dust (snakes eat dust, Ken???). And his kind will be enemies with people. But even so, it will be an equal battle, people will strike at the serpent’s head and the serpent at their heels. Say what? So your 15 year old talks your three year old into getting into the cookie jar. You throw the three year old out into the street and ground the 15 year old? Who would want to worship this god if this were literally true?
And now, since people have committed this horrible sin, things have to be made right. We can’t just say we are sorry. God can’t just forgive us. No, god demands a blood sacrifice (beyond killing us all in the flood!) So, in the most convoluted logic ever, god sends a part of himself to provide the sacrifice that he demands. Wait — What?? Right — god gets killed so that god gets the blood sacrifice that god needs to appease the sin of man. If he sacrifices himself to himself to save us, why not say, “Forget it, I forgive the debt.” Why does blood have to be shed? Especially since it is his own!
Wait it gets worse. Who kills god so he can do all that? That’s right, we do. So we are saved from our great-ancestor’s sin of eating an apple by committing the sin of deicide, actually killing god! And this makes sense to anyone? But wait, there’s still more!
So how does god’s sacrifice of himself to himself save us? I don’t mean as in a theological explanation, I mean in literal reality. Are we immortal again? No. Was the serpent sent to hell and sealed up there? No, the devil is still running around earth, to hear some people tell it. Since everyone was damned by Eve, is everyone saved by Jesus? Not automatically, no. You either have to specifically believe in him the right way and/or still not sin (WHAT?? I thought Jesus died for our sins!) and/or do good works. Everyone dies because of Eve (who didn’t know right from wrong, remember) but not everyone is saved by Jesus. How is that even remotely fair?
Even after all that, it is still not exactly clear whether we go to some heaven somewhere as purely spiritual beings or is somehow our bodies reconstruct themselves and we live immortally on this or the “new earth,” wherever that is. And if we live immortally on this or some other earth, it is not at all clear how we do that. Gotta be a big place! And then we are back to, what will we actually do there?
And Ken wants to spend eternity with this god? He really wants all of this to be literally true? I find that pathetic. All of that because he is afraid to die.
Personally, the idea that we have a one and only life; that we have to work together to make our lives meaningful and productive; and that we are trying to leave a better world for our children, makes much more sense.
Much better than being subject to the whims and illogic of the capricious god created in Ken Ham’s image.