Stumbling towards OEC
When we were asked to write about creation, I wasn't sure what to say. I'm still not positive where I fit in, especially after Josh did the introductory post with the different viewpoints laid out. I can say, almost for certain, that the Answers in Genesis (hereafter abbreviated to AiG) Creation Museum made me lean towards OEC.
(I was raised YEC - 6,000 year old earth and 6 literal 24-hour days, which I found more and more impossible to believe as time went on. My parents were willing to admit a gap between the existence of God and the earth being created, and willing to admit they didn't know how long the garden existed before the fall, but everything else had to wrap into 6,000 years and change. I'm still okay with these gaps. Much is unwritten in Genesis.)
So let me tell you about the museum, then.
It's a complex. In the years since I've been, they've added zip lines (which are operated independently - you don't have to be a Christian to work there) and a petting zoo (no word if the petting zoo is Christian or not). I remember the botanical gardens being uninspiring, but it was winter, so I won't hold that against them. Perhaps if I'd done the cellphone tour which educates you about the beauty of creation I'd feel differently. There's a weird cafeteria-style restaurant (I didn't get food poisoning, but I remember worrying I would), and a truly abominable coffee-shop. These are secular, logistical reasons I disliked the place.
Admission is steep, around $30 per person - while that's good for two days, unless you have small children who move slowly, the average adult could do the indoor tour in about 2 hours. An apparent decline in attendance does, however, mean you can buy two get two free on tickets. They're closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas - not Sundays, which I found hilarious. Your shtick is Genesis and you don't take a day of rest, guys? Easter? No?
Honestly, I'm having a hard time remembering much of what the museum had to offer, besides the planetarium, which was awesome - reclining seats! An Imax-style dome projection! That was neat. Other than that, I felt like I was in a creation-themed Rainforest Cafe. Everything looked a bit tacky, like a bad wax museum. There was a gospel message right at the end as you walked out, which bugged me, because I saw no reason that couldn't have been interspersed, rather than plastered on. It seemed like an afterthought, but for them, it almost is. The most important thing for them really IS Genesis. What bothered me most was just the absolute lack of willingness to admit that there might be ANY OTHER SCHOOLS OF THOUGHT, or any other viewpoints. They are hell bent on convincing everyone that the earth is 6,000 years old, and that it happened in 6 literal 24-hour days. If you don't believe that, you can't work there. That's their prerogative. But it's also worrisome.
Amid much controversy, the AiG folks decided to open a creation-themed amusement park. Disneyland! but Christian. It got complicated after that. They needed state money in order to build, but when you're taking state money, you don't necessarily get to dictate that your employees have a personal salvation testimony. (Oddly enough, the plan was to have the life-size ark built by Amish framers, which you'd think would pose a problem. What about their statements of faith?!)
I saw the Noah movie. Didn't like it. I wasn't expecting an accurate portrayal of what the Bible writes. No, if I wanted that, I'd watch the Charlton Heston Ten Commandments, duh. Fell asleep halfway through, perhaps it got better, I don't know. I think there's a place for well-done biblically-inspired movies, this just wasn't one of them. My point being, there was outrage against this movie for interpreting the book of Genesis too loosely, and much of it came directly from YEC proponents who are guilty of the same crime.
What I did find inspiring was Interstellar. That did more for my understanding of how God might potentially view time than anything else I have ever read, seen, or heard. Time as a non-linear concept is so far removed from our every day life as to be almost incomprehensible. I need to see Interstellar a dozen more times, I'm not sure I'll ever really get it. But if it came down to just picking one - well, I prefer the notion of a God infinite in time and space, which boggles the mind, versus the slickly packaged, convenient version being peddled by AiG. In the end, I don't believe the views you hold on the creation timeline necessarily impact your eternity. AiG does.
Please note this is nothing personal against those who hold to to YEC. You should be fully persuaded in your own mind, and I don't want to argue about this, really. If I had small kids, I'd probably take them to this museum, because they'd think it was fun. And then when they're teenagers, it's Interstellar all the way.
Editor's Note: This post is a part of the larger Torrey Gazette's "Creation Week."