A Conversation with Ken Ham: Why Understanding Genesis is Foundational to the Christian Worldview
According to Answers in Genesis founder Ken Ham, if we truly understand what it means to think correctly as Christians, our worldview has a position on everything. There is no neutrality because we start with the authority of the Word of God. And that foundation comes from Genesis 1 to 11. In this insightful conversation between Ken and My Faith Votes, CEO, Jason Yates, Ken brings simple clarity and bold authority to issues we are facing both in culture and within the church. Issues like abortion, racism, gender, and marriage and questions like “How can there be a loving God if there is death and suffering in the world?”
You'll learn how to defend your faith. And you'll find out the answer to the #1 question he gets asked every day.
Jason Yates: Ken, thanks so much for being here with me and you are Answers in Genesis.
Ken Ham: Answers in Genesis. We're an apologetics organization. Which doesn't mean we apologize for our faith.
Jason: No, I wouldn't.
Ken: It's quite the opposite, right? We're equipping people to defend the Christian faith against the secular attacks of our day.
Jason: What an important mission these days, right?
Ken: Oh, it is. Because, you know, God's word has come under incredible attack. And you think about generations of kids going through an education system, the public education system where basically, you know, the Bible is treated as made to be thrown out of that system. Anyway, God's been thrown out creation. They've been taught naturalism, worldview of atheism, really. And a lot of these younger generations are just walking out of the church as a result because they think you can't trust the Bible.
Jason: Yeah. So what? When you look at, what's the driving factor for young people, I know you have some resources specifically for young people and families to really understand a biblical worldview, but what is it that is a core issue that they say, “No, I'm not going to believe the Bible about this.”
Ken: Well, I think it really comes down to the fact that they've grown up in a culture. I believe this particular era we live in started in the 1800s. And what I mean by that is, you know, if you go back to Genesis in Genesis Chapter three. God had told Adam, you know, you can eat of all the trees, one you’re not to eat of because if you do, you'll die. In other words, obey God's word. And then the devil comes to you and says, “Did God really say?” and then “you can become as God”. In other words, you can be your own God.
You know, in other words, trust a man's word. So there's a battle that began back there between God's word, and man's word. And seriously, when you jump of the New Testament, the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 11: 3 says that the devil is going to use the same attack on us as he did on Eve. So what we should be saying is OK, and I call it the Genesis three attack. So that Genesis three attack manifests itself in different ways, in different times. So if you think about it, you know Peter and Paul first century preaching on the resurrection. Do you think anyone came and asked him about carbon dating?
Not at all. That's a 20th century invention. Martin Luther in the 16th century. Not only those theses on the door of the church, do you think somebody came and said, Okay, do you believe in dinosaurs and the dinosaurs go on the ark? Well, the word dinosaur is a modern word. It wasn't invented till 1841.
My point is they had to deal with all sorts of issues that were attacking God's word, and I call them the Genesis three attacks of their day. So what's the Genesis three attack of our day? Well, I believe it began in the 1800s when atheists and desists started to popularize the idea that the fossil layers were laid a million years before, man.
And if you if you go back in history and look at that, it's really the religion of naturalism, right? They want to explain everything by natural processes. They reject the supernatural. And so therefore, they have these millions of years of fossils before, man. Well, what happened in history was that church leaders took that and said, we'll put that into the Bible in Genesis 1:2 and 1:2 and create the gap theory. And then there others said, we'll reinterpret the days of creation, the theory. Then there, along comes Darwin, and a lot of church leaders said, “Oh, we'll say God used evolution.” And then the Big Bang, God, use the Big Bang. So think about what's happening here.
Generations, kids 85 to 90 percent of kids from church homes in the public schools where they're increasingly teaching evolution millions of years as fact. And they're calling it science, right? Whereas the word “science” just means knowledge, and there's different types of science that you can have knowledge about the past or knowledge which builds technology. It's very different. And kids have the idea that, Oh, this is all fact, they're going. Those that were in churches are going to their churches, and a lot of the leaders are saying, “You can believe what you taught at school. That's OK. Genesis doesn't matter, just trust in Jesus.”
But a couple of things, one they start to recognize. If this part of the Bible is not true, how can the rest be true? And if this is just mythology and what I've taught at school is fact, then the Bible just can't be true. Not only that, if you think about the issues of our day in regard to marriage, in regard to abortion and racism and gender and all the other issues before us. If churches haven't taught generations of young people the foundational history in Genesis 1 to 11, there's no foundation for anything, because it's the foundation for all doctrine.
It's a foundation for marriage. I mean, what is the origin of death? Genesis 1 to 11. Sin, in Genesis 1 to 11. Marriage, Genesis 1 to 11. Gender, Genesis 1 to 11. How do you deal with abortion? You start from Genesis 1 to 11, man made in the image of God and so on. How do you deal with racism? You start from Genesis 1 to 11, because that's the history. That's the foundation for a whole worldview. So we live in a time. This is a long answer to your question. We live in a time when the Bible is a book as history has been attacked, particularly in the history in Genesis 1 to 11.
So generations of young people think the Bible's history is just mythology. What they're taught at school is true of man just evolved. If there is no God who decides right and wrong, we do, your feelings, determine what's right and what's wrong, what's true for you. And what we're seeing is an exodus from the Church of the younger generations, and we're seeing increasing moral relativism permeating the culture.
But I would say it really comes down to an attack on Genesis 1 to 11, in particular, and much of the church and most of our church leaders, not all but the majority have succumbed to that attack.
And you know what? You could look at see, there's nothing new under the Sun. If you go back to the prophets in the Old Testament, what was the big problem? You know, stop trusting in man, trust in God's word. They would adopt the pagan religion of the age. Their idols compromise God's word, destroy them. Really, evolution millions of years is the pagan religion of our age to try to explain life by natural processes. And yet much of the church has adopted that into God's word. That's what I would say has happened.
Jason: Wow. So much to unpack there. But I mean what you have just described. You see it happening in churches, in schools, and it's exactly what you just said it. It's that challenge. Even to that God created the heavens and the earth in seven days, six days.
Ken: Right? You know what that is all about. It's about authority. If we take God at his word. And you look at the Hebrew there in Genesis Chapter one. And each of the days of creation, the word “yom” is called for the evening and morning. And no, when you have such context, it means an ordinary day, right? Other times it can mean, you know, in the day of the Lord, the time of the judges. But there in Genesis one is that the context determines that ordinary days.
But what's happened is because many of our church leaders have said but the millions of years, but man's ideas about evolution, and they reinterpret that and say the days aren't ordinary days. The big issue is they're unlocking a door that undermines biblical authority for the coming generations.
You know, it's some people misunderstand when we say this because I think we're saying you got to believe in six literal days to be saved. No, the Bible doesn't say anything about the age of the Earth or the days of creation in regard to salvation.
You know, if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart, God has raised him from the dead, you'll be saved. Right?
It doesn't say “and believe in six literal days” and so on. And so people say to me, "it doesn't matter". But it does matter because it matters, because it might not effect your salvation. But it does affect how the people you impact...view scripture itself, yeah, and when you unlock that door that you can take these ideas outside of scripture and reinterpret that first part of the Bible, the next generation push their door open further and further and further and further until slippery slide of unbelief through the whole of scripture.
It's a Genesis 3 attack of our day.
Jason: So it seems as if there's a lot of efforts these past few years to deconstruct the Bible, to look at it and challenge it, to reinterpret what it says and sounds to me like what you're saying is ultimately all of those efforts really come back to the truth of Genesis 1 through 11. That's where it stems. That then gives people license to if you can reinterpret that, then you can do that and a lot of different places of scripture.
Ken: Well, exactly. And think about this. Look, if you've told generations, look what you taught school about evolution millions years you went to public school, and most do. You can reinterpret the Bible. Take that. Why shouldn't I and then take man's view of marriage and reinterpret marriage? Why shouldn't they take man's view of life and start to reinterpret that in regard to abortion? Why shouldn’t they take man's view of gender and start to reinterpret that and to help people sort of understand and give a practical example here.
Look, I was on a radio program once with a Presbyterian minister, and he said to me, he said, “Now, look, you must admit there are different views of theology in the church.” And I said, Yeah, OK, different denominations. You know, you can have Pre-mill. A-mill. Post-mill or treadmill, windmill, you know, all the different eschatological views, right? And sprinkling an immersion baptism Sabbath Day speaking in tongues. Some say the gift is gone. Some say it's still here, you know, you've got these different views. And I said, Yeah, that's true. They said, you have different views in Genesis. Same thing.
But it's not. And if people can understand the difference here, they'll get what the issue is.
I think much of the church is actually missing this point. You see, when you argue and you think about if you're arguing about baptism or eschatology or, you know, one of those issues, primarily what you're doing is, you know, the Bible says here. Yeah, but over here, it says, is, Ah, but what about the context here? You're primarily arguing for the scripture, but the reason you have different views of Genesis is because they're saying because of what the scientists are saying, and you're taking this worldview out here to the Bible and you're reinterpreting it, which means you're undermining biblical authority. And in our day and age, it's been Genesis 1 to 11 that's been attacked and the church needs to wake up. Genesis 1 to 11 is the foundation for everything.
Jason: Here's what's fascinating to me because, you know? So if we apply this to the place of voting elections, you know how we determine what drives our vote. There's a lot of people that say, you know, I'm a single-issue voter. Life is the issue. There's a lot of people. But now what you're saying, that provides context to that, that makes all the sense in the world.
So, if we take an issue such as immigration, how to feed the hungry, there's even within the biblical text, lots of different ways we can look at that and try and figure out what is the appropriate solutions.
If we're talking about life, it comes to one thing, God created life. He created male and female. He designed this and there is no other interpretation.
Ken: See, the problem is, most people don't understand worldview. They don't understand everybody has a worldview. Everybody has a way of thinking. It's like a pair of glasses you put on that determines how you view things. And your worldview ultimately only has two foundations. You start from God's word, he knows everything. Who therefore gives you the key information you can trust. Or time for a man's word. And by the way, when you compromise God's word with man's word then you've introduced fallibility into the infallible words, and their starting point is really man's word.
When you have a truly Christian worldview, when you understand where does my thinking come from. How do I think about this issue? That issue, whether it's immigration or whatever you said, whatever issue it is or abortion or gender have, when you understand I'm a Christian, my thinking starts from God's word and it begins here in Genesis 1 to 11. You build the right way of thinking. Then when it comes to, for instance, voting in elections, you should be saying I'm going to use the worldview based on the Bible to judge what these people are saying, and I'm going to vote accordingly.
In other words, we shouldn't be saying, you know. I say to people, we shouldn't say, I'm a Republican or I'm a Democrat or I'm an independent, and that's what I always vote. What we should do is judge what anyone is saying. And no one is going to be perfect, of course, but judge what they're saying against the absolute authority of the word of God. And that should be the determinant of how we then decide where we’re going to get a vote and we want to make sure that we maintain Christian freedom and free exercise of religion and do the best to help there be light and salt in this in this increasingly dark world.
But see, a lot of people in the church haven't been brought up to understand the Bible is the absolute authority. When you have reinterpreted Genesis, for instance, the Bible is looked on more as a book, that man wrote. And so, we can reinterpret it the way we want, you know what I mean?
Jason: I had a college course. It was called Reason and Revelation. It was this idea of contrasting, OK, what is what do we know from reasoning? Greek reasoning verses revelation through the word of God? And of course, I went to a non-Christian school, so it was very biased and slanted.
Ken: Well, our reasoning. Can we trust our fallible reasoning. We're affected by sin and we're fallible beings. We're finite. Whereas if we understand, you know what the Bible really is? It’s a revelation from the One who knows everything. Who doesn't tell a lie. I mean, compared to what God knows, we know nothing. Do you think about it? So what we should be doing is saying we need to take his word. All scripture is inspired by God. We need to have a high view of scripture is not the word of men, you know, like Paul says in Thessalonians it is in truth the word of God or Second Corinthians, a second Timothy 3:16.
All scripture is inspired by God. And so this is God-breathed, and it's written in different types of literature. That's true. You know, Psalms are written as poetry. That Genesis is written as historical narrative. So you take it as history and God revealed to us the key information so then we know this is the right way to think about everything.
Jason: Ken, earlier you use the word “judge” and I think this is something in culture today. Don't judge, right? Political correctness. How do you respond to that when you have so many people who are you to say?
Ken: Well, the interesting thing is when they do that and they say to me, you shouldn't judge, one of the things I like to point out to them is I've just judged me. Right? Because whenever you say things like that, you are judging. When Christians say you're a sinner, you're judging them, and the Bible doesn't say, don't judge.
Now they like to quote that little passage in the Bible that talks about, you know, do not judge and so on. But you got to read the whole rest of it, and you got to put it all in context, because what the Bible is telling us when you judge you, judge righteously and don't judge someone else unless you're judging yourself by the same standards.
In other words, by God's standard, by his absolute authority. So, when you judge, you have to judge, make sure you're judging yourself, right? You make sure you look in your own eye first before you look in the others and judge and then you have to judge them in the same way.
Because look, when the Bible tells us what's right and what's wrong, we go through the Ten Commandments that then that's judgmental, right? Do not murder. If you murder, that is wrong. They're judging, right?
See, people have this false idea there's a neutral position, and there's no neutrality. You are either for Christ or against. Gather or scatter. Build your house on the rock or the sand. Walking light or darkness. Where’s neutrality from the Bible? And that very idea of neutrality, when would you say you shouldn't judge, you need to be neutral. There's no neutrality.
Everyone, everyone judges. Everyone has a bias. Everyone has a position. And when there's that conflict of world views, just because you've got different worldviews, because you've got different foundations.
Jason: So we have this conflict. But what we're seeing within our culture is it feels like, you know, more polarization and we're just getting further apart. Is that happening in the church?
Ken: Oh, very much so. See, it's happening in the church even have these moral issues. And you know what I believe it is or part of it is, well, part of it what we said before. And that is people don't know where their thinking comes from. So the thinking comes from God's word. Rather than saying, Well, I think this or I feel that, you know, they should understand you can't trust your feelings anyway. We're sinful creatures, right?
But a lot of it really comes down to this as well. I see people looking at here say, “Look, we got this issue, the abortion issue, this issue, this issue, this is, you know, racism, gender, evolution” and go to these things and they're all juggling, I'm out there.
The issue is they're just all symptoms of the one problem. They are not different problems. See people have the idea that gay marriage is a different problem to abortion or it's a different problem to racism. No, no, they're all the same problem.
The problem is they're building their thinking on man's word, not God's word. And if we understand that, we realize, wait a minute, if they're all the same problem, then the solution is the same. And what is the solution? To get people to believe God's word as they should, as the absolute authority build their thinking on that, trust Christ for salvation. I mean, that has always been the solution.
The solution has always been the word of God.
Jason: And what you're saying, these aren't political, these are core, essential issues to understanding our biblical worldview. It sets the stage for how we see and respond to what's happening within our world.
Ken: Well, the point is because there's no neutrality, no such thing. Everybody has a religion. Everybody has a worldview. There are only two foundations. Ultimately God's word or man's word. If we truly understand what it means to think correctly as Christians, one thing you realize is, wait a minute, our worldview means we have a position on everything. Now, you may not know all the details, but you have a position on everything because we start with the absolute authority of the word of God.
And God lays down those principles for us. And you know, you think about this when somebody says, Well, how do you deal with critical race theory? Well, let me give you a very simplistic approach. Here is its foundation man's word or God's word. I know it's not God's word. Therefore, it's man's word for the whole worldview is obviously wrong. Right before you even start, then you can look at it this way. What is critical race theory gets you to do, to judge? Oh, I thought people said you were supposed to judge to judge people according to their outside, you know, divide them into the oppressor and the oppressed and so on.
But if I start with the Bible, what does it tell me? It's people's inside. And God judges our heart, he judges who we are, our heart, our mind and what we believe out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks, doesn't the scriptures say that? And so you see, then we realize, wait a minute, if we're truly acting in a Christian way, then you shouldn't be judging people, according to the outside. And besides, which you start with the history in God's word, we all go back to Adam and Eve. There's only one race. There aren’t many different races anyway. You start to develop your whole way of thinking about that issue based on God's word.
Jason: This is so good. I mean, you're simplifying all of this, making the complex simple by just bringing it back to the core elements of our worldview.
Ken: But it is simple. And that's the point. So that's what I want people understand. Look, when you start from God's word, you've got the foundation. You can build your way of thinking, you know, how do you answer a question today with young people who would ask, “How can there be a loving God? There's all this death and suffering in the world ” Yeah. So. Where do I say is a foundation for everything Genesis 1 to 11. Then we have the origin of death, right, Adam, if you would of this tree, you will surely die.
And so death is a consequence of sin. So we're not living in the world as God made it. And by the way, that's a problem because a lot of our children's books and Sunday school material will say things like “Kids look at this beautiful world God made” and they look out there and they see an ugly world. And the atheist say, you told the church, it's a beautiful world and God made this world with all the death and suffering, there's no loving God.
We need to teach them a biblical worldview. Starting from Genesis 1 to 11 you’re living in a fallen world. Romans eight as whole creation groans because of said yeah.
And so when you start from God's word, Oh, death is our fault. Yeah, it's not God's fault. That's why he stepped into history to save us from what we did. Oh, wait a minute. Our Christian leaders, many of them are telling us to believe in millions of years. If you believe in millions of years, you got all this death before sin, not just death. In the fossil record, there are diseases like cancer and abscesses and tumors and arthritis, and we're saying God said that was very good. No, no, no. Your fossil record couldn't have been laid like millions of years before sin had to come after sin.
You know, if you start with the Bible, the flood of Noah's day, you'd expect to find billions of dead things buried in rock layers laid down by water all over the Earth. So you see, even dealing with the death and suffering issue, once you start from God's word, you realize, wait a minute. We sinned against a holy God. God placed upon us the judgment of death, but then he came to pay the penalty for our sin and offers us a free gift to salvation. He came to rescue us from the mess we're in. We created this mess. Not God. He wants to rescue us.
Jason: Ken, what is your encouragement or your call to the church? I mean, it feels like with so many in the church are missing these essentials that you're talking about, what is your encouragement?
Ken: Well, to be honest, I believe, you know what? I don't want this to sound. I know I. Most of the churches miss this because most of the church has compromised God's word. The church is lukewarm today. I mean, I think it's very much like the latest in church. You know what I've noticed in much of the church, they've resorted to entertainment and performance. You know, I get a bird's eye view of the church. That most people don't get because how many people have spoken in all 50 states, lots of different churches, different denominations over a period of 40 years, and I've spoken around the world, so I get to see the big picture of the church.
And, you know, I've seen? They recognize something's wrong. And so there's been and they like to follow each other all the latest trends. And one of the things I say caveat, I love music and I love to praise God with music. And in fact, I even play the piano. So I'm not against music and not against praise and worship or anything like that. But what I've noticed with a lot of these churches, it's become performance from the front. And they're performance-oriented songs mainly. Most of the people don't even sing them. And the theology of a lot of these songs is dreadful, if you analyze it against God. But I think some of these songs, I think let's judge that against God's word. I think, what are we singing this for? The watering down of the teaching of the word. You have an hour praising music and 20 minutes shallow teaching story, and stand back and look at this: we're still losing the younger generations. So you know what? Hasn't worked. You know, it hasn't worked.
I would encourage people, look two things in particular that that we failed to do.
Teach apologetics. We should be raising up generations equipped with answers to all these things that they're hearing from school and the TV, science, millions of years, ow do you know there's a God? You know, how can you trust the Bible? What about dinosaurs who could not get the animals on the air? All the issues of today. We should be teaching apologetics and teaching them foundationally from God's word to have a true biblical worldview because most people don't have that biblical worldview. And we need to be faithful to what God is telling us to do.
You know, the most asked question I get asked at our two attractions the Ark encounter the Creation Museum, two leading Christian-themed attractions in the world. And I get asked over and over again, “Do you know what church in our area that takes the stand you do?”
And I encourage people, you need to go back and make sure you're trying to impact your church and your leaders to get them to see this and use guerilla warfare if you need. invite people to your home and show videos and do studies there, if it because a lot of people tell us they pastors don't want this material in their churches because they're worried about division, right? I've had conservative pastors tell me I don't want to teach Genesis 1 to11 like you do and that because it'll create division and I just want to I don't want to create division, you know? Does the Bible say division is bad? It doesn't, actually.
I know it talks about unity, but also Paul talks about division and that there has to be division to show who's approved of God, he says in Corinthians. And so, as I say to people, when you shine light in darkness, if you're not creating division for the right reasons, the right sort of division, you need to ask yourself, “What are you doing?” If pastors are not creating the right sort of division for the right reasons, then what are you doing” Right? Because light is going to create division and it should.
And we know there's all sorts of people out there. We need to teach the truth. And I just encourage parents, look, make sure you stop with your own family and you raise up your kids and yourselves to have the right foundation to know what you believe and why. Equipped with answers to defend the Christian faith, do the business of the king until he returns. Don't get all depressed about what's happening out there. You just be faithful to do what you can, and go out and impact others the same way.
And what a difference that can make. And just remember this: not to be discouraged, because when the Israelites conquered the Promised Land, what did God say to them “little by little.” And if all of us, as Christians start to do little by little impacting these people here, this these over here, this youth group, this Sunday school class, my friends, my neighbors, my own kids, obviously. grandkids. Little by little.
Jason: Little by little, putting your faith into action. Not sitting on the sidelines, doing what you can to be salt and light in the world.
Jason: Ken, thanks so much for spending some time with us. This is incredible, and I think it really is core and essential to how we see the world, how we engage the world, and even how we decide to vote, not to vote, and how we vote.
Ken: Oh, it affects everything. Everything.
Jason: Thanks so much.
To learn more about Ken, Answers in Genesis, the Creation Museum, and the Ark Encounter, click here.
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