Answering Ken Ham – When a Creationist Misunderstands Creation Doctrine

Ken Ham (Wikipedia)

Ken Ham
(Wikipedia)

Ken Ham believes God created everything. I’m with him on that.

He also thinks it unlikely there is life on other planets. We’ll wait and see, I suppose, but nothing in that vein would surprise me one way or the other.

Here’s where he and I definitely part company though, and it has nothing to do with conjecture about whether there is life on other planets. No, it has to do with the eternal destiny of God’s creation: Mr. Ham thinks that in the unlikely event there is intelligent life on other planets it is guaranteed to spend eternity doomed to hell. In an article at The Raw Story he is quoted saying:

“You see, the Bible makes it clear that Adam’s sin affected the whole universe. This means that any aliens would also be affected by Adam’s sin, but because they are not Adam’s descendants, they can’t have salvation,” he explained. “Jesus did not become the ‘GodKlingon’ or the ‘GodMartian’! Only descendants of Adam can be saved. God’s Son remains the ‘Godman’ as our Savior.”

(Mr. Ham wrote an article at Answers in Genesis presenting his views in more detail.)

Where Mr. Ham Goes Wrong

Just because all creation is tainted by sin does not therefore mean that intelligent life must be earth-originated-human (“Adam’s descendants”) in order to be saved through Jesus Christ. In fact, the Bible teaches just the opposite: all creation will be renewed through the redemption found in Jesus.

For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. (Romans 8:20-21.)

The phrase “subjected to frustration” is the reference to sin affecting all creation (as Mr. Ham said, “the whole universe), but the bit about being “liberated from bondage” also applies to the whole universe. The passage is clear that creation – all of it, from what I can tell, meaning the entire universe – will share “the freedom and glory” of God’s people.

A few of the galaxies visible from the Hubble telescope

A few of the galaxies visible from the Hubble telescope

Jesus explicitly tells us that this liberation not just for humans, but for all creation:

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making all things new!” (Revelation 21:5.)

Those words translated “all things” in that verse mean just that in the original Greek: all things. Likewise, the word “new” really is from the Greek word meaning new. Everything is being made new, not just people but all creation. So if there is intelligent life on other planets, they will be part of the liberation promised in Romans 8 and the renewal Jesus declared in Revelation 21.

I find this comforting. There is no part of God’s creation he doesn’t care for, whether it’s a person here on earth or whoever might be found across the universe.

But perhaps all of this is an alien concept to Mr. Ham?

***

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44 Responses to Answering Ken Ham – When a Creationist Misunderstands Creation Doctrine

  1. Love your thoughts and the pun in the end ;-) Apart from that, if I where Mr. Ham, it would be careful what to say about Klingons – we all know their temper :-)

  2. if I were, of course *sigh* :-)

  3. There was a short story I read a loooooong time back… I think authored by Arthur C. Clarke… and the general idea was that God treats people where they are. And by people, Clarke includes other intelligent life. For us, on earth, he needed to treat with us through a human incarnation. But because humans fell, does this mean that other alien life fell? Is it possible that much of the grief and pain we experience on earth is localized to earth? Could it be possible that there are alien life-forms out there living free of the curse? Could it be possible that the means to their redemption may be through a different path because they function differently?

    It’s a very human centric view, Ken Ham’s view… it makes the assumption that, somehow, human beings are the pinnicle of creation.. perhaps we are… perhaps we’re not… it seems rather prideful to make that assumption… but whether we are the cream of the crop or the pond scum of the universe, God loves us immensely and deeply… he sees the smallest sparrow fall… and I’d be willing to bet, if the little green men exist, he sees them where they are, too.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      In a 6000-year-old, Earth-and-some-lights-in-the-sky Punyverse, even a Ken Ham can look BIG by comparison. A small, cozy womb of a Punyverse, with a small, cozy God who can be MY sock puppet. Where *I* can be a Big Fish in the small pond. I think that’s a major motivation.

      • Tim says:

        I don’t know if that is the motivation, but it is a consequence. Reducing creation artificially inflates earth and its inhabitants. We don’t need that inflation, of course. When one belongs to Jesus there is nothing bigger to aspire to.

  4. For that matter, C.S. Lewis view in the Space Trilogy of Thulcandra (Earth) being under a particular darkness while other planets (Perelandra) are in different states… I think that’s a VERY interesting view… perhaps true, perhaps not… but it shows a creative way of thinking about the possibility of God’s relationship with other intelligent life forms.

    • Tim says:

      I was thinking of Lewis’ take on it in his Space Trilogy as well, Robert. I should have known that Clarke touched on it as well. It’s probably a line of thought that has led many writers to surmise about the effects of the Fall beyond our planet.

      • Mary Anne says:

        For that matter, I believe Lewis even speculated that the HUGE distances in the universe may be something like God’s quarantine precautions–if we fell from grace and no other inhabitants of the universe did, keep them far away so they don’t “catch” what we have!

  5. Jeannie says:

    An interesting subject that I’d never thought of before. I agree with Robert’s point above that Ham’s view is very human-centered and ignores Jesus’ comments about God seeing and loving every creature. To me, the idea of God creating an alien race and damning them to hell for all eternity because they aren’t human seems really, really strange. Angels aren’t human either, but considering they are praising the Lamb around the throne I’m betting that they are not damned simply because Jesus did not come as the GodAngel.

  6. orton1227 says:

    Ken Ham and AIG reminds me of this quote from Richard Rohr:

    “Religion is the best, and it is the worst (for the corruption or misuse of the best is the worst). We need religious cultures that are not afraid to speak of God, but we do not need religious cultures that use and misquote God for their own purposes, or become ends in themselves. Like John the Baptist, they must be ready to become smaller so Christ can become larger. Such cases of institutional or national forgetfulness are rather rare, I am afraid. Some would insist that the very nature of institutions is to perpetuate and protect themselves, even Church institutions.”

    And here’s another quote. I believe Ken Ham believes the gospel to be the former half of this statement from Rohr: “The gospel is not primarily a set of facts but a way of seeing and a way of being in the world because of God.”

    Ham is too concerned with the idolatry of himself to think logically. It’s the greatest mental illness. The best thing we can do for monsters like Ham, or PETA, or the Tea Party is ignore them. They need fuel to survive. If there’s no one to listen, they will go away.

    • Tim says:

      Those Rohr quotes are golden, orton. Institutions perpetuate themselves, Christ perpetuates his people who respond by glorifying him.

  7. Mary Anne says:

    Ah. Here’s what I was looking for earlier–Alice Meynell’s poem “Christ in the Universe.” I think C.S. Lewis quoted it in one of his books, or some verses of it. Here’s the whole thing:

    http://www.bartleby.com/236/265.html

  8. It’s amazing to me how much we humans want to exclude and suppress. Thank God that His ways aren’t the same as ours!!!
    I’ve really enjoyed reading through the discussion here, everyone. And it *is* a comfort the Jesus longs to and will renew the entire creation.

  9. Joyelle says:

    Families are falling apart, church leaders are raking their sheep over the coals and relationships are shattering because of the extra-biblical dogma espoused by uber conservative Christians….. And Ken Ham has to go and add another doctrine to the list of Things the Bible Does Not Teach But Must Be Essential to The Christian Life. (I call a time-out!)

    • Tim says:

      Well put, Joyelle. Could someone suggest Mr. Ham put himself on time-out?

      • Joyelle says:

        I sure wish someone would. He is failing to show godly wisdom and discernment. Who is holding Ken Ham accountable for his words and actions? (rhetorical question of course.) Dare I say this? …. It seems to me that in some circles, Creationism has become an idolatry.

  10. Joyelle says:

    Tim, I agree with you that it is comforting that God cares for all of His creation. And we really ought to just stick with what the Bible teaches. For me, that is enough for life and godliness. Thanks for your insightful articles and handling of God’s Word.

  11. Pastor Bob says:

    Both of you have valid points. I enjoy intelligent idle speculation, it does keep the with sharpened. However, I choose not to here – lack of useful information and time.
    Enjoyable thoughts, I will pose this dilemma to others in the future.

    • Tim says:

      I too enjoy idle speculation, PB. Here though I am really trying to present a proper understanding of what the Bible teaches about Christ redeeming creation, and point out how Ham’s statements completely miss the import of the Bible’s teachings on the subject. This isn’t about alien existence or salvation but about properly presenting creation doctrine.

      • Pastor Bob says:

        But if we follow this line, if it is not of God, then who is it of/from? Leads to these two points: (1) Does God receive-redeem those who are of the enemy?
        (2) God is the author of all, thus a paradox.

  12. Pingback: Bryan College Plays Creationism Hardball and Ken Ham Says Aliens Are Going to Hell | The Wartburg Watch 2014

  13. Maureen says:

    I read the article and just sighed. John Piper, Ken Ham, MD ….. I’m trying to think very sane, gracious thoughts about these people and then they go and blow it for at least another week.

  14. Rick says:

    Tim, this is so well and lovingly stated–thank you. When I hear people make statements like this (Ken Ham’s statement that aliens are doomed to hell) I appeal to them to examine the statement in light of the character of God expressed in Jesus. Does it sound like something Jesus would say? If it does not, it probably is not something He would say–and we should not say it either,

  15. Larus Press says:

    I like most your comment on whether or not there is alien life – we’ll find out soon enough. That we consider deeply rather than lightly these issues of creation being tainted is valuable and important. Perhaps it’s less important where you and Mr Ham agree/disagree and more important that we have the freedom to explore and the freedom to disagree. Praise God that in a twinkling all will be revealed. In the meantime, we Praise the Maker of Heaven and Earth for the abilities and insights He’s given us. God bless.

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