On the August 4th BioLogos Forum, commentator “o9rady” gives a lengthy defense of the 2017 movie “Is Genesis History” and a lengthy critique of the BioLogos response to that movie, “A Geological Response to the Movie “Is Genesis History?”. From the Wikipedia entry on the movie:
The film was written, directed, and produced by Thomas Purifoy Jr., who said he was inspired to make it after his daughter watched the Bill Nye–Ken Ham debate in 2014 and began asking him questions about the creation–evolution controversy. Del Tackett, the creator of Focus on the Family’s “The Truth Project”, narrates the film. Interviewing thirteen creationists, the narrator of the film argues that Genesis portrays real historical events.
I have not seen the movie, but by all accounts, it is a well-produced, well-filmed, and the cinematography is excellent, with creative artwork at each transition, beautiful landscapes, and technical prowess. The movie is probably the single most compellingly presented argument for the Young Earth Creationist (YEC) viewpoint of earth history. I won’t use the term “propaganda” because I believe that term implies a willingness on the advocate’s part to knowingly deceive the target public. I don’t believe Del Tackett et al are trying to deceive—they are, in fact, true believers of what they present.
Although commentator “o9rady” tries to pass off his remarks as irenic, and ends his comment with, “Y’all have a great day and I hope that you don’t take my little post in the wrong light. I love you, I really do”, his comment really implies bad faith on the part of the BioLogos response. Which I totally understand. If I read the “A Geological Response to the Movie “Is Genesis History?” as a YEC I would likely feel there is a condescending tone. And there kind of is—because the BioLogos responders don’t take the YEC argument seriously—and that is offensive to the YEC.
If you read into the August 4th Forum, you can see several BioLogos responders try to interact with “o9rady” in a tone of reasoned response. To which “o9rady” keeps shoveling out the YEC rhetoric which he thinks is “scientific” and purports to present himself as a “math guy” who understands all too well the science of evolution, DNA, and so forth—as if the BioLogos responders were all high-schoolers and not the credentialed experts they are.
Finally, Moderator Christy Hemphill gives “o9rady” a point by point response, which sails right over his head. It’s all a distressingly familiar exercise in frustration. So why do you keep at it, Mike? The film spends most of its time in the Grand Canyon trying to make the case that the formation of that feature, from initial deposition to final form, has its only reasonable explanation as a “catastrophic flood”. The Grand Canyon is a well-known feature of the American landscape—practically iconic. So my problem is well expressed in this quote from “A Geological Response to the Movie “Is Genesis History?” –
This film will undoubtedly make its way into church libraries, homeschooling and Christian school curriculums, and youth group movie nights, convincing Christian youth that they can safely reject “secular” notions of deep time and evolution. When they go to college or start investigating the evidence themselves and discover they have been misled, the natural tendency is to assume that it is Christianity itself that has failed them. Unbelieving seekers who see this film will likewise be confronted with the confounding association of the truth of Christ with massive misrepresentations about natural history. An enormous stumbling block to faith is laid at the feet of these poor souls, standing between them and the cross.
I did a series blogging through the book, The Grand Canyon, Monument to an Ancient Earth: Can Noah’s Flood Explain the Grand Canyon? By Gregg Davidson, Joel Duff, David Elliott, Tim Helble, Carol Hill, Stephen Moshier, Wayne Ranney, Ralph Stearley, Bryan Tapp, Roger Wiens, and Ken Wolgemuth. That book conclusively and in great detail lays to rest the YEC argument for the Grand Canyon’s formation. I’m not going to recount all the evidence, read my series, or better yet, buy the book. You can get a nice capsule summary in the BioLogos article, ““A Geological Response to the Movie “Is Genesis History?”
Christians who are scientists have a responsibility and a duty to remove the enormous stumbling block to faith that is laid at the feet of these poor souls, standing between them and the cross, by the movie “Is Genesis History”. As the book that I based the series on put it — the Grand Canyon is a monument to an ancient earth. As Joel Duff, one of the author’s said in the introduction about the need to propagate this truth among Christians (particularly evangelicals):
“I believe that there is such a need because there is an audience which needs to hear the testimony of the Grand Canyon: much of the modern Christian church. That audience has different concerns than many that peer into the canyon. The Grand Canyon forces Christians to confront questions of the age of the Earth and biblical authority…”
And as the “A Geological Response to the Movie “Is Genesis History?” article concludes:
We long for the day when the church will realize that the gospel and the authority of Scripture do not need to be propped up with convoluted arguments and misrepresentations of the natural world. When nature is allowed to proclaim its message without preconceived notions of its history, it declares the glory of God just fine (Ps 19:1, Rom 1:20).