I did not see the debate last night between Ken Ham and The Science Guy, but I did see many posts on Twitter and Facebook and read the USA Today story in this morning’s paper. Many Christians rightly point out that Ham wrongly thinks the only orthodox way to read Genesis 1 is the way he reads it, but in their (often scornful) posts they may be missing a more fundamental point.
USA Today quotes Bill Nye saying to Ham, “Your assertion that there is some difference between the natural laws that I observe today and the natural laws of 4,000 years ago is extraordinary and unsettling.”
This is roughly the same point that Abraham Kuyper made 100 years ago. Kuyper said there are two kinds of scientists in the world, normalists and abnormalists. Normalists such as Bill Nye believe the world they see behaves in the same way it always has. Abnormalists believe there has been a cataclysmic, catastrophic Fall that has dramatically damaged our world. We don’t know all the ways the Fall has changed our world, but we must believe it did.
Poor Bill Nye. He is observing an accident scene and doesn’t even know there has been an accident. And poor us, if we think that our more enlightened reading of Genesis 1 will earn any more respect from him. If you are a Christian who believes what the Bible says about a historical Adam and a historical Fall, then though you may not agree with Ham’s overly narrow reading, you must still agree that he is on your team. He may be naïve on some of his details, but his theological instincts are Kuyperian (which is a sophisticated way of saying he’s right).