writes about The Big Story, compares the narrator to Satan

(Brad Kramer) #1

I don’t even know where to start with this one. I’m about to go into a meeting, but I’ll come back to this thread later with some longer thoughts.

(Christy Hemphill) #2

“This only true God does not exist in our time and space but is its Creator.” Of course, this view is not Christian theism, but deism, the view that God is the creator but is removed from His creation."

What is this crazy doctrine of transcendence you speak of…Heresy!

Note to self: Majesty = Not laughing. Personified attributes of God in Scripture = Not actually describing God.

This is by far my favorite part: “Surprisingly, a black person is portrayed as the narrator explains that humans gained more intelligence and self-awareness. This is shockingly racist, because it presumes that what looked exactly like a black person was actually a soulless hominid.”

Yes, that is so surprising and racist that a black person is portrayed as an early hominid. I guess the author did not get the memo about the whole “Africa is the birthplace of humanity” thing. Was he waiting for the part where Curious George turns into a human? We won’t talk about the fact that all those lovely children at the top of the article who are going to grab their hot cocoa for family video night are white. And so are the dad and the kid in the “parent’s corner” Or the fact that every single picture on the “about us” page is a white male. Or that their page about people being created in the image of God features artwork depicting a white person. Or that all of their “free study guides” that have pictures of people on them have pictures of white people. Just saying. I think they are unclear on the concept of racism.

(Casper Hesp) #3

I would say it is utterly shocking how they distort the intended meanings of Rev. Vander Zee’s words. Notable examples are:

  • They argue he proposes a deistic view of Creation, but Rev. Vander Zee does not say that God is detached from this process. They repeatedly state this, but without real ground. I am afraid most will never even take the effort of watching Big Story to check what Rev. Vander Zee actually said.

  • They take the depiction of a black woman to be a form of evolutionary racism of the same order of Hitler. This is just ridiculous(!!), because that picture is just meant to reflect the consensus that the first humans probably came from Africa. I sincerely can’t believe that this “misinterpretation” was accidental…

  • They seem to be keen on saying that “BioLogos denies the authority of Scripture”. But this video actually explicitly acknowledges that the Bible is TRUE.

In the end, isn’t intentionally distorting another person’s words and using them as a weapon against that person exactly what the serpent did in the garden? It seems the writers at have learned a lot from Genesis 3 :slight_smile: .


Indeed, it was hard to understand this sentence:

“This only true God does not exist in our time and space but is its Creator.” Of course, this view is not Christian theism, but deism, the view that God is the creator but is removed from His creation.

What have these guys been smoking?

(Christy Hemphill) #5

What’s funny is that I almost wrote that they could actually claim they were being “charitable to their opponents” because they hadn’t compared BioLogos to Hitler or Obama, they only whipped out the “Satan-Prince of Darkness-Voice of the Serpent” trifecta. But I guess they did sneak a Hitler reference in there with that link.

(Casper Hesp) #6

That’s indeed funny. I guess their accusations will never fail to surprise us… in being surprisingly predictable ;). But what is truly surprising is the extremely vile and (I would say) non-Christian attitude that they express in such articles!

What’s also interesting is that they did not include a single link or any other reference that actually leads to the video of The Big Story. It shows that are deprived of an opportunity to really judge for themselves…


Thanks for linking to this site… when at another time you hinted that merely putting in a link might be considered not making a comment… your perogative.

This site, and others such as Genesis Week or AIG provide relief for those christians who are frustrated by evolutionary theory and thought, in spite of the explanations and reinterpretations by organizations such as Biologos. It is refreshing to see and know that there are those who continue to challenge the science behind evolutionary thought, as well as defend the scriptures as most easily understood, and as traditionally interpreted.

This article about “The Big Story” makes some valid points, but also perhaps overstates some things as well. As Christians, we need to be charitable to each other, even when disagreeing, and yet somehow we need to be able to point out false teaching. It becomes difficult when embodied in so many of the points of these discussions we find attitude overtaking the issue, on both sides. I see this happening both in the article by Lisa Costner, and in the responses to her article and in the responses here.

Vanderzee’s statement should not be generalized to deism, but certainly his comment is mistated as a half truth. God is creator, but exists both in our time and space, and outside of it. God is not excluded from it.

Since God is transcendant, does not mean that God did not appear to Moses, or speak to Elijah, or bring a vision to Daniel and Isaiah, or come in the form of man to Bethlehem, Egypt, and Nazareth.

Too quick, we make a statement a definition of exclusion, when it does not necessarily do so.

Rather than object derisively to this statement, it would be profitable to understand it. (Although it perhaps also did not need to be made in the first place.) Not having seen the black person, it is difficult to comment specifically on characterizations, but presumably an ancestor would have been neither white nor black but rather something in between, even if coming from Africa. There is no doubt that generally, evolutionary thought has had difficulty countering the ideas of racial superiority or inferiority, since this is a natural outcome of evolutionary theory. On the other hand, it is true that the website is using white children… in this article by Lisa Costner I suspect (I could be wrong) that they are all children from one convenient family.

However, perhaps the crux of the article comes this: “once upon a time…” gives the impression of a fairy tale, doesn’t it. And the article makes this point:

One thing that stands out in this myth is that God does not seem to be necessary except as an observer, because everything proceeds on its own. And He does not seem to be able or desire to intervene in creation. If this was such a majestic way for God to reveal Himself and His glory, why does it need to be recreated? Will God finally directly intervene to make it the way He should have made it? And why would He wait billions of years to do so?


Huh??? Why on earth would anyone assume that an ancestor “would have been neither white nor black but rather something in between”? The San people of Nambia are hardly what I’d call “in-between” in terms of features. (I don’t know if the video features a San but we know from genomic studies that the San are the most representative of our ancient ancestry.)

When I hear of “in-between” ancestors it sounds like someone who has been raised on straw man anti-evolution arguments based on “half-duck, half-crocodile hybrids” and similar.

Or perhaps I’ve misunderstood the comment. @johnZ, why do you assume “in-between” white and black?

I remember when people complained that depictions of ancient ancestors as European-looking people were racist. (“Are only whites representative of what it means to be human?”) So I suppose the opposite complaint is a reminder that if one wants to play the race card, one can call absolutely anything “racist”.

Refreshing? Interesting choice of words. I was about to cite ISIS as a refreshing example of those who challenge western values and Christianity but decided against it.

When the article was brought to my attention, I had two thoughts: (1) Has someone at been pranked? (2) Why are so many YEC origins-ministry website articles becoming so shrill and desperate-sounding? (Yes, even more so than usual.) I think there is very real fear that the opening of Ken Ham’s Ark Park is going to be the “high water mark” of YECism and that the general public—including much of the Christian public—is losing patience with science-denialism and the anti-evidence sideshows. (Indeed, when ChristianityToday readers said with incredible consensus that Bill Nye won the debate, the writing was on the wall. When asked what would change his mind, Nye said “Evidence” while Ken Ham said nothing would change his mind.) Ham’s Ark Park is neither a floating ark nor even a large collection of two-and-two of every animal kind. (As always, Ham’s “baraminologists” refuse to define the created “kinds” but only insist that they explain everything about the biosphere today.) Visitors to the Ark Park are going to find a small petting zoo and a large ark-shaped building which says little more than the Creation Museum already says. I’m neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet, but I am going to predict that many visitors are going to ask—after shelling out well over a hundred bucks for admission and parking—“What’s the point of this?” Meanwhile, despite many millions of dollars spent each years, neither AIG nor CMI nor ICR have sponsored any meaningful “creation science” discoveries. Whodathought?

CMI/ claims to “employ more science PhDs than any other Christian organization” and for several years now three of my Bible.and.Science.Forum associates have asked them (1) how many science PhDs that would be, and (2) how that compares to the #2 Christian organization employer of Science PhDs. The boast keeps appearing all over the website and CMI materials but all efforts to quantify and source those statistics has either been rebuffed by them or ignored. That does not speak well for them. If the statement is true, why do they evade the question? We even tried posting the questions to the Facebook pages, where we were told, “Consult the ABOUT US page of the website” which contains no such information—and even states that many of the people shown there are volunteers or occasional speakers, not employees. will always read like propaganda and not like an evidence-based research institute because they understand their mission and know where their best opportunities for survival exist. Going on the attack against Biologos et al is the best way to energize donors. The worst things that could ever happen to Democrat and Republican fund-raising campaigns would be the demise of people like Rush Limbaugh and Hillary Clinton—because fund-raising depends upon people being afraid of a perceived enemy. Young Earth Creationist ministries survive and feed upon the fears they must create in order to survive. In today’s brand of YECism, it is a matter of Survival of the “Fear-ists”.

God is Big Enough for our Hardest Questions
(Christy Hemphill) #9

Comparing other Christians to Satan and Hitler is just “overstating” then? Please. It’s asking to be laughed at.

It did not need to be made in the first place. It’s ridiculous, and I’m not going to make an attempt to understand it. The depiction was based on the accepted scientific model.

Presumably based on what?

According to an article in the Journal of Human Evolution, “The earliest members of the hominid lineage probably had a mostly unpigmented or lightly pigmented integument covered with dark black hair, similar to that of the modern chimpanzee. The evolution of a naked, darkly pigmented integument occurred early in the evolution of the genus Homo.”

(Brad Kramer) #10

The people that do trek to the Ark will view it as a life-changing experience, because it validates the way they already look at the world. It’s a matter of how many people make the trek. I’m not nearly as pessimistic about the movement as you are. The Creation Museum is still very popular.

(James McKay) #11

Wow. What a contrast.

Rev. Vander Zee has captured the delight that God takes in His creation beautifully. He builds faith. He highlights the hand of God at work right throughout the history of the universe. He presents it in a way that leaves you lost in wonder, love and praise. He points you straight to the Saviour, Jesus Christ.

The article, by contrast, reads like something straight out of the mouths of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.

(Mervin Bitikofer) #12

Thanks, @johnZ, for not thinking of all of us as Satan or the Serpent despite the disagreements that we will continue to have. By your very presence here you show some moderation that is becoming all too rare. promoters it would seem have managed to work themselves up to quite a froth on this and I think Biologos folks should take care not to get drawn into any reciprocal behavior of that sort, other than to note ‘over-the-top’ claims where they are found.

They [authors at in the article discussed] accused Biologos of many things, some of which I was curious about. But as I was attempting to investigate, I discovered something interesting about their links. When they would state that Biologos says ‘such-and-such’ (an active link on their site), the link would never lead to the Biologos site where ‘such-and-such’ was allegedly promoted. The link always went to another page with their elaboration on how ‘such-and-such’ should be understood. Is it standard practice on to always stay inwardly focused and never refer to any ‘unfriendly’ sources even to help make their case? I had no idea they lived in such fear of any/all inquisitive exploration.


God is bigger

Your vehemence and sarcasm belies your attempt at objective response, Old Guy. You can’t use ISIS as refreshing, because you don’t believe it. I can use challenges to evolution as refreshing, because I believe it, and because evolution, like ISIS, has at its root, a philosophical and religious antagonism towards Christian faith. Even though there are moslims who do not attack Christians, and even though there are evolutionists who do not attack Christianity, the fundamentals of evolution and of Islam, are antagonistic towards some basic principles of Christianity. Evolutionism is an attempt to remove God from the equation, and ISIS is an attempt to make Mohammed superior to Christ.

If you were not antagonistic, you would be able to decipher a reason. If humans descended from a common ancestor, then it would make sense that the ancestor would have a variety of genetic characteristics. In the case of color, we would expect an intermediate color which would allow the future segregation of races. Whether this is entirely accurate logically or not, it is not an unnatural presumption. Your assumption that the people of Africa have never changed since the beginning of humanity is not more reasonable.

Many creationists could and did say that Nye won the debate, but also said that their debate did not convince them to change their mind, because Ham simply did not respond with some well known rebuttals. In many other cases, creationists have clearly won debates, and Ken Ham is not the most knowledgeable creationist by a great margin. If evolutionists hang everything on one debate, they are perhaps a bit too gleeful.

This again reveals an ignorance of the argument. There are many many kinds of animals that did not need to be on the ark, eg. fish, bacteria, insects, whales, dolphins, etc. Nor did plants have a requirement to be on the ark.

As for what Ken Ham does with the ark… of what relevance is this? Is this some kind of covetous envy thing for you? Having seen the 1/3 scale ark in Europe a few years ago, I found the experience beneficial, to give some perspective of what the ark might have resembled. The full size models both in Europe or on Ken Ham’s farm are hurting no one, even if they are not exact in every detail.

Is it important to you to rebuff or quantify these statistical claims? why? Do you have numbers that would likely invalidate their claims? I think the point is that they have lots of science PhDs, and are unaware of a christian organization that has more, although perhaps they are not including some christian colleges in the group of organizations.

This is like saying that the USA created ISIS, which believe it or not, is a conspiracy claim by some. In fact, YEC ministries do respond to evolutionists, and also to TE, because these exist. YEC do not create them. In fact, it is as much in reverse, that biologos and similar organizations are a response to YEC. Claims like this are diversionary, speculative, emotional, and attitudinal. The real situation is obvious, and the disputes and discussions are real. (Fear-ist - now there is a word :laughing:


Every site has their own policy regarding links, Merv. But the only link I found on Lita Cosner’s article with reference to biologos had in its first paragraph this: On their website’s front page, BioLogos has two articles to coincide with the start of the school year in the US. Many parents are sending their children off to school and university, and many Christians are worried about the effects of evolutionary teaching on their children’s faith.

The first article seems aimed more at parents. ‘Allaying Parental Fears about Evolution Education in the Public Schools’ is a narrative about a conversation between the author and a concerned parent whose child was learning evolution in public school. The author ended up convincing both parents that evolution and Christianity were compatible, and even better (in their view), the parents became ‘evolutionary evangelists’, spreading their newfound view in their church.

This may not be a link, but it certainly references the article and gives the title.

They explain their response: Lest you think this is too harsh, it might be worth reading our initial report on Biologos called Evolutionary syncretism: a critique of Biologos, but just to summarize a few points:

The Apostle Paul (and the other apostles) was wrong when it came to Genesis.
Jesus was similarly wrong.
Biologos’ founder Frances Collins claims that modern genetics proves that Adam and Eve were not real historical people (again, this compounds the implication that Jesus and the NT authors were wrong).
As we said in that article:

“But BioLogos’s consistent syncretism goes beyond the “blessed inconsistency” which we believe enables a person to be a Christian evolutionist.

I realize that biologos would disagree with this, and would say the statements are incomplete, or reveal an incomplete understanding of what biologos is trying to say. But picking on the fact of whether one site or the other provides links or not seems rather beside the point.


But those people aren’t enough to carry the ongoing costs of operation. First, to be a “success”, the tourist attraction needs to do more than preach to the choir (although, admittedly, it is vital to keep them happy and onboard.) Secondly, as an outreach, it must appeal to the curious, those who might not have given a lot of thought to the topic but are open to seeing for themselves. Long-term, that group has to be visiting in generous numbers or the economics fail.

My pessimism is based on conversations I’ve had with demographers who do that sort of analysis. They claim that the Creation Museum is already dependent upon AIG’s general fund for its survival. They say that many of the “faithful” have already been to the Creation Museum and have no reason to return. Not all of them will even see sufficient reason to visit the Ark Park because of the obvious overlap in message. (Also, more and more people have told me that virtual reality and even on-line tours of various attractions take away some of the must-see appeal of such traditional point-of-destination tourism.)

I predict that the Ark Park [Yes, I know that it is the Ark Encounter or whatever. Force of habit.] will be drawing from the AIG general fund even faster. It will take a while but eventually the Ark Park will be Ken Ham’s “Heritage USA”. I’m not saying he will oversell lifetime partnerships. I’m saying that massively expensive, ego-driven monuments always overbuild. (Just look at Ham’s plans for the next phases of the Ark Encounter.) And unlike an Epcot Center or Disneyland (which have much much greater geographical advantages), return-rates to a Creation Museum and Ark Encounter are an entirely different animal.

Yet, what few talk about is the next generation virtual reality technologies which are going to render expensive facilities largely irrelevant and blasse. Indeed, I fully expect virtual reality franchises to start appearing soon at the major tourist destinations, so that everywhere one finds a traditional Ripley’s Believe it Or Not “museum”, there will be some sort of 3D virtual reality “Planet Everywhere” (or whatever the name will be) where one will pay a reasonable admission fee to enter a “chamber” (both for individuals and entire families) and visit a series of ever changing destinations which will make another visit in the offing when one vacations there again three year’s later. This summer it might be “The World of Julius Caesar” (perhaps with commercial tie-in to the HBO movie based on the series ROME) and “Voyage to America with the Pilgrims” and next summer it might be “The Age of Discovery” and “The Voyage of Noah”. Why build huge facilities when a modest retail space near the City Aquarium and Science & Industry Museum can offer far more interaction and more amazing sights? I predict that in another ten to twenty years, a lot of big scale tourist attractions will prove to be very poor return-on-the-dollar investments. (Within seven years, Ham will be scrambling to cover operational costs and needing larger and larger subsidies from the AIG general fund. However, I’ll grant that the huge boost from his local city and county guarantees which made his construction possible have taken him further than I would ever have thought possible.)

I just don’t think the numbers can pan out long-term. Survival will depend on enormous general fund subsidies. Therefore, any funding for actual scientific research—as in his much publicized and then forgotten Baraminology Project—will continue to be postponed. One might expect that the Ark Encounter would include some sort of determination/compilation of the specific “baramins” of animals which were on the ark (and subject to Ham’s brand of hyper-evolution diversifying them sufficiently in the 200 years after the flood as he claims), but unlike a real science museum, there won’t be any “discoveries” of this sort by museum or “flood geology” staff. Ham hopes that by telling the public that only NEPHESH animals were on the ark, this will somehow shrink the ark population to manageable proportions. But if he ever actually quantified any of this, sharper visitors might even pull out their cell phone calculator apps and start figuring out square-feet-per-baramin stats.

Yes, it is possible that Ham will know when to stop his expansion and stay within the demographic boundaries of reality. But I doubt that his personality will allow for this. Many have learned far too late that there can be a very fine and difficult line-to-see between “faith” and hubris. I predict that Ham will overbuild. As with most ministries of AIG’s type, there’s nobody on his Board of Directors in a likely position and inclination to try and keep his feet planted on the ground. I have a lifetime of experience watching such ships hit their icebergs—even when they are spotted from many miles away. (Unfortunately, I’ve sometimes even watched from the deck as it happened.)

(Phil) #16

It appears to me also that with the Ark Park, Ham has jumped a "kind " of shark.

(Jon) #17


(Christy Hemphill) #18

A hominid at a point in the evolutionary timeline before the imago dei. Evidently the author felt the depiction could be construed to mean “black people don’t have souls.” Or something.

(Mervin Bitikofer) #19

True enough [that my point may be beside whatever points are broiling all around this article and the reactions.] But I still note with sadness how attacked and besieged so many U.S. Christians must be feeling to lock themselves so firmly behind high walls. When the fortress/warfare mentality takes over and fear casts out love, then truth (and the pursuit thereof) becomes the first casualty. I know that in a spiritual sense there is warfare, the legitimate warfare against the principalities and powers that Paul speaks of, the warfare that does not use the weapons of this world. When people isolate themselves with such totality (far beyond the normal prudence of simply steering clear of spiritual junk-food) it is never a good sign for where they are headed.

I worship with, and highly respect many people who would probably line up more with your views than with mine, John. And I do see in them so much Spiritual fruit (even as they interact with me – some of them knowing I don’t come out where they do on some of these issues); but none of that is apparent in this particular reactionary article. In all fairness, personal relationships are a different venue than web sites and blog world where tones and shrillness so easily spiral out of control.

Still, for the site’s sake, I hope and trust that it does better toward engaging the culture in others of its venues. If this article is representative, then the site receives more honor from your association and defense of it than it reciprocates back to you. Work on them. Get them to take their eyes off themselves and look around for a bit like Paul did at Mars Hill – even finding praiseworthy points of connection. What’s the worst that could happen?

Hmm. (Scratch that last question. No Christian should eagerly ask that while standing in the shadow of the cross.)


Here’s another of those tactical “somethings”:smile:

CMI’s Facebook pages keep revisiting the idea that the public must be constantly reminded that Darwin’s famous book had the full title On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured RACES in the Struggle for Life.

No matter how many times they are reminded that the word races in the title refers to varieties of organisms and Darwin’s book said nothing about Caucasians versus anybody else, the word race is considered invaluable propaganda gold. Too good to give up.

It is much like the claim that Hitler loved Darwin and the Theory of Evolution. The fact that there is zero evidence that Hitler knew much about Darwin’s theory and the fact that all of Darwin’s books (and evolution textbooks in general) were on the Nazi’s banned book list, the propaganda is just too useful to give up.

I have so many atheist colleagues and friends who know Young Earth Creationist ministries not for their theologies but for their reputation for telling these false stories and fictional factoids. So they have often asked me, “Why are so many Christian ministries willing to tell deliberate lies?” They refuse to attribute these tactics to ignorance. They assume the tactics are just deliberate pathological lying.

These kinds of behavior are tremendously damaging to the Great Commission.