Del Tackett Takes Some Wheaton YEC Students to See Ken's Ark

Thomas Purifoy Jr., the driving force behind the film, “Is Genesis History?”, did a one year anniversary showing of the film across the country in February, 2018, but this time with a new segment. Purifoy included a 10-minute interview with a group of YEC Wheaton College students, who took a tour of the Ark Encounter, in Kentucky, guided by Del Tackett.

Purifoy writes about his showing of the film at Wheaton, which led to him making contact with these students, who presumably are featured in the new segment of the film. He also describes some interactions with Dr. John Walton, and other Wheaton professors:

I am not persuaded by the YEC view, but Del Tackett is a disarmingly, winsome guy. The biggest issue for these students seems be surrounding the concept of animal death and suffering before the Fall. Why would a good God put that into the original creational structure (or did He)? Any thoughts from the BioLogos community?

From the linked article:
“Why were they angry at a creationist film being shown on a Christian campus by students? And why would they take time to write papers and plan responses to it?”

I remember Wheaton professors involved in the Q&A discussing this as an upcoming event on a different forum, and they weren’t at all irate. The reason they took the time to write papers and plan responses to it was because they were aware that much of the information presented in the film was wrong.

I assume you want people to comment directly, but for all the lurkers out there, I thought I’d include some relevant links for those who’d like to know what BioLogos has published on the topic:

It is one of the common questions:

Also there are these posts:


More evidence that fact checking and getting the details right is not the director’s strong suit: The picture in the linked article above isn’t even the right Wheaton College. That picture is from the one in Massachusetts, not Illinois. The Wheaton College he visited is this one:


Oh, my. How embarrassing!!

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Good catch, Christy.

I read the article and watched the video and found it relatively congenial. One thing that was sort of amusing was the the statement that Walton’s arguments were " …disastrous to the historical-grammatical hermeneutic, " which is a true statement, and the point of the arguments, in fact. Just not positive in the way he wants to see it.

The video was interesting, though it was sort of disturbing that several times he presented the Ark barn as being “the way it was,” even though we really have none of those details in the text. My thought was that if you thought Noah’s story was literal, you would have your doubts after visiting the Ark Encounter if you gave it any thought. Amazing lighting and AC for Noah’s time, though they were smarter back then.

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Looking at the larger picture, there seems to be two very different approaches to these types of questions as it relates to natural history.

YEC: What do we want to be true?

Biologos: What is true?

It is difficult for anyone to admit that they are wrong, and that the view they have had for many years is wrong. This is the same for YEC’s and those at Biologos. It is a very human thing. Where friction occurs is when people are willing to ignore facts to solve contradictions.

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What’s so interesting to me is that, for these students, they seem incredibly bothered by the idea that death and suffering are part of creation, but yet they’re apparently OK with a scenario in which God intentionally ruins the entire universe because two people in a garden on Earth ate a piece of fruit. (Paraphrasing a previous post by @christy here on another thread)

I wonder how deeply these students have reflected on how the “justification” for the Fall is for God to basically re-create the world with death, decay, and chaos everywhere. The language of YEC makes it sound like the sin of Adam and Eve set off a chain reaction of corruption throughout the universe, but how exactly does that work? There’s a strangely small amount of reflection on that. A no-death creation would be completely different than this one (the entire world of life is built around survival of the fittest, even YECs know this). You could say that God spring-loaded the fallen creation inside the good one because he knew Adam would fall, but that just makes the theological portrait even worse.

I guess what I’m trying to say is if your reason for rejecting evolution is out of a concern for God’s character, you have to apply that to your own perspective as well. That’s what I would want to say to these students if I had the chance. My guess is that most of them have never thought seriously about this, they’re just repeating what they were taught. That’s true of my own story.


Brad: You have some good points here. The text never tells us how Adam’s sin, in Mesopotamia, caused sea creatures in the Pacific Ocean to suffer and die. The conjecture is possible, but it is still conjecture.

To me, the more perplexing concern is how these students are quick to point out that God “saw that it was [all] good,” but that they apparently miss other things in the text:

(a) Genesis 1:2. If the earth was without form and void, how would that square with the goodness of creation?

(b) Genesis 1:28. If humans are to fill the earth and subdue it, it leaves the question open as to why any of God’s good creation would need any form of subduing?

(c ) Genesis 3:1 How did the crafty serpent become some crafty, if God created everything good?

The text does not give us the answers. However, there need not be a contradiction, only the paradoxical reality that what God created was good, but that prior to Adam’s fall, not everything was right with the world.


Good points. I think for all of us, our theological lens informs our reading of Scripture in deeper ways than we understand. That makes it really hard to critique a theology that is hard to find in Scripture but that most adherents equate with “biblical authority”.

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I e-mailed them, as did a few other people evidently, and they fixed the picture. So points for that. :slight_smile:


Thanks, Christy.

For awhile there, I was pondering how a particular Young Earth view, that of the earth having the appearance of age, might provide an analogy:

Perhaps the evangelical Wheaton College only APPEARS to be in Massachusetts, when in fact, it really is in Illinois. We must accept this truth, by faith, and not believe what the Massachusetts’ photograph was telling us.


I guess I’m rather simple …
Death is the price of flesh , all flesh .
Wages of sin is death , sin is selfishness , selfishness serves the flesh .
Flesh is selfish .

Animals didn’t eat of knowledge so they are sinning in ignorance , and innocent of breaking the " fruit" mandate .

2 trees in the garden
1 knowledge
1 life
Adam was told not to eat of knowledge of good and evil , but apparently could eat of life .

Booted from the garden the tree of life was cut off and it’s effects dwindled .

But I’m no scholar , just a simple fisherman :grin:

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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