Friday, July 17, 2009

Creation Museum Review

Monday, QT and I celebrated our 12th anniversary with a trip to the Creation Museum in Petersburg, KY. Below is my review:

Expectations: Honestly, very low. Though I wanted to believe it would be good--and had received a few positive reviews from others--I didn't think I'd be impressed. No matter how generous donors may be, their funding simply must pale compared to other museums. As an overly critical (which I hate and fight against) pastor, I expected them to present many things about creation properly, but for them to miss the boat in other areas of theology. Simply put, I anticipated disappointment.

So it's not saying much to say the museum exceeded my expectations. However, even if I had come with high expectations, I think they still would have exceeded those!!!

Top 10 Things I Liked:

10. Botanical Gardens--Beautiful gardens laid out around the property with a walking path through them. There were probably quite a few people walking the gardens while we were, yet you were able to walk and talk and experience privacy.

9. Dinosaur models--I'm anxious to return with our 5 year old son; I think he'll flip over the dinosaur models. The quality of the models really surprised me. There is also a dinosaur during the museum tour that roars and moves...I know my kids will jump every time he does.

8. "Prepare to Believe"--You encounter this slogan several times throughout the tour. The phrase alone would never make my top ten, but the tone behind it was very encouraging. They make no bones about the fact that faith is required and just lay out the Biblical perspective. When they deconstruct evolutionary theories, they do not attack the people behind those theories, nor suggest some grand conspiracy of the government to keep you in the dark. They merely show that you will view the evidence differently depending on your starting point. I didn't pick up any we creationists are oppressed/victims/on the brink of extinction type attitude.

7. Emphasis on the Word--Literally, they start here. You begin the tour and are introduced to debate between creation and evolution. They suggest that your starting point will change how you view the evidence. Then, the very next thing they do is put you in a room where you learn about the writers of the Word of God and its formation. While reading, there is a touching video loop of people reading Scriptures about the Scripture. It's really cool.

6. Smiles--Whether paid or volunteer, the staff was simply friendly. They were helpful, but not intrusive. I wondered how they responded to loud scoffers and critics, but then wondered if their gracious tone was one reason I couldn't spot any mockers or critics. Even the law officer directing traffic in the parking lot smiled and wished us a good day as we left!

5. Responsibility of the Church--The Museum does not place responsibility upon the world or secular science. It is quite humbling when they use timelines and quotes to show how evolution gained traction as the church softened her view on the inerrancy of Scripture. It's humbling and depressing as you see the results and the church's lack of faith in the Word...but it is also spot on.

4. Noah's Ark--There are models, computer generated animation and even a model of the ark (1% of the mass of the original ark). There are also facts displayed and information that is beneficial to understanding how such a large vessel could be built. The display does a good job of teaching ship building techniques as well as displaying them. For people--like me--who struggle to visualize concepts...this model helps significantly.

3. The 7 C's--No, this is not where Noah sailed. It is the guide to regularly remind you of when considering history: Creation, Corruption, Catastrophe, Confusion, Christ, Cross, Consummation. They do an excellent job of tying all of these together!

2. Planetarium--Breath-taking display. Blows Lois Guiglio's presentation away and messages I have seen by Francis Chan (and I enjoyed both of those)! You are amazed at the size and intricacy of our universe.

1. Last Adam--After seeing a display on the Tower of Babel (Confusion), the last three phases are presented in video form. The video does a beautiful job of tying Adam to Christ, using Paul's writing to make the connection. I was overjoyed to see the museum desire not just to win people to creationism (I would argue that with the relatively new age of evolution, most people suffering in hell were probably creationist while on earth...believing in creation does not save.), but to Christ. I sat there and cried during the video. So thankful for the Second Adam whose obedience gained my salvation.

Will scoffers go through the museum and laugh and mock? Certainly. Would I have been one of those scoffers had Christ not opened my eyes? Yes, but praise be to Him that He lifted the veil!

Three [relatively insignificant] Things I Didn't Like:

3. [Lack of] Petting Zoo Signs--The petting zoo has a zorse (zebra/horse hybrid) and a zonkey (zebra/donkey), along with other animals. I may have simply missed them, but I did not see signs labeling the animals or their pens. That would have been helpful.
2. Church dead in 40 Years?--At one point, where the display shows the affects upon a community when the Word of God is neglected by the church, there is a quote about the church dying in 40 years. The area was crowded and I couldn't see the whole sign, but I heard a woman in the front conversing with her son. She was explaining that by the time he was 50, this sign is saying the church will be dead. I hope she's wrong and the sign doesn't say that. Christ will build His church. She ain't dying. (Again, hopefully the sign didn't say this.)
3. Subtle Building Design--Perhaps this is intentional, but the architecture is rather understated from the parking lot. As we entered the building from the parking lot, it looked pretty much like you are entering an average cinema. However, when you turn back to the building from the botanical gardens, the building is quite beautiful.

Final Thoughts

Evidence alone won't win your friend to creationism. Creationism won't win your friend to Christ. However, this museum recognizes that faith is necessary for receiving creation. More importantly, they know that it is by faith that we come to Christ. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of Christ. And this museum presents a lot of the Word of God with the purpose of exulting Christ.

It was a thrill to see them embrace a historical-grammatical approach with an emphasis on redemptive history. I wish more pastors would take such an approach to their exposition.

Lord willing, our family will be going back...often!


Keith said...

Glad you got to have this experience. I hope you check out for lots of good biblical creation stuff.

Jodi Bradshaw said...

We are going next friday! Reading your review made me even more excited!