The Lie: Evolution/Millions of Years (25th Anniversary Edition), Ken Ham. Green Forest: Master Books, 2016. Paperback, 236 pages.
When I was growing up in Edmonton, one of the biggest things that helped me stay convinced of the biblical view of creation was attendance at a number of presentations organized by the Creation Science Association of Alberta. One in particular stands out in my memory: Dr. Steven Austin at the Jubilee Auditorium in about 1985. I remember because his name struck me: I thought I was going to go and listen to the Six Million Dollar Man. I also remember because, even though I was only 12 years old, his presentation on Mt. Saint Helens drove home how drastic geological changes can take place in a brief period of time.
Since coming here to Australia, our church has been invited to a couple of similar presentations. One was from Answers in Genesis, an organization which has its roots here Down Under. As they usually do, AiG had a table of books for sale and among them was the 25th anniversary edition of The Lie, by AiG founder Ken Ham. The book was deeply discounted and I do have Dutch roots, so I couldn’t resist.
There are a few things that really stand out to me about The Lie.
One is that Ken Ham rightly construes the debate. It’s not ultimately about creation versus evolution. It’s about God’s Word versus man’s word. It’s about revelation from God versus the pretension of autonomous human reasoning. There are really two different religions at war with one another.
Because he gets the debate rightly framed, he also understands that our starting point as Christians has to be the Word of God. In other words, he’s a presuppositionalist. He demonstrates how it’s not enough to throw evidences and reasoning at evolutionists without challenging what’s at the core of their belief system: a commitment to independence from God. This illustration lays out the problem that often exists with regard to Christian efforts to defeat evolution:
We spend too much of our time taking potshots at the consequences of unbelief, when we should be barraging the foundations with concentrated fire.
That brings me to another stand-out feature of The Lie: great illustrations. Anyone who’s been to an AiG presentation would remember them. Illustrations can really help to drive home unfamiliar abstract concepts.
Another important element of the book is its value for educators. Earlier in his life, Ken Ham was a science teacher in Queensland, Australia. He made some blunders in his early efforts to teach creation versus evolution. His honesty about those and his elucidation of better ways deserve the attention of every Christian teacher, especially those who teach science and/or Bible.
Finally, I also really appreciated the way Ham argues that millions or billions of years is foundational to evolutionary thinking. You can’t have one without the other. At the same time, he points out that the key issue is not the age of the earth. He writes, “Believing in a relatively young earth (i.e. only a few thousand years old) is a consequence of accepting the authority of the Word of God over fallible man’s word” (p.126).
Toward the end of the book, Ham notes that Answers in Genesis has heard from many people about how their ministry establishing the creation/fall foundation has been instrumental in opening doors for the gospel. It’s true. I have a colleague in New Zealand who became a Christian after listening to a talk by Ken Ham. His unbelief, using evolution as an excuse, was challenged to the core and the Holy Spirit used that to bring him to faith in Christ. Buy The Lie for someone like that – it may just be something God uses to bring them the invaluable gift of eternal life!