We recently went to the Creation Museum and the Ark Encounter in Kentucky, both ministries of Answers in Genesis, and I was blown away by their thoroughness and beauty.
Before we went there, I predominantly thought about Answers in Genesis in relation to its strong creationist views and apologetic focus on a Young Earth Creationist viewpoint.
“There are many other benefits to attending the museums, even if you are not a Young Earth Creationist.“
But that is only one small piece of the organization. In fact, the organization’s leaders say that their main focus is on promoting the good news of Christ. The debate on the age of the earth and explaining how the animals fit in the Ark is only one part.
There are many other benefits to attending the museums, even if you are not a Young Earth Creationist.
Here are several ways I found the to be enriching:
- It increased my appreciation for the book of Genesis.
Genesis is already a fascinating book, one in which I constantly find something new whenever I read it. Through many stories, it teaches us of mankind’s sinfulness, redemption, and God’s grace and mercy. Both the Creation Museum and the Ark thoroughly quote from Genesis and others parts of the Bible, combining it with engaging displays, shows, and artwork.
- It helped me appreciate God’s creation and nature more.
Even if you don’t believe the earth is young, you will still be able to learn a lot about nature and meditate on what it must have been like before being tainted by evil. The 4D theater engages all the senses. True, it doesn’t actually force you to eat or smell, but the visuals are so amazing that you almost feel like you can taste the food and smell the flowers.
- It gives us a sense of heaven.
The Bible doesn’t tell us as much about heaven as many of us would like, but the description it does use involves physical things that we can see. Revelation talks about precious stone, a river “as clear as crystal” (Rev. 22:1), and trees. Even in this world, there is a sense when we leave the city and move into the mountains that there is a purity that is (relatively) untainted by mankind and evil. Nature helps us remember God’s perfection, His beauty, and that His creation is fundamentally good. (Genesis 1:10, 1:12, 1:18, 1:21, 1:25) Imagine nature surrounded by people who only have good intentions in their hearts all the time, always willing to please God, worship Him, and love other people. That will give us a sense of heaven and help us as believers look forward to it.
- It helps us remember how we are created in God’s image.
As I walked through the rendition of the Ark, constructed to be the same size as the original ark, I reflected on the amount of work that Noah and his family had to do every day. Genesis 2:15 reminds us that mankind was created to cultivate the earth and to grow things. That is what humans do: we design and build things and to work with our hands. (I Thessalonians 4:11) We are created to work, even though work is a beautiful thing that is marred by the fall.
While the Ark Encounter does a thorough and excellent job explaining how it was in fact possible to include so many animals on the Ark, it had to have been a lot of work to help take care of and feed the animals. For example, there must have been a good amount of engineering and planning in order to ensure the animals’ dung flowed to the bottom in a place easy to be cleaned and removed. There must have been a lot of design work, troubleshooting, engineering, and carpentry developed into building the ark.
The Bible places much emphasis on doing skilled work. It talks about the design and layout of the tabernacle being done through skilled work, led by Bezalel in Exodus. “So Bezalel, Oholiab and every skilled person to whom the LORD has given skill and ability to know how to carry out all the work of constructing the sanctuary are to do the work just as the LORD has commanded.” (Exodus 36:1)
Exodus and Leviticus also talk about skilled craftsmen needing to do work for the priests’ garments. “Tell all the skilled workers to whom I have given wisdom in such matters that they are to make garments for Aaron, for his consecration, so he may serve me as priest.” (Exodus 28:3) Proverbs talks about the importance of being skilled in any whichever type of work you do. “Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will be stationed in the presence of kings; he will not stand before obscure men.” It talks about how whatever we choose to work on, we must “do it with all your might.” (Ecclesiastes 9:10)
Noah and his family had instructions from God, but they still had a lot of work to do. They were carpenters, engineers, handymen, animal keepers, and skilled workers. These are ways in which we are created in the image of God, the ultimate Engineer, Carpenter, Artist, Physician, and Creator. Meanwhile, Noah and his family were husbands, fathers, mothers, and daughters. This should reject any gnosticism, or any belief that spiritual matters are good and that material matters are bad. Those who believe in an actual flood and admire the Ark reject gnosticism and celebrate the ways in which we are created in God’s image.
- They offer tons of resources.
The gift shops are enormous, and they have tons of material and resources. Books on apologetics, books on the Gospels, books on creation, books on dinosaurs and dragons, books with great graphics, videos, and even fiction novels.
- It is a great family activity.
It is fascinating for children of all ages. The displays are colorful, beautiful, and artistic. Both museums have auditoriums with events and shows, zip lines, animals, playgrounds, and gift shops. There’s more construction going on. The displays are extremely engaging and fun while also being thorough and accurate. If you try to take in just one museum alone in a day you will feel overwhelmed with how much there is to see.
- It reminds us God’s Kingdom is growing.
It was extremely encouraging to see such an enormous crowd flocking there. It’s a powerful reminder that God’s Kingdom is still growing. There are many who still love the Lord and desire to study His creation and His Word. It’s true that many despise the ministry. I suspect it’s not fundamentally because of the Young Earth Creationist view presented, but because of their desire to actually take the Bible seriously. However, there are tons of people who love attending there. I’m sure that not all are believers, but I’m sure that many are. Those who aren’t believers will have a chance to read the Bible thoroughly, and many of their misconceptions of the Bible and God’s followers will be challenged. After we left, I looked up online and found that the Ark has about 1 million visitors a year. That is an amazing feat considering it began in 2016.
- The museums help you appreciate all of the Bible more, not just the “good stuff.”
Many Christians love to pick out the “good stuff” from the Bible, reading Romans, the other epistles of Paul, the Gospels, the Psalms, and maybe read a verse of Proverbs every now and then. However, many don’t always dive in books like Jeremiah, Ezekiel, the minor prophets, Song of Solomon, and parts of the Pentateuch. Some parts of the Bible are just hard to figure out how to apply to our lives in just a couple verses.
We often want the quick “microwave” version of Bible study. But what about the multiple chapters devoted to the building of the tabernacle and the temple? What about the verses describing in great detail the exact dimensions of the ark? Why did God put that in there? How do the dimensions of the ark apply to us today? Well, the Ark Encounter helps us understand why.
There are multiple reasons for describing in great detail the dimensions and instructions God provided Noah. Thankfully Ken Ham and other AiG leaders read that part of the Bible thoroughly and decided to dedicate much of their careers to studying and explaining it. What other parts of the Bible may we be skimming over that are actually treasures to dig through?
- It helps you appreciate history more.
The Creation Museum had an especially interesting exhibit about the history during the times of Christ. It told us about the history of historical leaders such as Herod, the influence of Hellenization on Israel, the political background during that time, the types of currency, and much more. It gave me a good sense of what the political and social backdrop was at the time.
- Ultimately, both the Ark Encounter and Creation Museum point to Christ.
An exhibit toward the top of the Ark shows the original sin of Adam of Even, the following sinful decay of humanity, and then the wickedness of the people during Noah’s time before the flood. But then it talks about hope and grace offered to Noah and his family.
It reminds us that today’s age is similar in many ways. “Most importantly, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. ‘Where is the promise of His coming?’ they will ask. ‘Ever since our fathers fell asleep, everything continues as it has from the beginning of creation.’ But they deliberately overlook the fact that long ago by God’s word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water, through which the world of that time perished in the flood.” II Peter 3:3-6
People are going along with their lives without fear of God and without concern for repentance. The museums present videos and exhibits bringing us the good news of grace offered through Christ, His death and resurrection, and His mercy offered when we repent of our sins and ask God to forgive us and accept the gift from Christ.
There are many other exhibits and displays that I don’t have the time to recount here, and we weren’t able to see everything.
If you are a believer who doesn’t take the Young Earth Creationist view, you should still rejoice that the Gospel is presented. You should still enjoy and agree with the majority of what The Ark Encounter and the Creation Museum present.
“Master,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in Your name, and we tried to stop him, because he does not accompany us. Do not stop him,” Jesus replied, “for whoever is not against you is for you.”