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Deep time out

New documentary presents science behind young-earth claims

Geologist Steve Austin (left) and Del Tackett Compass Cinema

Deep time out
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IN A 2014 STUDY, BioLogos, a research group founded on a belief in evolutionary creationism, confirmed what large polling organizations have consistently found over the years. A plurality of Americans, fluctuating between 40 and 47 percent, still believe in a literal interpretation of the Biblical creation story. That is, they believe in a literal six-day creation and a literal Adam and Eve. And they’ve believed it in more or less the same numbers for the last 30 years.

However, by drilling down to deeper questions of certainty, BioLogos also found that most of those people aren’t very confident in their beliefs. For example, when they asked a nationally representative group of more than 3,000 adults if Adam and Eve were real people, 56 percent said they were. But when the researchers further asked whether they were “absolutely or very certain” of this, the number dropped to 44 percent. A similar drop occurred when the pollsters pressed respondents on their certainty that God created the world in six literal days and that the earth is about 10,000 years old, going from 37 to 31 percent and 26 to 15 percent, respectively.

What this suggests is that a lot of people want to believe in a straightforward reading of the earliest accounts of Scripture but aren’t sure scientific evidence allows them to do so. Is Genesis History?, a new documentary that will premiere in a one-night-only event at 700 theaters across the country on Feb. 23, aims to give them a scientific basis for confidence in God’s Word.

Del Tackett, former president of the Focus on the Family Institute and founder of the Truth Project, teamed up with Compass Cinema to look into research in a variety of disciplines that make the case for viewing Genesis—Adam, Eve, global flood, and all—as a factual account of events. Throughout the documentary he interviews a variety of scientists in the fields of biology, geology, astronomy, and paleontology who present evidence against the singular theory that provides the foundation for nearly all scientific rejection of Genesis. He calls that theory “deep time.”

Nobel laureate and evolutionist George Wald once said, “Time is, in fact, the hero of the plot. … Given so much time, the ‘impossible’ becomes possible, the possible probable, and the probable virtually certain.”

Tackett makes the same argument, but uses it to point to a very different conclusion. “Deep time has a way of obliterating God. If you have enough time, you can do anything, you can make the argument for anything, you can make the rocks stand up and sing.” That’s why he believes adherence to the deep time paradigm of billions of years is a spiritual issue rather than a scientific one, particularly given evidence that researchers have uncovered in recent years.

From the astonishing discovery of preserved dinosaur tissue to groundbreaking methods of dating geological formations, Is Genesis History? demonstrates that there are arguments, strong ones, for abandoning the deep time paradigm. And once you abandon it, nearly all scientific theory that runs counter to Scripture falls with it.

Yet for the most part, Tackett says, the broader scientific community has proved not only unwilling to engage evidence that runs contrary to the deep time paradigm, but willing to ostracize any who question it. “If you uncovered a problem with Newtonian physics,” he argues, “you might get a Nobel Prize. But if you come up with something that topples the deep time theory, you will probably be denied tenure, you won’t be allowed to publish. So there’s something else going on there.”

For this reason, Tackett also takes issue with the aims of groups like BioLogos that believe they can merge Christian faith with macroevolutionary theory, two things he believes are mutually exclusive. He argues that taking a God-made man and woman, a real Adam and Eve, out of the picture undermines Paul’s teaching about redemption coming through one man, Christ, as sin came through one man, Adam, and ignores Peter’s reference to the flood as a real event. “So all of a sudden what you have is some very significant problems with the Scripture itself. Those things all of a sudden begin to become a problem.”

Even more fundamental, however, Tackett argues that accepting the notion that God used evolution over millions of years to create the world changes the nature and character of God. Instead of a God who cares for the needy, “you have survival of the fittest—the whole mechanism of which is the destruction of the weak. This is completely opposed to the God we know whose heart is with the humble.”

Tackett says he hopes audiences will leave Is Genesis History? emboldened to trust, or at least give a fair hearing to, the literal interpretation of Genesis. “We have these scientists who are scary smart and working with deep professionalism within their disciplines who say there is credible evidence that supports Genesis.”

A whirlwind primer

'Is Genesis History?' makes a strong case for a young earth

If you’re anything like me, whenever anyone challenges your backward view that the earth was created in six literal days and Adam and Eve were real people, your response is mostly limited to shrugging and saying something along the lines of: I don’t know how all of scientific research can be wrong and the Bible be right, but, that’s what I’m going with. I know, it’s pathetic and not all in line with giving an adequate answer for the hope that I have. I’m confessing it now.

Thankfully, a new documentary, Is Genesis History?, has provided a good launching point for changing my ways.

Think of it as a whirlwind primer on the case for young-earth creationism. Host Del Tackett starts by describing the foundation on which all scientific theories that run contra to Genesis are built on—a planet that is millions of years old. Tackett calls this the “deep-time theory” and interviews experts and scientists in a variety of disciplines who present evidence that a young earth isn’t only plausible, it’s persuasive.

The one drawback is it is a whirlwind. Complex concepts and groundbreaking research fly by so fast, the unscientifically minded viewer (cough, cough) will likely require repeat viewings to absorb it all. Unfortunately, audiences at the one-night theater event on Feb. 23 won’t be able to rewind and re-watch (and then pause and demand their meteorologist husbands explain it to them again, very slowly, as if they’re talking to a kindergartner). But that’s also why DVDs were invented, so that after viewing in theaters (which I highly recommend you do with every teenager and college kid you can get your hands on), you can watch it again in the daylight and take notes.

From a production standpoint, more precise explanatory graphics might have gone a long way toward aiding comprehension. Likewise, the most compelling scientists and research don’t arrive until the middle of the movie. Just an ol’ movie critic’s note for Tackett and his team—next time you might want to move the existence of ACTUAL DINOSAUR TISSUE as close to the top as you can get it. The geological evidence for the flood at the Grand Canyon is compelling, but in a game of rocks, water, dinosaurs, dinosaurs win every time. Really, dinosaurs win any game they’re involved in. That is absolutely a lede you don’t want to bury! (Get it, a little archaeological humor!)

One final quibble, the journalist in me was longing for Tackett to present all this staggering research to some old-earth scientists for rebuttal. I have no doubt they’d have responses to the challenges the creationists pose to the “deep-time paradigm.” I wanted very much to hear what they would be. I understand in a two-hour documentary format, there’s not much room for this, but certainly on the most jaw-dropping revelations, a quick cut away to the opposing side would have been in order.

Perhaps in the future they’ll be able to expand each of the topics touched on into a series of episodes that will allow more opportunity for debate.

As it is, though, Is Genesis History? is still an engrossing primer on why we can feel confident believing the Bible’s account of creation. I just may need to watch it a few more times with the pause button and a notebook handy. Because for Christians educated within the prevailing evolutionary paradigm, Is Genesis History? provides a much-needed reminder just how young the theory of an old earth is.

Megan Basham

Megan is a former film and television editor for WORLD and co-host for WORLD Radio. She is a World Journalism Institute graduate and author of Beside Every Successful Man: A Woman’s Guide to Having It All. Megan resides with her husband, Brian Basham, and their two daughters in Charlotte, N.C.



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