I was pleasantly surprised when Dr. Bill Nye accepted Ken Ham’s invitation to a debate about human origins. So, naturally, I was eager to watch Dr. Nye’s interview on CNN describing the forthcoming event. Confession: my response was something less than Christ-like.
About the second time Dr. Nye referred to Ken as “this guy,” I found myself muttering, “Oh, yeah, Bill, I bet you’ll know his name come February 5th, because my man Ken Ham is gonna …” And we should probably end the stream-of-consciousness playback right about there.
Like many believers, I’m beyond frustrated with American academia’s persistent and unscrupulous refusal to hear theories opposing Darwinism. If you don’t believe me, I suggest Jonathan Wells’s Icons of Evolution. Creationists possess powerful scientific and philosophical rationale for intelligent design, arguments breezily dismissed by committed Darwinists as ignorant superstition. “Nothing to see here,” they assure themselves. In higher education, neither the evidences for Darwinism (which are often asserted as endless and overwhelming, but rarely inventoried), nor the fruits of the theory in human society are up for debate—and that’s precisely why we’re thrilled Dr. Nye accepted the invitation; that’s why tickets for the event sold out in no time flat.
Ken is one of Creationism’s champions. No doubt about it. But what should we hope for? More importantly, what should we pray for?
First, the outcome of the debate changes nothing about the facts. God’s truth is just as immutable as He is; His Word is settled in heaven (Psalm 119:89). Whether Ken delivers an intellectual knockout or has a bad night and represents his position poorly, nothing changes. And the truth is that God expects us to walk by faith and not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7). If we endlessly search for scientific evidence to prove God’s existence, we unwittingly undercut biblical faith by beginning with creation rather than the Creator. Is this to say Ken shouldn’t engage in the debate? Far from it—Peter commands us to prepare a defense of our faith (1 Peter 3:15). Yet when it comes to our own, personal assurance, Jesus reserves blessing for those who believe in the miraculous without seeing it (John 20:29).
Second, for those who attend, and for Ken himself, Christian conduct is just as important as Christian content. James asks, “Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom” (James 3:13). Then James goes on to describe what that meekness in wisdom looks like, “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere” (3:17). Rather than rooting for a bruising, we can start praying that Dr. Nye will leave overwhelmed by the kindness, compassion, and humility of his philosophical opposites.
Third, the world has always leveled the charge that Christians are idiots, simpletons, maniacs, or worse (Acts 17:32). Post debate talking-heads will ridicule Ken’s arguments no matter how effective they might be. It’s time for us to get used to being fools in the world’s eyes. After all, Paul admits, “For I think that God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, like men sentenced to death, because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men. We are fools for Christ’s sake” (1 Cor. 4:9-10a).
Last, in God’s graciousness, believers rarely receive vindication in this life. In fact, God is saving full and final vindication for His Son, our conquering Hero (Rev. 19:11-21; Phil. 2:10). Seeking intellectual vindication in this life will always end in frustration; worse, the ambition to appear wise will drive us to hedge on truths clearly taught in Scripture. The world holds out the carrot—if you’ll just give a little on this one point… Yet, the world is treacherous. The kingdom of this world will never countenance the truth. Christians have tried many times to earn scholastic respect; they’re still awaiting recognition that will not be granted until our Savior returns.
We serve the King of kings. And He reserves for Himself philosophical vindication. If our eyes are turned to Him as our hope, we relish the thought:
Even so, come, Lord Jesus.