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New museum in Kentucky blends creationism with gospelcomment (0)

June 14, 2007

Ken Ham stood outside his $27 million Creation Museum before its official opening May 28 and declared its mission is not just to counter evolution.

He also wants to create a few Christians.

"We don’t just want to see people converted to creationism," said Ham, president of the Answers in Genesis ministry, which built the museum on a site officials say is a convenient travel distance for two-thirds of all Americans.

"We do want to see people consider the claims of the gospel, the claims of Christianity, to see people put their faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ."

The latest juncture between evolutionists and creationists comes in the form of a 60,000-square-foot building with a main hall that features animatronic dinosaurs and figures of young children playing near each other in a way its owners believe life really occurred some 6,000 years ago.

With the slogan "Prepare to Believe," Ham’s creation-defending ministry opened the museum on Memorial Day on 49 acres in Petersburg, just over the Kentucky state line from Cincinnati.

The museum was partially funded by three anonymous families who donated $1 million each, but 75 percent of all donations averaged around $100, officials said.

Those donations built a state-of-the-art museum with vibrating seats and sprays of water in a theater that depicts Noah’s flood and extensive exhibits that claim the Grand Canyon could have formed around the time of that flood rather than millions of years ago as suggested by most scientists.

A studious visitor could spend several hours in the museum, which includes a planetarium, exhibits detailing the construction of Noah’s Ark and a life-size sculpture of Eve handing Adam the forbidden fruit from the Garden of Eden.

Critics, however, are not far away. Atheist and scientific groups have signed petitions complaining the museum fosters "superstition" and will confuse schoolchildren who see one view there and hear another in high school and college.

One room in the museum features two paleontologists — both as sculptures and as actors in a brief video — examining dinosaur bones.

One declares them to be thousands of years old; the other says they are millions of years old.

The first paleontologist appears again in the last theater presentation, Bible in hand, declaring that every word of the holy book is true.

The biblical message extends to the gardens of the museum, which feature sculptures of Tyrannosaurus rex and herons along with waterfalls and bridges over a man-made lake. Signs link nature to the Bible.

"People who come just to the gardens are going to get the gospel," said Tim Schmitt, the museum’s horticulturalist. (RNS)

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