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Did God form all of creation over six literal days? Was there a flood, a Noah, and an ark? Are we creations, or did we evolve from ancient animals?
And above all, does the Bible have historical value?
Compass Cinema’s documentary, Is Genesis History, seeks to tackle longstanding questions such as these by delving into the science behind the verses.
The film is narrated by Dr. Del Tackett, former president of the Focus on the Family institute and expert on Christian worldview and cultural issues, as he travels across the continent, teaming up with biologists, geologists, astronomers, and more to evaluate the historicity of the book of Genesis.
We caught up with Dr. Tackett to ask him a few questions about the core purpose of Is Genesis History, and why viewers should take the time to watch it.
What led to the making of “Is Genesis History,” and why is now the best time for its message?
On the question of the documentary’s origins, Dr. Tackett gives us an unexpected answer—this complex documentary involving dozens of scientists and hundreds of man-hours, began with the questions of a child.
Thomas Purifoy, director of Is Genesis History, was struck by some questions his 10 year old daughter began to ask about the divide between evolution and creation, finding that he couldn’t answer them. The questions of a child, divorced from the presuppositions, paradigms, and calcified worldviews that an adult might have, cut straight to the heart of what many people wonder, but do not—or cannot—voice.
Dr. Tackett went on to explain his own reasoning for the film.
“I have been struck by the increasing rise of the desire to toss out the historicity of Genesis, even within seminaries and so forth—the removal of a real Adam and Eve, of a real moment of Original Sin and the arising of death. I think the time is quite right—it’s right because if you think about the deep philosophical questions people are wrestling with, I think those questions are even deeper now.”
If you, from the beginning—in all of your academia and the media and everywhere else—if you are led to believe that we are simply the result of random processes where there is no purpose in mind, and all of a sudden you ask the questions, “Why am I here? What is the meaning of life?” the answer to that is empty. And so I think the questions are on our minds today—I think this is the right time for a film like this.”
Who is your audience? Is the message for Christians or unbelievers?
“For me, our primary audience is what I’d call the mass of the Body of Christ. I think, in general, most Evangelical Christians believe that the Genesis account is exactly what it says. But they’re being pressed, and they’re being pressed hard, increasingly from above—increasingly from seminaries, from those you might say are in the Christian hierarchy. They’re certainly pressed from everywhere in academia. If they take their children to the museums, if they go to the parks, the rangers are going to talk about the current deep time paradigm.
And so this is really, from my perspective, primarily for them. It’s to reassure them that what God has given to us is true. It’s historically accurate, just as everything else we’ve found in the scripture is historically accurate. Jesus really lived. He really was crucified. He really was buried. He really did rise again from the grave. And those historical things that have been questioned over and over again, and have increasingly been shown by archeological evidence to be true—I think that we are now seeing the scientific data that is increasingly going to show us that God’s record of what He did is exactly as it is stated in Genesis.”
Are science and scripture, ultimately, moving toward the same truth?
“The problem is that when you get captured by a paradigm—the current scientific paradigm that we have—and especially the mantra of deep time, and the accusation that anyone who does not embrace deep time is therefore stupid, anti-science, an idiot, sophomoric, and all of those kinds of things, then you have to see everything in that deep time paradigm. It means that you don’t ask the right questions, you don’t see the right data.
That’s why the scientist who smelled the decay when they broke the dinosaur bone couldn’t understand—she thought it was another creature. And now we’re finding this soft dinosaur tissue that just should not be there if the deep time paradigm is really true.
So you have to help people realize that there is data there, and there are great scientists who are studying that data, but you’re just not going to hear it in textbooks and academia.”
How does this knowledge benefit the everyday person?
“Well, let’s talk about the everyday Christian. I think the mass of Evangelical Christianity wants to read scripture in the way that it is written, and when they come to the passage in Genesis, they read it just as it says.
What I want to happen is for those people to be reassured. When they are accused of being ignorant or stupid or unscientific for holding to that historicity, what we want to have happen is for those people to be reassured that God’s word can be trusted, and that there are many good scientists who are looking at data that supports that.
For those who are on the fence, I would hope they would be honest and willing to take a look at that evidence. For those, I don’t know how many that are holding to the deep time paradigm will see the film, but I would hope that they would walk away with an inkling that [the scientific community] has shut out any notion of any evidence that is contrary to the deep time paradigm. Maybe it would cause them to at least want to look at it.”
The Mind of a Child
When we’re caught up in a certain way of looking at the world—one that is accepted and popularized—it becomes difficult to see the world in any other way. It becomes difficult to ask the right questions.
But if we can take on the mindset of a child, for but a moment, we can begin to ask those questions. We can open our eyes to new possibilities—most notably to the possibility that what the mainstream scientific community tells us about history may be wrong, that our current understanding may prove to be just as wrong as those we held hundreds of years ago.
So check out Is Genesis History, keep an open mind, and make your own decisions. You just might find yourself asking the right questions for the very first time.