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I happened to be in a “pre-owned” children’s merchandise store with my family, when an unusual book cover caught my eye. Pictured on the front cover of Ancient Astronauts is an illustration of a man wearing a short tunic (a biblical reference?) looking into the night sky as some kind of UFO “city” is hovering in the distance.
I bought it because I had an idea of what it was, and sure enough, it was a children’s book all about Erich von Däniken’s Chariot of the Gods (a book that promoted the idea that extraterrestrials visited the earth millennia ago to oversee man’s evolution). It raised my curiosity as to whatever happened to von Däniken.
With just a little research, I was surprised to learn that he felt led a few years ago to build a $70 million museum to proselytize his beliefs to the world! How ironic to find out about this at this time, with the Creation Museum so close to opening.
Mystery Park, previously commented about on this website and located near Interlaken, Switzerland, opened in May of 2003 and had over 400,000 visitors in its first year. The park featured seven pavilions, each referencing what Däniken called one of the world’s great “mysteries.” Below are the pavilions and what they featured:1
|Challenge||Space travel, including Mars exploration|
|Contact||Cargo Cults (lampooned in the movie The Gods Must be Crazy)|
|Maya||The Mayan calendar|
|Megastones||The mystery of Stonehenge|
|Nazca||The Nazca Lines found in Peru|
|Orient||Great Pyramid of Giza|
|Vimana||Flying machines described in Hindu mythology|
You may have noticed that I have been using the past tense in referencing Mystery Park. That’s because just recently, in November 2006, the park closed its doors due to financial troubles, possibly for good if the creditors are inclined to proceed to auctioning the park. By the final year of its short life, Mystery Park drew less than half what it did in year one. Interestingly, the website www.swissinfo.org reported that park spokespeople attributed their problems to “the static nature of the exhibition, the slow involvement of local tourism and the stock exchange decline between 2001 and 2003.”2
While I’m not expecting them to say it, I wonder if anyone there at Mystery Park has considered that the park’s content had anything to do with its demise? von Däniken has espoused some pretty far-reaching theories regarding biblical history. Some examples include the claim that the “sons of God” referenced in Genesis 6 were actually alien visitors to our planet, and that God’s judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah was in reality a nuclear bombardment by aliens.3
Now, contrast all this with the Creation Museum.
The fulfillment of a vision from several years ago is close at hand, except rather than proselytize lies, it will proclaim that God’s Word is true from beginning to end. Rather than seven “mysteries,” it will confirm the “Seven C’s” of History: Creation, Corruption, Catastrophe, Confusion, Christ, Cross, and Consummation.
Answers in Genesis has been told that it would cost $70 million (or more!) to build this Creation Museum, yet God has multiplied the gifts of thousands of God’s people so that $27 million will open a world-class museum that people the world over are already anxious to see. We know—they’ve already called!
From estimates, we expect a minimum of 250,000 visitors in the Creation Museum’s first year. We’ll have to wait and see what that final number really is, but I believe it will be yet another aspect of the Creation Museum that will confound the world and uplift the faithful.
Did the world reject a lie with the demise of Mystery Park? Or was it simply packaged incorrectly? I don’t have an answer. What I can say is this: while there were a handful of people left scratching their heads over the downfall of Mystery Park in 2006, as God blesses, there will be legions of people bowing them in praise to their Savior over the Creation Museum, opening, Lord willing, in May.