Nearly every time I post an update on the exciting Ark Encounter project, there seem to be those habitual complainers who claim the money should be spent on the poor instead and not be “wasted” this way.
Before I address that, it is interesting to note that there are many projects underway in this nation that cost as much or enormous amounts more than the Ark Encounter. For instance, this project in Louisiana is costing about the same as the Ark project:
Students at Louisiana State University will soon be able to soak up the sun in a manmade “lazy river,” part of an $85 million leisure project under way despite the school's desperate financial situation.
So where are all the naysayers complaining that the money for this “lazy river” should be spent on the poor? In fact, there are thousands of multi-million dollar projects going on across the United States—and throughout the world. But it seems the Ark project is singled out—why?
I think it’s a simple as this—it’s the message! The Ark project (like the Creation Museum) will in a professional, powerful, and gracious way present the truth of God’s Word and the gospel. Sadly, even some people claiming to be Christians complain about the Ark project and that the money should be given to the poor instead. Such people either don’t understand or don’t seem to care about the millions who will be reached with the most important food in the universe—the spiritual food of the saving gospel—the very message that their eternal life depends on.
Yes, we do need to help the poor. And most Christians like me do that personally and through various ministries. Recently on this blog I encouraged people to give to the relief efforts in Nepal after the recent massive earthquake, and we provided a link to the donation page of Gospel for Asia, which has relief work going on there. More directly, last year, through AiG’s Vacation Bible School program, hundreds of thousands of meals were provided to needy children around the world. AiG worked with the Children’s Hunger Fund—and we set a record for providing such meals.
At Answers in Genesis, our mission is to “proclaim the absolute truth and authority of the Bible with boldness, relate the relevance of a literal Genesis to the church and world today, and obey God’s call to deliver the message of the gospel.” So while it is important to help the poor and needy meet their physical needs (which we do), it is even more important to help meet their spiritual need—the need to come to know Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world—because lives—and eternity—hang in the balance. The Ark Encounter will help us do that in a powerful, non-threatening way by simply sharing the truth of God’s Word with visitors at the Ark concerning the historicity of Noah’s Ark, the Genesis Flood, and other authentic accounts of history revealed in the Scriptures, including the account of redemption weaved throughout the Bible.
Our motivation for the Ark project is to reach as many people as we can worldwide with the saving gospel message:
And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.” (Revelation 5:9)
By the way, did you know that the cost of this first phase of the Ark Encounter project is only equivalent to 3.4% of the amount of money Hillary Clinton apparently will raise for her presidential campaign? The New York Times reports the following:
This campaign will begin on a small scale and build up to an effort likely to cost more than any presidential bid waged before, with Mrs. Clinton’s supporters and outside “super PACs” looking to raise as much as $2.5 billion in a blitz of donations from Democrats who overwhelmingly support her candidacy.
Actually, the more I read such comments from the anti-Ark complainers, who are obviously inconsistent, it reminds me of how important this Ark project is and how much the enemy doesn’t want it happening!
And for those people who say the money for building the Ark should be given to the poor, would these same critics give the money to the poor they have saved for their retirement? I bring this up because 65% of the funds to build the Ark are from a bond offering where people who support God’s Word decided to use some of their funds to invest in interest-paying bonds for the sake of the Kingdom!
Actually, for some of those who complain about money in regard to the poor, I wonder if they care about the poor very much. I’m reminded of what happened concerning Judas in John 12:
Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table. Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it. Jesus said, “Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial. For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.” (John 12:1–8)
Another subject that appears a lot on my Facebook page is brought up by people who complain about the timber being cut down to build the Ark. But how many of these people actually know where this timber is coming from? Frankly, they haven’t got a clue and just make up ignorant statements. Most of the largest trees that are being used actually come from dead standing trees that were killed by a beetle infestation. And the rest of the timber comes from renewable forests—forests that are carefully managed and involve an aggressive plantation program.
Not having the facts, these complainers are still quick to denigrate AiG and the Ark Encounter. And why would that be? It’s because of the message the Ark will proclaim! It’s because this facility will proclaim a God-honoring gospel message! Yes, it’s a spiritual battle.
Can you imagine if the Disney people said they were building the biggest timber frame building in the world and would put rides or whatever attraction in it? Would they get the complaints AiG does? Of course not! Do you think the same people who have criticized us questioned Universal Studios for spending $150 million on the Spider Man attraction?
The point is that there are those who, no matter what we do at AiG, will complain about it—and ultimately I do believe it’s because we stand on the authority of the Word of God. I’m reminded of the Scripture,
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:10)
Actually, the naysayers really only enthuse me. Their attacking comments remind me that we are in a spiritual struggle—if we were not in such a battle, we would not receive such opposition.
And so, the Ark project moves forward! The Ark Encounter opens in northern Kentucky in 2016—keep up to date at ArkEncounter.com.
Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,
This item was written with the assistance of AiG's research team.