A “Big Bang” to Believe In

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Now, you know I don’t believe in the evolutionary big bang idea. But maybe you’ll be surprised to learn there is a big bang I believe in! Yes, we need a “big bang” in our Stargazer Planetarium at the Creation Museum. OK, let me explain as I first bring your attention to the “little by little principle.”

I must admit, now and then I do commit the sin of coveting! It happened recently after the catastrophic fire at the Notre Dame in Paris which destroyed much of the cathedral’s art and artifacts inside. I found out that $1 billion has already been donated toward the $2–3 billion needed to rebuild Notre Dame! I thought to myself, “Wow, imagine what AiG could do with a billion dollars to reach people with God’s Word and the gospel!”

That same thought had crossed my mind when I found out that $6.5 billion was spent on the 2016 presidential and congressional elections. Hillary Clinton spent $1.37 billion, and Donald Trump’s total was $948 million! Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi spent $6.5 million on her most recent campaign, and Sen. Mitch McConnell’s total was $30.4 million in 2014.

And did you know that businesses will spend $482 million on TV advertisements during a Super Bowl? The average cost of one spot is $5 million (for about 30 seconds!).

Over the years, God has taught me the “little by little principle.”

Do you know how much it costs just to build one cruise ship? Up to a staggering $1.4–1.5 billion dollars for the larger new ships.

OK, enough “coveting!”

Also, it seems to me that the shallower (or more liberal) “Christian” causes will often attract multi-millions of dollars in donations.

Little by Little

Yes, it’s easy—from a human perspective—to groan, get frustrated, and even covet when considering these examples. But over the years, God has taught me the “little by little principle.” I read passages where God promised the Israelites the Promised Land, saying:

“The Lord your God will clear away these nations before you little by little. You may not make an end of them at once, lest the wild beasts grow too numerous for you” (Deuteronomy 7:22).
“Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased and possess the land” (Exodus 23:30).

I’ve often thought about this “little by little principle” and why God would use this method. First of all, I recognized that it was important to understand that “without faith it is impossible to please him” (Hebrews 11:16).

We have learned that God wants us to trust him . . . and to step out in faith. And of course, we are to step out—responsibly—and understand God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility. And as we’ve done that over the years at AiG, God has entrusted us with bigger things. But the faith steps also get bigger! It reminds me of what Jesus taught:

“You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much” (Matthew 25:23).

Second, I know from Scripture that pride is a major sin we all have to be aware of and deal with. I’ve seen so many people become prideful because of position or wealth and have witnessed how pride can destroy a ministry. God knows our hearts. He knows what our sin nature is capable of and knows what’s best for us—even if we ourselves don’t understand it at the time.

Little Steps to Big

I look back over the 40 years since Mally and I made what was an enormous faith step, as I resigned from being a schoolteacher to go full time into apologetics ministry.

Since then, hundreds of faith steps have led to the creation of the Answers in Genesis ministry and the building of the Ark Encounter and Creation Museum. The Lord has taught us many faith lessons over the years.

Yes, many times we’ve struggled financially and in other areas. At times I’ve felt almost defeated. But looking back, I wouldn’t change anything! Even though there were times I cried out, “Lord, why are you allowing this to happen,” I now see God was using those circumstances to prepare us for his plans—beyond what we could ever imagine.

Now, why am I bringing this all up?

Well, we have another faith step I wanted to share with you. Actually, it’s nowhere near as big as some of our previous faith steps. (But don’t worry, we have some big ones for the future!) This is a step that’s urgently needed: it’s to totally refurbish the popular Stargazer Planetarium inside the Creation Museum.

It’s the “big bang” we need: to transform our aging planetarium into a vibrant new spectacular theater that will “explode” many people’s thinking about the universe.

It’s the “big bang” we need: to transform our aging planetarium into a vibrant new spectacular theater that will “explode” many people’s thinking about the universe.

You see, when I read that $1 billion had already been donated towards rebuilding Notre Dame, I thought, “But that’s mostly now an historical building with lots of art. We need only $2 million to totally refurbish and update the planetarium at the Creation Museum that will reach millions with the truth of God’s Word and the gospel—in a highly visual way!”

Many of you will remember watching the Created Cosmos program that currently plays in our planetarium. As you lay back in the seats, you watch a program that takes you on a journey to the far reaches of outer space and helps you understand how awesome and great our Creator God is. And of course, the program reminds us of how important this little earth is, because that’s where God became a man to save us from our sins!

I remember the first time I sat in our planetarium. It was in 2006, before the Creation Museum opened. As I watched this biblically based program, it was an emotional experience for me. I knew there were no other high-tech creationist programs like this anywhere. And to think God entrusted this project to us so we could impact millions with God’s Word. Wow!

Millions of . . . Visitors!

Many of the four million Creation Museum visitors have sat through Created Cosmos and other programs in our planetarium. The stirring programs have inspired others to want to build their own planetariums and proclaim the truth of God’s Word.

Well, after 13 years of operation (with a minor equipment upgrade several years ago), the technology inside the planetarium has become quite outdated. It’s now difficult to maintain. We also need it to be as technologically advanced as secular theme parks (like Disney and Universal), or the younger generations will not take us as seriously. It’s time to totally refurbish this theater with new computers, seats, carpet, projector, and dome!

The head of our audio-video department is a real visionary. He has put together a plan to refurbish the planetarium. His ideas would also enable the planetarium to be used in even more ways so that other specialized teaching programs can be conducted inside. This upgrade involves installing a tilted dome (which is what new planetariums are now moving to) and a brilliant laser projector system (over 900% brighter than the current projector).

The New Upgrade/Refurbishment Plan

A new laser projection system (with two projectors) will avoid the ongoing cost of lamp replacement (about $10,000 a year). Highlights of this laser projection system are the following:

  • The projection brightness will improve from 2,900 lumens to 27,000 lumens per projector. This will allow much greater flexibility in the image-color depth and picture quality, as well as opening up greater opportunities to hold alternative programs and content in the space.
  • The projection resolution will increase from 1920 x 1920 to 4096 x 4096 pixels (from 3,686,400 pixels to 16,777,216 pixels)—a massive increase in resolution!
  • State-of-the-art Digistar software and new components will be replacing servers and hardware that are almost nine years old and have been in operation every day for about ten hours minimum per day. The new software will provide higher-quality images and allow for custom show development—all from a biblical worldview.
  • The installation of a tilted dome will provide for much better image quality and clarity for the new 4K resolution projectors (due to new surface material technology).
  • The tilted dome will offer a much better viewing experience at each seat inside the planetarium.
  • Upgrades to the planetarium will also improve the acoustic nature of the space, allowing for better speech intelligibility and program immersion and increasing the number of seats so that more guests can view our great programs!
  • The planetarium’s theming will be updated to match the continued improvements made in other areas of the Creation Museum.

Our astronomer, Dr. Danny Faulkner, along with our graphic artists and animators will develop a spectacular new planetarium program to launch with this major upgrade.

Actually, $2 million for this project is much less than what it would normally cost—because we can do so much internally with our own technicians and fabricators. By the way, the renovation of Chicago’s evolution-based Adler planetarium cost $14 million in 2011.

Once we have half of the funds, we can submit deposits on the new equipment and get them ordered. (Some items are only made to order and take several months to obtain.) We would love to order as soon as possible so that we could have all the equipment and other items ready to install during the slower winter months—probably over a four-week period. The new planetarium would then be ready in 2020 when visitors begin pouring in.

The new planetarium would then be ready in 2020 when visitors begin pouring in.

Last year, many of you provided the needed funds for a major upgrade of our special effects theater at the Creation Museum. Our spectacular 4D theater is now open and receiving rave reviews from visitors.

This much-needed planetarium upgrade will be used to proclaim God’s Word and challenge people with the gospel. Stay up to date on current projects and see how to get involved at our donate page.

Thank you for your prayers and support of this significant upgrade that is so vital to the message and mission of the Creation Museum! Please watch this short video to see what’s next for the planetarium.

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