Many people ask: “Where did the name ‘Answers in Genesis’ come from? And what is its history—and why such a name for a ministry?” (That was especially asked by the media when they were covering the Creation Museum opening!)
At the very end of 1993, Mike Zovath, Mark Looy, and I officially formed a non-profit organization that was known as “Creation Science Ministries.” Mike, Mark, and I moved our families to the greater Cincinnati area—we felt it was important to locate near interstates, which would put us within a one-day drive of almost two-thirds of the U.S. population and a major airport. That was early 1994. After operating out of our homes for a few weeks, we were able to open modest offices in a small shopping center in Florence (northern Kentucky) in April of 1994.
Later that year, the board of the ministry met in Wyoming for a few days of prayer and meetings. As we talked, it became obvious that Creation Science Ministries was not a suitable name for a ministry that was set up to uphold the authority of God’s Word, proclaim the gospel, equip Christians to defend their faith with answers to skeptical questions, and challenge non-Christians with biblical truths. Yes, we used science, but we were much more than that. The word “answers” kept coming up in the board’s discussions.
As we talked, we recognized that God’s Word has been under attack ever since the event in Genesis 3 when the serpent tempted Adam and Eve to get them to doubt and disbelieve the Word of God. We recognized that the “answer” to mankind’s increasing disbelief of the Word was found in the Bible’s earliest chapters. What began with temptation by our adversary in the Garden of Eden is now a full frontal attack waged by secular humanists, and what is the main focus of their attack (which is actually strategically correct)? The foundational book of the Bible: Genesis.
Thus, the name “Answers in Genesis” came into being. It reflects the fact that even though we deal with the creation/evolution issue, the ministry is not just about creation—we proclaim the truth of all of God’s Word and equip people with answers to the questions leveled at Scripture today (e.g., What about the dinosaurs? Why can’t Christians believe in evolution? Haven’t the dating methods disproved the Genesis-creation account of six days? Where did the “races” come from? Who was Cain’s wife? etc.).
Also, we had found from experience that having the word “creation” in the title of the ministry caused many people to think that creation was all we dealt with, and therefore might hide the fact that we were also an evangelistic ministry. Plus the word “science” tended to cause people to think we only talked about “scientific” issues. They were concerned we might be too technical and “over people’s heads.”
We realized in late 1994 that the name Answers in Genesis would do the following:
- It would tell people there are ANSWERS. Most Christians can’t defend their faith, and they need answers to the skeptical questions of the age.
- To deal with GENESIS would help reinforce that Genesis is the foundational book of the entire Bible. Indeed, it is foundational to all Christian doctrine, to the gospel, and to the Christian worldview.
Renaming the organization Answers in Genesis was a defining point in our young history. We made the commitment to the Lord that we were not just about creation vs. evolution— we were an evangelistic ministry that was upholding the authority of the Word of God, giving answers to today’s skeptical questions, and proclaiming the gospel.
You will see this reflected all the way through our new Creation Museum: the words of Scripture are throughout, lots of answers are given the guests, and the gospel is clearly presented.
As I’ve often said, “There is no point in converting someone to become a creationist. They will end up in hell just like an atheist, unless they believe and trust in their Creator/Redeemer, Jesus Christ” (Colossians 1).
I trust you will now understand why one of my favorite verses which I associate with Answers in Genesis is this:
But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15).