Scopes & the Ten Commandments
Photo taken of Clarence Darrow (left) and William Jennings Bryan (right) during the Scopes Trial in 1925.

Scopes & the Ten Commandments

by Ken Ham
Featured in Answers Update

Removing the Ten Commandments from schools (and from a judicial building in Alabama) was headline news across America in 2003. But did you know there is a connection between these events and the 1925 Scopes trial?

While I was watching television news, I saw many people demonstrating in front of the court building in Alabama after the decision to remove the Ten Commandments monument as a public display. Some were lying prostrate on the ground, crying out to the Lord to stop this from happening. But how many of these people really understood the foundational nature of this battle?

If I had a camera and microphone in hand and asked many of the demonstrators, ‘Excuse me, do you believe in millions of years for the age of the earth—and what about the days of creation in Genesis 1?’—well, my long experience in creation ministry indicates that the answer would most likely be something like ‘What? They’re taking the Ten Commandments out—why are you asking me irrelevant questions?’

These questions do relate to the real reason the culture is acting this way.

Or if I asked, ‘Can you answer: where did Cain get his wife?’ they might say, ‘Can’t you see what’s happening? They’re taking the Ten Commandments out of a courthouse—don’t waste my time asking a question that has nothing to do with this!’

In fact, these questions do relate to the real reason the culture is acting this way.

During the Scopes trial (which concerned the teaching of evolution in public schools) and while the Christian prosecutor William Jennings Bryan was on the witness stand, the ACLU lawyer, Clarence Darrow, asked him similar questions.

I’m sure that some thought, ‘What has the age of the earth, the days of creation and Cain’s wife got to do with this trial?’ But actually, Darrow understood the connection—the same connection that these questions have to the Ten Commandments controversy today.

While in the witness box, Bryan, who stood for Christianity, couldn’t answer the question about Cain’s wife, and admitted he didn’t believe in six literal creation days but accepted the millions of years for the earth’s age.

That’s when Darrow knew he had won, because he had managed to get the Christian to admit, in front of a worldwide audience, that he couldn’t defend the Bible’s history (e.g. Cain’s wife), and didn’t take the Bible as written (the days of creation), and instead accepted the world’s teaching (millions of years). Thus, Bryan (unwittingly) had undermined biblical authority, and paved the way for secular philosophy to pervade the culture and education system.

Sadly, most Christians today have, like Bryan, accepted the world’s teaching and rejected the plain words of the Bible regarding history. Thus, they have helped the world teach generations of children that the Bible cannot be trusted in Genesis. After years of such indoctrination, a generation has now arisen that is also (logically) rejecting the morality based on the Bible. Today, we are seeing the increasing elimination of the Christian foundational structure in the nation.

This is just another vital reason as to why AiG has been raised up, and why the Creation Museum—which will tell the world that the Bible’s history (and thus morality and salvation) is true—is so needed today.


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