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How can anyone know what happened in the beginning if none of us were there? Ken Ham, AiG–U.S., explains.
Hi, folks, I understand you teach that the world was created in six days a few thousand years ago. I just have one question:
Were you there?
Thank you for sending us your question. The simple answer is “No, we were not there.” And we have never claimed to have been there. This question is based on one that God asked Job, “
Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding” (Job 38:4).
By asking a series of rhetorical questions, God demonstrated that Job’s knowledge was finite—compared to God, fallible humans know next to nothing!
Job responded correctly when he stated the following:
“I know that You can do everything, and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You. You asked, ‘Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. Listen, please, and let me speak; You said, “I will question you, and you shall answer Me.’ I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You. Therefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:1–6)
When teaching children, we tell them they should politely ask the question “Were you there?” when talking to someone who believes in millions of years and molecules-to-man evolution. If someone replies by asking the same question, as you have done, we say, “No we weren’t there, but we know Someone who was there, Someone who cannot lie, who knows everything, and has always existed. And this One has revealed to us what happened in the past in His history book called the Bible. Are you interested in reading God’s history book to find out what the Word of One who was there tells us about the true history of the world?”
Really the above simply illustrates the difference between historical and operational science. The word “science” primarily means “knowledge.” Operational science (based on our five senses, repeatable, observable, etc.) has enabled man to build wonderful technology. Whether one is an evolutionist or creationist, Christian or atheist, we basically agree on operational science. The disagreement comes when considering historical science—knowledge concerning the past when we were not there.
Recently there was a high profile murder trial in the USA. This trial highlighted the problem with historical science. The evidence presented by the prosecution was circumstantial evidence gathered in the present. Regardless of how much evidence they had, they could not absolutely prove (or prove beyond a reasonable doubt in the minds of the jurors) what happened in the past. In fact, there have been cases where people have been found guilty of a crime based on circumstantial evidence only to be found innocent later when more evidence (such as DNA) came to light.
The only way we can know for sure how the universe and life were formed is if an infallible eyewitness revealed to us what happened.The origins issue involves historical science. Certainly operational science can be used in the investigation. For instance, scientists can observe bacteria becoming resistant to antibiotics, and even understand why this happens (in many instances, it is because of a loss of genetic information). Scientists can observe new species forming. However, such evidence in the present does not provide a mechanism for molecules-to-man evolution over millions of years. Evolutionists use such evidence from the present and attempt to extrapolate back into history—claiming that the small changes they observe in the present ultimately lead to the big changes needed for molecules-to-man evolution. However, creationists claim that such changes do not provide the creation of brand new genetic information, which is necessary for molecules-to-man evolution.
The point is, the only way we can know for sure how the universe and life were formed is if an infallible eyewitness revealed to us what happened.
The Bible claims to be the Word of One who was there, who is infinite in knowledge and wisdom, and who has revealed in His written Word an account of the history concerning our origins. So we can correctly understand the present since we have an inerrant record of the past.
No, we were not there, but God was there and has always existed. His record of history—concerning Creation, the entrance of sin and death, the Flood of Noah’s day, the Tower of Babel, and so on—correctly explains the present. And evidence properly applied confirms the truth of this revelation.
Editor’s note: read Ken Ham’s blog post for today, which gives some background information behind the timing of this question.
Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ effectively. We focus on providing answers to questions about the Bible—particularly the book of Genesis—regarding key issues such as creation, evolution, science, and the age of the earth.