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Who is the God at the Center of Young Earth Creationism? | Righting America

by Susan Trollinger and William Trollinger

Last Sunday, Sue gave our second of four presentations at Westminster Presbyterian Church, in Dayton, Ohio. Her session focused on creation science and, in particular, the arguments made by young Earth creationists that mobilize the discourse of science to “confirm” a particular literal reading of the early chapters in Genesis. Sue talked about the importance of The Genesis Flood (1961) for moving creationist arguments into science—the dominant discourse of truth within modernity. And she took the class on a brief tour of the Creation Museum and the creation science arguments made there.

Along the way, one member of the class expressed confusion and some dismay at what it would mean to take seriously the idea that God sent a global flood in judgment of all land-based living creatures who did not get on the Ark.

Noah’s Flood – or, better stated, God’s Flood – is indispensable to young Earth creationism. According to young Earth creationists, the Flood was a global event that took place approximately 4500 years ago and produced the fossil record and geological strata that we see today. That is to say, the Flood gives the young Earth its “appearance” of age.

Of course, built into the idea of a global Flood is global slaughter, as all humans and animals who were not on the Ark drowned. Answers in Genesis (AiG) does not shy away from highlighting what seems to many outsiders as the genocidal, zooicidal God of young Earth creationism. In fact, at Ark Encounter they ratchet it up by claiming that upwards of 20 billion human beings (2 ½ times the current world population) died in the Flood, not to mention the billions and billions of animals who died.

But why did God find it necessary to engage in such slaughter? From an Ark Encounter plaque entitled “Man Abuses God-Given Abilities,” visitors learn that

Man eventually spread across the earth, but rather than serving their Creator they became exceedingly wicked. In a little over 1,650 years [since the Garden of Eden], they had grown so vile that God judged the world with the global flood.

Later at Ark Encounter there is a series of four plaques that justify God’s actions in the global Flood. For one thing, God “is perfectly just” and thus “must judge sin” accordingly. Moreover, as God “is the one who gave life, He has the right to take life.” Anyway, “death is a merciful punishment,” as who wants “to live forever in a fallen world?”

As morally bizarre as all this is, Ark Encounter does not address why God had to drown infants and toddlers. Were they too so vile that they had to be killed? Was death merciful for them as well?

But then there are the animals. At the Creation Museum, there is a plaque entitled “The Flood Drowns the Earth” that answers the question asked at Westminster Presbyterian last Sunday:

Animal violence was everywhere, so animals everywhere had to be destroyed.

What? What does this mean?

Putting that question aside—really? “Justice” is so important for the young Earth creationist God that He’s good with causing millions (billions, perhaps, on AiG’s count) of innocent creatures, human babies and toddlers included, to suffer at His own hands?

This is the God we are to worship?