Is ignorance bliss?
How the world responds to the challenge of biblical creation
Published: 29 July 2021 (GMT+10)
First published in a CMI-UK/Europe Update newsletter, November 2020
During the annual Erskine Motorbike Meet (near Glasgow, Scotland) in 2018, I had an interesting dialogue with three bikers, two men and a woman. Waiting for the kick-off, they were enjoying the Scottish sunshine where our church was serving drinks. A biker myself, I struck up a conversation.
Although closely related, they all had a different ‘approach’ to our chat. One of the men was very open, without the slightest hint of antagonism towards Christianity. In some ways, his attitude is reminiscent of the few in Acts 17:34 who believed. The other man hardly spoke, but I believe he was listening. Perhaps he was a thinker, open to hear more (cf. Acts 17:32b).
The woman seemed to have the hardest heart and was opposed to the Christian faith (cf. Acts 17:32a). She had grown up with a Christian background but had renounced it. Asking her what caused this, she replied (paraphrased):
“I had many questions that people did not answer.”
I asked her to share some, to see if I could help. She gave no examples. Pressing her gently, the topic changed to fossils that, she claimed, proved that evolution was true. Although not a palaeontology expert myself, I asked her what fossil in particular had caused her to reject God’s Word. No examples of fossils were forthcoming; instead an overwhelming silence.
She did not ask for a reason for the hope that is in me (1 Peter 3:15). However, it is surely not unreasonable for Christians to query why people believe what they believe, or why they don’t believe what they reject. The lady remained silent which, to me at least, implied she did not really want answers; she is a sad example of many who do not want to believe the Bible is true. They are content with the status quo.
Lack of knowledge
Often, Christianity is brushed aside as irrelevant, an unreasonable, blind faith. More to the point, Christians who uphold the first 11 chapters of Genesis find these are under attack above any other part of Scripture. Opinions about the Bible and the Creator abound outside the Church. Frequently these are strawmen arguments,1 not biblically sound ones. Of course, many hold blatantly anti-biblical views. Scripture teaches God created mankind in His image, but ever since the Fall, mankind has rejected the true God and, instead, has invented gods of his own (idols)—see Broken images. No matter how fallacious, people cling to these unbiblical views. Not surprisingly, a god made in your image is undoubtedly more convenient than the God of the Bible, who is perfectly just, and condemns every little trespass that deviates from His good, acceptable and perfect will (Romans 12:2).
I suggest two reasons why many dismiss biblical creationist thinking:
- They are genuinely ignorant that such a view exists and/or that there are people with sound reasons for believing it; or
- They are wilfully ignorant that such a view exists/such people exist.
Ignorant by default
Category 1 contains many people, especially where a Judeo-Christian heritage is not a prevalent part of the culture. Their ignorance is largely by default. In such cases, evolutionism, in any shape or form, seems to be the only answer to the big question, ‘How did we get here?’ Variants of this worldview are compatible with pantheistic or polytheistic religions. Such origin views lead to very disappointing answers for the next big question: ‘Why am I here?’ For most people, ‘you live, you pay taxes, you die’ simply won’t do. But if we are nothing more than evolved pond scum (from-goo-to-you-via-the-zoo), then no matter how much fun you have, how much money you earn, or how many people you help, in the end it is all vanity (Ecclesiastes 1:2–4).
What hope remains for the third big question of life: ‘What happens when I die?’ In short, if naturalism rules and no God exists, your body gets recycled, end of story. This dark and gloomy prospect of life (present and future) is in stark contrast to the Gospel of Light. Jesus provides a way—the only Way—to God the Father (John 14:6). He promises a New Heaven and New Earth where “death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore” (Revelation 21:4). Its citizens will have new bodies (2 Corinthians 5:1). This is the Good News that Christians are commanded to preach to the world (Mark 16:15), hopefully so people can respond accordingly, leading to the salvation of their precious souls.
Ignorant on purpose
Wilful ignorance (category 2) means to deliberately stay uninformed, even when information is available. There are two subcategories, both of which include a wilful rejection of a person’s accountability to God’s Word (2 Peter 3:5):
- Those who know where to find information, but choose not to investigate (poor scholarship);
- those who arbitrarily renounce the arguments without proper rebuttal (poor intellectual integrity).
Thinking of point a), unlike evolutionists, biblical creationists do not receive tax money to promote their views, nor are they published in the officially-approved textbooks. Furthermore, we are rarely interviewed by the secular media. Meanwhile, evolutionists vehemently oppose anything we stand for. They actively censor us—but such no-platforming in democratic countries clearly contradicts the principle of free speech.
At least some awareness about the controversy still exists in society. For example, best-selling author Dan Brown, aiming to ridicule Creation Ministries International, wrote our website URL into his 2017 book, Origin. We hope some readers visited creation.com to earnestly review our position. However, many in category a) will not give CMI and other biblical creationists a fair hearing. Instead, they prefer to maintain an incorrect understanding of what we supposedly believe. That allows them to continue to mock, scoff, ridicule, and to remain smugly comfortable in their (un)belief.
Those in category b) have investigated the creationist perspective (to a greater or lesser extent), yet continue to misrepresent us, deliberately or through lack of understanding—often the former. They reject our scientific conclusions simply because they are ideologically opposed to our viewpoint on origins (and in the case of professing believers, they are opposed to our theology also). In other words, in spite of their protestations to the contrary, their rejection is not due to bad science on our part, but it is because we constantly highlight the incompatibility of true science with evolution.
Both varieties of wilful ignorance flow from not wanting there to be a Creator to whom we are accountable. Some people know where the light-switch is, but won’t flick it, remaining in the dark. Others have turned the light on, and quickly turned it off, not liking what they saw and not wanting others to see it either.
Do you know people who fit into any of these categories? There are many bad reasons why people reject creation ministry—see Countering blockers and knockers.
Some are genuinely ignorant of biblical creation, holding instead to the evolutionary worldview by default. They have little or no awareness of Christianity and the Bible. Others perhaps have read Genesis 1–11, taking it as written, but haven’t further considered it, unaware of the creation/evolution debate or why it matters.
Then there are the wilfully ignorant.2 Some just won’t investigate the information, perhaps too caught up with life. Others sense there’s truth in what they’re ignoring but won’t submit to the Lord God for fear that their lifestyle might have to change. They want to remain in charge, calling the shots.
Some have a blind faith that others have done the research, so they can safely ignore the Bible’s claims. It is a big gamble to stake one’s eternal destiny on the fallible opinions of others. Anyone in this position should listen to the first five minutes of a lecture by evolutionist Dr Colin Patterson (1933–1998), “Can you tell me anything about Evolution?”3
Some of the wilfully ignorant flatly reject the information disseminated by biblical creationists.
There is nothing wrong with rejecting something fallacious. Indeed, Christians are exhorted to “test everything; hold fast what is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21). It’s a sound principle for everyone. But if an evolutionary hypothesis is genuinely refuted, it should be discarded. Often, however, a rescue device is substituted instead—an evolutionary just-so story. But it will not withstand scrutiny because stories are not science.
Whichever category people fit, it’s wonderful when ‘the lights go on’ and they are helped to see the truth, aided by good apologetics materials, like Garret P. who shared on CMI’s Facebook page:
Thanks so much for the work you guys do. I’ve been obsessed with the creation/evolution topic for about 25 years now and it’s strengthened my faith. It took several years to work through the skepticism … then it just clicked. Everything made sense, even outside of this issue. Our base worldview impacts so much.
Fred J. from my own native country of The Netherlands also shared this wonderful testimony through Facebook:
[Creation Magazine Live!] (and CMI) were instrumental in my leaving atheism and bowing down to God who created all. I can’t thank you all enough, may He bless you according to His riches.
Praise God! The coffin of evolution has many nails, frequently hammered in by its own supporters.4 To Band-Aid their pet ideas, evolutionists continue to spin elaborate fabrications that supposedly explain everything, but end up explaining nothing very well (see Having your cake, and eating it). To them, the alternative is unthinkable. Napoleon is said to have remarked: “Man will believe anything, as long as it’s not in the Bible.” The inspired words of the Apostle Paul (Romans 1:25) accurately diagnose the human heart:
… they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
Ignorance certainly is not bliss!
The Bible is clear: if any continue in darkness, rejecting the gracious gift of eternal life made possible through the precious blood of Christ at Calvary, they will perish in Hell. These are strong words, but true. Two well-known Bible verses are John 3:16 & 19:
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. … And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.
People don’t want their evil works to be exposed (v. 20) so hide them in darkness. To reject the light (i.e. Jesus Himself, see John 1:4; 1 John 1:5) has eternal consequences. Those who take God at His Word realise the Bible is a lamp to their feet and a light to their path (Psalm 119:105). Faithful Christians should share this Good News to enlighten the world, because many people are not illuminated and Jesus is their only hope.
References and notes
- Misrepresentations of actual Bible teaching. Return to text.
- Visit creation.com/age-of-the-earth and read some of the comments at the foot of the article; it is eye-opening to see examples of wilful ignorance. Return to text.
- Patterson, C., Can You Tell Me Anything About Evolution? at: The American Museum of Natural History, New York, 5 November 1981. Available (with transcript): uncommondescent.com/evolution/colin-patterson-can-you-tell-me-anything-about-evolution-that-is-true/ Return to text.
- When one self-described evolutionist, but neo-Darwinism critic, penned his book (Denton, M., Evolution: A theory in crisis, Burnett Books, 1985), others immediately suspected he was a creationist—which he is not—and (r)ejected him. Return to text.