The Lie is one of those books that helped me navigate a crossroads in my life. It helped me to iron out a long-standing argument I had with myself. You see, I grew up in church, but like a lot of folks of my generation [Children of the 80s, X, Busters, whatever else the statisticians call us] I kind of graduated from church when I graduated from high school. One of the primary reasons for that was that I was taught millions of years of microbes to man evolution as scientific fact in high school. It was taught as immutable dogma; I even had one science teacher mock me early for my creationist beliefs, telling me I only believed what my parents told me to.
Now, I’m a fairly smart guy. In fact, I was a grade A nerd [until I turned into a rather foul-mouthed, chain smoking metal head], so being perceived as smart was very important to me. I accepted evolution because they told me that only an idiot would doubt science [and by that, they meant millions of years of evolution]. A decade later, I returned to the fold, but my views on the age of the earth and this evolution thing were decidedly vague. When she asked, I told my wife that I supposed God could have used evolution, and when folks in church started debating the age of the earth I insisted that they had to allow for long ages in the days of Genesis lest we cast a stumbling block on people like me.
I had an inconsistent and unexamined faith. I was avoiding the issue like the plague, precisely because it had unseated my faith before. Meanwhile intellectual integrity was demanding that I address the issue and settle it one way or another. I remember picking up a book called The Lie: Evolution, thinking my views on the age of the earth and evolution made me rather open-minded, and reading the following:
“The idea of open-mindedness comes from the notion that there is no such thing as absolute truth, or that truth cannot absolutely be known” [p. 4 *1987]
That shook me up a bit. Then Mr. Ham boldly addressed the reason I held such a contradiction:
“The secular humanists… fight to have prayer, Bible readings and the teaching of creation forced out of the public school curriculum. They have deceived the public into thinking this is eliminating religion from school and leaving a neutral situation. This is simply not true! They haven’t eliminated religion from the public school. They have eliminated Christianity and have replaced it with an anti-God religion – humanism.” [p. 36 *1987]
I had been indoctrinated by a well-meaning society that believed itself neutral into accepting the tenets of humanism: a causeless mechanistic universe, evolution over millions of years, the autonomy of man, pure naturalism, etc. But was it true? And how did I reconcile a purely naturalistic view of history with a supernatural revelation and the Gospel itself?
To make a long story short, Ken Ham’s book addressed many of these issues for me personally. The book’s primary argument is that we ought to hold the Word of God [the Bible] as our ultimate authority in whatever it speaks. His secondary argument is that acceptance of the all-natural history we are taught in the name of secular neutrality in fact undermines the authority of the Bible and the foundational basis of the Gospel, because “if death and bloodshed existed before Adam’s sinned, the basis for atonement is destroyed.” [p. 73 *1987]. Without a literal, historical Adam and Eve, there was no original sin resulting in the entrance of death into the world, and without original sin, no need for a Savior, for death was ever a necessary condition of the world.
Up to now, I have quoted from the original version [seventh printing] of the book. There are a few differences between the original 1987 version and the 2012 revised version. The most obvious changes are the cover design, some changes in the appendices, the size of the books and the addition of Millions of years to the subtitle. The latter change represents a subtle shift in focus in the book, reflective of the change Answers in Genesis’ message has undergone over the years. In essence, the message has matured. If anything, Ham’s message is bolder. He doesn’t pull any punches with the hot button issues of our day. In part, this is because he can draw on the research conducted with America’s Research Group for Already Gone and Already Compromised; what had to be said with caution 25 years ago can now be proclaimed with confidence because statistics have confirmed our worst fears!
I personally think that the book’s added focus on the age of the earth is quite necessary. Many pastors, teachers and religious personalities rightly reject microbes-to-man evolution as antithetical to supernatural creation, but arbitrarily accept millions of years of death before the Fall, unwittingly undermining the Gospel. An appendix aptly entitled, Millions of Years or Evolution: Which is the Greater Threat? Lists three major problems with imposing an old earth on the Bible. There are also two more appendices on other “interpretations” of Genesis and on how and why Answers in Genesis’ message has matured over the past 25 years. These replace two appendices [“Twenty Reasons Why Genesis and Evolution Don’t Mix” and “Why Did God Take Six Days?”] found in the original. These original appendices were included in the 1987 edition because of a lack of creationist materials at the time; the three replacement appendices are supplied to “help detail the reasoning behind the considerable changes made throughout [this new edition” [p. 22 *2013]. Just for fun, there’s also a “Ken Ham Time-line” at the end of the book, which is unexpectedly intriguing.
I’ve always wondered why they changed the cover. I finally got my answer in the Introduction to the 2012 edition:
“A few years after the first printing, the publisher decided to change the cover but still have an illustration that represented [the] Genesis 3 attack. Even though I loved the original cover (and personally still think its the best), I understood the change because certain people felt the cover was a bit too scary looking.” [p. 24 *2012]
Well, as an artist, I agree with Ken Ham on this one. That first cover [at left] did a much better job of conveying both the threat and the root of the Genesis 3 attack. Bring back the “scary looking” cover! Seriously, guys, the first time I glanced at the cover, I had to look again to see whether I was looking at a snake or a really angry toad; it’s not that scary. But it is cool. On the flipside, I do approve of the updated the interior illustrations [Steve Cardno’s work was great, but they look a little dated when compared to AiG’s contemporary graphics], so thank you, Dan Lietha!
You can find out more about The Lie [including book trailers and related videos] at: http://nlpgblogs.com/ken-hams-25th-anniversary-edition-of-the-lie/.
-Rev Tony Breeden, from the Bookwyrm’s Lair
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the New Leaf Publishing Group Book review program on CreationConversations.com <http://www.creationconversations.com/group/bookreviewersfornewleafpublishinggroup>. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”