The evidence available to us today supports the historicity of Genesis. Del Tackett, the host of this feature, quite simply says that “Many things are pointing in one direction” regarding the veracity of the Biblical account. This project effectively illustrates how the Young Earth (YE) hypothesis holds weight. Incidentally, the film provides a robust apologetic for the existence of a Creator, which, given the evidence surveyed throughout the project, is quite an understatement.
Since the majority of scientists hold to an Old Earth (OE) model, one would expect that more of their voices be present in a documentary defending the YE view (especially when the subtitle reads: “Two competing views; One compelling truth”). But they aren’t, and this was my chief grievance with Is Genesis History?
I may be asking for too much, but each of the evidences given throughout the film could’ve had a feature-length documentary of their own, complete with views from all sides. Regardless, the YE view would’ve come out far stronger with the company of opposition.
Grievances aside, this documentary excels in three ways:
1.) Targeting the Reality of Assumptions and Paradigms
Everyone sees the world through a lens, and Is Genesis History? hits this crucial target within the first few minutes with discussion of “assumptions” and “paradigms.” The world as we know it is not neutral, but filtered. We all have a worldview, and grappling with that truth is the first necessary step to digging through enigmas like the origin of life and the universe.
I was pleased to hear the distinctions between the Bible and modern science regarding their approaches to explaining our world. The Bible answers the “what” (and “why”) of the universe while science answers the “how.” If we start with science, we get a reading of the past by what we find in the present. Starting with the Bible allows us a glimpse into the past with which we can understand the present.
The documentary repeatedly returns to the problem of OE assumptions. The key to evolution is time–millions of years. Without a large amount of time, they say, the OE model falls apart. Although addressing the assumption of the opposing view, the criticism was never applied to itself. I want to know the various assumptions that YE proponents hold scientifically, philosophically and theologically. However, this fault is forgivable if the film was primarily constructed as a defense for the YE view.
2.) A Defense of the Young Earth Model
In a way, this film acts as an apologetic for YE creationism. Every time I had a question brewing, Del asks it for me. The problems are laid out, and each finds a solution within the YE framework. For YE adherents, Is Genesis History? supplies ample confidence to quench doubts regarding a conservative reading of Genesis.
Since the majority of scientists disregard the YE model, this project offers a breath of fresh air to doubters in the YE camp and a chance for the underdog to hold its own in the boxing match of origin-of-the-universe theories.
For those wanting more, Is Genesis History? is a great primer for inspiring a deeper investigation (if one knows where to look, that is). The topics discussed, albeit presented unilaterally, are enough to whet the appetite for more.
3.) Laying Out the Evidence
As I mentioned before, the weight of explanatory power in the YE model is compelling. The chief reason this documentary film gets a good grade is in the way it was able to answer many questions reliably and reasonably. The way the scientists explained phenomenon in light of a YE view was clear and convincing, and it forces everyone to think about what’s being said.
I especially appreciated the presence of “epochs” (not to be confused with dispensations), each with unique characteristics, in the Bible was significant. Empowered by the contrast between reading the past in light of present and the present in light of past, the notion of epochs cuts through the haze and answers the riddles that the Biblical narrative speaks to us. Seeing history from Creation to the Fall to the Antediluvian epoch and ultimately to the Modern epoch, the Bible presents a coherent picture that is reinforced by the evidence.
Yet even if one disagrees with the YE model, the evidence presented, taken as a whole, inevitably points to a Creator. So the overall impression one gets from the material is that the existence of a Creator is not fanciful belief in a giant imaginary friend but a reliable trust in a transcendent being who’s always around the next corner of discovery.
Even without the presence of opposing voices, Is Genesis History? proves that the YE model is not destined for the fringes of intellectualism. At the very least, it shows overwhelming evidence of a Creator. No matter what opponents may say to the theories in the film, there is enough substantiated here that will prevent the YE model from going down easy. The professional quality of the film was also pleasing. The interviews, landscapes and illustrations all worked together to make not only a compelling, but an engaging experience.
Regardless of your disposition, I encourage you to watch Is Genesis History? because it substantiates an interpretation that deserves attention.
In addition to writing at A Clear Lens, Alex Aili (B.A. in Biblical Studies) writes short stories and offers his musings about God’s hand in the world at Covert God: Redemption in Shadows. He is a novelist-in-progress who lives in northern MN with his wife and two sons. He thrives on coffee, good pipe tobacco and longs walks in the woods. See what he’s up to on Twitter.