Would you go on an Answers in Genesis trip to the Grand Canyon?

Every year, Answers in Genesis sponsors a trip to the Grand Canyon and invites people from around the country to attend. I’ve been invited for this next summer and I need to decide if I’m going to go.

The point of the trip, of course, is to present data from the Grand Canyon that ostensibly supports a “young earth” understanding of creation. But, you don’t have to be a young earth creationist to attend. As I understand from people who have gone on previous trips, at least half of the group tends to be either undecided or openly in the “old earth” camp. So, it’s a good chance to interact with people from a variety of perspectives, even though the purpose of the trip is to provide arguments in favor of one particular perspective.

The bonus is that the trips are heavily subsidized. So, at the very least you end up with a pretty cheap river-rafting trip down the Grand Canyon. And, you get to hang out with professors from schools around the country at the same time.

So, what do you think? Would you go on a trip like this? Why or why not? Should I go?  I haven’t really commented much about creation issues on this blog, but I’m not a “young earth” guy. A trip down the Grand Canyon would be pretty amazing. I’m just trying to decide if this is the way I want to do it.

About Marc Cortez

Theology Prof and Dean at Western Seminary, husband, father, & blogger, who loves theology, church history, ministry, pop culture, books, and life in general.

Posted on December 10, 2010, in Creation and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 24 Comments.

  1. Reminds me of an episode of Dr Who when he takes a little trip to a place called Paradise with no life forms. Needless to say they breakdown and are taken over by an alien life form. Great dr Who moments…but a worry with AIG. lol.

  2. Sure, I’d go. Might be fun. I actually find creationist arguments interesting to listen to even if I don’t think they’re right.

  3. I’d go. But only if they paid for my wife too 😉 .

  4. I would absolutely love to go. I am one of those nuts who actually believes the bible means what it says without reading into years (or allegory) that aren’t there. So, I wouldn’t need to be convinced. I used to be agnostic about the earth’s age, but I have done a lot of research on my own, much of it before I ever heard of AiG, to come to the position I hold today. The world has done a great job of convincing many otherwise bible believing Christians that the first chapters of Genesis don’t mean what they say. This logical disconnect is a major reason so many people don’t believe scripture in general and think of Christianity as foolish at best. Frankly, I would have to agree. If you don’t think Genesis is true, why believe any of the rest of it?

    Anyway, as for AiG’s part of it, it is my understanding that their folks are firm in their beliefs, yet they don’t give people a hard time for holding different or opposing beliefs – Christian or otherwise. They offer their line of reasoning and leave it up to you to decide what to believe. I’ve never studied the geology of the Grand Canyon in any depth (pun intended), though when I was a kid I got to see it once. I was impressed with what a big hole in the ground it is. At one point you can see 14 miles across and about a mile down. I had no mental frame of reference (I’m from Indiana) for being able to see those kinds of distances so it was really wild to me.

    If (or since, as you indicated) you don’t hold a young earth position, I think it would be very challenging in a healthy sort of way to exercise your mind with or against what AiG has to teach while you exercise you body going down the rapids. I wish I could go. I miss the desert.

    • Hey Lance, thanks for the input. I think we should be careful, though, about saying that people who do not hold to a young earth understanding are failing to believe that “the Biblbe means what it says” or are allegorizing scripture in some way. I think we can meaningful and important conversations about what the Bible does say on this matter without questioning each other’s motives or their commitment to biblical authority.

      And, I appreciate your insight into how AIG works on these kinds of events. That’s encouraging.

      • Touche. I meant no disrespect. My opinion can be expressed rather strongly at times. I admit my feelings on this topic are rather strong. Its just that in my experience I have not seen a good explanation for belief in “old earth” creationism that didn’t require either allegorizing or reading into the scripture things that aren’t there.

  5. Marc,

    If you don’t mind me pushing a little, since you’re “old earth;” do you also hold to “progressive creationism,” or even “theistic evolution?” I realize that you don’t have to hold to either of these to be “old earth;” just curious.

    • The reason that I’m not a “young earth” guy is not because I hold to some particular perspective on creation (e.g., theistic evolution) but because I don’t think the biblical texts speak to the date and mechanics of creation. I don’t have any problem with wrestling with various theories of creation and examining their theological adequacy, but I don’t think that the biblical creation accounts commit us to any particular view.

      • Thanks Marc, my bad, I automatically assumed that since you aren’t a “young earth” guy you must be an “old earth” guy. I agree, I really don’t think Scripture, per se, speaks to either one of these issues (by intention).

      • I’m glad Bobby asked that question because I meant to ask it. I suppose then you just haven’t worked through this topic much in order to come to conclusion then?

        In your comment to Bobby you said: “I don’t think the biblical texts speak to the date and mechanics of creation.”

        As one of those nuts who has thought way too much about this topic, I would have to respectfully suggest that the bible indeed does speak very clearly as to age (date) of creation and to a substantially degree also various mechanics. There are both theological as well as practical considerations to all this. Many Christians do not concern themselves with these details and feel they are not particularly important. Okay, I’m not going to push. Its important to me, but it doesn’t have to be important to you. But, when you say the bible does not speak on a topic when in fact it clearly does, please don’t be surprised when you’re challenged. I would want to be. Rather than start a protracted debate on this here – I don’t think that was the intent of your post – I’ll leave it alone at that unless you want to go deeper. I’ve written quite a bit on this on a couple of other blog sites (bible.org and worldwidebiblestudies.org) and you can find plenty of other people who write on this subject from every other angle. I can certainly point you to some folks who hold very different views from me, if you like. The point is not whether I’m right and others are wrong – its what has God revealed and do we believe it.

        God created. Sin caused death. Death could not hold Jesus because he was sinless. Our hope for eternal life rests in Jesus authority to forgive our sin because he is victorious over death. If we agree on these truths then the rest is… academic. 🙂

  6. No, I don’t think I would, unless my area of research interest was creationism as a theology or historical movement. Though it would be more fun than going to the Creation Museum – I mean Grand Canyon vs. KY?! Easy choice, there.

  7. I began typing a response to your question, but it quickly turned into a polemic against creation science, so in turn I just posted it on my blog at http://www.undercoverheretic.wordpress.com. For some reason, I get all worked up about creation science, which is why I don’t think I could handle such a trip.

    I did, however, visit the Creation Museum a couple of years back for pure entertainment value. It’s amazing what $40 million dollars can do to a bad idea 🙂

    • It definitely sounds like you’d have a hard time enjoying a trip like this! I’m still weighing my options, but I appreciate the perspective.

  8. Hmm, heavily subsidized white water rafting trip down the Grand Canyon with potential for interesting discussion. Sounds like a winner. didn’t Gerry do this last summer?

    • Actually, Gerry went two summers ago and Todd went last year. They both said it was great and well worth the time. But they’re weird.

  9. Is there any way you can go and then get “lost” and go do your own thing?!

    I don’t think I’d want to hear the lecture, but, of course, as it has been stated above, this is probably because I don’t believe the Bible is true…or something like that. 🙂

  10. Lance, I appreciate your perspective on this, but I’m going to have to respectfully disagree. I haven’t made this an area of specialization, but I have done a fair amount of study and I’m very aware of most of the issues. And, I just don’t agree that the Bible speaks clearly to the date or specific mechanics of creation. I think it has some very important things to say about creation that have tremendously important implications for life and ministry. And, I think the Bible’s perspective on creation absolutely must serve as the starting point for any theologically adequate understanding of creation and as the framework within which any particular theory of creation has to function. So, I think the Bible offers a lot for understanding creation, but not the specific details that we’d like to have regarding the “when” and the “how.”

    But, in the end it sounds like we’re on the same page about theories of creation being secondary to the Gospel.

    • Thank you, Marc. Then we shall agree to disagree as to the matters of when and how and agree on the more vital matter of the relationship of the origin of sin and death and the solution in Christ.

  11. Well, I live in the Grand Canyon National Park and I’d say you’d be CRAZY not to go – even if you aren’t into their presentation – this is a once in a lifetime chance – if you say no, they aren’t going to come back and ask again so this is it – take it or leave it- I say take it. They called me once, I got nominated to go free (with another person) – but I had hurt may back bad at the time and just couldn’t go so I had no choice but to say no, not sure they are gong to consider me again. You should do it if anything for the chance just to go a day and a half down the river of one of “the” most amazing, terrible and wonderful places in the world.

    ps., you wouldn’t get a chance to meet up with me either since they meet up over in Vegas and go down the last section of the river.

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