Louisville Magazine

JAN 2017

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

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56 LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 12.16 and his family and lots of animals, the lost world needs to accept Jesus Christ as their savior and their redeemer." I asked what they would say to some- one who didn't believe in the Ark story. "Read the King James Bible," Cyndie said. "Because faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." After I thanked them for their time, Joseph said, "Just curious — where do you stand on all of this?" "Me?" I said. "I'm a reporter. I just listen." e four faces blinked. en Joseph repeated: "But where do you stand on all of this?" "Well," I said, "I think we're always learning from new experiences, and we are tiny and the cosmos is so much larger than we can imagine, and, the truth is, we really don't know anything." e faces stared. en Cyndie said: "at's where the Bible comes in. It has all the answers." ere were no clocks on the walls of the Ark, and listening to the soundtrack of triumphal cymbals, I was reminded of the numbing placidity of dawdling for hours inside a shopping mall. I wondered if, for some Christians, this was a safe space where they could share their faith. So I asked a young cou- ple, Jeremy and Sarah Strooksbury, why they came to the Ark. ey lived in Knoxville, but had taken a trip here with their church, the Eagle Bend Apostolic Church. "It's cool to see a proportionate model of the Ark to help us understand the story better," Jeremy said. Sarah taught eighth-grade science, but she was skeptical of evolution. She told me that a new body of facts indicated that "a supernatural being created natural facts." She went on: "ere are irreduc- ibly complex systems, like an eyeball, that evolve from this original, simple cell — how did they get there? ings can't just pop into being. It doesn't make sense." I asked if she taught evolution in her class. "I have to. It's the law. ey always tell me to give one answer: Natural law does not allow for a creator that's supernatural, and God is supernatural. I can't do a unit on the Ark in a public school, so I teach the curriculum. But I say, 'Here's what I believe. It makes sense that it would happen this way, too, just look at the facts.'" Two scientists who worked for An- swers in Genesis were meeting journalists on the third deck. e first scientist, Georgia Purdom, had received her Ph.D. in molecular genetics from Ohio State University. She now oversaw the Ark's research in biology. Purdom told me that the larger scientific community considered the Bible to be myth because they started with a different viewpoint. I asked what that viewpoint was. "We believe it because the Bible says it, and because what we see in the world confirms it. We have a reasonable faith. Evolutionists have a blind faith. To them, if you include God in your reasoning, they rule it out. Because that's not part of their belief system — and it is a belief system. People want to say that this is religion versus science. But it's religion versus religion." e conversation drifted to the next stages of the Ark construction. Answers in Genesis had purchased 800 acres on this site, and they were planning "a Tower of Babel and a first-century village, just like Jesus would've lived in," Purdom said. (Later, Marsh elaborated: "e Ark is just the introduction — we're going to build a walled city next. It's like a main- stream Disney, with streets and shops and entertainment places," including an amphitheater for 35,000 people, sites that will house biblical artifacts, and a Ten Plagues ride.) "So why an Ark?" I said. "Why build it at all?" "We want people to see that the Bible is true," Purdom said. "Just as there was a judgment in Noah's day, there's another judgment coming, and those who don't know Jesus Christ as their personal savior will spend eternity in hell." Purdom introduced me to geologist Andrew Snelling, who followed Ken Ham to the U.S. from Australia and for the last nine years has been the director of research for Answers in Genesis. I said, "ere were dinosaurs on the Ark, right?" Snelling nodded. "Right." "en why aren't there dinosaurs today?" "Dinosaurs went extinct after they left the Ark. After the Flood, we had the Ice Age. We had a radically different world. Some creatures weren't able to adapt. But most cultures in the world have some legend about dragons, and these dragons are actually a good description of dino- saurs. e Chinese, for example — their dragons are depicted on scrolls pulling the chariots of emperors. And there was a story called Beowulf in which the king slays a dragon, and this happened in Norway." "So you take Beowulf to be evidence of dinosaurs existing?" "Yes," Snelling said. "It was an eyewit- ness account." I went down the last ramp and into a gift shop, peering at wooden staves priced at $22.99, earrings labeled "Fair Trade" ($9), Noah's Ark 3-D foam puzzles ($6.99), bars of soap and bamboo flutes and Ark lunchboxes, a "Recycled Oil Drum Sculpture" of an elephant. I turned the tag twined round its ankle: $3,499. e doors outside led to the end of the Ark opposite where I had entered, and "e Ark is just the introduction," VP of design and attractions Patrick Marsh said. "We're going to build a walled city next. It's like a mainstream Disney, with streets and shops and entertainment places," including an amphitheater for 35,000 people, sites that will house biblical artifacts, and a Ten Plagues ride.

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