Has Ken Ham Embraced Evolution?

Young-earth creationists have embraced speciation—within defined limits, mind you—almost as long as young-earth creation has been a movement.

What young-earth creationists deny is that speciation has occurred at the levels of order, class, phylum, or kingdom. One order of animals cannot change into another order of animals; animals and plants do not share a common ancestor. In other words, unless I am misunderstanding something, the article Keathley cites is really only saying what young-earth creationists have said all along—that micro-evolution does occur and that it occurs at and below the level of family.

 

Kenneth Keathley, a professor at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, described on his blog how Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis has changed his position on one key element of evolution (see “Ken Ham Embraces Evolution”). He pointed to an article in the latest issue of Answers magazine, a publication of Answers in Genesis, and said, “The article is noteworthy because it argues for macro-evolution; the theory that the species of today evolved from prior, extinct species.” If true, this is indeed a substantial and noteworthy shift. Not surprisingly, Dr. Keathley’s blog post was soon distributed through social media where some people reacted with more than a little surprise. But I don’t think Ken Ham or his organization have actually embraced evolution of the kind Keathley describes.

Keathley’s main point is the claim that young-earth creationists, Ken Ham foremost among them, are now embracing what he describes as macro-evolution. Looking at the Answers article and citing both a paper delivered at ETS and a book published by an Answers in Genesis geologist, Keathley says, “In their academic and scholarly writings, members of Answers in Genesis have started to accept the notion that species evolve into other species. … They are acknowledging that, indeed, the fossil record does in fact give evidence of transitional life forms. They seem to be trying to go where the evidence leads them and at the same time continue to hold to their core beliefs.”

But I don’t think the evidence Dr. Keathley offers backs up his claim. If I understand correctly, what he describes is “speciation,” “the formation of new and distinct species in the course of evolution.” But there is no controversy here. Young-earth creationists have embraced speciation—within defined limits, mind you—almost as long as young-earth creation has been a movement. Henry Morris was referencing it as far back as 1961 in The Genesis Flood and he himself was drawing on the work of his predecessors. Young-earth creationists have been articulating their understanding of limited speciation from science and from Scripture for a long time. So, too, have Ken Ham and Answers in Genesis.

You see, young-earth creationists believe that God created “kinds” of living things, taking their cue from the repeated use of “kind” in Genesis 1—God created plants and animals “each according to its kind.” But what is a “kind?” The answer to that question makes a world of difference. To answer it you will need to think back to science class and the classification or taxonomy of living things. Living things are classified in groupings that get progressively more numerous, beginning with kingdom and ending with species.

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