Review “Is Genesis History?”

As amazing as it may seem that a creation science nerd like myself had not yet seen Is Genesis History? I had not seen the documentary, which, incidentally, was released in 2017, until the day before sitting down to write this.  Therefore, this will function as my review of Is Genesis History?.  There will also be reviews of the Beyond Is Genesis History? series, as well as Genesis: Paradise Lost and The Riot and the Dance coming at some point in the future once I actually watch them. So, with that out of the way, let’s talk about Is Genesis History?

Is Genesis History? is structured very much like a documentary. It works very well for the film. The film is produced and narrated by Del Tackett but Tackett’s speaking parts are basically to provide an outline for the film.  The majority of the educational information in the documentary comes from Ph.D. creation scientists from a variety of disciplines and in a variety of settings.

The first creation scientist Tackett interviews is Dr. Steve Austin. Austin, most well known for his proposal of a floating log mat that laid down the coal layers, talks to Tackett about the Grand Canyon and how it exemplifies the Flood geology. He gives some specific examples about how the layers in the fossil record do not testify to millions of years. Instead, the lack of erosion between the layers and the bevelling of the layers points to rapid deposition and rapid erosion post-flood. Austin presents solid information and, against the backdrop of the Grand Canyon, his explanations are easy to visualize. He provides some needed perspective on flood geology.

Tackett then transitions to Dr. Paul Nelson, a fellow at the Discovery Institute and professor at Biola University.  Nelson is one of several scientists interviewed in this documentary who does not work for a creation science ministry.  His interview feels like one of the weaker segments of the documentary.  He attempts to make the classic creationist worldview argument and does it well, but, because he uses the word “paradigm” rather than what most creationists are used to (worldview), it is possible to get lost there. This section is actually carried by Tackett who makes the points about Genesis being the source of our understanding of death, sin, suffering and so on.

Fortunately for the viewer, Tackett’s next PhD is Dr. Steven Boyd, a Hebraist, and teacher at Hebrew Union College. Again, Dr. Boyd does not work for a creation ministry, but he is brilliant in his section of Is Genesis History?. Boyd does an excellent job dismantling the view that Genesis 1-11 is legend, myth or allegory. He does so with passion, fire, and vigor. This will be a section to watch multiple times as Dr. Boyd makes a clear, inspired argument for a literal Genesis.

Dr. Andrew Snelling of Answers in Genesis makes the next appearance to discuss the age of the earth and, as usual, is on fire. Wisely the filmmakers gave Snelling one of the longest slots in the film.  American viewers will appreciate Dr. Snelling’s Australian accent, but, more importantly, Snelling explains in very simple, understandable terms the inconsistencies of radiometric dating.  His explanation of why radiometric dating cannot be used to demonstrate millions of years is excellent and he goes further to explain why evolutionists ignore evidence to maintain the millions of years. This section, as well as Dr. Boyd’s,  are the ones to show to your old-earth Christian friends.

While Snelling is a brilliant communicator and an expert in geology, no one matches Dr. Kurt Wise for enthusiasm. Wise explains the assumptions of uniformitarianism that are inherent in modern geology and why this assumption fails. Wise talks about the preflood and postflood world as well. He has some very definite ideas about the preflood world which are not conveyed in Is Genesis History? which some creationists are leery of but overall, Wise does a good job explaining some of the things that changed on the earth after the Flood.

Tackett then interviews Dr. Marcus Ross, who teaches at Liberty University.  I am very leery of Ross in general, given his previous work with the Discovery Institute and his promotion of BioLogos material in his apologetics classroom.  However, in Is Genesis History? Ross is spot on. He discusses marine fossils on mountaintops, as well as fossil graveyards, the Cambrian explosion and other fossil discoveries that challenge evolutionary dogma. While Ross does really well here, it would be wise to be skeptical of things he produces given his association with Liberty, BioLogos, and Discovery Institute.

Dr. Arthur Chadwick is the next scientist to present. Dr. Chadwick is a complete unknown to me. He brings fossil expertise to Is Genesis History?  including allowing them to film on a fossil dig. Dr. Chadwick discusses fossilization, transitional forms, and fossil graveyards. This section is not that strong. Chadwick does not make many applications to a creationist worldview, other than debunking some aspects of transitional forms.

While Chadwick is not ideal, he is followed by Dr. Kevin Anderson who is excellent.  Anderson discusses dinosaur soft tissue and shows some clips of dinosaur tissue that is still soft and pliable. The footage is incredible and Dr. Anderson does an excellent job explaining the history of soft tissue finds, as well as debunking evolutionary efforts to explain them. He also explains how dinosaur soft tissue undermines millions of years of evolution.  Anderson is an excellent communicator so this is a section that you will want to listen to again.

Hot on Anderson’s heels is Dr. Robert Carter, a marine biologist who works for CMI. Carter is a treasure, with an excellent grasp of genetics and biology.  He does an excellent job explaining what evolution is, and why it cannot explain the origin of species. The complexity of life is simply too much for evolution.  He also points out the massive volume of missing links that undermine evolutionary dogma. Then he talks about the incredible, impossible complexity of the genome and how it defies evolution. Carter has a very long segment but its worth every minute. He almost matches Wise for enthusiasm and is more orthodox and enjoyable to listen to.

Unfortunately, he is followed by Dr. Todd Charles Wood. Wood is perhaps the least orthodox member of the Is Genesis History? team. I’ve written extensively against his view of baraminology on these pages. On top of that, he has recently published a book with a theistic evolutionist who works for BioLogos. Wood discusses created kinds and stays fairly orthodox in the process.  Despite being served a softball to meander into his mediated design hypothesis, Wood remained in orthodoxy during the film. However, I would be highly skeptical of anything he produces in the future.

Fortunately, after Wood comes the all too short session with Dr. Danny Faulkner. Faulkner is an astronomer with Answers in Genesis. Faulkner as always does an excellent job explaining why astronomy demonstrates the hand of the Creator as well as discussing the light travel problem in a clear, concise manner as only his unique perspective can. Further, he demonstrates numerous problems with the big bang model of origins. This section is excellent.

Tackett then talks to Dr. Douglas Petrovich who is an archaeologist. He discusses how the Bibel relates to archaeology, as well a proposes a location for the Tower of Babel. Petrovich gives excellent evidence that the dispersion from Babel happened just as the Bible said. This section might be hard for anyone not into archaeology to follow but is well worth listening to, as it provides excellent evidence for the historicity of Genesis.

The documentary closes with a visit to Dr. George Grant who again is a stranger to me.  Grant ties together a lot of aspects of the film by talking about the necessity of Genesis in the modern world.  He explains the fall and the necessity of a literal Adam and Eve as well as how Genesis influences the New Testament.  It is a solid way to bring all the pieces together and show the relevance of Genesis as history.

Is Genesis History? is an excellent documentary that does a good job explaining why Genesis is historical narrative and is foundational to the Bible. It has a few let downs, but no documentary is perfect.  It is well worth purchasing if you have not done so already and watching with your kids.  It will strengthen their faith as well as challenge any mistaken beliefs they may have acquired.

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