“Begin at the beginning,” the King said gravely, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop.”
—from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
In Part Two of my series on the Creation Museum, we visit the Garden of Eden.
At the end of Part One we were learning how evil the world is because we have abandoned God. Abandoning God, so far as the museum is concerned, means abandoning the idea that every word in the Bible is literally true. Even if you’re Christian, if you don’t accept this, you might as well worship Satan. The museum attempts to reconcile the things we can see and know to be true with the literal words of the Bible. And, when we get into the nitty-gritty of the Garden of Eden, things inevitably get a little strange.
First, a room that’s all about the origins of the Universe. Here, we mainly have video loops on a bunch of televisions, accompanied by pictures giving a large-scale context.
Before you get to this room you (if you want) sit through an introductory movie, in a theater-like setting on a very large screen, going through the Six Days of Creation. The movie, and this room, seem to be geared toward starting conversations among visiting groups. I even saw people taking notes.
Or, you can just watch television.
Should you need to bail at this point, an emergency exit is provided.
I encourage you to stick with it. It gets weird, but it’s worth it.
There is also more reading material. There is a lot of reading involved in a visit to this museum.
And now we come to it: the Garden of Eden. A good amount of time and money was clearly spent on this impressive set of exhibits.
Here, Adam is naming all the animals.
The penguin looks out of place in a tropical jungle, but the animals were brought there by God to be named, so presumably he got a ride back to the Antarctic after picking up his name. Right now he’s thinking, “Boy, it sure is hot here.”
Notice also how strategic fauna and flora hide the important bits of Adam’s nakedness, despite his lack of shame.
At some point you’ve either asked, or heard someone ask, how Adam could possibly have had time to sit there and name all the animals.
As it turns out, it was easy. First of all, he only named certain kinds of animals: birds and cattle and beasts of the field. Second, there weren’t as many different animals then as there are now.
And thus, we are introduced to one of the important premises of the museum: animal “kinds.” Animals, so the story goes, have “kinds,” for example the “dog kind.” All the different breeds of dog are just variations on that “kind,” which is programmed into every dog’s DNA. You’ll be hearing a lot more about this before your visit is done.
Yes, there were dinosaurs in the Garden of Eden. There had to be: dinosaurs existed, after all.
But, here’s something new: dinosaurs were vegetarians back then. All of them. Velociraptors, Tyrannosauruses, all of them. In the Garden of Eden, a perfect creation, animals didn’t eat each other.
So, apparently animals can just eat what they feel like eating, without any particular dietary needs, and they didn’t want to eat other animals then. Try feeding your dog a vegetarian diet and see how well that goes. (Seriously, don’t do that: it won’t go well for him.)
And then, Eve came along. Here we see Adam and Eve getting ready to make a porno.
Here’s another angle on that, in case you weren’t sure. They’re married, so it’s okay.
Note that God gave Eve really long hair, such that the naughty bits might be covered despite her lack of shame.
“God made male and female fit for different roles from the beginning.” Doesn’t that sound just a little creepy?
Adam and Eve provided the prototype for the institution of marriage. Since they were man and woman, well, you know what you’re supposed to think about those icky gay people who want hospital visitation and the same tax benefits as everyone else.
On the Eighth Day, God created beard trimmers.
See, they were warned about that apple tree, but they were too busy doing other things to take note of it.
“Wait, what was that thing He said about the apples?”
“I dunno, but they look pretty good, try one!”
I thought Eden was a perfect creation: surely God created the Serpent, too. Why? That’s one common question the museum doesn’t try to answer.
After the Fall, there is this inexplicable door with lots of locks. Scrawled into the wood: “The world’s not safe any more.” This bit of conceptual art is very out of place, unlike anything else in the Museum, but it’s kind of cool.
Now we have an impressive photography exhibit showing all the horrible things that are in the world because of that stupid apple: a starving child, a wolf standing over its kill, a nuclear mushroom cloud, skulls of genocide victims, a woman experiencing the pain of childbirth, a tornado, and a man shooting heroin.
Now, we rejoin Adam and Eve, already in progress.
Having sinned, they now must cover their nakedness, and fig leaves won’t do, nor cotton: only the skins of slaughtered animals will suffice to cover sin. Christ has not yet arrived to take their punishment, so blood sacrifice is required.
Thus, these were the first animals killed, to provide clothing for Adam and Eve.
Eve looks pretty upset for a girl getting a new outfit.
At this point, while humans remained vegetarians, animals began eating each other. It’s not made clear why; presumably they were like, “Well, if they can kill animals, so can we, and, you know what, yum!”
Here, a dinosaur relishes its kill. This exhibit is robotic: the dinosaur moves around and scares the children. Eeek!
All the bad things in the world began at this point, even disease and natural catastrophes. They really blew it, in other words.
“The stupid apple wasn’t even that good.”
Adam now has to work for a living, raising crops for food, and dealing with the kids.
You know this one speaks to the man in the audience who feels trapped in a loveless marriage with the girl he knocked up on prom night. Now he has someone to blame. And take it out on.
Eve, barefoot and pregnant as the Good Lord intended.
And, with that particularly offensive bit of propaganda, we come to the end of Part Two. Stay tuned for Part Three, in which we learn about the Great Flood, which, as it turns out, explains everything from fossils to the Grand Canyon. Check back soon!