When I first read Ken Ham’s take on the Nepal earthquake, I decided to ignore it. I thought nobody would take him serious anyway, at least not in my little, Dutch-speaking part of the world. But then some approving comments on Ham appeared on social media. That made me reconsider my initial choice.
The reason is simple. Not only does Ham ignore main stream science, while I firmly believe in the importance of a dialogue between science and theology. But, moreover, his view is problematic from a theological perspective.
Even if we ignore the scientific nonsense in Ham’s article, we have to question his image of God. Ham argues that:
“This global catastrophe (i.e. the Flood)—a judgment on man’s wickedness—completely reshaped the globe.”
So, according to Ham, God punished humanity more than 4000 years ago, thereby changing the material structure of Earth in a way that allows earthquakes to happen. In short, when following Ham’s reasoning we have to conclude that the earthquake in Nepal is the result of a chain of events that has been initiated (well knowing what would happen) by God. That implies that Ham, pretending to follow Scripture as closely as possible (and mistaking a literal reading of Scripture for a faithful one, but that’s another story), not only believes that God punishes humanity, but, more in particular, that the punishment of the Flood continues, even in our days. I might be mistaken, but why then did God place a rainbow at the end of the Flood? Was he making a divine – or, rather, devilish – joke? Or what should we make of it, when God “said in his heart”:
Never again will I curse the ground because of humans, even though every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done.
My suggestion is that Ham not only reads Scripture literally, thereby reducing the revelatory nature of the Bible to what humans are able to express, but that he reads Scripture selectively, in order to be able to cling to a wrathful, revengeful God. Why he does this, I wouldn’t know. But I think we should question whether Ham’s image of God is indeed “Christian”.