‘Is Genesis History?’

Documentary seeks to answer questions about creationism and evolution

FOSSILS — Marcus Ross (left) explains how a global flood affected many ecosystems. Photo Provided

FOSSILS — Marcus Ross (left) explains how a global flood affected many ecosystems.
Photo Provided

Thomas Purifoy Jr., director, producer and writer for Compass Cinema, watched the Ken Ham and Bill Nye debate with his 10-year old daughter.

She began asking questions about creation and evolution that Purifoy could
not answer.

“It had been years since I had been looking into this,” Purifoy said.

“I knew there were a lot of scientists out there that surely had a better perspective on this than I did, so maybe I could create a documentary that would be useful to people.”

The documentary “Is Genesis History?” will hit theaters again in an encore showing March 2, after one of the biggest original showings in Fathom Events history.

The film featured 12 experts sharing their knowledge on topics ranging from fossilization and genetics to Grand Canyon geology, astronomy and radioisotope dating.

One of those experts is Marcus Ross, paleontologist and director of Liberty University’s Center for Creation Studies. In the film, Ross visited a natural history museum and discussed topics from various exhibits.

“There are a couple of different ways that one can view the evidence, and when you go to a natural history museum you’re only ever presented with one way in which that evidence is interpreted,” Ross said.

“But other ways exist and might provide us with answers to questions that are problematic in the other view.”

He explained in the film how the successive destruction of ecosystems from a global flood can account for how geological columns are organized with marine animals in the lower layers and land animals in the higher layers.

“One of the things I try to have as a big takeaway in the film is that when you see something like the fossils in the natural history museums, you’re looking at the world as it was destroyed in the flood,” Ross said.

“We’re not looking at a world that was ‘good’ anymore. We’re looking at a world that has gone very, very bad.”

Each of the scientists used their expertise to compare aspects of the biblical accounts with available data to verify if Genesis is historical, according to paleontologist
Kurt Wise.

“I think the most convincing aspect of Creationism is what Stephen Jay Gould — my professor at Harvard — called ‘consilience of inductions,’” Wise said.

The term describes approaching an argument from many different angles, a method typically used in a courtroom, Wise said. If a case lacks a large body of evidence, small amounts of evidence from seemingly unrelated areas can point to a specific scenario that is the only way of explaining all the factors involved, Wise said.

“That’s what I think is true of Creationism,” Wise said. “Even if individual arguments aren’t persuasive — I think some are, some are very powerful — if you look at all of the different arguments from all the different fields, the beautiful story of creation in the Bible explains so much in such a beautiful way that it’s very compelling.”

Apart from the actual content of the film, Wise and Ross remarked on what a unique approach Purifoy took to produce the film, including studying the material for himself in advance.

“He was reading some very dense creation materials and non-creation materials,” Ross said. “He asked me what was the best text on paleontology. I gave him a name, and he picked up the textbook that I use here to teach a 300-level biology class, and he read it cover to cover pretty much.”

Purifoy also allowed the experts to speak without a script because he said he was looking for explanation, not soundbites.

Throughout the editing processes, the experts could monitor Purifoy’s progress via a website and provide feedback, which he then implemented, according to Wise.

“He gave us freedom in our presentations,” Wise said. “He listened to us in our suggestions. This is something that just doesn’t happen.”

Even though each expert only spoke for roughly 5-10 minutes in the film, Purifoy filmed over 40 hours of interviews which he plans to make available for a more in-depth exploration of creationism issues.

The film follows each expert to locations across the country from science labs to zoos to the Grand Canyon.

According to Ross, shots were gathered in 4K HD, and drones captured sweeping landscape shots.

“They have done a great job of weaving together a feast for the eyes,” Ross said. “It helps people enjoy the film — not just consider the ideas that are presented — but
enjoy them.”

He said it was a privilege to show God’s beauty through film.

“This world is amazing, and this is a sin-cursed, fallen has-been of a planet,” Ross said. “It’s still gorgeous, because no matter what the curse does, it can’t hide God’s
beauty entirely.”

Pors is a feature reporter

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