Is Genesis History? (film)
Is Genesis History? is a 2017 Christian young Earth creationist documentary film that shows that Genesis 1-11 records real history. Produced by Compass Cinema, the film stars Del Tackett, the former president of the Focus on the Family Institute and a key person in the Truth Project, "a DVD curriculum distributed by Focus on the Family" that teaches a strong biblical worldview.
While originally planned to be released in theaters for one showing on February 23, 2017, the film's showtime was extended also to March 2 and March 7, 2017. It was shown again in theaters on February 22, 2018, in even more theaters than before.
Is Genesis History? is hosted by Del Tackett. The film's main question, as the title shows, is whether the Book of Genesis in the Bible records real historical events. Tackett tackles many questions concerning Genesis 1-11 and its historical accuracy. In addition, he interviews 16 experts in various scientific or theological fields who all hold PhDs and are biblical creationists. Through these interviews, Tackett shows that an overwealming amount of evidence for a young Earth exists, as well as against the pseudoscientific theory of evolution.
All the scientists and scholars Tackett interviews have Ph.Ds, many of them from secular universities. Additionally, they all have done exemplary work in their respective fields. Here is the list of interviewed people:
- Kevin Anderson, microbiologist
- Steve Austin, geologist
- Steven Boyd, Hebraist
- Robert Carter, marine biologist
- Art Chadwick, taphonomist
- Danny Faulkner, astronomer
- George Grant, pastor
- Paul Nelson, philosopher of science
- Douglas Petrovich, archaeologist
- Marcus Ross, paleontologist
- Andrew Snelling, geologist
- Kurt Wise, paleontologist
- Todd Wood, biologist
Release and success
Is Genesis History? was released for one night in theaters on February 23, 2017. It performed very well—143,000 people watched it in 704 theaters and many theaters were sold-out. Its box office on its opening night was $1,796,182—the highest box office of any film in the United States that night, more than five times the average of all other movies that night. Although originally scheduled to be shown only on one night, Is Genesis History? performed so well that it was given two encore showings on March 2 and 7 of that year. Altogether, including the two encore showings, 215,000 people bought tickets for the film, and the film earned a box office of $2,570,355. The movie was the second highest-grossing event – and the highest grossing movie – organized by Fathom Events in 2017, and it was one out of only six Fathom Events to gross over $2 million that year. The DVD and VOD of Is Genesis History? also made it into the top 10 lists of the iTunes Store Independent Films Chart (10th place) and Amazon's Best Selling Documentary list (4th place) by April 16, 2017. It was one of the most successful documentaries in 2017.
Is Genesis History? was later released on DVD and Blu-ray. The DVD/Blu-ray release included bonus features, including interviews with scientists and other scholars that were not able to make it into the final film cut.
Is Genesis History? was shown again for a one-year anniversary event on February 22, 2018, being shown in over 850 theaters in the United States and showing a bonus scene of Wheaton College students at the Ark Encounter.
The makers of Is Genesis History? decided to expand beyond the movie. In June 2017, the filmmakers held a conference for students and educators, and at the end of 2017, the filmmakers released a Bible study book based on the film.
The Christian apologetics ministry Answers in Genesis endorsed Is Genesis History? prior to its release. AiG's enthusiasm for the film did not decrease after its release in theaters. The words of AiG President Ken Ham on January 6, 2017:
|“||I’m thrilled to recommend the brand-new documentary-style film Is Genesis History?, coming to theaters Thursday, February 23, 2017, for one night only. This film delves into various scientific disciplines to see if the evidence confirms evolution and millions of years or creation in six days and the global Flood.||”|
Other Christian creationists also highly reviewed the film. The Institute for Creation Research stated that "Dr. Tackett and Compass Media produced a high-quality documentary and took an unapologetic stand for a historical Genesis. Those of us at ICR who have seen the film wholly endorse it."
Jerry Newcombe, in WorldNetDaily, endorsed the film after conducting several interviews with participants in the film:
|“||It is my view that those who see "Is Genesis History?" – which is beautifully shot – will come away with the same conviction [as George Grant in the film on the importance of Genesis]. Perhaps, the tagline for the film says it all: "Two competing views … one compelling truth."||”|
Jonathan Sarfati of Creation Ministries International highly endorsed the film, saying that "after the spectacular footage and important scientific and exegetical information, the documentary closes with a very effective explanation about why Genesis matters for the Christian faith."
Henry B. Smith of Associates for Biblical Research and Megan Basham of WORLD Magazine also strongly endorsed the film. Timothy G. Standish of the Seventh-day Adventist Church's Geoscience Research Institute gave the film an overall positive review. In its list of the top 25 conservative documentaries in existence, Newsmax rated the film #12.
Anthony Hayes of the Baltimore Post-Examiner positively reviewed the film, stating that "Is Genesis History? succinctly lays out the scientific case for a special creation; then asks the question, 'How does a little information from the past affect how one lives today?'"
Other organizations that accept evolution and oppose biblical creation, such as The BioLogos Foundation, Reasons To Believe, and The Gospel Coalition, gave the film negative reviews. According to Gregg Davidson, Joel Duff, and Ken Wolgemuth of Biologos, despite the "excellent" cinematography of the film, "the narrative that accompanied the rich display of God’s amazing creation fell far short of reflecting what we actually find revealed in nature."
Paul Nelson, who was interviewed for the film, later published an article stating that the film distorted his arguments and presented "a false dichotomy" between naturalistic evolution and young Earth creationism while omitting other viewpoints. Thomas Purifoy, the film's director and producer, responded with a blog post entitled A Tale of Two Dichotomies in which he presented the full film interview with Nelson as evidence to the contrary of Nelson's statements, and Purifoy stated that "as a philosopher, Paul seemed to be shifting back to viewing things from a philosophical perspective. The film, however, was not about comparing two different philosophies, but two different histories."
Is Genesis History? was first conceived when the daughter of Thomas Purifoy Jr., the film's director, started asking him questions on the creation/evolution topic after the Ken Ham/Bill Nye debate in February 2014. Purifoy read dozens of books on the creation/evolution topic, many of which he recommended, for the film.
- Videos, on the film's website
- Downloads, on the film's website
- Partial list of full interviews, more to come
- A Passion for Truth - Answers Magazine. Answers in Genesis. July 1, 2016. Retrieved September 21, 2016.
- Is Genesis History? - Fathom Events, Fathom Events.
- Law, Jeannie (February 16, 2017). Evidence of Young Earth Creationism Will Debunk Current Scientific Paradigm, Filmmaker Says. The Christian Post. Retrieved March 8, 2017.
- Are Biblical Events of Genesis Real-Life History? This Guy Spent a Year Asking Scientists Just That. CBN News. February 2, 2017. Retrieved January 20, 2018.
- Graham, Efrem (February 24, 2017). Bible Documentary Answers One Question: 'Is Genesis History?'. CBN News. Retrieved March 8, 2017.
- Boatwright, Phil (February 3, 2017). MOVIES: Is Genesis scientific history? Baptist Press. Retrieved March 8, 2017.
- Tomlin, Gregory (November 29, 2016). IS GENESIS HISTORY? Film aims to answer questions of creation, evolution, global flood. ChristianExaminer. Retrieved January 19, 2017.
- Where does everything come from? Documentary ‘Is Genesis History?’ explores the biggest questions. Religion News Service. November 29, 2016. Retrieved January 19, 2017.
- The Big Picture. IsGenesisHistory.com. Retrieved September 21, 2016.
- Experts. IsGenesisHistory.com. Retrieved September 21, 2016.
- ‘Is Genesis History’ Documentary screens tonight. The Global Dispatch. February 23, 2017. Retrieved March 8, 2017.
- Standish, Timothy G. (March 7, 2017). Strong One-Day Attendance to Biblical Creation Film Prompts Additional Showings. Adventist Review. Retrieved March 13, 2017.
- Law, Jeannie (April 24, 2017). 'Is Genesis History?' Film on Young Earth Creationism Makes History With Continued Success. The Christian Post. Retrieved January 20, 2018.
- Is Genesis History?. Box Office Mojo. Retrieved March 14, 2017.
- Law, Jeannie (March 4, 2017). 'Is Genesis History?' Film on Young Earth Creationism Returns to Theaters for Encore Screening. The Christian Post. Retrieved March 8, 2017.
- Ham, Ken (February 28, 2017). Is Genesis History? Encore Showings in Theaters. Answers in Genesis. Retrieved March 8, 2017.
- Guerrasio, Jason (April 5, 2017). How religious movies are thriving more than ever before under Trump. Business Insider. Retrieved September 3, 2017.
- IS GENESIS HISTORY? FATHOM EVENT HITS #1 IN BOX OFFICE, RETURNS TO THEATERS MARCH 2nd and 7th. AM FM Magazine. February 27, 2017. Retrieved March 8, 2017.
- Ham, Ken (February 16, 2017). Is Genesis History? in Theaters Next Week!. Answers in Genesis. Retrieved March 8, 2017.
- "Is Genesis History? (2017)". The Numbers. http://www.the-numbers.com/movie/Is-Genesis-History#tab=summary. Retrieved September 30, 2017.
- Reviews, Endorsements, & Info on the Film. Is Genesis History?. Retrieved August 30, 2017.
- McNary, Dave (December 18, 2017). "Box Office: Fathom Events Sees Soaring 2017 Performance (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. http://variety.com/2017/film/news/box-office-fathom-events-2017-performance-1202643479/. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
- Rubin, Rebecca (July 2, 2018). Breakout Docs: How Mister Rogers, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Identical Triplets Became Box Office Stars. Variety. Retrieved July 26, 2018.
- Is Genesis History? Facebook. March 8, 2017. Retrieved January 20, 2018.
- Ham, Ken (March 8, 2017). Is Genesis History? Documentary Available Soon on DVD and Blu-ray. Answers in Genesis. Retrieved March 8, 2017.
- Ham, Ken (January 28, 2018). Is Genesis History? Documentary Back in Theaters February 22. Answers in Genesis. Retrieved January 28, 2018.
- Showalter, Brandon (February 21, 2018). Young Earth Creationist, Wheaton College Students Speak at 1-Y Anniv. Release of 'Is Genesis History?'. The Christian Post. Retrieved March 7, 2018.
- Popular documentary featuring LU geology professor returns to theaters. Liberty University. Retrieved March 7, 2018.
- Ham, Ken (May 10, 2017). New Is Genesis History? Conference This Summer. Answers in Genesis. Retrieved January 20, 2018.
- Ham, Ken (December 31, 2017). Is Genesis History? Bible Study Now Available. Answers in Genesis. Retrieved January 20, 2018.
- Ham, Ken (January 6, 2017). Is Genesis History? Film Coming to Theaters. Answers in Genesis. Retrieved January 19, 2017.
- Hebert, Jake, PhD.; Thomas, Brian, M.S. (March 1, 2017). Reviewing 'Is Genesis History?'. Institute for Creation Research. Retrieved March 11, 2017.
- Newcombe, Jerry (February 14, 2017). 'Is Genesis History?' -- a must-see movie. WND. Retrieved March 8, 2017.
- Sarfati, Jonathan. Is Genesis History?: Review of new documentary. Creation Ministries International. Retrieved March 8, 2017.
- Smith, Henry B., Jr. (January 18, 2017). A Great New Film: Is Genesis History?. Associates for Biblical Research. Retrieved March 8, 2017.
- Basham, Megan (February 22, 2017). Deep time out. WORLD Magazine. Retrieved August 30, 2017.
- Standish, Timothy G. (February 17, 2017). "A Review of the Documentary Film "Is Genesis History?"". Geoscience Research Institute. http://grisda.org/a-review-of-the-documentary-film-is-genesis-history/. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
- Anderson, Troy (April 4, 2018). Newsmax's Top 25 Conservative Documentaries of All Time. Newsmax. Retrieved April 6, 2018.
- Hayes, Anthony (February 25, 2017). Is Genesis History? New film ably addresses age-old question. Baltimore Post-Examiner. Retrieved March 14, 2017.
- Davidson, Gregg; Duff, Joel; Wolgemuth, Ken (March 1, 2017). "A Geological Response to the Movie "Is Genesis History?"". The BioLogos Foundation. http://biologos.org/blogs/guest/a-geological-response-to-the-movie-is-genesis-history. Retrieved August 22, 2017.
- Walker, Tas (June 22, 2017). Biologos fails with Is Genesis History critique. Creation Ministries International. Retrieved March 9, 2018.
- Zweerink, Jeff (February 24, 2017). "Thoughts on Is Genesis History?". Reasons To Believe. http://www.reasons.org/blogs/impact-events/thoughts-on-is-genesis-history. Retrieved August 22, 2017.
- Ortlund, Gavin (May 5, 2017). "‘Is Genesis History?’: Revisiting an Age-Old Debate". The Gospel Coalition. https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/is-genesis-history-revisiting-an-age-old-debate. Retrieved August 22, 2017.
- Nelson, Paul (February 23, 2017). "New Film Is Genesis History? Presents a False Dichotomy: I Dissent from My Role in It". Discovery Institute. https://evolutionnews.org/2017/02/new_film_is_gen/. Retrieved August 22, 2017.
- "A Tale of Two Dichotomies – Is Genesis History?" (in en-US). Is Genesis History?. 2017-06-13. https://isgenesishistory.com/tale-two-dichotomies/.
- Storm, Christie (February 18, 2017). Daughter's queries prompted Genesis film. Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Retrieved March 8, 2017.
- Purifoy Jr, Thomas (March 15, 2017). My Reading List for Making the Film. isgenesishistory.com. Retrieved March 15, 2017.