Proponents of biblical creationism are banking on a new faith-based documentary to help bring awareness to their beliefs, which they say public schools and most of the media have largely tossed aside.
“Genesis: Paradise Lost,” the nation’s first 3-D faith-based film, uses computer animation interwoven with commentary from top creationists to depict the Bible’s account of the origins of Earth and its various life forms.
“We want to put you back at that time as if you were there,” said Ken Ham, founder and president of Answers in Genesis, the Creation Museum and the Ark Encounter.
Mr. Ham, who captured national attention during his origins debate with Bill Nye in 2014, is one of the speakers in the two-hour film, which will hit theaters Monday. Other prominent creationists featured include Ray Comfort, Dr. Terry Mortenson, Dr. Andrew Fabich and Dr. Georgia Purdom.
For some filmgoers, “Genesis: Paradise Lost” may offer their first in-depth look at the biblical story of creation, which Mr. Ham says has largely been dismissed from public schools and most media outlets.
“I travel in all 50 states … and I’ve met a lot of public school teachers who say … if there’s even a hint of teaching creation, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, or some organization like that, will sue the school district,” Mr. Ham said of the secular activist group.
Creationism is also rejected in popular media, Mr. Ham believes.
“In a way, I would say that the secular world has censored this sort of information from kids and from the public,” he said. “Much of the secular media won’t ever disseminate information from our creation research scientists, for instance. So this is one way to get that information out there.”
Eric Hovind, executive producer of “Genesis,” believes that public schools are doing a disservice to students by upholding what he calls “an atheistic, humanistic perspective” on the issue of origins.
“I believe this movie is going to correct some of the damage that’s been done over the last several decades,” he said.
Mr. Ham says public schools largely emphasize moral relativism in place of Judeo-Christian values, which he believes has had destructive consequences.
“We’ve had generations of kids taken through an education system which tells them they’re related to plants, they’re related to animals, they’re related to apes, that they came from apelike creatures and that there is no God,” he said. “Everything came by natural processes so, therefore, ultimately it reflects in their worldview.
“So, why shouldn’t they treat others like you would treat an animal?”
This has other real-world effects on how students view gender, abortion and marriage equality.
“Ultimately, anything goes,” he mourned is the new cultural mantra.
Like other faith-based films “Genesis: Paradise Lost” steered away from Hollywood to find other funding sources over its five-year gestation.
“We literally did the work ourselves,” said Mr. Hovind, who’s also the president and founder of Creation Today in Pensacola, Florida.
First-time film director Ralph Strean developed his computer animation and directing skills at EA Sports, Lockheed Martin and Disney before founding his Christian film company, Seven Fold Films. He has directed commercials and produced videos on creationism for Creation Today before joining with that company to produce “Genesis: Paradise Lost.”
Mr. Hovind credits Mr. Strean with keeping down production costs. For example, interviews were shot at the Creation Museum in Kentucky, which Mr. Ham himself founded.
“I must admit, I was skeptical at first that a movie like this could actually be done and get into theaters,” Mr. Ham said. “But this is now being successfully done for a number of faith-based movies.”
Audiences have been thrilled at screenings, according to Mr. Ham and Mr. Hovind. One test group in particular at 20/20 Research in Nashville overwhelmingly approved of the film.
“Out of 39 people, we had 38 saying it’s amazing and one saying it was really good,” Mr. Hovind said.
“Genesis: Paradise Lost” is booked on over 1,200 screens in both 2-D and 3-D versions. Mr. Hovind said churches and homeschool groups have been buying out entire theaters.
“Genesis: Paradise Lost,” is the first in a trilogy of films that Mr. Hovind believes will find a large audience among Christians.
“When you have a film that simply presents what the Bible teaches, Christians love it,” he said.
To find a screening, visit GenesisMovie.com.