WILLIAMSTOWN, Ky. — Former President Jimmy Carter toured Ken Ham’s Ark Encounter on Friday, but told reporters that he was not necessarily endorsing Ham’s views, as he personally believes in evolution.
“The earth is four billion years old, … but I don’t see a conflict there,” Carter told reporters, referring to the conflict between Christianity and evolution. “And as a scientist, I believe in evolution.”
“But all things are possible through the divine power of God. And whenever there is a conflict, I turn to the words of Jesus Christ,” he said, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. “If God created it four billion years ago or six thousand years ago, it doesn’t matter to me.”
Carter was visiting the site, to open to the public on July 7th, to support LeRoy Troyer, a friend whose construction company served as main architect for the project. As previously reported, the Ark Encounter is a theme park in Williamstown that features a full-scale replica of the ark that God instructed Noah to build to escape the coming flood, as outlined in the book of Genesis.
“As the largest timber-frame structure in the US, the 510-foot-long full-size Ark is designed to be family-oriented, historically authentic, and environmentally friendly,” the website for the theme park outlines.
Ham also desires for the attraction to provide visitors with the message of salvation.
“A major reason for rebuilding the ark today is to proclaim the message of salvation—that just as Noah and his family had to go through the doorway to be saved, we also need to go through a doorway,” he outlined in 2014 when construction first began. “The Lord Jesus is our door—the only way to be saved.”
Ham told reporters on Friday that he welcomed Carter’s visit. Carter signed a hard hat as a souvenir marking his tour of the ark.
“We welcome the visit of such a statesman and we don’t take it as an endorsement,” Ham stated. “This really shows how people of different views can still come and see and enjoy the ark.”
As previously reported, Carter, 91, teaches Sunday School at Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, Georgia. However, in addition to being an evolution adherent, in an interview with the Huffington Post last July, Carter asserted that Jesus would approve of same-sex “marriage,” and really, “any love affair.”
“Would Jesus approve [of] gay marriage?” host Marc Lamont Hill asked.
“I believe Jesus would,” Carter replied. “I don’t have any verse in Scripture. I believe Jesus would approve gay marriage, but that’s just my own personal belief. I think Jesus would encourage any love affair if it was honest and sincere and was not damaging to anyone else, and I don’t see that gay marriage damages anyone else.”