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story.lead_photo.caption Is Genesis History? will air in theaters for one night only on Feb. 23. Little Rock native Thomas Purifoy Jr. directed the documentary.

After watching a 2014 debate between creationist Ken Ham and science educator Bill Nye, Thomas Purifoy Jr.'s daughter started asking questions.

Photo by Special to the Democrat-Gazette/COMPASS CINEMA
The SP Crater, near Flagstaff, Ariz., is featured in the documentary Is Genesis History? The film, directed by Little Rock native Thomas Purifoy Jr., explores the origins of the universe and man.
Photo by Special to the Democrat-Gazette/COMPASS CINEMA
Thomas Purifoy Jr. (left), director of Is Genesis History? and Del Tackett stand at the summit of Cinnamon Pass in Colorado. Tackett is featured in the documentary about the Book of Genesis.

The men were debating the nature of creation and the origins of the universe, with Ham supporting the biblical account and Nye advocating for evolution.

"She wanted to know how the things in the world are explained by what she reads in the Bible," Purifoy said.

Purifoy realized he didn't have many concrete answers for the curious 10-year-old.

"We taught our kids that the Bible is a good book of history, as many people do growing up," Purifoy said. "What I realized was I didn't have the answers."

The conversation prompted the Little Rock native to seek out scientists and scholars to discuss the historical reliability of the Bible and why it's important today. His search for answers morphed into a documentary on the Book of Genesis, specifically the first 11 chapters.

The film, Is Genesis History?, a project of Purifoy's Compass Cinema production company based in Nashville, Tenn., and Fathom Events, will be shown in theaters across the country Thursday for one-night only.

Several theaters in the state will show the film, including Breckenridge 12 in Little Rock, McCain Mall Stadium 12 in North Little Rock, Tinseltown in Benton, Central City 10 in Hot Springs and Conway 12 in Conway.

Purifoy produced and directed the film featuring Del Tackett, creator of Focus on the Family's The Truth Project, talking with scientists and Bible scholars about the history of the earth and the origins of man.

The goal was to find evidence supporting the historicity of Genesis and to answer commonly asked questions, such as whether the earth was created in six literal days, if there was a global flood, and whether humans evolved and what happened to the dinosaurs.

"Millions of people have sincere questions about the origins of the earth and humanity," Tackett said in a news release. "And, there are contrasting views of our history, one of which is in the Book of Genesis. The question is, which view is accurate? Is Genesis History? makes a positive case that the Bible is historically reliable."

Purifoy said he didn't set out to make an "us vs. them" film.

"It's not science vs. the Bible," he said. "It's two competing views and how you interpret the data ... we're trying to present a positive view and it's a reasonable interpretation."

Throughout the film, Tackett talks with geologists, biologists, archaeologists and Bible scholars whose research and opinions support the biblical account of creation. For example, at the Grand Canyon, geologist Steve Austin tells Tackett that he believes the canyon offers proof of a global flood as described in Genesis. In the film Austin says the rock layers show that "it's not a little water and a lot of time; it's a lot of water in a little time" that formed the massive canyon.

Purifoy said he thinks Genesis remains important for many reasons, including that it addresses some of life's biggest questions -- Where do I come from? What am I? What am I supposed to be doing and where am I going? He hopes the film will answer some of those questions and the questions his daughter had.

Libby, now 13, is pleased with the completed project, Purifoy said.

"She has basically given me a thumbs-up on the overall piece of it," he said. "The material can be a little dense and I think that's because we're dealing with PhDs, but these are the challenges I faced -- go shallow or a little deep. It probably leans a little deep. But she has told me she thinks it has adequately addressed her questions."

A list of theaters showing the film and tickets is available online at

Religion on 02/18/2017

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