Friday, March 30, 2007

Dinosaur Discussions

My boys are really into dinosaurs right now. Lots and lots of questions. Most little boys go through the dinosaur phase, don’t they? I got nervous when my oldest son got interested in dinosaurs. The reason I got nervous is because every book from the library talked about the millions of years ago that dinosaurs lived, and that they lived millions of years before man. J is a very smart kid. I knew he would want to know how that fit with the Bible’s account of creation, and I’d have to have a good, biblical explanation for him. I knew that I believed the Bible is true. I also knew I didn’t know how the dinosaurs fit in – I knew they must fit, just not how – especially what I’d been taught about dinosaurs in school. I did NOT believe in Darwinian evolution – it is completely and absolutely incompatible with the Bible, and the way I’d gotten through school was just to give the answers wanted on the test, but continue to believe the Bible to be true, even though I wasn’t sure what to do with dinosaurs. But now I was a mom with a scary-smart little kid wanting answers, and, “I don’t know,” is never good enough for him.

At first, before J could read, I “edited” some of the more technical books for him. I also told him that we know the Bible is true, so somehow the dinosaurs had to fit, and I didn’t believe the earth is as old as some of the scientists say, but that was where I had to stop. Then I found Answers in Genesis. Through reading their website, which points back to the Bible, and after lots of prayer, I finally have answers about the dinosaurs and am confident when talking with the boys about them. About that time I also started teaching a children’s discipleship class at church using a curriculum called “Firm Foundations,” which teaches the Bible chronologically. One thing that was stressed over and over in the first part of those lessons was that only God was present at the beginning, at creation. Therefore, only God can speak definitively on what happened and how it happened. And we have God’s word in the Bible. So, anything that we hear that doesn’t line up with the Bible, is just someone’s opinion or theory, no matter how scientific or sure they sound.

After reading Genesis and praying and reading some of the material from these sources, I teach my children that we must believe what the Bible says. The land animals were created on Day 6. Therefore, so were the dinosaurs. Sometimes an answer is so obvious, but we just have the millions of years so drilled into us and so widely accepted without question that it’s hard to let it go. Death is the consequence of sin. Through Adam, sin entered the perfect creation. Therefore, there cannot be millions of years of death prior to sin. The first death that happened was the animals whose skins God used to cover Adam and Eve. This is the first picture we are given of the cost of sin and the need for a blood sacrifice to cover our sin and shame. Ultimately, Jesus paid the price in full with His own sacrifice on the cross, and those who place their faith in Him are cleansed from sin and clothed in His righteousness.

Also, in what is becoming something of a theme with me, I must again say that the way we have traditionally taught the Bible, for the most part, is wrong – especially the way we teach our children. Too often we just teach isolated stories as simple moral object lessons, out of order, with no way for the children to put it all together in context as the cohesive history that it is. I especially think we do not teach the Flood correctly. It was not until I read Genesis for myself that I learned that while Noah did take two of every kind of unclean animal aboard the ark, he was actually commanded to take seven of certain kinds of clean animal. Also, all those years of having the Noah’s Ark story told in Sunday School, I had this image of the 40 days of rain being like some kind of normal, but very strong, rain storm. When I actually read the Genesis account of the worldwide flood, I came to realize this was a cataclysm the likes of which had never before been seen and which has never been seen since. The Bible says the fountains of the deep were broken up and the windows of heaven were opened. This was not just a rainstorm. It altered the geography and climate from then on.

Filtered through the view of a literal, global, cataclysmic flood, much of what we can now observe makes much more sense. I believe this is why the earth looks old. I also believe this is how the fossil record came into being – animals and plants were buried very quickly during that great flood. With the climate being so altered, and as the human population grew, it makes sense that some animals became extinct. We see animals becoming extinct even today.

Because of Adam’s sin, we live in a fallen world subject to the curse. It is the curse brought upon the earth through sin that has brought about aging and decay, for the very ground was cursed because of man’s sin. Only through Christ will the creation be restored when He returns in all His glory. Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that He is Lord. He has the absolute right to reign.

I have heard some technical mathematical arguments for how the day in Chapter 1 of Genesis could be a day at one point far away and many, many years here on earth, but that just doesn’t hold for me, because I’ve learned that the Hebrew word, “yom,” when used in the way it is used in the first chapters of Genesis, means a literal, 24-hour day. I’m not saying my finite mind completely understands all there is to understand about the beginning and about the infinite nature of God. Those are topics that, frankly, blow my mind when I try to comprehend them. After all, God’s thoughts are much higher than my thoughts. I’m just saying that I’ve chosen to just accept what is clearly said literally. While I won’t break fellowship or debate with a true believer who, while still not espousing evolution, does disagree with me about how old the earth is, I would rather stand on the practice of believing and teaching Genesis quite literally, than to run the danger of adding to or subtracting from His Word, because only God was present at creation. Somehow, when I get to glory and I know as I am known, I think that will be ok


Elle said...

Well written. We will be going to FL on Spring Break for a fossil dig at Peace River Campgrounds. So talking about the fossil record is big around here right now, too. Your post is quite timely for me. Thanks,R.

Karen said...

Great post! My husband is a Creation Science speaker and we have ALWAYS loved Ken Ham and Answers in Genesis. Buddy Davis has a couple of CD's about creation as well that include songs about dinosaurs and fossils, etc...all great stuff that all three of our kids have been raised on. Having a firm foundation is the most important part of any home - glad to see you believe the Genesis account and take it literally - so many people get confused or just don't do the research and believe what they are told regarding the days of creation.