Can this really come as a surprise to anyone who knows me?! Well in case there is any doubt, I would like to make it clear that yes, I am a Christian, and yes I believe in the Biblical account of a 6 day creation by God, who then rested on the seventh day. I know that there are many many holy and committed Christians who do not believe this same thing. If this is you then please know that I do not judge you for this. I am not in the least bit shy about expressing my viewpoints on different issues but I do appreciate that this issue is difficult for many people. Even someone who I greatly admire in the faith, that is the German Evangelist Reinhard Bonnke, made a reference to the creation of the world “via evolution” on his Facebook feed a few months ago.
The purpose of this post is not necessarily to outline the arguments for and against the Bible account of the creation of the world. It is more to describe a little some of my own journey as a creationist. For some answers, I would recommend that you go to this website, Answers in Genesis, which sets out the creationists arguments in a fair and balanced way. I must admit that I have not read through lots of the content, but the little I did read seemed to be quite sound. I believe I may also have met the founder of the site before, Ken Ham. It was either him or another eminent Creationist who came to speak at the Cambridge University Union while I was an undergrad there, and I went to hear him speak! (I did not know this was his site when I was reading the site yesterday -which was when I first discovered the site – it’s just on linking to it now that I realised!)
Actually, I’ve always identified as a creationist. I remember when I was in sixth form and I got fed up of reading about evolutionary accounts in scientific journals (I studied A Level Physics) so I asked to put up a stand of Creationist magazines in the school library. Unsurprisingly, between the librarian and the Science department, the answer came back as a “no”! I also used to go around arguing with my fellow school colleagues. I must admit that I suspected/feared that going to university would present me with some undeniable arguments in favour of evolution. After all, we were all so amateur back then in school – that is my school colleagues and I were. I suspected that meeting “real” scientists who truly knew what they were talking about would force me to at least accept some aspects of the evolutionary account. But guess what, that never happened! It did not happen at university, and it has not happened since then. It’s not that I did not come into contact with (argumentative) scientists, it is just that I did not find any of their arguments sufficiently compelling to move so much as an inch from my own beliefs.
The big reason why I have always been reluctant to give so much as an inch to evolutionary theory is because I do not want anything whatsoever to erode the foundation of my belief in the Bible. I know that if I were to start saying “Well maybe…” about this, then this attitude would spread to any other part of the Bible that might seem to go against accepted scientific thinking. How about the miracles of Jesus? Did they really happen? Are we to look for scientific explanations to reason away what the Bible clearly presents to us as miraculous? While I do not judge Christians who believe differently, I can’t help noticing that a willingness to accept scientific explanations instead of the teaching of the Bible seems to be accompanied by a lack of faith that God has made His supernatural power available to us as Christians. (Here I should note that Evangelist Bonnke most definitely does believe in the supernatural power of God made available for Christians – and he is famous, even among Christian evangelists, for actually walking in it himself.)
This is possibly the one area in the debate between creationism/evolution that I was not able to answer. I was sure that there must be a rational explanation (that is, one that tallies with the Bible) – but I just could not imagine what it might be. The issue was reawakened in my mind when I wrote my recent “God versus Science” post. I was actually going to write in the post that “I do not have an answer for dinosaurs”, but this did not make it into the “short” version of the post which I eventually published. Since then it occurred to me that there must be at least some attempt of an answer on a creationist website, so for the first time ever in my life yesterday, I actually went looking for a creationist website, and thankfully, the answers which I found there were more than satisfactory!
My issue with dinosaurs:
This was the issue I had regarding dinosaurs. Firstly, they were so big! For the Bible account of Genesis to be consistent with what we have seen of dinosaur skeletons, then human beings must have lived with dinosaurs. Dinosaurs must have been created along with everything else, and they must have roamed the earth along with Adam etc. So why exactly did they mysteriously die out? Why does the Bible somehow just neglect to mention these huge creatures? Why did they not feature in any Bible stories, like Adam fighting with a Brachiosaurus, or a Tyrannosaurus Rex (or two) terrorising Canaan? And then at times I would wonder whether dinosaurs were not actually real, whether the whole thing was just a complex fabrication. But no, I don’t think there can be any doubt that these animals truly existed, that these skeletons are real. So finally I checked out these websites yesterday, and my creationism and I can breathe a big sigh of relief!
A better answer!
Actually, from what I read creationism is a better answer for the subject of dinosaurs than evolutionary theory, (although admittedly, I am quite inclined to think that on the slightest evidence, naturally!) So anyway, these are the answers regarding dinosaurs: Firstly, why they were so big -and yet somehow the Bible does not mention them, AND there are no widespread reports of these huge creatures living alongside human beings.
The reason why the dinosaur skeletons we have these days are so big is because these skeletons are those of animals who lived before the flood. It is actually due to the Biblical flood that these skeletons were preserved. Before the flood (and for a few generations after it) the Bible teaches us that human beings used to live for hundreds of years. Methuselah, the person who lived to be the oldest in the Bible, was 969 years old before he died. The Bible specifically refers to humans as being long-lived, but there is no reason why it might not also indicate that animals also had very long life-spans – especially if those animals, like many of the dinosaurs, had no natural predators. If we then consider that many of these dinosaurs were reptiles, this would mean that, unlike mammals, they would conceivably continue growing throughout their lives. Apparently mammals (such as humans) reach a certain size at adulthood, and they stay that same size for the rest of their lives (even if they were to then live for hundreds of years afterwards!) So imagine if an animal that was big to start with had hundreds of years to just continue growing and growing…..Imagine for instance if elephants were reptiles and not mammals, how big they might grow if they could live for hundreds of years…
This is actually where creationism is a better answer than evolution. Evolution has no answer (that I am aware of) to explain why or how complete animal skeletons came be buried and eventually fossilized. Usually when an animals dies, apparently everything decomposes before the bones can become “mineralised” (This is a term I only learnt yesterday! So please bear with me if I’m not using it correctly) There would need to be a very special circumstance for a whole animal skeleton to become submerged before it could decompose. The worldwide flood of the Genesis account provides just that kind of catastrophe, and it explains why so many complete dinosaur skeletons have been found, because all the landliving dinosaurs were submerged in the short sharp shock of the flood. (I have heard of evolutionists speaking of an asteroid impact as an alternative catastrophe).
Dinosaurs on the ark:
These would not have been the full-grown monsters, who were possibly hundreds – or even thousands of years old. Perhaps small adult versions, babies. Some animals reach sexual maturity at only a few years old, or even months. And apparently there might only have been as few as 55 different species of dinosaur which needed to be accommodated on the ark anyway.
After the flood:
If human lifespans drastically reduced after the flood, then it might also make sense to believe the same for animals. This might not make the same difference for mammals which would remain the same size anyway, but for reptiles living for only a hundred years or even a few hundred years (as with turtles) would reduce the size they could grow to, compared to living for many hundreds, or possibly even thousands of years. This is why the Bible account might not make any significant reference to the great size of dinosaurs: by the time of Abraham, Moses etc they would just be like ordinary reptiles such as we know today. This is assuming that they were reptiles. Perhaps the very big dinosaurs must have been reptiles to have been able to grow to such a size. (Although they were not as big as blue whales, which are mammals, and remain the biggest animals to have ever lived on this earth – ever!) For those huge dinosaurs who might have been mammals, perhaps the scarcity of food after the flood OR the fact that human beings started eating meat meant that they were quickly hunted to extinction? This happens in our days right now, so there is no reason why it may not have happened then. Humanity eating meat only happened after the flood, according to the Bible account.
Dinosaurs in the Bible?
However, apparently the Bible does mention creatures which would correspond to our understanding of dinosaurs. In the Book of Job, I have often wondered which huge and ferocious animal is referred to as “Leviathan” , or by the Hebrew term “Behemoth”. It is some kind of sea monster – could it be a whale? Apparently, this is likely a reference to a dinosaur, demonstrating that human beings did live alongside dinosaurs, which would be necessary for the Biblical account to be consistent. Other similar references to dinosaurs in the Bible might include references to dragons and a certain “flying fiery serpent” .
There are a few more things I would like to say about this subject. However, I will leave it here (at least for now). In conclusion, though I will say this: that it is such a lie whenever evolutionists say, or imply that “All real scientists believe that…” or “All real scientists know that…”. Think about it, in our day and age, there is so much scientific disagreement about things that we can actually see and measure right here, before our own eyes, in our own lifetime. Think about climate change, and the fact that we have “real” scientists arguing vociferously on either side. How about health issues? “Yes! chocolate is good for you!”, the next moment: “No! Chocolate is bad for you!… Red wine!… Eating meat!!” New discoveries are being made all the time. Even fields that we have been brought up to believe to be watertight, like DNA science, are now being found to be susceptible to human error. “Real” scientists can barely agree on things that are happening right now. And yet people claim that they can talk authoritatively and definitively about things that apparently happened millions of years ago, if they are right – or thousands of years ago if creationists are right. If Creationism is pseudo-science, then frankly I am proud to be a pseudo-scientist, and I will proudly proclaim this status.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Photo of Planet Earth by Skeeze on Pixabay