How do you reconcile creation with dinosaurs?

How do you reconcile creation with dinosaurs?

Asked by Someone

I’m not sure what the exact dates are but let’s say for example the bible says animals and humans were created in one day 8 thousand years ago, how is it then that the scientific world suggests dinosaurs lived on the earth 65 million years ago?

It is helpful to remember that the Bible does not pretend to be a book that contains all knowledge - but it does provide us with everything that we need to be able to know and to relate to the true and living God. It has nothing of polar bears, the ancient Chinese empires or quantum physics, but it does introduce us to Christ as the one who is able to reconcile us to the God of all life. The purpose of the Bible is for making the reader wise for salvation and equipped for a life of trusting in Jesus. As the Apostle Paul told his friend Timothy:

“the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:15-17

To tackle the specific question you raised we need to consider two issues:

1) How are we supposed to understand the opening chapters of the Bible?

The Bible is a collection of books, written in different styles and genres (there is poetry, proverb, law, history, story, etc). The open chapters of Genesis, when talking about creation on seven days and Adam and Eve, are talking about real events in ‘poetic’ language. It is not concerned with simply making a record of what happened or exactly how long ago it occurred; instead it wants the reader to understand the significance of what happened for understanding our present situation. It wants us to understand that God made everything, and that he made this creation to be an ordered, good place; to be a place of life and blessing where humanity has a special role to play in God’s creation. The author wants us to understand that Evil was not a part of God’s purposes for his creation, but rather a secondary occurrence within God’s good creation - part of creation gone wrong. We are to understand that all creation has been affected and ‘fractured’ by humanity’s failure to trust God, when it trusted instead the voice of Evil.

These chapters set the stage for understanding what God is doing in the world to deal with this situation and what he is achieving through the saving work of the Lord Jesus.

To criticise the opening chapters of the Bible for not providing a scientific timetable would be similar to dismissing the poetry of Robert Burns because his description of his girlfriend, (“My love is like a red, red rose newly sprung in June”), lacks scientific accuracy (after all, girls don’t have red petals, leaves and thorns!!) and suggests that she is only a few months old!

2) How are we to understand the human endeavour of doing science?

The Bible affirms that the world is an ordered place, open to investigation, and that we as humans are able (and indeed, encouraged) to observe the order of creation and grasp something of the nature of this universe and how it works. But the Bible also warns that there are limits to this pursuit because we are (1) human, not God - and so limited in our ability to grasp the mind of God from our observations of creation and (2) sinful humans and therefore inclined to turn away from the truths of God.

To put it simply, science does a good (but not perfect) job of describing what happens in this creation, but is unable to help us understand who God is and what his purposes are for this creation. For these we need God to reveal himself to us – which he has fully done in Jesus Christ.

You may also want to read the question on the site that deals with the question of evolution:

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