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Tuesday, February 20, 2007
(1:54 PM) | Stephen:
Dinosaurs and the Bible

I've been poking around the Answers in Genesis website for a little while, and now I'm profoundly depressed by the state of Christianity in this world.

This page deals with the issue of dinosaurs in the Bible. As I mentioned in my last post, it is clear that the author's intent is not so much to instill a positive belief in their interpretation of Creationism, but to malign scientists who do not share their views. Most importantly, the purpose of that document is to convince those who read it that modern science is wholly incompatible with a belief in God. At the end of the article they have a short section designed to present what often passes for a "Gospel" message in these circles. It has very little to do with the idea that the word "gospel" means good news. Rather, it is a litany of verses that describe humanity's sinfulness and the terrible judgments that await those who do not accept (their version) of Jesus Christ. This paragraph is instructive:
For those who do not accept by faith what Christ has done for them and do not recognize their sinful nature and need for redemption, the Bible warns that such people will live forever, but will be separated from God in a place of torment that the Bible calls Hell. But for those who commit their lives to the Lord—what a wonderful message! What a wonderful Savior! What a wonderful salvation in Christ the Creator!
This of course appears to refute my charge. However, this does not reflect an invitational presentation of the Gospel. In this view, rejection or acceptance of Jesus is a fait accompli. They're just celebrating the fact that they are on the right side and get the good stuff for eternity.

But who is it that "do not accept by faith what Christ has done?" Evolutionists, of course, who have dedicated their lives to constructing a massively intricate theory solely for the purpose of discrediting the first chapter of Genesis. This conspiritorial aspect of the Creationist argument is a way for them to solidify these beliefs in their followers; as a (often persecuted) minority opinion in the world, those that share it feel stronger bonds of fellowship between them. This is the same type of tactic used by the gnostic heresies that proved so troublesome for the Church during its development in the first few centuries C.E. I've long believed that Gnosticism - the idea that there is secret knowledge available to an elect few which is the real truth - was never stamped out within Christianity and merely went underground to spread its poisons.

What they're doing is apalling. I'll let others talk about how bad their science is. Their use of the Bible, though, is even worse. Let's take their favorite example, the book of Job. Creationists like to use the book of Job because it mentions the "behemoth" or "leviathan." Look there - that's a dinosaur! God mentions this animal (dinosaur) to Job because he knows that Job is familiar with it. Therefore, dinosaurs did not live millions of years ago but coexisted with human beings!

I could talk about the Canaanite mythology that saw the gods in a continuing, cyclical struggle with the forces of Chaos, personified by the ocean various beasts within it and other horrible creatures that lived on land, and how these myths not only predate the Hebrew Scriptures but also manage to use the same wording. But I won't, because there is a very simple problem with them considering the book of Job to be literal history:

There once was a man named Job who lived in the land of Uz. He was blameless—a man of complete integrity. He feared God and stayed away from evil. He had seven sons and three daughters. He owned 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 teams of oxen, and 500 female donkeys. He also had many servants. He was, in fact, the richest person in that entire area. . .

One day the members of the heavenly court came to present themselves before the Lord, and the Accuser, Satan, came with them. (Job 1, NLT)
Did you see it? Satan strolled right into the heavenly court. Once he's there, the book goes on, God starts bragging on Job and ends up backing himself into a corner where he has to allow Satan to attack Job to see if Job will continue to serve God or curse him. But here's the problem: God's holiness, we are told in the Bible, does not allow evil in its presence. That's the whole freaking point of Jesus coming down to earth and dying on a cross for our sins so we can be clean and therefore able to be in the presence of God.

Of all the nonsense spouted on that website, of all the ways in which they torture the Bible in order to prove their points, that they would take seriously the idea that Satan, Lucifer who rebelled against God, made war in heaven and was cast out to spend eternity in the lake of fire, that this devil could casually stroll into the heavenly court itself in order to make bets with the God of the universe - the sheer numbskullery of it all gives me brain shivers.

But that's the problem with taking everything in the Bible literally. There's just so much in there that sooner or later you'll start to contradict yourself on some pretty important issues.

Update: if you didn't look at the "Dinosaurs in the Bible webpage, make sure you do. What they say about dragons is especially fun.

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