Can we ‘conclusively’ say that dinosaurs were created on Day 6?
Andrew B. from Australia writes in wondering if we overstepped the bounds regarding the confidence we can have about when God made the dinosaurs CMI’s Lita Sanders responds.
I love your work & the creation community in general, as it provided answers to some of my questions, regarding evolution vs creation.
One of the things that I have learned from the (Australian) Creation magazine, was to identify, when evolutionists were making statements as fact yet they were based on presumptions & unproven models & pre-accepted worldview beliefs. And many people take these statements as fact, unaware that they weren’t getting the disclaimers, and perhaps well mis-led, by people who were confident of their own beliefs, but perhaps basing their statements on some pre-suppositions :-)
So I have learnt, that is incredibly healthy, to identify what we can verify as fact (evidence & testimony, repeatable observation) & what we can’t verify. And to identify when we make an assessment based on what ‘we think’ happened, so that we aren’t misleading our audience.
Incidentally, I sometimes here people refer to evolutionists as scientists, but creationists as religious. But I now see evolutionists, as actually being a ‘faith’ based group as they have unproved assumptions, upon which they form their world-view. They are, in fact a faith based religion!! As in, were they there, when the big bang occurred or when the first life formed?
But the interesting thing I now regularly find, is that I see Creationist-Christians, doing a very similar thing. I just saw an example, on “Creation Magazine LIVE! Episode 11 ‘Dinosaurs and the Bible’”.
Richard Fangrad explains, “ … but since dinosaurs are land animals, the bible does tell us, that land animals and man, were created on day 6, so we can say ‘conclusively,’ from the bible, starting our thinking from that perspective, that dinosaurs lived with people.”
Now I agree with him, because I accept the Bible as 100% true, and that this fits with the biblical scale. But would it be reasonable to say, that there are things we can prove (i.e. the Bible text exists, various aspects of our environment confirm aspects of biblical truth), but that we are also basing our decision on some unprovable faith-based pre-suppositions, that a scientist or forensic examiner or university professor may have a problem verifying … ‘conclusively?’ I mean, I can’t see the photos of it?? I wasn’t there to confirm it. But there may be stories that provide some supporting evidence? There may be footprints of dinosaurs & man, that add weight to the argument. So I suspect that Mr Fangrad, can reasonably say, that we can be reasonably confident, based on some facts & our faith, and confidence in the biblical text, that dinosaurs were made on the 6th day & therefore walked with man, but that using the word ‘conclusive,’ might be stretching things a little?
I just raise this as a point of the value for us Christians, & our perceived integrity so that we don’t fall into the same traps as those from the evolutionary camp?
p.s. I include this as a personal message, but I believe that there is a valuable principle in here, that could be published ie. not going beyond the facts, or stating when there is a faith based presupposition.
p.s.2. The second thing that I see us make the mistake of, is not applying ‘undeserved respect’ to evolutionists or disagreeing parties. I often see wrathful comments from Christians, & even prominent creationists defenders & this really damages our argument, & Christ, whether we are right or wrong :-)
CMI’s Lita Sanders responds:
First, thanks for your kind comments about our ministry, it’s very encouraging for us to hear when our ministry helps fellow Christians. We are also glad when Christians read/listen to our materials critically (in the good sense!). The last thing we want is for Christians to uncritically accept everything we write (and in the occasions where we are wrong, we are glad when people correct us!).
I believe Richard’s statement is fundamentally different from the evolutionist cases you cite, for several reasons. First, Richard is openly asserting that his authority is the Bible, so anyone who hears him will know that he has that predetermined bias. Notice that the evolutionist scientists also have a predetermined bias, but they are not nearly as forthright about stating it. Second, Richard is making his statement in the area of history, and such things need a corroborating record, in this case he is using Genesis. When evolutionists say, “The dinosaurs died out 65 million years ago” or some such comment, they are also making what is really a historical statement, but they couch it in scientific terms. Maybe they themselves don’t understand the science/history distinction (and there are areas where it is blurred; forensic science necessarily involves some of both).
I would say that there are things that science can tell us—and these sorts of discoveries have given us things like airplanes, cell phones, and penicillin (on a darker side, atomic bombs and ever-more-efficient ways to kill people). The sort of science behind these things is something that practically all scientists would agree on—regardless of their position on creation/evolution. And I wouldn’t say it’s wrong-headed to look in the Bible for these sorts of things—after all, the Bible is true, so if the Bible precludes something, that can save us a lot of time investigating in an area that won’t turn out to be profitable. But on a lot of these things, the Bible is silent, because the Bible wasn’t written as a science book or in a scientifically-literate culture. This doesn’t mean that the Bible has nothing to say about science, but it’s primarily a book of history, not science, and it’s important not to cross the two categories when it’s not justified.
I think that the word ‘conclusively’ simply reflects Richard’s total confidence in the trustworthy account contained in Genesis. If one holds, as we do at CMI, that the Bible is completely true no matter whether it is making statements relevant to history, theology, or science, then it is perfectly appropriate to treat a clear pronouncement of Scripture as conclusively proving the point. We can no more ‘prove’ that dinosaurs were created on the sixth day of Creation Week than the evolutionists could prove they died out 65 million years ago—both groups rely on our presuppositions and predetermined beliefs to guide us into what we deem a plausible interpretation of the evidence we have.
We agree that it is important to communicate with grace as well as truth, and we endeavour to represent the Kingdom well with our tone. Doubtlessly there are times when we fall short of this ideal, but it is something that is a rather frequent topic of in-house discussion. Thanks for the valuable reminder.