“The Bible tells us how to go to heaven and not how the heavens go” said natural philosopher Galileo borrowing the words from Cardinal Cesare Baronio. But since the beginning of the Christian church, the age of this planet has been a matter of disagreement, or sometimes, actual dissension among both clerics and clergy.
A recent Gallup Poll found that about 38 percent of respondents say God created man in his present form. That’s the lowest figure in the 35 years that the survey has been conducted. The same percentage of folks believe that humans have evolved, but that God guided the process. This second theory is called theistic evolution. It requires a very old earth.
This week, Our Faith turned to a young Earth advocate, Frank Sherwin, who is a research associate with the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) located in Dallas. This non-profit held a conference at Friendswood’s Calvary Chapel in late January. He brought along a few “friends” from either the recent or distant past depending on your take, that is, the dinosaur skeletons you see here.
“Dinosaurs are a unique group of animals – small & big—which were created on day six of creation,” Sherwin said. “They have always been dinosaurs. Alas, my list of dinosaurian ancestors is an empty one.” The fossilized dinosaur remains are a reminder of creation and the Genesis flood just thousands of years ago.”
In a preview session to the conference, Calvary’s main auditorium hosted a “fossil walk” where other ICR speakers discussed dinosaurs, the flood described in the book of Genesis, Noah’s ark and related topics.
“Genesis teaches that two of every kind of land animal went on board the ark,” Sherwin said. “This would include dinosaurs. All the animals—plus the eight survivors of the human race – came off the ark after a year and migrated.”
Home school students, retired church board members and others listened attentively to the lectures offering a very different take on natural history.
Sherwin believes that the relatively sudden worldwide disappearance of the dinosaurs was not due to the impact of a massive meteorite, but was a consequence of the Genesis flood.
“The ICR holds that a simple reading of Genesis reveals the primeval history of the world,” Sherwin said. “The critical first eleven chapters of Genesis are factual – indeed, all 50 chapters are written in historical, narrative Hebrew. All things were created in six literal days approximately six thousand years ago. Life exists because it was created on Earth by the all-loving, all-powerful Creator. Further, the biblical flood was global and cataclysmic, and its after-effects therefore explain most of the stratigraphic and fossil evidence found in the earth’s crust.”
Of course, we can’t resolve an argument that has been resident in the church for over two millennia in this space. Still, the image of dinosaurs populating a local church campus seemed compelling.
We’ll give Sherwin, who holds a graduate degree in zoology, the last word this week.
“It was none other than Charles Darwin who said, ‘A fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question.’ For those who have put their trust in God we would suggest they start by believing the Bible written by One who was there – in the beginning. They should carefully examine both the scientific and biblical data.”
If you’d like to gently advocate for the old Earth position, please email soon.
Next week in Our Faith: After Valentine’s Day, how do you keep romance in marriage?