What is the best Christian resource on dinosaurs?

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Sep 11 2018 9:09 PM

Rick Carmickle:
Because the geological, astronomical, and paleontological  evidence is clear and irrefutable, as believers it’s time to except the evidence of science.

It is also important for Christians to understand what science is - it is the current "best fit" for predicting/explaining behavior of the physical world. Abductive logic i.e. the logic of science is not seeking truth, it is seeking accuracy of predictions. It is always provisional - some even more accurate model may come along at any time. Christians make a horrendous logical error when they confuse their quest for Truth with sciences' quest for accurate prediction. The resources I would suggest on the subject say: ... i.e. I would concentrate on why the question arises rather than the question itself. I am not familiar with the parallel Protestant sources, my apologies.

159 Faith and science: “Though faith is above reason, there can never be any real discrepancy between faith and reason. Since the same God who reveals mysteries and infuses faith has bestowed the light of reason on the human mind, God cannot deny himself, nor can truth ever contradict truth.”37 “Consequently, methodical research in all branches of knowledge, provided it is carried out in a truly scientific manner and does not override moral laws, can never conflict with the faith, because the things of the world and the things of faith derive from the same God. The humble and persevering investigator of the secrets of nature is being led, as it were, by the hand of God in spite of himself, for it is God, the conserver of all things, who made them what they are.”38 (283; 2293)

Catholic Church, Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2nd Ed. (Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1997), 43.

36. Now many of our contemporaries seem to fear that a closer bond between human activity and religion will work against the independence of men, of societies, or of the sciences.
If by the autonomy of earthly affairs we mean that created things and societies themselves enjoy their own laws and values which must be gradually deciphered, put to use, and regulated by men, then it is entirely right to demand that autonomy. Such is not merely required by modern man, but harmonizes also with the will of the Creator. For by the very circumstance of their having been created, all things are endowed with their own stability, truth, goodness, proper laws and order. Man must respect these as he isolates them by the appropriate methods of the individual sciences or arts. Therefore if methodical investigation within every branch of learning is carried out in a genuinely scientific manner and in accord with moral norms, it never truly conflicts with faith, for earthly matters and the concerns of faith derive from the same God.6 Indeed whoever labors to penetrate the secrets of reality with a humble and steady mind, even though he is unaware of the fact, is nevertheless being led by the hand of God, who holds all things in existence, and gives them their identity. Consequently, we cannot but deplore certain habits of mind, which are sometimes found too among Christians, which do not sufficiently attend to the rightful independence of science and which, from the arguments and controversies they spark, lead many minds to conclude that faith and science are mutually opposed.7
But if the expression, the independence of temporal affairs, is taken to mean that created things do not depend on God, and that man can use them without any reference to their Creator, anyone who acknowledges God will see how false such a meaning is. For without the Creator the creature would disappear. For their part, however, all believers of whatever religion always hear His revealing voice in the discourse of creatures. When God is forgotten, however, the creature itself grows unintelligible.


Catholic Church, “Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World: Gaudium Et Spes,” in Vatican II Documents (Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2011).

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Sep 12 2018 12:56 AM

I would recommend anything by Denis O. Lamoureux, particularly I Love Jesus & I Accept Evolution, which was written specifically to address the question of the Bible and dinosaurs. Unfortunately, it's not in Logos, but Lamoureux is a contributor to two books that are available in Logos: Four Views on the Historical Adam and How I Changed My Mind About Evolution: Evangelicals Reflect on Faith and Science. Lamoureux is associate professor of science and religion at St. Joseph’s College in the University of Alberta. He holds three earned doctoral degrees—dentistry, evangelical theology and evolutionary biology and is extremely well qualified to write on this topic. He also has a master's degree from my alma mater, Regent College, and I've met him -- he came back to speak at a forum once while I was still there. His story of how he changed his mind (which he tells in his chapter of the aforementioned book) is quite amazing. He started out as an atheist, was born again and became a young earth creationist, and through a trajectory that you'll have to read his story to find out, wound up an evolutionary creationist.

Here is the preface of I Love Jesus & I Accept Evolution:

THIS IS A TRUE story. A number of years ago I attended a conference on the relationship between science and religion at a leading university. One evening there was a public lecture that featured one of the most important anti-evolutionists in the country. During the question and answer period, a young man came to the microphone in front of about one thousand people. In a very respectful way, he asked a simple question, “What about dinosaurs, how do they fit into the Bible?”

I will never forget the answer that this university professor gave. In a mean-spirited tone, he scolded the young man, “This is an irrelevant question. It doesn’t matter because it has nothing to do with what I’m saying tonight.” And then there was dead silence. It was a very awkward and uncomfortable moment for everyone in the auditorium, including a number of individuals who were associated with this professor and his view of origins. In fact, I was sitting with a number of these anti-evolutionists. Without any response, the young man turned away from the microphone, walked up the aisle, and went out of the auditorium. No one got out of their seat to follow him. Not even one of the Christian anti-evolutionists with whom I was seated.

But I immediately sensed the Lord calling me to comfort this young man. Yes, me, of all people, an evolutionist! I went out to the foyer and found him. He was shaking like a leaf. I introduced myself as a university professor and complemented him on what I thought was an excellent question. And then he said to me with trembling voice, “All I wanted to know from Dr. _______ was where do dinosaurs fit into the Bible, because I would like to tell my high school friends.” Wow! Here was a 16- or 17-year-old boy who had the courage to stand up before a large audience at a major university and ask a question that he believed would help his high school classmates understand the relationship between Scripture and science. He wanted to explain and defend his Christian faith to his friends.

I realized I had a problem. I had just affirmed this student’s question, but how would I explain in only a few minutes where dinosaurs fit into the Bible? My university career has focused on the modern origins debate and questions like this one. But there are no quick and easy answers. I felt handcuffed. Standing before me was a teenager who, along with his classmates, had grown up watching the Jurassic Park movies. They all know that dinosaurs once existed. And here was a young man with a solid faith and a question that undoubtedly many Christians his age have asked. I wanted to tell him that I love Jesus and that I accept evolution. But this was not the right thing to say at that volatile moment. It would only have added to the confusion. All I could do was affirm his wonderful faith, remarkable courage, and intellectual integrity. I told him that loving God with our mind, as Jesus has commanded us, requires that we ask tough questions like the one he had just asked the speaker. I knew he wanted more, but I couldn’t deliver it.

This honest question and shameful answer still echo in my soul years later. As a matter of fact, they have inspired me to write this book. In many ways, it is my attempt at offering a response to this high school student and his classmates. The answer that I give will surprise a lot of Christians. First, I will suggest that the purpose of the Bible is not to reveal scientific facts about how God created the world. To use the words of Billy Graham in the epigraph at the front of this book, “The Bible is not a book of science.”[1] In the same way that the Lord meets each of us wherever we happen to be, the Holy Spirit came down to the level of the ancient biblical writers and used their understanding of nature to reveal that He was the Creator of the entire world. The intention of the biblical creation accounts is to disclose spiritual truths for nourishing our personal relationship with Jesus.

Second, I will propose that God created the universe and life through evolution. This view of origins is known as “evolutionary creation.” It claims that evolution is a creative process similar to that which the Lord uses to form every one of us in our mother’s womb. No Christian today believes that God comes out of heaven to attach an ear, nose, or arm to a developing baby. Instead, we understand that He employs natural processes to create human beings. In fact, God is the creator of all the laws of nature, including these developmental (embryological) mechanisms. I believe that this is also the case with evolution. The Creator planned and maintained evolutionary laws and processes in order to create the entire world and us. In other words, our origin is not a fluke or mistake.

My view of origins is built on the traditional Christian belief that the Lord reveals Himself through Two Divine Books. First, the Book of God’s Words is the Bible. It discloses that we are the only creatures who were made in the Image of God, and that our Creator loves us more that we can ever imagine. I personally understand the power of Scripture. By reading the gospel of John, I was born again thirty years ago. Experiencing the fact that Jesus died for our sins and then rose physically from the grave changed my life completely and forever. Today, I drink from the Bible every morning for my spiritual nourishment in order to strengthen my personal relationship with the Lord. Second, the Book of God’s Works is the natural world. Modern science examines its structure, operation, and origin. Microscopes and telescopes assist in revealing that the creation is incredibly amazing! Beauty, complexity, and functionality in nature point to the mind of God. Stated in another way, the universe and life reflect intelligent design.

The Two Divine Books complement each other in revealing the glory and character of the Creator. I will propose an intimate and fruitful relationship between Biblical faith and evolutionary science. Scripture discloses the spiritual character of the world, while science reveals the divine method of creation. To be sure, such a provocative claim is rarely heard in our churches. This might be offensive to some. But no insult is intended, and I will ask my brothers and sisters in Christ for their patience as they read this book.

In order to understand my view of origins, I strongly advise that the chapters be read in sequence. The conclusions in later chapters are dependent on the terms and ideas presented in earlier ones. There is a short glossary at the back of the book to assist readers with the terminology. I suggest that they introduce themselves to these concepts before starting chapter 1.

No doubt about it, I Love Jesus & I Accept Evolution is a challenging book for most Christians. Readers must be warned that I will make a number of pointed and even disturbing statements, especially with regard to the meaning of several biblical passages. You will be uncomfortable at times. However, there is a generation of young Christian men and women who want to know where dinosaurs fit into the Bible. This is not an irrelevant question. Rather, it’s a very important one. And I believe that asking tough and honest questions is part of the commandment to love God with our mind (Matt 22:37). Hopefully, this book will make a modest contribution in offering some answers on origins and Christian faith.


[1] Billy Graham, “Doubts and Certainties: David Frost interview” BBC–2, 1964, in David Frost, Billy Graham: Personal Thoughts of a Public Man. 30 years of Conversations with David Frost (Colorado Springs: Chariot Victor, 1997), 73–74.

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Paul Caneparo | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Sep 12 2018 1:08 AM

Hugh Ross is also an old earth creationist but his writings demonstrate how in his view as a scientist evolution is statistically impossible as well as an unproven theory. I used to embrace young earth creationism but have found Hugh Ross more satisfactory in terms of reconciling the Bible and known scientific facts. I'm stating this purely as a personal view and  not an attempt to defend a view of enter a debate.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Sep 12 2018 1:56 AM

Thanks, Rosie

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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GaoLu | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Sep 12 2018 2:56 AM

I don't think anyone mentioned Institute for Creation Research (ICR):   http://www.icr.org/article/young-earth-creationist-bibliography/ 

ICR has books like (some are more scholarly than others):

 - Baker, Mace, Dinosaurs (Bible Science Association, 1995).

 - Gish, Duane T., Dinosaurs by Design (Master Books, 1992).

 - Von Fange, Erich A., Genesis and the Dinosaur (Living Word Services, 1990).

 - Whitcomb, Norma, Those Mysterious Dinosaurs (Presbyterian and Reformed Publ Co., 1991).

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David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Sep 12 2018 3:24 AM

Rick Carmickle:
The universe is 14.3 billion years old

Since when? Yesterday it was 13.8 billion years old...a couple of years ago it was 13.7. When I was a kid, it was 5-6 billion. This puts a whole new spin on the meaning of

Rick Carmickle:
clear and irrefutable

Just so you all know, B'heimohtth was not a dinosaur.

Also, the Bible says one thing and science says something else--they don't agree. That is by YHWH's purposeful design prerogative. He expects you to choose which you accept as worthy of your adherence...the word of His mouth or your lying eyes.

MJ. Smith:
Consequently, methodical research in all branches of knowledge, provided it is carried out in a truly scientific manner and does not override moral laws, can never conflict with the faith, because the things of the world and the things of faith derive from the same God.

This quote is based on presumptive and speculative assumption. The notion that YHWH is incapable of misdirection is nearly universal and entirely unbiblical.

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James McAdams | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Sep 12 2018 8:18 AM

I guess what this thread shows is that you're not going to find an uncontroversial answer.

Personally, I'd be more inclined to look at a few different commentaries on key passages first - from Genesis, Job, a few Psalms etc - and then head into the blogosphere/chat with people at church etc to see what others are saying/what passages they appeal to, then head back into commentaries on those new passages. You might benefit from listening to debates on the topic from YouTube or the Unbelievable podcast etc. You can listen to those arguments and then test them out against scripture/commentaries etc.

You'll know better than any of us which commentaries you trust and which ones outside your tradition challenge you in ways that you're receptive to. I'd love to inflict my own views on you (basically: read John Walton!) but... well... yeah. Christians with very conservative views of scripture disagree on the topic, let alone those with more progressive/alternative approaches etc (not trying to describe anyone pejoratively).

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Greg Masone | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Sep 12 2018 10:08 AM

The writings of Hugh Ross and his perspective on the different geologic ages of earth corresponding to the seven days of creation were helpful in my transition from a strict six-day creationist to a position that wasn’t hostile to basic science. It wasn’t so much the science that I needed (which is clear to anyone approaching it fairly and honestly), but it was more the need for a biblical framework to make sense of it all. That’s where Ross helped the most.

Of course I didn’t stay there. Ross gave way fairly quickly to ID, but once that proved insufficient (as Ross’s worked eventually did too), I was introduced to the writings of Lamoureux (mentioned above) and John H. Walton (who has numerous excellent and relevant books available in Logos) that helped me to understand the Bible in a way that allows compatibility to the modern astronomical, geological, and biological sciences. Tremper Longman III also has written on this subject too.

The trick to this is grounding the Bible in its milieu, and not engaging in eisegesis by trying to force it to conform to our modern standards. Lamoureux and Walton are excellent in this regard, and the latter has done considerable work in Old Testament Bible backgrounds to aid the reader in the same.

So to address your main question, you will never find an accurate account of dinosaurs in the Bible because dinosaurs are not in the Bible to begin with. Ancient Israelites were not aware of their existence, and God inspired the scriptures to speak to their particular situation in life, in ways relevant to them. The question of dinosaurs wasn’t even on their radar.

So I would definitely recommend these two authors in that regard. I would encourage you also to seek out information from non-hostile sources on the relevant science too. Dennis Venema, a Christian evolutionary biologist, is an excellent resource here. He writes regularly for Biologos.org, and has numerous lectures on YouTube too. Highly recommended.

Hope this provides you some helpful guidance!

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David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Sep 13 2018 1:29 PM

Greg Masone:
John H. Walton (who has numerous excellent and relevant books available in Logos) that helped me to understand the Bible in a way that allows compatibility to the modern astronomical, geological, and biological sciences.

The question that rarely gets asked is whether YHWH considers "compatibility" of Biblical revelation with the above fields of inquiry to be nothing less and nothing more than an idolatrous worshipping of creation over the Creator. Walton, et. al, may give an impression that they've shaken the puzzle pieces into place, resulting in the desperately sought "agreement" of revelation with "reality", but plenty of significant disconnects persist. Scholars say the Bible must give way to history and science; evangelicals & fellow travelers, exercising their patented "Conclusion therefor Premise" method of reasoning, insist the the Bible and observable creation MUST agree perfectly (damn any evidence to the contrary--it MUST be a satanic conspiracy). Meanwhile, YHWH, the creator and manipulator of time and space, expects all considerations external to His Word are to be ignored, even if He is responsible for the existence of those considerations.

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Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Sep 13 2018 4:43 PM

Greg Masone:

So to address your main question, you will never find an accurate account of dinosaurs in the Bible because dinosaurs are not in the Bible to begin with. Ancient Israelites were not aware of their existence, and God inspired the scriptures to speak to their particular situation in life, in ways relevant to them. The question of dinosaurs wasn’t even on their radar.

Just to confuse the discussion, confirming Mr Paul's YHWH-ist thoughts, dinosaurs were carefully placed in the late Triassic and Jurassic layers. The levant was given the Pleistocene and Holocene layers, which were, of course, dinosaur-free.

But more seriously, one of the very interesting volumes in the present collections sale:

https://www.logos.com/product/45804/near-eastern-archaeology-a-reader-2nd-ed 

Which covers a LOT of water-front, all the way down to how wide roads were: 2 lanes, oddly enough.


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Rick Carmickle | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Sep 13 2018 11:15 PM

Greg Masone:

The story of your intellectual journey parallels mine to an extraordinary degree. I too move away from 6-day literal creation theory, particularly because of my interest in science and my  desire to investigate and defend the young earth theory. Instead, I discovered it’s scientific inadequacies in light of demonstratable science. So I moved to an old-earth view, spending several years with the construct developed by Hugh Ross. In fact, I had several lunches with Dr. Ross in Pasadena at Cal Tech about 1998-99. Although I still appreciate his work,  and love him as a brother,  I  have benefited from, and hav been persuaded by, the explanations proposed by John Walton  and others. When you watch the BioLogos videos of Debra Harsma and others  on YouTube, including Francis Collins, I am persuaded that true believers can also operate in a scientifically literate matter.  I agree that this is a hard journey for many Christians to take. But I do not believe that those of us who have taken this journey are in anyway denying the truth Faith.  To the contrary, I am more inspired by the greatness of God who created in such a way that we can scientifically determine his creative activity. Last month, I spent the day at Dinosaur National Monument in Utah/Colorado and could only imagine the greatness of God in his creative activity 200 million years ago. I fear that many young people will struggle to maintain their faith unless the stranglehold of 6-day creationism is broken.  But I believe that young earth creationism will go the way of a geocentric universe in the coming years.  I believe now is the time to work this issue out in the church so that we can move beyond it and continue to evangelize with the wonderful message of the gospel.  Soli Deo Gloria. 

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Greg Masone | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Sep 13 2018 11:44 PM

Rick Carmickle:

Greg Masone:

The story of your intellectual journey parallels mine to an extraordinary degree....

Wow, thats really cool to see. Thank you for sharing your story. I agree also that it can be a barrier to evangelization. In college, when I was working these ideas out, this frequently came up in my talks with non-Christians. I'm incredibly happy to see the work thats been put out in this area since then (just the last fifteen years), and it gives me hope this can lead to more fruitful discussions.

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Greg Masone | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Sep 13 2018 11:52 PM

David Paul:
The question that rarely gets asked is whether YHWH considers "compatibility" of Biblical revelation with the above fields of inquiry to be nothing less and nothing more than an idolatrous worshipping of creation over the Creator.

Frankly, I see it no different than how we approach meteorology, embryology, or astronomy. Do you insist your weatherman acknowledge God as the cause of the weather? Job learned that lesson the hard way, why can't he?

God knit us together in our mother's womb, so wouldn't that make seeking a natural understanding of human development idolatry?

Should we even bring up the church's long stance on geocentrism, and how heliocentrism was mocked when first proposed, and scripture brought out against it, and then, as evidence mounted, how it forced a series of interpretive changes so we could safely accept scripture's viewpoint of a fixed earth alongside science's undeniable moving earth?

Science can inform us and correct our interpretations of scripture, which are not divinely inspired or part of holy scripture, so I don't understand the problem with rethinking things that may have been thought about in the past with more ignorance than knowledge.

I always figured abandoning wrong interpretations was a good thing. Wouldn't you agree?

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Richard Lyall | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 14 2018 6:30 AM

One would have to say that asking this question REX your credibility Big Smile

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Veli Voipio | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 14 2018 9:10 AM

It was about 40 years ago when I've read a book that explains the creation story as the order of the nature. Unfortunately I cannot remember the book name. It goes something like this:

Those created earlier are higher in hierarchy and those created later are more complex and better. Sometimes the hierarchy is inverted, e.g. the land is given under the humans. But the sea is not given under the humans, thus no human can calm the sea.

Also most people all over the world have the idea of God and creation, therefore I think just describing the creation is not really necessary, but the idea of sabbath may be the focus of the story.

Gold package, and original language material and ancient text material, SIL and UBS books, discourse Hebrew OT and Greek NT. PC with Windows 8.1

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Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 21 2018 1:40 AM

FYI: today's (21 Sept 18) daily deal is from Hugh Ross (49% off): https://www.logos.com/product/5286/creation-as-science 

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Whyndell Grizzard | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 21 2018 3:37 AM

I always find this topic and others related to it hilarious - there is absolutely no objective data about them- period- other than bones but there are volumes of ridiculous speculation and just to be plain lies written about them. 

Did they exist at some point, yes, but we know absolutely nothing of their environment, behaviour or demise, except it was at God's direction.

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David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Sep 23 2018 1:54 AM

Imo, you were more on track here...

Whyndell Grizzard:
there is absolutely no objective data about them- period- other than bones

...than here...

Whyndell Grizzard:
Did they exist at some point, yes

There are very good reasons to doubt dinosaurs ever lived. 

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David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Sep 23 2018 1:57 AM

David Paul:

Rick Carmickle:
The universe is 14.3 billion years old

Since when?

That wasn't a rhetorical question...I'd really like to know where that clod of information came from.

Posts 496
Greg Masone | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Sep 23 2018 6:14 AM

Roll Eyes

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