Creation Days And The Dinosaurs!


 ‘In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.’ Genesis 1:1-2

Did God create the heavens and the earth millions of years ago, and let them become, without form and void. Then, the spirit of God moved, and we have the world today? This question implies a second question, how do dinosaurs fit into creation if we do not have the ‘millions of years’?

Genesis 1:1 ‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth’.

We should notice exactly what this verse tells us. It doesn’t tell us that God created the heavens and the earth, and then allowed them to ‘become without form and void’. Instead, it makes a positive and emphatic statement about their origin. It tells us that they were created by God. That is how they came to exist.

The word, ‘created’ is significant, because the word ‘bara’ used in this chapter, means ‘to bring into existence something which has not previously existed’. It is very different from the word ‘made’. One can ‘make’ a thing out of pre-existent material, but God first ‘created’ the matter, brought into existence the ‘building blocks’ so to speak and began to produce the ordered system which we know as ‘the heavens and the earth’.

Notice, also, that God created this material ‘in the beginning’, and it is, therefore, reasonable to assume that, before this, matter did not exist. The phrase, ‘in the beginning’ has been called ‘the dateless date’ because we cannot go any farther back than ‘the beginning’.

Genesis 1:2 ‘Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.’

This verse tells us that, at the time of its creation, the material to which God himself later gave the name ‘Earth’, Genesis 1:10, was, as described in the Hebrew text which is almost a play on words! The A.V. translated this as ‘without form and void’ and both words mean ‘empty’. How long has God allowed this state of emptiness to continue, or if he allowed it to continue at all? We cannot say. There is nothing in the Bible that will permit us to be dogmatic on the matter.

But, in order to account for the fossil record, and, especially, to make room for the Dinosaurs mentioned in the question, attempts have been made to fix a gap of millions of years between verses 1 and 2. Sometimes, in order to prevent the Bible from being called ‘unscientific’, very clever religious people have gone out of their way to accommodate the scientists, or, at the very least, have tried to harmonize, the Bible and ‘Science’.

We have here a case in point. Thomas Chalmers was a Scottish clergyman, born in 1780, who is probably best remembered as the man who was largely responsible for the founding of the ‘Free Church of Scotland’. Dr Chalmers was a great orator, a mathematician and a chemist. As a writer, he produced a work entitled ‘Institutes of Theology’ which ran to 34 volumes!

In his attempts to reconcile the Biblical account of Creation with what was claimed to be ‘science’, he produced the ‘Catastrophe Theory’, which assumed that in the imaginary time-gap between verses 1 and 2, there had been an earlier ‘Creation’, which had been destroyed by some sort of disaster which destroyed all life, including the Dinosaurs, which, he thought, had existed during that earlier time.

According to this theory, it was this ‘catastrophe’ that, besides killing the dinosaurs, also produced the fossils. Since there is no mention of anything like this in the Bible, how did Thomas Chalmers support his theory?

He did it by going to the 2nd verse of Genesis 1 and changing the translation. He said that the word ‘was’, which in Hebrew is ‘havah’, should really be ‘hayah’, which means ‘became’. With this change, the verse comes out as ‘the earth became without form and void’.

Unfortunately for his theory, there is no linguistic evidence or authority for making such a change in the text. Linguistically, the word ‘was’ in the 2nd verse, refers to all the time during which the ‘Earth’ existed as a formless mass. But, to support his theory, Dr Chalmers also turned to verse 28, which, in the AV., reads, ‘replenish the earth’, and he took this to mean, ‘fill the earth again’. But the word ‘male’ doesn’t mean ‘fill again’. It means ‘fill up’.

God commanded those whom he had created to ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill up the earth’. In other words, God commanded the first human beings to populate the planet which, as his work on the previous days reveals, he had prepared for them to occupy. Still no evidence for the ‘Catastrophe Theory’!

Dr Chalmers also argued from Isaiah 45:18, which tells us that God ‘created the heavens and formed the earth’. The verse continues to say that God ‘did not create it a chaos, he formed it to be inhabited’. Bear in mind that Isaiah had not heard of Dr Chalmerstheory! The prophet is speaking on behalf of God, and is speaking about the earth on which we live today.

What about the Dinosaurs?

If there was no ‘former creation’ during which Dinosaurs roamed the earth, when did they exist? Well, Genesis 1:21 offers us something to think about. ‘So, God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.’

On the fourth day God created ‘great sea monsters’, R.S.V. Here the Hebrew word used is ‘tannin’, which is used to describe any ‘long’ creature and is used to refer to sea monsters, dragons, serpents and lizards. Since the word ‘dinosaur’ comes from ‘deino saurus’ and means ‘terrible lizard’, verse 21 has therefore been described as referring to the ‘Saurian’ age.

Well, perhaps the ‘days’ of creation were vast geological periods and not 24 hour days? Not so! It is true that the word ‘yom’, ‘day’ is used in several ways in the Bible, and was used to refer to an indefinite period of time, as, for instance, ‘the day of temptation in the wildernesses’. Psalm 95:8 / Isaiah 2:11.

But, remember that the account of creation repeatedly says, ‘And there was evening and there was morning, one day. So, it was evening and there was morning a second day.’ Brother J.B. Rotherham’s literal rendering of the Hebrew text gives us this as the literal translation.

Again, when the Israelites were commanded to ‘remember the sabbath day’ they were given a reason. ‘For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, and the seventh (day) is a Sabbath’.

The rule to follow is quite simple, when the word ‘day’ is preceded by a number, it must be understood to refer to literal days of 24 hours. Those of us, who believe in the omnipotence of God, have no difficulty in accepting that He who said, ‘Light be!’, and there was light, was also capable of completing the work of creation without resorting to the use of ‘vast geological periods’.

Bear in mind that those who accept the Darwinian theory of Evolution need vast periods of time to accommodate it.



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