Question: What about dinosaurs? How do they fit in with the idea that God created the world rather than the world evolving on it’s own? Why doesn’t the Bible talk about dinosaurs?
Answer: The Bible tells in Genesis 1 that God made the world in seven days, and that he made all of the animals on the fifth day and the sixth day. All of the animals were created at the same time, so they all walked the earth at the same time. I know that the pictures we all grew up with in the movies were that dinosaurs roamed a lifeless, volcanic planet. Remember these are just pictures drawn by someone today! The Bible's picture is that dinosaurs and man lived together on the earth, an earth that was filled with vegetation and beauty.
What happened to the dinosaurs? The scientific record lets us know that they obviously became extinct through some kind of cataclysmic event on the earth. Many scientists theorize that this may have been an asteroid striking the earth, while many Christians wonder if this event could have been the worldwide flood in Noah's day. No one can know for certain what this event was.
Although it cannot be stated with certainty, it appears that dinosaurs may have actually been mentioned in the Bible. The Bible uses names like "behemoth" and "tannin." Behemoth means kingly, gigantic beasts. Tannin is a term that includes dragon-like animals and the great sea creatures such as whales, giant squid, and marine reptiles like the plesiosaurs that may have become extinct. The Bible's best description of a dinosaur-like animal is in Job chapter 40. We don't know for certain if these are actually dinosaurs or are some other large creatures that became extinct.
This should not sound so strange. After all, God tells us that he created all the land animals on the sixth day of creation, the same day that he created mankind. Man and dinosaurs lived at the same time. There was never a time when dinosaurs ruled the earth. From the very beginning of creation, God gave man dominion over all that was made, even over the dinosaurs.
"For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day." Exodus 20:11
"All things were made through him, and without him nothing was made that was made." John 1:3
"Look at the behemoth, which I made along with you and which feed on grass like an ox. What strength he has in his loins, what power in the muscles of his belly! His tail sways like a cedar; the sinews of his thighs are close-knit. His bones are tubes of bronze, his limbs like rods of iron. He ranks first among the works of God." Job 40:15-19 (NIV)
The same document also summarizes Warren's thoughts about theistic evolution.
Question: Is evolution part of God's plan? Why is it not OK for evolution to be part of God’s plan? I don’t understand what the problem is: couldn’t God have used the process of evolution as the way that he created the earth?
Answer: When I was a new believer in Christ, I had some very strong feelings about the issue of evolution. Much as you have expressed, I believed that evolution and the account of the Bible about creation could exist along side of each other very well. I just didn't see what the big argument was all about. I had some friends who had been studying the Bible much longer than I had who saw it differently. But they didn't push me or argue with me, they simply challenged me to take some time to look into the facts and study the issues carefully. I'll always appreciate them for that, because this was an issue that I had to really think through. Eventually, I came to the conclusion, through my study of the Bible and science, that the two positions of evolution and creation just could not fit together. There are some real problems with the idea that God created through evolution.
I would encourage you to take some time to study this issue. I found that, although I'd understood the science side of the equation, I needed to take some more time to read what the Bible really had to say about this subject. Not having taken the time to really read the Bible, I was very ignorant about what it had to say. Let me give you one example. I discovered that the problem of sin, as addressed in the Bible, was much more serious than I had previously thought. When I realized that the world was clearly a perfect place as God created it, and that this perfection was ruined by the sinful choice of Adam and Eve, it really started me thinking. Did the Bible teach evolution or did it teach the creation of a first man and woman named Adam and Eve? If we evolved, which human being would have made the choice that brought sin into this world? If Adam and Eve were just allegorical pictures, why did the New Testament place some much importance upon them as responsible and real individuals? Since God clearly says that it is our sin that brought death into our world, how could there have been death for billions of years before the arrival of the first man who sinned on the earth? As I asked questions about this issue and studied what the Bible had to say, I found it to be one of the greatest times of learning in my life as a new believer. My prayer is that you will have this same experience!
"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." Gen. 1:1
"Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made." John 1:3
If you want to study this further... Here's a web site that you might want to check out: http://www.probe.org/content/section/13/67/ (One article that is especially thought provoking discusses "Darwin's Black Box").
Does anyone find it ironic that Warren recommends Behe's book when Behe himself is clearly a theistic evolutionist? But I digress...
This quote was accessed via a PDF for Saddleback small group leaders on 12/16/08. (The PDF itself appears to have been posted on an anti-evangelical web site. It was originally posted on the Saddleback site here: http://www.saddlebackfamily.com/membership/group_finder/faqs_saddleback.asp?id=7509.) Since then, however, the document has been removed from both sites. And since the PDF I am linking to was originally posted on another site, I'm not 100% sure if this does, in fact, reflect Warren's ideas.
The revised page on the Saddleback site doesn't contain these same statements. Warren's comments on creation are much briefer (clip 39). I particularly appreciate that Warren calls out Christians who try to paint scientists in a negative way. And he even seems to be friendly toward the big bang, which makes me think he doesn't completely understand all of the issues at hand.
Ok, enough of that already... Happy New Year.