This online institute is designed to give a brief analysis and discussion of all scientific disciplines through the lens of a biblical world view. +++ SDG +++

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Lesson #39 Dinosaurs #2

Smoky Mountain Bible Institute
Lesson #39
            Welcome back class.  Please get settled in and take a hold of your pick point rock hammer and hand lens so that we can continue our study in geology.  Our discussion on fossils has led to a discussion on dinosaurs, which may be better addressed in our biology wing. However since we have started down this road, let us give it a full treatment. 

            When discussing dinosaurs, we touch on a number of different scientific disciplines: geology, biology and even history.  In the 1500’s, a European scientific book called ‘Historia Animalium’ listed several dragons as still living but rare.  In medieval times, the Scandinavians wrote of swimming dragons, and the Vikings carved dragons as their figure heads on the front of their ships.  The story of Beowulf and the story of Saint George killing a dragon may have some basis in fact.  In 1572, Ulysses Aldrovandus reported that a peasant had killed a small dragon in northern Italy. The carcass of that "dragon" was put in a museum. Its description matches that of a Struthiomimus, a type of dinosaur. In China there accounts of family's that raised dragons to pull the royal wagons for parades.  The first dinosaur fossils were probably found in China as early as the fourth century, but they were referred to as dragon bones.  In France, near the city of Nerluc, there is record of a creature that was armed with tusks that were sharp like pointed swords, a body larger than an ox, and it would lay in wait in the river. Its description matches that of a Triceratops.  In tenth century Ireland, a large beast was described as having large iron nails pointing backwards on its tail, a head shaped like a horse, and thick hideous legs with iron claws.  This sounds a lot like a Stegosaurus.  In Scandinavia, we have medieval reports of a creature with a body like an ox, two long back legs, two short front legs, covered with scales, with monstrous jaws, and it leapt like a frog. Could this be a Dryptosaurus?  Alexander the Great even reported a dragon-like creature when he went to India. They saw a large reptile over 30 meters long that the Indians kept in a cave.  Georg von Forstner, a German submarine Captain in World War I, reported seeing with four others, a large 65 foot long crocodile-like creature writhing in the wreckage of a British steamer after they sank it with a torpedo on July 30, 1915. Many of the rock drawings by ancient peoples all over the world have a clear resemblance to large dinosaurs.  Reports exist from ships at sea like a 1970's fishing vessel that pulled up a carcass of what looked a lot like a Plesiosaur, and another that pulled up a 6 ft long eel larvae. The list of modern day discoveries like this is long.

            In discussing dinosaurs, there is no good reason for us to exclude any report of dragons, dragon ingredients, or other mentions of dragons in history.  We must, of course, examine the sources of the information and admit that many ancient (non-biblical) documents are corrupted with exaggeration and embellishment.  However that does not negate the significance of these accounts and what they might reveal and add to our knowledge of extinct species of any animals including dinosaurs.  There are enough dinosaurs living today to justify such an approach (over-sized alligators, monitor lizards, and komodo dragons, the largest specimens living in very remote areas).

            So what happened to most of the dinosaurs?  Well, in this creation cursed by the fall of man, extinctions are not uncommon.  Many can be attributed to the very good earth becoming less than very good after the curse in Genesis 3, and perfect environments that once supplied all the needs of all life now made survival difficult for all life, especially the very large that need much more resources to survive, and this got worse after the flood.  But even worse in this fallen creation are fallen sinful human beings who are poor stewards of God’s creation, and when you look at even recent history over the past few hundred years, we can see the memory of large dangerous animals lingers in a large society long after they have been killed to extinction. If we simply look at the places where the largest human populations are, we find large predators like bears, large cats, and even wolves that were hunted to extinction in places like India, Europe, and North America. We have done the same thing to animals we eat to extinction or near extinction—fish, birds, large game like antelope and buffalo. Not to mention habitat we replace with our living spaces.  There is no shortage of places for us to live but we are lazy, and where we live in very high concentrations, one of the problems is a complete loss of habitat for animals. Not to mention where there are high concentrations of people, there are high concentrations of sin.  That is why God did what He did at the Tower of Babel. So I propose that we killed dinosaurs off because they scared us, but they continue in our collective conscience through accounts of large dragons.  These accounts are found in every ancient culture.  Just like you see bears depicted in a Germany or Switzerland where they haven't been for centuries, or tigers depicted in New Delhi that hasn't seen one roaming free for many years, and why the buffalo which once covered our continent, exist now only in areas reserved for them.  Stewardship is a biblical principal God calls us to apply to His creation.  God tells us in Romans 8:22: For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. This was true when Paul wrote it and it is true today.  Dinosaurs fit nicely into a biblical world view if you only take the time to put the information together.

            In closing, let’s talk about one more kind of fossil: fossilized tracks.  If you have a mud flat that is full of tracks that is quickly covered and fossilized by a softer mineral, then this can later erode away leaving fossilized tracks. I call to your attention "Taylor Trail," one of many on the Paluxy River near Glen Rose, Texas.  On this trail is a series of 14 human footprints with at least 134 dinosaur tracks in the same layer.  If man and dinosaurs did not coexist.....then what can explain this rock solid evidence????

            Okay, next month back to more geology—Impact Craters, Volcanoes, Mountains & Valleys. We still have a few more rock formations to look at through a biblical lens.

In Christ,
Pastor Portier