The Tyrannosaurs Rex that guards the entrance to Worlds of Fun fell during the weekend’s storm. I showed the girls the picture during breakfast and this brought on dinosaur questions and soon theology.
Phoebe again asked about the seven days of creation. I reminded her that God made dinosaurs before humans were created. Remember, God created time too. And she responded by quoting Peter “to God a thousand years is a day” (2Pt 3:8). Exactly! (It is nice when kids listen!) When God created animals, it was a FULL “day” of work – forget eight hours, maybe it was a few billion year “day”!
There is no need to take short cuts with our children’s theology. As their minds move from literal ideas to abstract – they can often understand nuance. But even if they are not ready to understand fully – that is part of faith. We don’t understand everything. It is okay if we don’t know how long God took with creation.
When our theology takes short cuts – like seven literal days – our faith is unprepared for storms. Children are fascinated by dinosaurs. So when I teach a group of kids they often ask how dinosaurs could exist if creation happened in seven days? I could copy the Hallmark Card1 and claim dinosaurs were lost in the flood – but greeting card theology won’t survive any storms.
1 I gave this card to my Administrative Assistant, Ellen… I forget her birthday (Once again I am out of the running for boss of the year! )
If we try to hold to seven literal days we set our children up for a collision with science in high school or college. As I grew up I watched some friend’s hunker down for a battle with science. I have seen others turn away from the faith.
Yet there is no need to battle with science. As Christians we believe God made the world. As Peter’s words reveal, God exists outside of our world, outside of time (except during the incarnation – then God entered into time as one of us!). So, if God desired to have fun creating dinosaurs before he made us – great!
And that actually makes a lot of sense in my mind. Maybe I am still too much a child, but if I could speak worlds into existence – I would create marvels upon marvels. Imagine being the creator, building world for joy and pleasure, molding stars and blowing ocean waves… and what is more marvelous than a dinosaur?! For our God, who is love, there is nothing more marvelous than love. So the Creator made free will – love is a free choice.
Yet choice also meant the world could crumble and we chose death… but we were not abandoned. Beyond any of our understanding, God came to save – revealing the full extent of love. This salvation arrived not only for the church, but came for all of humanity and for all of creation! In this way God may again play joyfully in creation!
So God is not in an epic battle with science. Far from it. The Creator’s battle is against sin and death. It is battle Jesus won – but hate and division still exist. Creationism vs Evolution, is not God’s battle. It is leftovers of the fall – a false dichotomy. What God does not understand is why His people are on the side of division. I imagine He responds like I do with my children, as I teach the same truth again: remember, everything hangs on just two things: Love God. Love your Neighbor. Or more apt for this moment, “Love the Scientist.” and “Love the Fundamentalist.”