God and extinction


(Emily) #1

I am interested in the dinosaurs and the neat animals that came after them. Huge flightless Terror Birds ( the actual name.). Enteledonts, a much scarier ancestor of the modern pig. A pig on steroids. Imo all proof of God’s awesomeness.

Anyway they are fascinating. But they are all extinct. I don’t understand why God would create them if He knew they’d become extinct. I admit I need to learn more about Evolution, so I want to hear opinions of those who have grappled with questions.


#2

The first thought which comes to mind:

(1) One could say that they “fit” their environment as long as it lasted—but when the environment changed, they either died out without descendants OR their populations evolved into species which did survive.

(2) Each extinction created “openings” in those or new habitats which other species occupied. So you could say that God keeps on showing his creativity with more and more diversity.


(Roger A. Sawtelle) #3

@Celticroots

Hi, Emily.

Someone could ask the question, “Why are people born if they are going to die?”

Everyone gets a span of life. They contribute to the fullness of life on earth for good or for evil. After they die they will continue to live in victory or defeat in God’s wisdom and justice.

All species get a span of life in which they contribute to the fullness of life on this planet. How they exist after they go extinct is up to God, but nothing that exists in God’s mind does not ever disappear or be forgotten.


(Lynn Munter) #4

I’m gonna get philosophical here, despite being a pantheist, not a Christian. Consume at your own risk. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

I remember a children’s book I had on the theme of, “everything changes. Nothing stays the same.” I think we as humans struggle with this our whole lives. If something’s good the way it is, why can’t it just stay that way forever? We like it and we don’t want it to go away!

But we live in four dimensions, not just three. The most beautiful still-shot in the world is less engaging than a feature film, and a movie has to consist of more than a still-shot, no matter how beautiful.

The old gives way to the new, again and again and again. Without death, if every living thing was immortal, we’d either have to have a lot fewer babies or get a lot more crowded, pretty quickly.

But just because there’s not enough room in the present for everything that’s ever lived, and just because we’re stuck going one speed and direction through time, doesn’t mean that the past is gone or unreal. It’s just not available to us. Is just not being able to get there ourselves and watch dinosaurs running around really a cause for sorrow? Well, from a personal perspective, sure. (Unless you’re happy not to be dinosaur fodder yourself, of course.) But from a greater perspective of the whole?

Why would God create anything impermanent? Because change and growth require an impermanent world, or they can’t operate. Permanence is static, unchanging by definition.

My two cents, have at them!


#5

Emily, that’s a really great question you asked. I do hope you will be following up to let us know what you think about our answers.

I’ve always felt very thankful to God that he preserved so much evidence of the Megafauna and the dinosaurs for our study. I grew up farming in an area where “giant beaver” fossils have been excavated from farmers’ fields not far down the road. From an early age I tried to imagine what our farm would have looked like right after the last Ice Age. Maps of the farthest reach of one of the glaciations would have placed huge ice walls within sight of our front porch in three directions!

I don’t encounter many pantheists on forums like this one so your perspective is always of interest to me!


(Scott koshland) #6

In my way of thinking of the Dinosaurs is that they were amazingly successful living for tens of millions of years. And though some were apparently quite intelligent all but the birds failed the Asteriod exam!


(Stephen Matheson) #7

I like it! But it’s really just a theory. There are rival theories, like this one:


(Mervin Bitikofer) #8

I always knew there had to be a second one! I bet the unicorns accidentally got on the wrong boat.


(Mervin Bitikofer) #9

Of course, it’s in direct competition with this theory I found in peer-reviewed literature.


(Scott koshland) #10

Stephen- Your are correct. It is always best to look for the smoking gun when it comes to these things!

I guess that the Loch Ness survived also!


(George Brooks) #11

@Celticroots

I think it is difficult to explain why a Creationist scenario makes any more sense than an Evolutionary one?

Why would God create Terror Birds around Eden… only for them to go extinct almost immediately? That’s much more odd than an Evolutionary-centered creation scenario where the Terror Birds are part of a long-term causal process, where all sorts of life forms appeared, exerted their influence on life forms around them, and then to be replaced by other life forms - - all part of the massive plan designed by God.

My own interpretation of the Terror Birds suggests a reverse analysis: how could humans survive outside of Eden if the Terror Birds and T-Rexes lived just on the other side of those trees?

The “testable hypothesis” of Evolution is to predict that Terror Birds and T-Rex fossils can be found nowhere in common with human settlement or human fossils. Why? Because humans, being much larger than mice and shrews, would be too vulnerable to the predation by these marvelous killing machines: T-Rex, etc … and the much later emerging Terror Birds !!!


(Emily) #12

I am not a Creationist. But these are all really interesting answers!


(Mervin Bitikofer) #13

I hope you weren’t taking all the “proposals” above seriously! :smiley:

Roger already alluded quite well to thoughts of death in his post above. Along with that I think we could find more than one Scriptural reference referring to seasons coming and going --both literally, and also figuratively referring to other aspects of life. The notion of beginnings happening without any endings whatsoever may have a certain place in the future eschaton, but it doesn’t seem to have any Scriptural support when applied to anything in this present or past life. Even kingdoms and civilizations are treated as if their rising and falling is of little consequence. None of this actually answers your question of course. But it does show that it is a time-honored query thrown at God by each and every God-sensitive generation through history.

The ancients may have had a geocentric cosmology in spades, but we still cling to a different “centrism”: a present-centric conception of history in which we imagine that our present generation must (of course!) be the most important culmination of everything up to this point. We are brought up sharp by the imposed indignity of realizing that authors may have spent considerable effort answering questions other than the ones that presently interest so many of us today. We can see this evidenced in the incredulity some still express about the proposition that God might allow the Bible to carry an agenda quite apart from and nary a care for modern science and its questions.

…heavily edited (without apology) and cartoon added below.


(system) #14

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