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Dinosaurs and the Bible

“65 million years ago dinosaurs roamed the earth”. Many museum displays, documentaries, and even fictional stories contain this or similar statements about how old dinosaurs are. Some movies like “The Good Dinosaur” present dinosaurs and humans as coexisting, but most imply that dinosaurs went extinct long before humans came into the picture. There are countless theories about dinosaurs and the age of the earth, but theories are all they are. We can never know exactly what they looked like or how they lived because we were not there. However, as Christians, we might be able to get some clues about these great creatures by looking at scripture.

The beginning is always a good place to start. Looking at Genesis 1:1 we see that “God created the heavens and the earth”. Looking at verses 20-25 we see the account of the fifth and sixth day, when God created all creatures that filled the air, the sea, and the land. These creatures would have included dinosaurs. Secular scientists have fought hard against creation in an attempt provide a naturalistic explanation for the world that excludes a divine creator. As Christians we are not bound to the need for naturalistic explanations and should not be afraid to let the supernatural influence our ideas of creation and history. Even secular science cannot avoid evidence that points to the biblical account, as can be seen in studies such as this which indicate that 90% of all creatures appeared at about the same time.

The best known example of a possible dinosaur in the Bible is found in Job 40:15-24. God challenges Job to teach him humility and begins describing a creature referred to as a Behemoth. Several living animals have been presented as an explanation for this magnificent creature, such as an elephant or a hippo, but upon further investigation none of these creatures match the description that God gives. A mythical creature has also been suggested, but God is using the behemoth as an example of his power. To use a mythical creature would be a weak example and imply that his greatness was merely mythical since he did not in reality create such a creature. The behemoth must have been something that really existed and that Job was familiar with.

The description of the creature shows us it was vegetarian, even though it was incredibly large. Its limbs were incredibly powerful including it’s thick tail. It lived near rivers, but the strong currents, even of flood waters, did not bother it. It could not be domesticated. Hippos, elephants, and rhinoceroses, all of which are large and strong and eat vegetation, do not have strong tails like trees. The best explanation is a creature that is no longer alive and the description brings to mind a dinosaur.

If we read on in the very next chapter of Job we find a description of the Leviathan. The most commonly suggested identification of this creature is an alligator, but the description in Job seems to paint a picture of a far more powerful animal. It was a creature with scales no known weapon could pierce. It could survive on both land and water and somehow had fire and smoke that came from it’s mouth. Bombardier beetles shoot boiling chemicals from their abdomen and we know of creatures that can create electric currents, so it is not out of the question that one of God’s extinct creatures could produce something resembling flames or smoke. Mention of the Leviathan creature can also be found in Psalm 104:26.

We should not be surprised that creatures such as dinosaurs have gone extinct. Adam and Eve’s sin put a curse on the earth and allowed death to enter where there had previously only been life. Most of creation was wiped out in the flood in Genesis 7 but the ark had ample room for at least 2 of every kind of creature, especially if the pairs Noah took on the ark were juvenile and not fully grown. The post flood world would have offered a myriad of difficulties for large creatures like dinosaurs including climate change and a smaller supply of food, which all could have contributed to their extinction.

Romans 8:20-22 says “Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.” Because of the curse, animals go extinct, and dinosaurs are some of those creatures, but this is further evidence they existed with humans. Humans brought the curse on earth and the curse is what brought death into creation.

I am not a biologist and am not here to make an argument for the age of the earth. I’m simply a Christian who wants to look at the Bible literally and learn what God is teaching. Whether it was millions or thousands of years ago, God created dinosaurs for the same reason he created everything else: to bring glory to himself. The characters in Jurassic Park learned a similar lesson when they came face to face with a creation that they could not control. Ellie says “You never had control! That’s the illusion!” because she was forced to recognize the humility of humans against nature. God is more powerful than nature. The power and might of dinosaurs is a testimony to what he can accomplish. Our response should be the same as Job’s when he was confronted with the amazing power and beauty of creation in comparison to his small role in it “I know that you can do anything, and no one can stop you.” (Job 42:2)

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Christian Living

Stuck

Have you ever sat there with a book in hand and found yourself reading the same line over and over and over again? No matter how many times your eyes have scanned left to right over those same series of letters and words, you just couldn’t process them? Or, have you ever stared at the blank screen of a laptop or the empty lines of a notebook, unable to put a single word, line, or equation to it? Have you ever heard the wolf cry to the blue corn moon?

But in all seriousness, the book and laptop analogy has been my life lately, it seems. Being a stay at home mom is great… most of the time. Don’t get me wrong, even on bad days its really the best thing I could be doing, but day in and day out it’s more of the same. Wake up, feed, clean up, feed, play, feed, clean up, feed, until I go to bed (or try to) to be awoken from broken sleep to do it all over again.

Since Ive embarked on this epic quest of parenthood, I’ve found myself battling writer’s block worse than I’ve ever experienced before. Lately I can’t seem to get a word on a page without questioning it for several hours (or whatever time I can spare with a cranky baby), or figure out for the life of me what word goes next. I find myself staring at the blank screen before me, as if it were a mirror reflecting my empty mind.
 
In short, I’ve been stuck. We all feel stuck from time to time, whether it’s because we do the same thing day in and day out without giving it a second thought, or we have no idea what to do with our lives. Feeling stuck can be frustrating and depressing, and sometimes it feels impossible to get free. But believe it or not, being stuck is sometimes exactly what we need.
Hebrews 12:1 reminds us to rid ourselves of sin and distraction, and to look to Jesus, “The author and finisher of our faith.” It’s easy to fall into thinking we are the authors of our lives, and existential “Writer’s block” can be frustrating, but we have to remember it’s not really us at the keyboard and to not get in our own way with superficial earthly desires such as the desire for fame and wealth.
Random fact: I’ve really been into container gardening lately. Or rather, flooding my boards on Pinterest with ideas I likely won’t follow through with. From what I’ve seen, with certain plants you start them in a small container, keep them there until they grow to a certain point, and then transport them when they’re ready to grow to their full potential. This process can take some time, and it’s tempting to rush, but if you try to move it before it’s ready, the plant likely won’t be as strong or as healthy as it could have been. The same could be said about us.
God has prepared good works for us to accomplish (Ephesians 2:10), and that might mean being “stuck” for a little bit so we can grow in order to move on to the next step. Feeling stuck is frustrating, but these are the times to reach out to God for direction. I’ve found comfort in Romans 8:28, which says all things work out for those who love God, and out according to His purpose. Maybe this chaotic quiet of my mind is God’s way of saying I need more time with Him. If it is His will that I follow through with personal projects, great. But if He has other plans for me, they will be better than any graphic novel I could ever come up with.
If you’re feeling stuck right now, you’re not alone. Try to look at this moment as a checkpoint, a save spot, if you will, to check in with God and look to Him for the next step. Be patient. God’s plans for you are perfect.
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Articles Christian Living

I Wish I Was A Warrior: Finding Contentment in Your Calling

Recently I started playing Arena of Valor. I’ve never been good at MOBAs until I found this one. Not to brag, but I’m pretty good at playing Valhein. I’ve gotten several MVPs and Legendary matches playing as this character. Since I like winning, this is a lot of fun for me. The only problem is two players cannot play the same character. When someone else chooses Valhein before I do, I have to pick a different character. I’ve been practicing very hard at getting good with warrior characters. I’ve played different warrior characters and even some mages in an attempt to be helpful to my team, but almost every time I played a character other than Valhein, my team would lose.

We often feel this way when we serve at church. There are many areas where the church needs help. Sometimes we feel we should serve just because we are available, and not because God called us. We want to be helpful, but if we are not gifted to do something, then we might be hurting the church instead of helping.

In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul talks about spiritual gifts by comparing the church to a body. A body has many parts, and each part is necessary for the body to function properly. If our foot decided to be a hand, then we would not be able to walk.

Our spiritual gifts function in the same way. In verses 29-30 Paul says, “Are we all apostles? Are we all prophets? Are we all teachers? Do we all have the power to do miracles? Do we all have the gift of healing? De we all have the ability to speak in unknown languages? Do we all have the ability to interpret unknown languages? Of course not!”

If everyone had the same gifts, then many areas would be neglected. Some jobs may seem less glamorous, but if no one made the coffee Sunday morning then people would definitely notice. Filling in when no one else is available is sometimes necessary, but when we stay in a position out of obligation and not out of God’s calling, not only are we neglecting where God wants us to serve, but we are taking the spot of whoever God has called to serve there.

Earnestly seek not where you feel others want you to serve, but where God has gifted and called you to serve. Only when everyone does this can the body of Christ function as God intended it to. Be content with the gifts God has given you, even if it’s playing a supporting character. Not all of us need to be Warriors.

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Articles Christian Living

Who Dun It? The God of Mystery

“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:9)

Who doesn’t love a good mystery? Whether it is Clue, Sherlock Holmes, or a locked room puzzle with friends, there is something about a fun mystery that gets our blood pumping and mind working. Humans have always had a fascination with investigating the unknown, which is why we have scientists and philosophers.

This urge to investigate is not random, but has been placed inside of us by a God full of mystery. There is so much about him we do not and will never know. Nothing should not stop us from seeking after him. Constant mystery is what keeps us coming back to Him for more. Though we know we will never learn everything, the journey is about growing closer to Him and understanding each small mystery as he reveals it to us.

Our curiosity is what guides us. Christians serve a huge God, and he is big enough to handle our questions, so don’t be afraid to ask. He even tells us in Matthew 7:7-8 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” His desire is to reveal himself to His children, but He does not give it to us for free. We have to start looking first.

To fully understand something is to master it, and God will not be mastered.  That is what keeps part of him always hidden from us.  If we could understand him, then we would have no need to keep seeking.  By keeping himself a mystery, he not only keeps us always searching for more, but retains his sovereignty over us.

We see one of God’s greatest mysteries through his followers. The peace and confidence He provides in times of trouble are a constant source of confusion for nonbelievers. It is ironic this great mystery is one of the ways God reveals the most about Himself. He is the Prince of Peace and reveals that mystery when we need it most. We cannot stand firm by our own efforts, but must rely on Him. To a sinful and chaotic world, this is the greatest mystery because in a similar situation they would fall apart; but to a believer, this “mystery” is the direct revelation and action of a God who wants to be known by his children.

We must never stop asking, seeking, or knocking. The moment we do, we stop growing. Think of a question you have been too afraid to ask, or an answer you have been hesitant to seek. Ask and seek those things, because our God is a God of mystery and is more than able to answer whatever you ask of him.

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Articles Christian Living

Side Quests of Christianity: Being a True Champion

If there is one thing gamers either love or hate, it’s side quests. Some see these little excursions as exciting snippets where they can learn side stories and get extra loot, while others see them as distractions from the main quest and would rather not bother with them at all.
One particular side quest caught my attention in Breath of the Wild. After you defeat the Divine beast Vah Ruta, you are given the opportunity to help a male Zora named Fronk who has lost his wife in the chaos. After agreeing to help, Fronk expresses his surprise by exclaiming, “Link… You saved Zora’s Domain, and now you’re going to help me find my Mei as well? You are a true Champion!” As I thought about it, his shock and praise was not out of place. Link is the Champion of Hyrule, The Hero of Time, and the only hope for Princess Zelda… and the world for that matter. What business does he have performing a small search and rescue mission?
But nonetheless, Link preforms this duty and many others for the everyday people in Hyrule. He neither sees them as unworthy or himself as above helping them. As Christians, we can learn a lesson from Link. Christians often have grand ideas of how they can impact the world. Churches try to attract the greatest number of people. Christians go on mission trips and run food drives to help mass numbers of people, but through these actions that minister to the masses, how many individuals slip through the cracks?
Ministry to large groups is a wonderful thing and should not be given up. Where would Hyrule be if Link didn’t defeat Ganon eventually? But we should also not ignore the individuals and the small tasks, the side quests. If Link ignored all the people asking for help, there would be lost people and cuccos wandering all over Hyrule!
God will often place small things in our lives to show his love everyday. Perhaps you help the single mom load her groceries into her car at the supermarket. You might say a kind word to a coworker having a particularly rough day. It could even be the simple act of not complaining about a task you are asked to do. Through all these small, seemingly insignificant acts of grace, we show our hearts. We demonstrate how Christ is working in us, and, as much as we might think little of what we do, our actions do not go unnoticed.
Link showed he was a “true Champion” by helping someone with the small task of swimming downstream and finding his wife. As Christians, we show our true hearts by putting others first and completing the small side quests God places in front of us each day.
“By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35