The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Did God kill the dinosaurs?

Seems the asteroid hitting happened at just the right time, at just the right spot, to ensure humanity’s rise.

It’s times like these I sometimes doubt the idea of a non-interventionist God, even as a deist. That would be nice on the one hand, it would mean our existence was divinely ordained somehow.

On the other, if this was somehow meant to happen or if God did it intentionally, would this make God guilty of genocide? Of course, these creatures didn’t die out entirely, they just evolved into smaller reptiles and even birds.

If extinction level events are meant to provide, say, some kind of balance to life or to drive evolution, does this put God on the same level as Ultron or Thanos from the Marvel universe? We know there have been many extinction level events in Earth’s geologic past and each have driven evolution forward, and likely will again, eventually, in future.

I also find myself wondering, what happens to animals when they die, especially if an entire species is wiped out? Heck, even entire species of primitive humanoids no longer exist. I’m skeptical of the idea that they or animals don’t have some kind of soul or spirit, one because it would seem very unfair to give an eternal soul to humans and not animals (especially the pets we love), and two because I’ve heard tell of many near-death experiencers (whatever those testimonies are actually worth, we don’t know) reporting meeting animals.

Maybe that’s sort of silly, applying mortal moral standards to a Creator. But I think what I’m searching for is some kind of confirmation of my own moral beliefs and values, valuing life especially, because they’re ultimately my guiding light in the world, and I’m afraid of being wrong or incorrect in what I value. And, what better arbiter of truth is there than God? I also want to be able to trust in who my own conception of God is. Again this may be sort of silly since the mind of God is ineffable, and may not even be a “mind” as humans think of it.

What do you all think?

I’d really like to be able to stop obsessing over all these existential questions that I can’t possibly answer from the human point of view.

Since Holy Scripture is silent on the subject…I look to what science, has to say. Type in the keywords “what happened to the dinosaurs” into Google. Look at some of the science articles. Like:

What Happened to the Dinosaurs?

These address BOTH science and biblical possibilities

George MacDonald argued that animals (at least the higher ones) must have souls. Cats, dog, bunny rabbits, etc. Probably not horse flies. :wink: I wouldn’t be able to experience eternal happiness if animals didn’t.

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I think one could argue that God simply set the stage for evolution, letting evolution unfold without constant intervention. Changing environments are the rule in this world, and evolution provides a mechanism for life to adapt to such changing environments without constant intervention.

But the consequences of using evolution in this way can be severe. For example, new species formation or speciation often requires catastrophic conditions like earthquakes, floods, volcanoes, and climatic extremes. These conditions separate populations physically and consequently, these populations can become reproductively isolated long enough to become genetically isolated. That produces separate species.

If God did not employ evolution to do the job, the excesses of injury, pain, and premature death experienced by so many organisms throughout the complicated food webs in nature make little sense, too. These complicated food webs are nearly inevitable under evolution, but they appear not to be under creationism and intelligent design.

If God’s goal were to directly produce–through creationism or intelligent design–sentient beings made in His image and capable of understanding and accepting Him freely, all that would be needed in ecosystems are just a relatively few species. They are (1) producers–a nutritionally balanced variety of green plants, which have no central nervous system and so cannot feel pain when they and their parts are harvested and consumed, (2) consumers–humans, and (3) decomposers—specifically those bacteria and fungi that break down dead organic matter and wastes and in the process return needed elements to the green plants. These three components, known as trophic levels, would produce a simple, workable, and, most importantly, relatively benign ecosystem. Why would God create, through creationism or intelligent design, ecosystems with so many apparently superfluous species and trophic levels that do little more than contribute to excessive earthly injury, pain, and death? Only under the evolutionary scenario do these things make sense.

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You bring up some good points. In this scenario though, I’m still seeing some disturbing similarities between Ultron and God, driving evolution via cataclysmic means, whether it’s actively guided or not.

Although, I guess they’re different in that Ultron was being actively malicious and not letting nature just take its course. And perhaps the rules are different for a universal force/spirit/intelligence than they are for a created being.

I also read somewhere that God may have wanted a wide variety of life forms simply for their own sake, because they had their own value.

Well, theists generally are OK with God granting humans free will, even though free will almost inevitably leads to evil. In a similar way, God could use evolution, even though evolution almost inevitably leads to suffering.

I say almost inevitably because there is nothing inherently contradictory about free will not causing evil, just as there is nothing inherently contradictory about evolution not leading to suffering.

Perhaps God gave a large measure of free will to all of creation, including evolution. The randomness of quantum physics seem to suggest this is so.

I just can’t reconcile the description of all-encompassing and unconditional love people report in near-death experiences, and descriptions of what God is supposed to be, with a God who would intentionally subject any of his creations to annihilation or extinction. So, the essential kenosis and open-theist world view makes the most sense to me.

Alternatively, I could see that happening if the creatures were going to pose too much of a threat to other creatures in the environment (i.e. mammals) or if said creatures were oblivious to God and could not feel love.

This Got Questions essay, brings up some interesting points

Let me quote a bit:

The topic of dinosaurs in the Bible is part of a larger ongoing debate within the Christian community over the age of the earth, the proper interpretation of Genesis, and how to interpret the physical pieces of evidence we find all around us. Those who believe in older age for the earth tend to agree that the Bible does not mention dinosaurs, because, according to their paradigm, dinosaurs died out millions of years before the first man ever walked the earth. The men who wrote the Bible could not have seen living dinosaurs.

Those who believe in a younger age for the earth tend to agree that the Bible does mention dinosaurs, though it never actually uses the word “dinosaur.” Instead, it uses the Hebrew word tanniyn , which is translated a few different ways in our English Bibles. Sometimes it’s “sea monster,” and sometimes it’s “serpent.” It is most commonly translated “dragon.” The tanniyn appear to have been some sort of giant reptile. These creatures are mentioned nearly thirty times in the Old Testament and were found both on land and in the water.

So, are there dinosaurs in the Bible? The matter is far from settled. It depends on how you interpret the available pieces of evidence and how you view the world around you. If the Bible is interpreted literally, a young earth interpretation will result, and the idea that dinosaurs and man coexisted can be accepted. If dinosaurs and human beings coexisted, what happened to the dinosaurs? While the Bible does not discuss the issue, dinosaurs likely died out sometime after the flood due to a combination of dramatic environmental shifts and the fact that they were relentlessly hunted to extinction by man.

Here’s an “interesting” battle, I found on YouTube - involving dinosaurs and my “favorite” topic!

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Here’s the thing, I don’t take the Bible literally, especially because the timelines are so far off from what we know is scientifically true. Dinosaurs died out over 60 million years ago and man was still very far off in the future, this doesn’t coincide with the Biblical timeline of the flood at all. The last major flood of the Earth that we know of was about 11,000 years ago, caused by flooding from melting glaciers after what was likely a meteor impact that drove up global temperatures. This could well be the flood accounted for in the Bible, but it was far after the time of the dinos.

A question very similar to that has sometimes caused me to doubt the existence of God. There is so much in the physical world that just seems superfluous.

It should cast doubt, at the very least, on creationism and intelligent design.

There are subjective presuppositions in dating methods:

And as for God’s plans for animals, we read about their coming restoration in Isaiah,

Is. 11:6
The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.

Is. 65:25
The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, and dust will be the serpent’s food. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain,”

Blessings.

Being raised NEARLY a fundamentalist, I was told that Dinosaurs were Satan like creatures and God killed them to make way for us. The other mixed belief was Ken Ham’s ridiculous viewpoint - That Dinosaurs were alive and well, and then the flood killed them all, except for the small ones, which were brought on the Ark. Watching his Ark demonstration, I couldn’t help but think that even our advanced society could barely pull that off, if at all. It seems rather unlikely that the narrative of Noah based on Ken Ham’s interpretation is correct.

For record, I am referring to the Ark in Kentucky or Ohio, I can’t remember what state it is in, but I went there, toured it and found more ideas not found in the Bible than a typical atheist evolutionist. I couldn’t believe how much extra biblical stuff Ken Ham expounds on for passages in the Bible. Creative, definitely! But conjecture and straining…

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What asteroid? It’s a mere figment of a fertile imagination. Dinosaurs, apart from two on the Ark, were wiped out in the Noahic flood.

This to me raises two separate questions. Firstly the bible refers to some sort of fall associated with the devil. Whatever that was the practical result is that the world as we see it is the crash site, not the first class lounge. We know quite a lot about what happened, and not very much about what would have happened without a fall. Would there be mass extinctions, or wasps, or income tax in an unfallen world?

Secondly, what is the relationship of God to time? What if continuous intervention by God, and leaving it to chance, aren’t the only options? I hope you can forgive my including a passage from a SF novel that touches on this. Tom is an alien time-traveller and Dan is a schoolkid from Earth:

(Dan) I thought for a moment. “You chose the moment that gave you the best probability of- No, that sounds wrong.”

Tom smiled. “Probability is just another word for not knowing. Toss a coin, heads or tails? Probability says both are equally likely, time travel tells you which. We know that if I arrived on a certain date, with a particular appearance, in this place, your people would survive and go on to build galactic empires that last for millennia. We didn’t know how, or who would get hurt. We did know that it would work, and that if we didn’t do it you all died out.”

“Just like that?”

“Yes. We look for the best end result, and on the way the right coincidences happen. We didn’t know about Professor Steele in advance, we just knew that if we picked that set of rooms for our meetings something happened. We didn’t know what until after it had.”

Interesting thought…

Well, that raises the question - what is time? Is it like philosopher Immanual Kant saw it? Albert Einstein saw it? As a zombie from Z-Hell (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9) - might see it?

Should we look to the philosophers, theologians, and physicists first - for a definition of time?

Or perhaps we should ask some musicians - like the Rolling Stones?

I might not respond, for a few hours. As I’ll be out - “killing time”.

The conclusion to that answer shows that gotquestions is not an impartial source but takes the typical Evangelical position something I’ve noticed on other subjects as well (such as dismissing everything except penal substitionary atonement)

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Got Questions does a great service, by answering many Biblical and theological questions. But they do have a theological and biblical exegesis, that they ground themselves in. However, the information they provide - is a good starting point. And it provides both information and food for thought.

Currently, i look at everything through EC/EO theology. But I’m also an Old Earth and Big Bang proponent. And agnostic on evolutionary theory.

Only under the evolutionary scenario do these things make sense.

Cool I like it.