The Problem with the Dinosaur's Tooth
Dinosaurs existed; there’s no disputing that. Many were very big. Some were small. Some had large, wide, flat teeth. Others had large, sharp, pointy teeth. Now hold that thought...
One of the arguments many young earth creationists hold to goes like this:
- Death, to God, is bad - any death.
- Death came as a result of the Fall. Not just human death, all death.
- Since death has only been here since man has been here, there is no way there could have been hundreds of millions of years of life on earth.
- Therefore, the earth is not old, but young.
This, to them, is just one more bit of reasoning that supports a young earth interpretation of Genesis.
But here’s the dilemma for our young earth brothers and sisters: The dinosaur’s tooth.
The sharp, pointy teeth on many of the dinosaurs were clearly meant to do major damage; not to plants but to other living animals. Let’s admit it, their teeth and the nasty old claws they were equipped with were meant to rip and kill, not to dig up truffles or peel bananas.
But were the teeth and claws purposed or were they mistakes?
Young earth people can’t believe they are mistakes, the products of natural selection, of Darwinian evolution (for the record: most old-earthers reject that, too). Their fight is precisely against this view, that nature around us is a result of chance.
Then those nasty teeth of death must have been designed that way. But if they are designed that way here’s an obvious problem. Why would God - who, to our young earth friends, is so against any sort of death - specifically design an animal to kill?
Did God change His mind and suddenly make death OK? If so, He either made a mistake or He misled us, effectively lying to us. And if He changed His mind, where in the Bible does He change it? More importantly, why would He change His mind?
Believers who interpret Genesis in an old universe, progressive creation manner resolve the dilemma this way:
- The earth and universe are very old and God created them “good.”
- God created the dinosaurs and they lived on the planet about 250-65 million years ago (the 5th/6th "day" of Genesis).
- They killed and ate things long before Adam and Eve were created (yes! we believe A & E were real individuals!).
- The death of animals in nature is not a bad thing to God since it happened when the creation was still considered good.
- Thus, "death" in Scripture as a result of the Fall refers not to the death of anything, anytime, anywhere - but rather to the spiritual separation of God and man only.
This view fits the facts of nature and Scripture in our humble point of view and allows dinosaurs to have all the sharp, pointy teeth they need.