Genesis and Dinosaurs: What Do the Records Say?

Speaker: Categories: Mar 12, 1994


[1hr, 10min, 35sec / 45min, 41sec]


Undoubtedly many readers can recall times when they experienced tension between what they had been taught as Seventh-day Adventists and what the scientific community asserted about life beginnings and the age of the earth. In most cases this tension was probably resolved in favor of faith -- with reason taking a lesser role.

This writer recalls spending many hours as a college freshman trying to create a scenario that might allow for a six-day creation but with long intervals between the days only to be told that such speculation would only lead to a diminished faith in God!

Our March speaker notes, "Conflict and controversy between science and religion is nothing new. In Galileo's day the controversy was over the motion of the earth. Was the earth fixed at the center of the universe or did it move around the sun? Today the controversy is over the age of the earth and, in particular, the age of life on the earth. Is it only six thousand years [old] or has life been around for hundreds of millions of years?"

"What is new in the present controversy," he points out, "compared to Galileo's day is that science is in an unprecedented period of research and discovery! Ice cores from Greenland and sediment cores from the floors of the oceans reveal a complex history of planet earth. How are we to interpret the geological record and the Genesis record? The initial reaction for most people is to reject one side or the other when they appear to conflict."

He then suggests that some persons, rather than rejecting either position categorically, take both the Genesis and the scientific evidence seriously. "This," he acknowledges, "is a most difficult position as it means a real struggle to find the harmony between science and the Genesis record. Seventh-day Adventists have long held that science (or the book of nature) and the written Word have much in common. They have the same author, they testify to the same great truths, they shed light on each other and help make us acquainted with God. (MH 461,2) If science and the Genesis record disagree on the age of the earth, for example, it must be that we misunderstand what science is really saying or what the Genesis record actually says or perhaps we misunderstand both sources of data. We cannot just dismiss science or Genesis as wrong but must let both sources shed light on each other."

How's that for a little background for the March 12 Forum? Is your curiosity piqued just a little?

And what about Jurassic Park? Is that wild imagination, a concept originating with the Devil, or someone's successful attempt to become wealthy while exploiting the human penchant to be certain about the distant past? Dr. Hare promises that a portion of the March 12 discussion will be focused on the problems posed by the existence of dinosaurs and their place in the geologic record.


P. Edgar Hare was recommended as a potential speaker by Dr. Elwood Dunn, a member of our San Diego Chapter AAF board, who felt that the scientific research activities of this Seventh-day Adventist would be well worth hearing. When learning that Dr. Hare was to be a Regents Lecturer at the University of California at Riverside during 1993/94, the stage was advantageously set to invite Dr. Hare to share his expertise with the San Diego Forum.

Dr. Hare, a 1954 alumnus of Pacific Union College, received his Master of Science degree from the University of California at Berkeley in 1955 and his Ph.D. degree from Caltech in Geochemistry in 1962. As noted earlier, he is a staff member at the Geophysical Laboratory, Carnegie Institution of Washington (D.C.).

As a son of Adventist missionary parents, he could add some further excitement to Tales from the Haunted Pagoda and other titles which would be familiar to the childhood of many Seventh-day Adventists!

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