Sunday, December 30, 2007

Job and the dinosaurs

Gerard Seghers, Patient Job

Introduction: Job and his companions have been searching for the answer to one of earth's most puzzling and distressing problems, namely the suffering of the righteous. His three wise friends are convinced that God is punishing him for his sins. Job is equally convinced that this is not so. Elihu propounds the theory that the main purpose of God's punishment of Job is to lead him to repentance. While this is certainly a better answer, Job is not totally convinced that this is the whole answer because if this is so, he must have wondered why did not God chasten him gradually whenever he sinned rather than punish him so severely all at once? As these wise men are unable to come up with the answer to this perplexing problem. God intervenes and gives His answer. And to their utter amazement. He does not in His 123 verse-long answer even say one single word about sufferings nor attempt to give a reason for Job's sufferings. In fact, He does not give any answers at all but instead asks over 70 questions! For hours or days, Job has questioned God's actions on him. When God answers, He refuses to be questioned any more but instead puts Job in the "witness stand"

God's "answer": God appears in a whirlwind (38: 1) to remind them of His majesty. He immediately rebukes them (especially Job) of daring to speak so confidently in spite of their ignorance (38:2). He then commands Job to get ready ("gird up now thy loins" 38:3) to stand trial! Job had questioned God's actions, therefore God questions him to verify if he was wise enough to do so. He questions him about his knowledge of the earth's early history (8 verses), of the physical world as it is today (27 verses), of an assortment of animals (33 verses) and finally of two types of dinosaurs (44 verses) - and Job does not even know the answer to one single question! If he does not even know why God made some birds fly and some walk, some colorful and some dull (39:13), then how can he understand why God allows some men to suffer and some not, or some to be taught through chastening and some to be left to their foolishness?

God is not obliged to give us the reasons why He created some birds to fly and others to walk, neither is He obliged to give us the reason why He deals with each of us differently. If He was obliged to tell us then He would not be God. Furthermore. His thoughts are infinitely higher than ours and He knows far more than we do, so that even if He wanted to explain the reasons to us, we would be unable to really comprehend them.

By exposing Job's ignorance about His creation, God was also rebuking him for failing to know Him. If Job had seriously considered God's marvelous creation, he would have had a much clearer concept of God's sovereignty, power, wisdom, care and preservation. But though Job and his companions were aware of God's creation (6:5, .8:14, 9:26. 10:16, 12:7-10. etc.) they had failed to be diligent observers. Though they were all God-fearing men (the word Almighty is used more than in Job than in the rest of the bible combined) they had probably been too preoccupied with their personal affairs to have time to consider God's creation. They had subconsciouslv become self-centered rather than God-centered.

Dinosaurs: Finally, God tells Job to consider two of His most awesome creatures (chapters 40 & 41). The creature described in chapter 40 is commonly taught to be a hippopotamus though it obviously describes a dinosaur. A dinosaur's strength is in his loins and in the navel of his belly (40: 16). It has a massive powerful tail like a cedar (40:17). A hippopotamus has a tiny tail. A dinosaur's bones are like bars of iron (40:18). It is the largest and most impressive of God's creation (40:19). It has a massive appetite (40:23), Chapter 41 describes a water-based dinosaur (probably like the Loch Ness monster) and not a crocodile as is commonly taught. Unlike a crocodile, it cannot be captured (41:6) and it breathes out fire (41:20.2 1). Tales of fire-breathing dragons are found in legends of many different cultures throughout the world. Some dinosaurs have a strange protuberance on their head which has a cavity inside - in which combustible gases could be mixed to produce fire. Even some tiny fire-flies are able to produce sparks.

The reason why many Christians cannot accept these descriptions to be those of dinosaurs is because they have subconsciously believed the evolutionary hypothesis that dinosaurs were extinct millions of years before men evolved. However, the bible tells us clearly that all animals were created on the fifth and sixth day of creation. Secular scientists are unable to satisfactorily explain the extinction of dinosaurs because they deny the Flood. The Flood buried the land-based dinosaurs (creating dinosaur fossils). The massive evaporation of water after the Flood caused a tremendous drop in the earth's temperature. Therefore, many of the cold-blooded reptiles (including dinosaurs) that were preserved in Noah's Arc were unable to survive the colder climate. Some of the smaller reptiles (eg. crocodiles) may have been able to hide in holes in the ground to escape the cold, but most of the larger reptiles were unable to do this and died. Furthermore, dinosaurs did not have enough food in the post-flood world. The extremely cold waters probably killed off most of the sea-reptiles. There were probably a few dinosaurs left in Job's days. Though Job and his friends had failed to be impressed by God's other creatures, they were certainly impressed by dinosaurs. Therefore, God tells Job to "behold" them (40:15) and remember its Creator.

Conclusion: The best cure when afflicted by trials is to "see" God through His creation (42:5).

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