A Southern Baptist theologian and seminary administrator says dinosaurs and humans must have coexisted before Noah’s flood.
Guest hosting last week’s “Ask Anything Wednesday” installment of “The Albert Mohler Radio Program,” Russell Moore fielded a question about how dinosaurs fit into the history of the world as presented in the Bible.
Moore, who holds positions of associate professor of Christian theology and ethics, dean of the School of Theology and senior vice president for academic administration at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., said that depends on whether the word “day” in Genesis 1 refers to 24 hours or an indefinite period of perhaps millions of years.
“I tend to hold to a relatively young-earth position,” said Moore, who has a Ph.D. from Southern Seminary, “which means I would believe that dinosaurs were created on the sixth day of creation, which I believe was a 24-hour day in the relatively recent past, and so that means you would have had dinosaurs and human beings existing at least at the same time.”
Moore went on to say that doesn’t answer all the questions raised by science.
“I think there are all kinds of questions that are asked by science, but I think we have to keep in mind that science is shifting, it’s provisional, it’s transitional, and some of the theories and explanations given by science a hundred years ago, even 50 years ago, even 20 years on some things, are completely discredited,” he said. “So I think we just have to say this is what the Scripture seems to be indicating, and we’ll go with that.”
“I think what we have to say is the Scripture is teaching is that death is a result of Adam’s fall, and that the curse that comes upon the creation in Romans Chapter 8, that’s a result of human sin,” he continued. “Human beings weren’t created into a world already in the middle of bloodshed and violence, red in tooth and claw.”
Moore apparently isn’t alone. More than 450,000 people have visited the Answers in Genesis Creation Museum, located just across the river from Cincinnati, Ohio, where creation science is presented as fact, since its opening in May 2007.
Moore wrote about his impressions after visiting the museum in a Henry Institute commentary on May 28, 2007.
“The Museum exhibits make clear a conviction that, hermeneutically and theologically, a relatively ‘young’ universe makes the best sense of the biblical data,” he wrote. “The Museum exhibits provide possible scientific explanations of how this biblical authority can be scientifically explained but they do not confuse the authority of Scripture with the derivative and revisable authority of any scientific theory, whether that is specifics of fossilization and flood geology or a “vapor canopy” over the pre-Flood biosphere.”
Moore described himself as “a six-day creationist of the oldest sort,” but confessed he wasn’t always so. “There was a time when Hugh Ross’ day/age theory of origins seemed somewhat plausible and when the restoration model, the old ‘gap’ theory, seemed even more possible,” he commented.
Moore said he “came to a more traditional creationist approach” through studies of Bible verses including Romans 8:18-23 and Isaiah 11:1-10, which speak of God restoring the creation to its pre-Fall state at the end of time.
More recently Moore appealed to Genesis to address a more pressing concern. Returning from taking his older sons to see “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” Moore reflected on the movie’s effective use of mankind’s primal fear of snakes.
He cited an Atlantic Monthly article suggesting that humans have an “innate predisposition to see a snake as a threat” and that primates could “have an evolved tendency to rapidly detect” a snake.
“What, though, if this loathing isn’t at all evolutionary?” Moore mused in his June 6 commentary. “What if it is the result of a cataclysmic events somewhere in the primeval past, something still embedded in the human heart?”
“The Scripture tells us that God’s first recorded words to the Satan, the rebel angel who took the form of a snake, was a curse on the serpent: ‘I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall burise your head, and you shall bruise his heel’ (Gen 3:15 ESV),” he wrote. “The apostle John sees the whole scope of cosmic history as a skirmish between this snake-king and the man-child from the woman’s line (Rev 12:1-17).”
“Perhaps the problem isn’t that we hate and fear snakes too much,” Moore said. “Maybe this isn’t an irrational phobia. Perhaps the problem is that we don’t fear serpents enough. We’re easily deceived by the cunning reptilian speech we so often hear all around us, and within us.”
Southern Seminary embraced a young-earth creationism in 2006, when it replaced William Dembski, a proponent of Intelligent Design who left after a year as first director of Southern’s newly established Center for Science and Theology to become a research professor at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, with Kurt Wise, a young-earth creationist who formerly taught at Bryan College in Dayton, Tenn.
“With the addition of Kurt Wise, we are recognizing that creation is a ground zero theological crisis point right now in American culture and even in our churches,” Moore said at the time in a press release.
“We need to train Southern Baptist pastors to equip young people to engage Darwinism from elementary school on,” he continued. “We also need to train Southern Baptists to recognize Darwinist thinking in ways that are subtle that they don’t even recognize.”
Bob Allen is managing editor of EthicsDaily.com.