I introduced this series last week with, the kingdom of God is like the pool toys. I am thrilled to introduce this next post, a gorgeous and heartfelt post from a very very dear friend. She asked me if writing about dinosaurs was too weird and I am so thrilled that I said bring it, because she did. If you are interested in writing for this series shoot me an email.
Faith Is Like the Dinosaurs
Growing up, my faith was a lot like the dinosaurs—or at least, the dinosaurs according to young earthcreationists.
Enormous and terrifying.
Unchanging and unyielding.
Created or handed down by God complete in their final forms.
Faith and dinosaurs were both used as ammunition in an ideological war. God used the dinosaur sagainst Job (“Can you pull in Leviathan with a fishhook?”); we used the Bible against our teachers(“Were you there?”).
We were taught to set faith against our own budding sense of reason. The God who would do that would stop at nothing to make us his, even if it meant destroying our fragile humanity.
He was a being of teeth and claws who loved by force and exclusion while claiming to walk beside us as a friend.
Science tells a different story about the dinosaurs.
It’s more fluid and painful and redemptive than the tale I was raised with. I’m learning it late, now in my 27th year, as I fight past the programming that still makes me cringe every time I hear the phrase “millions of years.”
When you take the time to look, and listen, and learn, there’s faith to be found in an old earth, too.
The science of today tells us that powerful, majestic beasts roamed the earth long before our history began. They were diverse and powerful and dominated the world for eons and eons.
Perfectly tuned for their environment, they were the kings and queens of nature.
Then nature changed.
The world became harsh and inhospitable to the beings it had fostered. There was suffering and dying, fear and loss, mass extinction of a way of life that had persisted for—yes—millions and millions of years. The great ones died; the Tyrannosaurus Rex with his skull full of teeth; the Apatosaurus who could no longer find enough good green things to eat; the Ankylosaur whose armor was not enough to save it from the breaking of the world.
But even in the breaking, all was not lost.
The small things grew smaller. Some took refuge in the oceans; others took to the skies.
Tough leather hides gave way to soft skin. Feathers warmed beating hearts against the growing cold. The raptors learned to sing in the dark.
Maybe faith is like the dinosaurs.
The dinosaurs didn’t die. We know them still.
They are the Sparrows God watches; the Vultures who eat death and are reborn; the Canaries who warn us when all is not well.
They are the Songbirds, the Ravens, the Parakeets, the Chickens, and the Condors.
They are the Eagles—majestic and free, but born from eggs fragile enough to be destroyed by human industry.
Maybe God is like the dinosaurs. They gave up their strength, their armor, their fearful power to become our friends.
I’m still afraid that my bird-faith isn’t worth much compared to the dinosaur-faith I was taught.
But the birds outlived the dinosaurs.
I think there’s hope in that.
By Elizabeth Kays
After four years studying Chemistry at the University of Oxford and a year working on a solar power prototype in Germany, I realized I enjoyed writing lab reports more than doing research.
And nobody should enjoy writing lab reports.
Now, I write for media outlets, websites, and blogs on topics ranging from science and big data to culture and religion. I also write scripts for informational videos as well as characters and branching dialogue for mobile and alternate reality games.