Like so many children, my grandson Evan is fascinated with dinosaurs. My daughter Emily says he is obsessed. He watches dinosaur cartoons, looks at dinosaur picture books, and has memorized the names of dozens of dinosaurs. I think I knew three when I was his age. Maybe four.
It is very challenging to derive Christian theological insights from the plight of the dinosaurs. They died off 65 million years ago after living on earth for 165 million years. A large asteroid hit the Yucatan Peninsula in modern day Mexico and started off a chain reaction of ecological devastation that led to their extinction. The skeptic would say God let them live for 165 million years and then finished them off with an asteroid. Maybe the same will happen to us! Go figure.
Scientists say if it weren’t for the dinosaurs’ extinction, we would not be here. Like John the Baptist said about the ministry of Jesus, I must decrease so he can increase. Oh well. They did get to live for 165 million years. We have not been around nearly that long. Only 200,000 years. Maybe less. The most ancient people in the Bible like Moses and Abraham are only 4,000 years old. That’s only 0.00002% of the time the dinosaurs roamed the earth. Can you see the Big Picture?
So rather than scratch my head or sink into doubt, I will choose the path of essence and beauty. Our earthly lives are not perfect, but they are at times very beautiful. There is an essence to things and the words we use are love and unity. The closer I feel to the essence, to the unity of all creation, the happier and calmer I am. I think I am a better person with this feeling- more tolerant and compassionate and understanding and energetic. It is not exactly the message of Christmas, but perhaps it is the essence.
I have included below one of my favorite New Yorker cartoons for your amusement. Be well and take care.