I recently travelled to the Pueblo Grande ruins in Phoenix, Arizona during a father-son trip with my son who’s getting married soon. This site features a museum and an archaeological park showcasing the history (or supposed history in some cases) of the Hohokam people.
While we were there we saw many signs about how things were many thousands of years old or how these people were “prehistoric.” Here’s one sign I snapped a picture of during our tour:
The text reads:
“Are they dinosaur bones? No!
There are stone tools with the Mammoth bones below. People began hunting these large mammals, related to modern-day elephants, about 12,000 years ago. Humans and dinosaurs, however, did not live at the same time.
Archaeologists study human cultures and the plants and animals associated with them. Paleontologists study dinosaurs.”
Many families, especially homeschool families, visit museums and historic sites as a family, perhaps while on vacation or as a field trip. The vast majority of these museums and sites will features evolutionary thinking in the timeline and wording. How do we use these educational and entertaining outings to help our kids think biblically? Here are a few principles:
Let’s take the sign from Pueblo Grande and apply these principles to what we read.
“Are they dinosaur bones? No!” So far, so good. Observational science shows us that the bones we’re looking at are mammoth bones, not dinosaur bones.
“There are stone tools with the Mammoth bones below.” Again, this is observational science. Anyone, regardless of their worldview, can see these tools mixed with the mammoth bones.
“People began hunting these large mammals, related to modern-day elephants, about 12,000 years ago.” How do we know people hunted the mammoths? Well, this can be deduced from the presence of tools with mammoth bones. How do we know mammoths are related to modern-day elephants? We can use genetic testing to confirm this. We can also compare the anatomy of the two species and see that they have much in common that is unique from other animals. What does the Bible say about this? Well, creatures were created “to reproduce according to their kind.” There is a distinct boundary of reproduction at “kind” (roughly the taxonomic level of “family” in our modern classification scheme). In a biblical perspective, mammoths and African and Asian elephants belong to the same created kind but elephants didn’t evolve from something else or into anything else.
But what about the 12,000 year age? This is where we run into differences based on our interpretation of the evidence. These evolutionary researchers assume the culture is that old and that mammoths went extinct before the modern era. Perhaps the researchers used carbon-14 dating of artifacts from the people to “confirm” this age, but this assumes carbon-14 dating is accurate, a big assumption since we can’t know the conditions in the past.
“Humans and dinosaurs, however, did not live at the same time.” This is a big assumption that comes directly from an evolutionary worldview, which teaches that dinosaurs went extinct 66 million years ago. What does the Bible say about this? Scripture teaches everything was created in six days (Exodus 20:11), that land animals were created on Day Six of Creation Week, and that mankind was also created on Day Six. Dinosaurs are land animals, so they must have been created on Day Six. So dinosaurs and humans lived together. Is there evidence of this? Definitely! Here’s one example: all over the world (including here in North America) are legends of human and dragon encounters. This dragons sound eerily similar to dinosaurs. Could they be the exaggerated tales of real human/dinosaur encounters? They very well could be! What else explains dozens of cultures independently telling stories involving similar creatures comparable to dinosaurs?
Next time you visit a secular museum with your kids, I encourage you to apply these principles to the exhibits you view. Help your young person learn to think biblically as they learn new things and study science.
We teach young people how to think biblically about science at Camp Infinity. If this is something your young person would be interested in, be sure to check out our camps at CampInfinity.com/camps.