January 6, 2021

The Woolly Rhino

A week ago it was reported that a perfectly preserved Woolly Rhino had been found in Siberia. It has hair, bones, and most, if not all, of its organs intact. It is an amazing discovery, not for its age, but for its completeness. Initial findings show that it is between 20,000 and 50,000 years old, which doesn’t make it the oldest fossil ever found, but certainly one of the most complete.

In other news: a 2014 Gallup Poll surveyed Americans on a number of subjects, one of them being the creation of people and the earth. The poll found that 4 out of 10 (no, not a typo) of Americans believe that God created the earth, as well as anatomically modern people, less than 10,000 years ago. Yes – 4 zeros, no more. And while half of all Americans believe that life evolved over millions of years, it seems that the older, more religious, and less educated you are, the more likely you are to believe that creation happened 6,000-10,000 years ago.

This, in a nutshell, is what is dividing us – the controversy over evolution and biblical creation is the great divide in America. I remember saying this to an adult class at my church about 20 years ago, and they scoffed at me (yes, scoffed!). One person, a very vocal and logical thinker, said that he could not believe people could be so ignorant that they would believe the world was so young, much less not believe in evolution! I went on to explain that if you believe that the Bible is without error, you cannot truly believe in science. I have heard people go through the Bible and count the days, months, and years, and they come up with 6,120-ish years. Therefore, if the Bible is without error (Inerrant) and written by God only, there can be no mistake – the earth is less than 7 millennia old – period! God said it, I believe it, that ends it!

Tell that to the Woolly Rhino they just found – I know, we can’t because it is dead – but stay with me for a moment. 

This divide is at the core of every issue we are arguing over – prayer in school, teaching evolution, the belief that women are inferior to men, race, same-sex marriage, abortion – there are more, but that is enough for now. There is no way out of the argument – if you believe that the Bible is the perfect, unaltered, inerrant word of God, you will look at science as not only fake, but atheistic propaganda. If you actually think the world is 10,000 years old or less, there can be no 20-50 thousand-year-old Woolly Mammoths – there can be no evolution over millions (or billions) of years – there can be no life on other planets. For 4 out of 10 Americans, Galileo is still wrong, the moon landing was faked, and the Scopes Monkey Trial still matters. This guides their spiritual, political, and social lives. God will keep them from getting the virus – wearing masks is an attack on freedom – and happens because God makes it happen.

I am a person of deep faith who believes that Jesus was and is the incarnation of God. I also believe that science is real. I believe that God guides my life, but I also believe in Free Will. I believe that I am able to keep more than one idea in my head at a time, and that Either/Or arguments are usually wrong. God created the universe, but evolution is real. That way, I can be a person of faith who isn’t enslaved by limitations placed on me by people who worship the Bible. I worship a living God who still speaks – and I look forward to finding out how old that Woolly Rhino is, because of truth and facts matter. If you choose to live like a Luddite, that is your choice – just don’t destroy the world over it.

Prayer – Help us to live our lives in balance, holy and perfect God, so that we can see Your truth in the facts around us. Amen.

Today’s picture is the skeleton of the Woolly Rhino (Coelodonta antiquitatis).