"So, Mom, when did the dinosaurs live?" Jewel asks.
"A very, very long time ago."
"But they're extinct, now," James says.
"Did they go extinct in like...," Jewel reaches as far back in time as she can, "the 1960's?"
I laugh. "No, honey. A lot longer ago than that. Grandma was alive in the 1960's."
Jewel's eyes widen. "What? She was alive in the 1960's?"
I'm sure my mom will be pleased to know my kids think she's as old as the dinosaurs!
"OK, Mom," Jewel continues, "so like, were Adam & Eve alive when the dinosaurs were alive?"
"I don't really know," I answer. "Some people think dinosaurs were created before God created Adam & Eve. Or maybe dinosaurs were in a different part of the world."
"Yeah, because the dinosaurs would have totally eaten Adam & Eve," Jewel says. "And maybe God was like, well, I can't create humans yet because the dinosaurs are here, so I'm going to send a big meteor and kill all the dinosaurs and then I can create Adam & Eve."
"Good reasoning, Jewel!" I say. "Yeah, maybe that's what happened. Nobody really knows for sure."
Because here's the deal for me: I'm fine with saying I don't know. Yes, I believe in creation. But I'm not all strict about it. I think it's possible God may have allowed change over time (which is all that the word evolution means) to fill in some gaps. For me, creation and evolution are not mutually exclusive.
It's always been humorous to me when I hear Christians trying to explain away scientific research using Bible verses. Likewise, I get a good chuckle when I hear anthropologists trying to explain away God using a tooth chip from an extinct wild pig.
I just don't ever want to give my kids the impression that I know everything. God is so much bigger than what I know. I respect science and admire those who are digging deeply into the mysteries of our universe. I wouldn't dare presume that I've got it all figured out simply because I've memorized "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."
Don't get me wrong. I do believe that God created the heavens and the earth. All I'm saying is: I'm not going to limit God by telling my children what He will and will not do as it pertains to dinosaurs.
Because when it comes to dinosaurs, I'm not going to walk into the Museum of Natural History and tell my kids: "Nope, that's not a dinosaur at all. That's a figment of some scientist's imagination."
I mean, what are they supposed to believe--the big ol' skeleton made from real bones, or me trying to tell them that no, really, it's not real because the Bible doesn't mention dinosaurs?
I'd rather just say: y' know what, I don't have all the answers. Because if you're going to be honest, nobody does.