My wife and I had the pleasure of spending four days in the Cincinnati area last week visiting the museum. Even though we are Charter Members, it was our first visit. We thoroughly enjoyed our time there and were very impressed with the quality of the exhibits.
There has been much written regarding the display in the lobby showing children playing with dinosaurs nearby, and the controversy it has raised. I have no doubt that Adam and Eve had no fear of any of the animals in Eden including dinosaurs, but after the fall, would that still have been the case? (That the scene in the lobby depicts a time after the fall is clear in that there are children present, who must have been conceived and born after the fall.) Wouldn’t animals, including dinosaurs, have become hostile and violent after the fall?
– D.R., U.S.
Thank you for visiting the Creation Museum. We are glad to know you had an opportunity to visit and that you enjoyed your time here.
You posed an interesting question that we have heard before. This lobby display of children playing near two young T.-rexes is designed to get people’s attention, and to cause them to think from a biblical perspective. Since both man and land animals—including dinosaurs—were created on the sixth day, we can be certain that man lived at the same time as dinosaurs.
It’s true that the lobby scene does indeed depict a post-Fall world as indicated by the presence of children. The Genesis narrative reveals that the first child, Cain, was conceived after Adam and Eve were kicked out of the Garden (Genesis 3:24–4:1). Also, we can be sure that Cain inherited a sinful nature (Genesis 4:5–8), so he must have been conceived after the Fall.
The serpent was cursed more than the other animals, but this does not mean that man and beast were instantly at odds.
Many people have assumed that the Fall and subsequent Curse immediately destroyed the harmonious relationship between man and the animals. The serpent was cursed more than the other animals, but this does not mean that man and beast were instantly at odds. Verse 15 mentions that God would “put enmity between [the serpent] and the woman,” and between his seed and her Seed, but this is a reference to Christ’s victory over the devil (Hebrews 2:14).
Remember, it wasn’t until after the Flood—more than 1,650 years later—that God revealed, “the fear of you and the dread of you shall be on every beast of the earth, on every bird of the air, on all that move on the earth, and on all the fish of the sea” (Genesis 9:2). If the animals were already afraid of man as a result of the Fall, this verse would be unnecessary.
Also, it wasn’t until the next verse that God first permitted man to eat meat. “Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs” (Genesis 9:3). Prior to this point in history God had prescribed vegetarian diets for both man and beast (Genesis 1:29–30), so animal predation of other animals and man would have been less likely.
This truth does not preclude the possibility that in a fallen world some people and animals violated these instructions. We know that mankind was extremely wicked prior to the Flood, so it is very likely men would have mistreated animals leading to a probable breakdown of their original harmony. In light of Genesis 6:12, which states that “all flesh had corrupted their way,” surely some people and animals were in violation of this initial command by God to be vegetarian.
Let’s get back to the display in the museum, though. Bodie Hodge often discusses this in his talk on “Dinosaurs, Dragons, and the Bible.” He says the following:
- Could this event have occurred in the Garden of Eden? No, because there were no children until after sin, when Adam and Eve were kicked out of the Garden.
- Could this have been between the Fall and the Flood? It is possible because the fear of man was not in the animals yet.
- Could this have been after the Flood? This is possible as well. Consider that James said,“For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind” (James 3:7). So it is possible that such animals may have been tamed at one point.
So there are a couple of possibilities. But the point of the display is to get people to think about these things biblically, and we appreciate that this is exactly what you are doing. Keep up the great work.
Tim Chaffey, AiG–U.S.