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Televangelist Pat Robertson is telling his audience that dinosaurs are from a time before the Bible and that Planet Earth is older than 6,000 years.
“I know people will probably lynch me for this, but Bishop Ussher, God bless him, wasn’t inspired by the Lord when he said it all took 6,000 years. It just didn’t,” Robertson said Tuesday on “The 700 Club.”
The host was referring to James Ussher, the 17th century archbishop of Ireland who, in his 1650 publication “The Annals of the World,” proffered his belief that the Earth was created Oct. 23, 4004 B.C.
“You go back in time, you have carbon dating, all these things, and you have the carcasses of dinosaurs frozen in time.” Robertson explained. “They are out there. And so there was a time when these giant raptors were on the Earth and it was before the time of the Bible. So don’t try to cover it up and make like everything was 6,000 years, that’s not the Bible.”
Robertson was answering a question from a viewer named Michelle, who specifically asked:
“I have three teenage boys and now two of them are questioning the Bible. This scares me! They tell me if the Bible is truth then I should be able to reasonably explain the existence of dinosaurs. This is just on of many things they question. Even my husband is agreeing with them. How do I explain things to them that the Bible doesn’t cover? I am so afraid that they are walking away from God. My biggest fear is not have my children and husband next to me in God’s kingdom.”
Robertson noted, “If you fight revealed science, you’re going to lose your children, and I believe in telling it the way it was.”
While Bibles don’t have the 1841 word “dinosaur” included, many believe the creatures are mentioned when Scripture refers to dragons, sea monsters or the famous “leviathan” mentioned in the Book of Job: “Can you pull in the leviathan with a fishhook or tie down his tongue with a rope? Can you put a cord through his nose or pierce his jaw with a hook? … Can you make a pet of him like a bird or put him on a leash for your girls?” (Job 41:1-5 NIV)
The age-of-the-Earth question also came up this month in the political realm, and turned into a media feeding frenzy against Sen. Marco Rubio.
The Florida Republican said he was not a scientist and didn’t think he was qualified to answer such a question.
In an interview with GQ magazine, Rubio, who many think may run for president in 2016, was asked, “How old do you think the Earth is?”
Rubio responded: “I’m not a scientist, man. I can tell you what recorded history says, I can tell you what the Bible says, but I think that’s a dispute amongst theologians and I think it has nothing to do with the gross domestic product or economic growth of the United States. I think the age of the universe has zero to do with how our economy is going to grow. I’m not a scientist. I don’t think I’m qualified to answer a question like that.
“At the end of the day, I think there are multiple theories out there on how the universe was created and I think this is a country where people should have the opportunity to teach them all. I think parents should be able to teach their kids what their faith says, what science says. Whether the Earth was created in seven days, or seven actual eras, I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to answer that. It’s one of the great mysteries.”
The New York Times branded Rubio’s response as “ludicrous,” and even Jeb Bush Jr., son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, called it “kind of a head-scratching type of answer.”
“We’ve got to be a kind of pro-science and pro-technology party. And I think Marco Rubio is just that,” Bush said. “On the Earth question, I guess I have to read more closely in terms of getting a better understanding, but, yeah, kind of a strange response, I guess.”
Ironically, Barack Obama was asked a similar question when he was campaigning for president in April 2008, and gave a response very similar to that of Rubio.
“What I’ve said to [my daughters] is that I believe that God created the universe and that the six days in the Bible may not be six days as we understand it … it may not be 24-hour days, and that’s what I believe,” Obama told the Compassion Forum at Messiah College in Grantham, Pa.
“I know there’s always a debate between those who read the Bible literally and those who don’t, and that I think is a legitimate debate within the Christian community of which I’m a part. My belief is that the story that the Bible tells about God creating this magnificent Earth on which we live – that is essentially true, that is fundamentally true. Now, whether it happened exactly as we might understand it reading the text of the Bible: That, I don’t presume to know.”