Science and Saddleback’s Rick Warren

Although it appears that Rick Warren, in anticipation of giving the invocation at Barack Obama’s inauguration, has removed from the Saddleback web site his extended thoughts on the matter of god and science (although he left up the important questions of whether our pets will be with us in Heaven), the Internet has preserved some gems.

President-elect Barack Obama with Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in Orange County, California

“If you’re asking me do I believe in evolution, the answer is no, I don’t,” said Pastor Rick to Newsweek, April 2007.

Concerning dinosaurs, Pastor Rick was asked (this was in a different interview), “How do they fit in with the idea that God created the world rather than the world evolving on it’s own? Why doesn’t the Bible talk about dinosaurs?”

Here’s Pastor Rick’s response:

The Bible tells in Genesis 1 that God made the world in seven days, and that he made all of the animals on the fifth day and the sixth day. All of the animals were created at the same time, so they all walked the earth at the same time. I know that the pictures we all grew up with in the movies were that dinosaurs roamed a lifeless, volcanic planet. Remember these are just pictures drawn by someone today! The Bible’s picture is that dinosaurs and man lived together on the earth, an earth that was filled with vegetation and beauty.

Warren insisted that the Bible does mention dinosaur-like creatures. “The Bible uses names like ‘behemoth’ and ‘tannin.’ Behemoth means kingly, gigantic beasts. Tannin is a term that includes dragon-like animals and the great sea creatures such as whales, giant squid, and marine reptiles like the plesiosaurs that may have become extinct. The Bible’s best description of a dinosaur-like animal is in Job chapter 40,” he said.

He then provided from evidence (Job 40:15-19), “Look at the behemoth, which I made along with you and which feed on grass like an ox. What strength he has in his loins, what power in the muscles of his belly! His tail sways like a cedar; the sinews of his thighs are close-knit. His bones are tubes of bronze, his limbs like rods of iron. He ranks first among the works of God.”

Perhaps the interviewer had a puzzled look on his face, for Pastor Rick commented, “This should not sound so strange. After all, God tells us that he created all the land animals on the sixth day of creation, the same day that he created mankind. Man and dinosaurs lived at the same time. There was never a time when dinosaurs ruled the earth. From the very beginning of creation, God gave man dominion over all that was made, even over the dinosaurs.”

Warren had not always believed that the Bible and science were incompatible. This is because, according to him, he had not made a full study of the Bible:

I found that, although I’d understood the science side of the equation, I needed to take some more time to read what the Bible really had to say about this subject. Not having taken the time to really read the Bible, I was very ignorant about what it had to say. Let me give you one example. I discovered that the problem of sin, as addressed in the Bible, was much more serious than I had previously thought. When I realized that the world was clearly a perfect place as God created it, and that this perfection was ruined by the sinful choice of Adam and Eve, it really started me thinking. Did the Bible teach evolution or did it teach the creation of a first man and woman named Adam and Eve? If we evolved, which human being would have made the choice that brought sin into this world? Since God clearly says that it is our sin that brought death into our world, how could there have been death for billions of years before the arrival of the first man who sinned on the earth? As I asked questions about this issue and studied what the Bible had to say, I found it to be one of the greatest times of learning in my life as a new believer. My prayer is that you will have this same experience!

Don’t pray for me, Pastor Rick. This is what understanding the “science side of the equation” looks like? If God first made the world perfect, then how could Adam and Eve make only the biggest blunder ever in the history of the universe? Yahweh created man and woman to fuck everything up? What definition of perfect are we working with here? Did Yahweh do this so that some of us could burn in everlasting hellfire for refusing to believe this bullshit story? And he gave this fuckup Adam dominion over everything, including dinosaurs? Why don’t interviewers interrupt these asshats and point out the idiocy of their opinions?

Mike the Mad Biologist’s comment is perfect, “Radiometric dating is probably something homosexuals do, anyway.”

I’m guessing all these questions are above Obama’s pay grade.

Published by

Andrew Austin

Andrew Austin is on the faculty of Democracy and Justice Studies and Sociology at the University of Wisconsin—Green Bay. He has published numerous articles, essays, and reviews in books, encyclopedia, journals, and newspapers.

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