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Does Judaism say anything about dinosaurs?

  

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Rabbi Shlomo: Welcome. I'll be with you in a moment...what's on your mind?


Trex: Does Judaism say anything about dinosaurs


Rabbi Shlomo: No. The Torah makes no mention of it (nor does it make mention of elephants and many other things)


Trex: Could they have existed according to Judaism?


Rabbi Shlomo: Sure. There is nothing in Judaism that precludes their existence. However, they couldn't have lived more than 5769 years ago1, because there was no world before then (see What is the Jewish view of the age of the universe?)


Trex: But science says they existed millions of years ago.


Rabbi Shlomo: True. Or more accurately, science says they appear to have existed millions of years ago; after all, science doesn't know this is as a fact, but only as a theory.


Rabbi Shlomo: And in theory, or better yet, in fact, Judaism has no problem with something "appearing" to look millions of years old. Judaism only maintains that if it appears to be millions of years old, the reality is it is younger than it appears.


Trex: I don't understand how it could look older than it is?


Rabbi Shlomo: According to the Torah (that the world was created 5769 years ago), how old did Adam look on the first day of his life 5769 years ago?


Trex: I don't know


Rabbi Shlomo: The Midrash tells us2 he looked like a 20 year-old. Does that mean the world was 20 years old at the time? No. It means man was created with an older appearance than he really was.


Rabbi Shlomo: the same would apply to dinosaurs, or more accurately to fossils. They could simply look older than they are.


Trex: So i can believe in the Torah and believe that there were dinosaurs?


Rabbi Shlomo: For the sake of clarity let us distinguish between fossils and dinosaurs. Fossils are a fact. The Torah has no problem with the fact.


Rabbi Shlomo: Everything beyond the fossils, including the notion that they once belonged to living creatures called dinosaurs, and in what era those creatures inhabited the earth, is a theory. Some theories work in line with Torah, some of them don't. But by nature, a theory doesn't really pose a contradiction: it is only a theory.


Trex: I see


Trex: Thank you for clarifying that.


Rabbi Shlomo: my pleasure. come again

All names, places, and identifying information have been changed or deleted in order to protect the privacy of the questioners. In order to preserve authenticity, the chat sessions have been posted with a minimum of editing. Please excuse typographical errors, missing punctuation, and/or grammatical mistakes which naturally occur in the course of informal chat sessions.

Footnotes

  • 1. This chat took place in the Jewish year 5769 - 2009
  • 2. Midrash Rabba Breishis 14:7

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COMMENTS

Dinosaurs

Posted by: Don on Mar 31, 2009

I find this very interesting. I have thought that for some time. When man makes something it is knew and have to work very hard to make it look old. G_d can make things as old as He chooses even if it was made yesterday.

RELATED CATEGORIES

Philosophy » Creation
Philosophy » Torah vs. Science

Torah
Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.
Midrash
(Pl. Midrashim). Non-legal material of anecdotal or allegorical nature, designed either to clarify historical material, or to teach a moral point. The Midrashim were compiled by the sages who authored the Mishna and Talmud (200 BCE-500 CE).
Adam
The first man, created by G-d on the sixth day of creation. He was banished from the Garden of Eden after eating from the forbidden fruit of the forbidden knowledge. Died in 2830 BCE.