Questions From Readers
● When did God create dinosaurs, and when did they become extinct?—U.S.A.
The Bible does not provide specific answers to this question. According to the Genesis account, animals were created during the fifth and sixth creative periods or ‘days.’ If the Hebrew expression translated “great sea monsters” [Hebrew, tan·ni·nimʹ] includes dinosaurs, which often inhabited swampy, watery areas, this would mean that dinosaurs were created on the fifth “day.” (Gen. 1:21) We do not know whether they continued to exist until man was created (toward the close of the sixth “day”). At the very latest it seems likely that they must have disappeared off the earth at the time of the flood of Noah’s day. Dinosaurs were reptiles, and some kinds of dinosaurs bear strong resemblance structurally and otherwise to lizards (sauros is, in fact, the Greek word for “lizard”; saura in Leviticus 11:29, LXX). Not all types of dinosaurs were of such gigantic size. Hence, even if they had survived till the Flood, this would not have required taking pairs of the mammoth varieties into the ark. Other smaller members of the particular family or “kind” to which these belonged would have sufficed to fulfill the divine command.—Gen. 6:19, 20; 7:14.
Some of the older translations of the Bible at times use the word “dragons” to translate the Hebrew tan·ni·nimʹ (“sea monsters,” NW). (Ps. 74:13; 148:7; Isa. 27:1, Authorized Version) The term “dragon” (Greek, draʹkon) is found in the Christian Greek Scriptures. It has been suggested as possible that, rather than having a purely mythical source, this expression may originally have been applied to enormous creatures such as the dinosaurs, taking on mythical tones only after these mammoth creatures had long disappeared. Interestingly, many of the mythical depictions of the “dragon” strongly resemble certain types within the family of huge reptilian creatures that includes the dinosaur.
● Is it proper for a Christian to ask his parents or grandparents for a blessing, as is the custom in parts of Latin America?—Venezuela.
The Bible shows that God’s servants in ancient times pronounced blessings on others. Jacob blessed Pharaoh, that is, he expressed a wish for his welfare. (Gen. 47:7) Rebekah’s family blessed her when she left upper Mesopotamia to marry Isaac. (Gen. 24:60) And Isaac as well as Jacob pronounced special blessings upon their offspring. (Heb. 11:20, 21) According to Proverbs 30:11, parents are deserving of blessing from their children.
So no Scriptural objection need be raised to a parent’s or grandparent’s blessing his or her children. Even in lands where it is not a general custom to ask for a blessing, it is common to pronounce blessings. Among dedicated servants of Jehovah everywhere it is not unusual to voice the wish that a fellow believer might have divine blessing in connection with a special assignment or as he continues faithfully serving the Creator in another location. It is also noteworthy that the parting greeting in many languages is, in effect, a blessing. For example, the English “good-bye” means “God be with you.”
Of course, if in one’s area there is no custom of “asking for a blessing” or bestowing such, as is done in some Latin-American lands, there is no need to start doing so. But if it is already a well-understood custom where you live, there are factors that a Christian might consider regarding the custom of blessing others. He might ask himself, Do I have the right view of such blessing? Is it a mere routine formula so that the reference to God is not sincere, genuine, heartfelt? (Compare Matthew 15:4-7.) Am I inclined to think that, any time I do not follow the custom, things will likely go wrong? Care must be exercised so that one does not become superstitious and begin viewing the blessing as a magic charm. Then, too, if the parent or grandparent is not a dedicated servant of Jehovah, his religious views enter the picture. Can one who has no appreciation for true worship correctly petition divine blessing on a child when he does not even know the true God?
Thus, although there is no Biblical objection to one’s asking for the blessing of one’s parent or grandparent, when it comes to deciding what should be done in a particular case, the Christian must allow his Bible-trained conscience to govern. He will certainly want to avoid doing something that could give occasion for stumbling or that could misrepresent the true God to others.—Phil. 1:10.