Fossils: A Revelation of Beauty

Biologos has become a place to write about your favorite fossils.


Fossils can be pretty. Not such a bad thing. Not much controversy here, right?

Fossils are beautiful, very spiritually uplifting. :sunglasses:



I live on a property profuse with crinoid fossils from the Late Cretaceous. Every time I see one of them, I try to imagine what that particular creature looked like when it was alive.

The creek beds on this property also have lots of half buried petrified logs. There’s two especially nice specimens which were pulled out of the mud with a tractor and are now used as parking-place wheel-stops. They look like regular logs until one looks very closely and realizes that they are hard quartz. Solid rock. Quite beautiful. One has strange markings on it that looks like an animal clawed the bark off, but experts who examined photos of it gave me contradictory judgments. So I’ll probably never know much about the origin of the large marks. (They clearly predate the fossilization.)

I enjoy these ubiquitous fossil reminders of an ancient landscape.

I’ve never visited the Ark Encounter in Kentucky. Nevertheless, I find it fascinating that what many regard as a shrine to a 6,000 year old earth and a global flood is sitting atop Ordovician limestone which contains far more fossil remains of creatures than what could ever have been produced by such a young earth in its entire history. Should Christ-followers trust the history which God has clearly recorded and revealed in his creation? Or is God’s Book of Creation fallible while God’s Book of Scriptures is infallible? (Are scientists fallible while only theologians are infallible----even though theologians hold diverse viewpoints and often disagree on various of the relevant scriptures?)

I find it interesting that the Ark Encounter and the nearby Creation Museum are built on such a dazzling geologic wonder and yet AIG only make very general references to what lies below those tourist attractions. Most visitors probably come and go with no awareness of the splendiforous fossil beauty beneath their feet, a loud testimony to a very old earth.


To be honest, I am somewhat puzzled. I’m not clear what these articles really have to do with the BioLogos mission. They are not hurtful, which is good, but what do they accomplish?

I assumed that the answer is in the last paragraph of the Biologos article:

As a Christian paleontologist, I often reflect on Proverbs 25:2, “The glory of God is to keep things hidden; but the glory of kings is to fathom them.” Studying fossils is literally about fathoming things which were hidden and are coming to light. This is a privilege .

I think Biologos wants to remind visitors that (1) Christians care about science, including paleontology, and that (2) they see the hand of God throughout creation, including in the fossils, and that (3) some of those Christians who care about science are professional scientists. That’s not a startling message for most of us, but some Americans tell me that they are surprised to learn that there are evangelical paleontologists.

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I don’t know @AllenWitmerMiller. There isn’t really enough here to build trust with audiences. We don’t know what type of Christian he is, and there is little integration explained in these articles. I’m not sure what they accomplish. Much more is needed to make progresses, in my estimation.

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I know a number of Christians and non-Christians who would find the mere mention of a Bible verse sufficient to make the point (and to build trust with the Christians.) Yet, I totally agree with you: That’s not much to go on and it represents little to no actual integration. Perhaps the only goal was to explain the title: Fossils: A Revelation of Beauty. Perhaps some people will find the use of the word “revelation” in this context a new concept. I don’t know.

Sometimes a simple, uplifting, uncontroversial article can provide a pleasant “clearing of the palette”. Vanilla is not necessarily profound—but it is pleasant.

Perhaps Mr. Stearley will join us here at Peaceful Science sometime and tell us more about his research.

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There is nothing wrong with the articles. very light hearted non-controversial items. It is just baffling to me that this is what Biologos has become. Hey, look everybody you can be a Christian paleontologist if you go to a secular university and study evolutionary science. And you can still be a good Christian too. Perhaps this fills a need in society to counteract the AiG influence. Perhaps it is encouragement to Christian kids to go into the evolutionary science unafraid of losing their faith.

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Yes, it sure seems like (based on other evidence) that there have been “atmospheric changes” at Biologos, though I can’t say that I could easily describe them. And I don’t read there as often as I once did.

The fact that Biologos website views are well below those of Peaceful Science, despite their substantial funding and long history, has surprised me. (However, given Joshua’s explanations, I probably shouldn’t be surprised.)

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Perhaps @gbrooks9 might want to chime in and @eddie also, what is your take at what is happening over a Biologos?

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We certainly wish Biologos well. They are an important voice. That’s all the more reason to be curious as to their goals and prospects.

Well I am not going to go that far. :sunglasses: I wish them no harm, and I wish all them well, good health and happiness this Festivus season.

@Patrick ,

I think more than enough ink has been spent on BioLogos.Org for now. I have no special insight regarding where they are going or how they are going to get there.

3 posts were split to a new topic: Eddie’s Take on Biologos

I’m quite comfortable with a palaeontologist enthusing about the beauty of a particular fossil. It’s the sort of think I’d be happy to do at The Hump of the Camel.

But it only makes sense in a context in which one has a firm commitment to some theology of beauty, function, or whatever, that makes it more than the equivalent of “Pizza is my favourite food.”

I remember crossing swords with Jim Stump (new content editor) about a BioLogos piece noting the neat design of some factor of human brain factor. I actually liked the piece, but it was set in the overall context of a theology of nature at BioLogos which denied design, and promoted an “open process” view of nature which more often focused on wisdom teeth, nasty viruses, and narrow birth canals than the wise providence of God as Creator.

If you want to praise the beauty of a fossil, it’s either because God made it, or because nature did apart from God (which makes such praise idolatrous). In either case, an explanation of how it ended up beautiful is required.


Nevertheless, you’ve written a very interesting and helpful overview! Thanks for updating us.


Well today Biologos reviewed a book:

So their blog certainly has more views than us, over 200k. It is the forum where we have about 5x more traffic, more than 100k per month.


You have a blog?