Advent and dinosaurs

06/12/12 | Posted by Ian Black

In a discovery sure to excite every eight year old, scientists at the Natural History Museum have discovered a new dinosaur. Nyasasaurus Parringtoni, named after the region of Africa where it was found (Lake Nyasa, now Lake Malawi) and the palaeontologist who found the fossils (Rex Parrington), is thought to be around 250 million years old. Measuring between two and three metres long, it probably stood on two legs.

image
 Artists impression of Nyasasaurus

Dinosaurs take us to a time that is so long ago that we can’t begin to imagine it.  They roamed the earth long before we did and for much longer than we have been around.  It is often said that if the whole of existence was set out on a 24 hour clock human beings don’t come on stage until one minute to midnight.  We are a blip on the time line of history.  And yet it has been the faith throughout the millennia that humans have roamed, that God is interested in human beings.  The writer of the Hebrew Psalms in the Old Testament celebrated this in asking what are human beings that God should take any interest in them and yet has made them only a little bit below angels (Psalm 8). Human life, all life, is special and is the product of a purpose.

Advent is a Christian season which thinks about time.  It looks forward to the coming of Christ which Christmas celebrates.  It also looks beyond to the end of all things, when everything will be brought to it’s ultimate goal.  One of the symbols used for Advent is the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet - Alpha and Omega; in Western script, A - Z.  God is seen as the beginning and the end of all things, spanning all time and space and in turn holding it.

Advent is seen as the season of hope because of God’s spanning of time and space and holding of all existence.  Whether that time is 250 million years, several billion, 80 or 30 years or even 5 minutes, God is seen as being our beginning and our end.  Each moment is both eternal and fleeting.  The faith is that God spans the time and space also considers every life to be special and loved.  That is the Advent hope.

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Never thought of the ‘advent hope’ in this way before. Nicely expressed

#1. By clare gair on December 07, 2012

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