With a title that includes “finding God,” how much religion is in my recent nonfiction book? Actually not much. I wrote Searching for Ropens and Finding God (fourth edition) with readers of all faiths in mind, for anyone open to some kind of positive spiritual experience. Let’s allow the book to speak for itself with these excerpts:
[This] soars above disputes about religion, revealing why an official discovery of an extraordinary animal was delayed for so long. Above all, this explores human experiences—of eyewitnesses and those who interviewed them. People have become connected by common encounters: Persons of various faiths, with various levels of education, from various countries and cultures, have seen a living pterosaur.
First Page of Acknowledgements
The pioneering investigations of three men illuminated the path for my own expedition: James Blume, for decades a Baptist missionary and plane pilot in Papua New Guinea; Carl Baugh, founder and director of a creation-science museum in Texas; and Paul Nation, an associate of Baugh.
Second Page of Acknowledgements
The prayers of family, friends, and other Americans were answered when I found Luke Paina, who became my interpreter, bodyguard, and counselor. By the grace of the Father of us all, Luke and I were welcomed like brothers by those we met on Umboi Island, and through the friendship of humble native Christians in remote villages, we were fed, sheltered, and led to those who made this book possible: the native eyewitnesses. Thank you . . .
Expect answers in this book: why my associates and I traveled to a remote tropical island to search for living pterosaurs and why only a few professors have given us any hope that they still live. . . . I hope my readers will discover more than adventure—a purpose in life—as worthy a purpose as I have found. This is no instruction manual for finding God, yet I suggest that the spiritual quest gives us the highest reward. . . .
Is this a tool for promoting Biblical Creation and ridiculing evolution? Clear thinking we need, without fear, allowing us to discover both truth and error in whatever camp we find ourselves, entrenched or visiting, at the moment. Beware of simplistic labels.
The existence of life I credited to God, from childhood choosing to respect the Bible as nonfiction. When I was ten, my father, psychologist for the San Bernardino School District in California, showed me the largest collection of bird eggs in the Western United States, in the museum in our own little town of Bloomington. The variety of eggs and birds, all dead, fascinated me. Then I read the labels. Non-birds becoming birds discomforted me, for each type of life appeared to have a role in its own basic form.
If all of the above gives a reader no offense, with its religious tones, the book as a whole should not offend that reader. Does it improperly mix religion and science? It’s really more of a cryptozoology book with reasoning about the meaning of eyewitness testimonies and the adventure of searching for modern living pterosaurs.
Jonathan David Whitcomb
Did every variety of every type of creature enter the Ark of Noah? Why should they? Take the obvious example first: Would Noah have taken every breed of dog into the Ark, if all the present-day varieties existed in his day? No. Only a few genetically-healthy dogs would be needed, for they would have all the traits that could later become active in our modern breeds, even though the countless traits would not be outwardly visible in those original ancestors.
While both ropen lights and meteors are fast-moving flashes of lights in the sky, several characteristics distinguish them (Whitcomb, 2007). For example, Abram of Opai Village, Umboi Island, described a ropen light that flew down to a reef and stayed at or near the surface of the sea before flying back toward Mount Bel (Whitcomb interview) . . . Analysis of 2004-expedition records suggest that many suspected ropen lights move away from Mount Bel early at night but toward it late at night.
. . . the eyewitnesses come to us with different religions, almost as if religion had nothing to do with encountering a live “pterodactyl.” . . . A person who sees an apparent pterosaur is just as likely to be an atheist as a Bible believing Southern Baptist.
The Fiery Flying Serpent of the Old Testament is also found in the Book of Mormon. In fact, in First Nephi, Chapter 17, verse 41, it is more clearly a flying fiery “serpent” that afflicted the children of Israel at the time of Moses, more clear than at least one of the relevant passages in the Bible, in that “flying” is included.