Places that Never Were–Or Were They?

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Charles R. Knight, who died in 1953, became famous in his own lifetime as the world’s most convincing painter of prehistoric life. Among my early memories are trips to the American Museum of Natural History, and looking up at Knight’s great murals, my mind full of wild surmises for which I wasn’t old enough to find words.

I still love Knight’s work, but I’ve learned to appreciate another aspect of it–his background scenery. There are a lot of people who can paint or draw prehistoric animals. I can do that. But only a very few are able to bring us into the world those creatures lived in.

The painting above launched Knight’s career, when it was still the 19th century. The animal is Elotherium. Never mind that. The scenery which Elotherium inhabits–the longer I look at it, the realer it gets!

I could just about swear that Knight’s Elotheriums are in a real place. More than that–a place that I know. I used to play alongside a stream just like that, on Orchard Street, before they paved everything over. I climbed and skidded up and down those steep banks. I waded in that water, although it was too deep to wade all the way across. I was there. I didn’t see any Elotheriums, but I was there. If they’d come out of the woods on the other side, I’d’ve seen them.

And where would that stream take me, if I could follow it up to the top of the painting? What enchanted country would I discover?

What a gift the Lord Our God gave Charles Knight! God made us in His image, and some of us He made creators. We can only revel in it, and give thanks.

I think God knows where these places really are. He made them. Oh, for a glimpse, O Lord!

But who knows what He has in store for us?

3 comments on “Places that Never Were–Or Were They?

  1. Since it had never rained before Noah’s Flood, it was a mist that watered the earth. Some call it the canopy effect. It is believed by some scholars the whole earth was like a sub-tropical climate.

    1. It’s good to remember that we live, basically, in the aftermath of the Flood. We don’t really know what things were like before the Flood, but we know that the earth held the potential of being a paradise. Of course your paradise and my paradise are not necessarily the same. The Bible promises seasons will endure forever and I, for one, am happy to hear it.

      My idea of paradise is the High Plains, hopefully near some Ponderosa Pine. I don’t mind snow, so long as it melts in a day or two. I think the ocean is beautiful, but occasional visits are more than adequate for my needs. I average once every 12 years and I’m paid up on visits to the Pacific until I’m 77. 🙂 I’ve never seen the Atlantic, but Lee tells me it’s real and I’ll take him at his word. 🙂

      I’ve listened to a number of Bible believing scientists recently, and heard their take on the Flood. The best theory I’ve heard, and it meshes well with things I’ve personally observed, is that the Flood probably started with volcanic activity which heated the oceans and caused massive rains. One theory is that the continents were all part of one large continent surrounded by seas. When the volcanic activity started, this is what caused the tectonic movement of land masses and, effectively, the Western Hemisphere continents moved westward to their current positions.

      The earth, having been entirely resurfaced by water, was made up of sedimentary layers which were pliable. Where land masses collided, mountains were formed and the subduction of the Pacific Plate raised the mountains of the West Coast.

      Eventually things settled down and the waters drained off the surface of the earth, their recession creating many of the features we see today. The shock to the earth’s climate caused the Ice Age, which is still affecting us to some degree.

      I present this as theory, and only as such. Even I’m not old enough to have been an eyewitness to these events.

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