Dinosaurs to come to the Great Passion Play next season

Thursday, July 29, 2004
Dr. Thomas Sharp, representing the Noble, Okla.-based Museum of Earth History, and Rev. Keith Butler of Berryville, chairman of The Great Passion Play board of directors, signed an agreement on July 15 in front of the Smith Chapel building and flanked by a dinosaur skeleton. CCN / Mary Jean Sell

A formal agreement to bring a dinosaur exhibit from the Museum of Earth History to The Great Passion Play in Eureka Springs was signed July 15

Dr. Thomas Sharp, representing the Noble, Okla.-based museum, and Rev. Keith Butler of Berryville, chairman of The Great Passion Play board of directors, signed the agreement in front of the Smith Chapel building which will become the exhibit hall next spring.

The exhibit is scheduled to open, along with the play, on April 29, 2005. It will remain in place two years.

"The reality of Biblical history has been so discredited by science that the whole Book of Genesis has been removed from the Bible," said Sharp. "This exhibit will reconnect the writings of Moses to the life of Jesus."

"This exhibit is astonishing, inspirational and Biblically accurate," said Passion Play Executive Director Marvin Peterson.

The exhibit will include 7 to 9 full-scale replicas of prehistoric creatures.

Local awareness of the Creation Truth Foundation and the Museum of Earth History was sparked by an extended exhibit of dinosaurs at First Christian Church of Eureka Springs last fall. "The museum will be part of the complex surrounding the largest attended outdoor drama in America, namely The Great Passion Play, and will add another facet to the many attractions in the area," Creation Truth Foundation spokesman Gary Dressler said.

The foundation touts the exhibit as "an educational and outside-the-box facility uniting the worlds of history, science and faith in an unprecedented dinosaur presentation."

The Creation Truth Foundation's belief is that there is a biblical basis for the existence of dinosaurs. Said Gary Dressler, spokesman for CTF, "It's been a lifelong dream of Dr. Sharp's to be able to reconnect the message of Christ and His sacrifice with the understanding of Biblical literacy in Genesis. It is necessary for a person to have a literal Biblical understanding of Genesis in order to get the message of the cross.

The word "dinosaur" was coined by English anatomist Richard Owen in 1841, 231 years after the creation of the King James Version of the Bible, and 460 years after the first English translation of the Bible by John Wycliffe.

In the KJV of Genesis 1:21, the Hebrew word translated as "whales" is tanniuym, and can refer to both sea and land animals, and can also be translated as dragon, sea-monster and serpent. King James scholars used the word "dragon" to translate this same word 20 of the 25 times it appears in the Old Testament.

The Elna M. Smith Foundation is providing the location and marketing for the museum, while Creation Truth Foundation will provide the design and setup, including interactive displays, merchandise and 2,000-square feet of exhibits.

Dressler said the foundations uniting for the joint venture have yet to put a final price tag on the facility, but they hope to raise $150,000 for Phase One of the project by the end of December, 2004.

Organizers said the museum will highlight three historical eras often overlooked by modern education from a biblical viewpoint.

In a prepared statement, Sharp said that the Elna M. Smith Foundation has worked for years to establish "an accurate presentation of the passion of Christ, during which time the culture, in its embrace of a naturalist view of Earth's history, has thoroughly disconnected the New Testament from its basis in Genesis."

Meanwhile, he added, the Creation Truth Foundation "has been laboring for years to revive the biblical account of Earth's history, and this new partnership provides the opportunity to reunite these two essential ingredients to the Bible's reality."

The Great Passion Play will continue through Oct. 30. For tickets or more information, telephone, toll-free, 800-882-7529, or visit the web site at greatpassionplay.com

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