Origins #3: Dinosaurs in the Bible
If God made the dinosaurs with all other land animals and human beings on day six of creation, then are there dinosaurs mentioned in the Bible?
THE MYSTERY OF THE DINOSAURS:
One day as I was flipping through the channels on the TV, I came across an interesting program on the Discovery Channel called “The Last Day of the Dinosaurs.” This show claimed to tell the “tale of how a humongous asteroid – larger than Mount Everest – smashed into Central America 65 million years ago, creating a veritable apocalypse, including a giant fireball and tsunami-like waves that soon destroyed all dinosaur life on Earth.”1 The thing that fascinated me more than the program itself was the fact that all four of my children – who were in the kitchen when I started watching the program – made their way into the living room and started watching the show with me. This to me was such a great illustration of what’s happening in the world today. So many people, especially children, are fascinated by these giant reptiles we know as dinosaurs.
Dinosaurs are everywhere in popular culture today. There are so many modern movies that feature dinosaurs. From Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster Jurassic Park trilogy, to the 12 movies (so far) in The Land Before Time series, not to mention The Night at the Museum, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, Journey to the Center of the Earth, and Peter Jackson’s remake of King Kong, dinosaurs are everywhere. And it’s not just in movies – they keep popping up all over the place, from TV shows and kids toys, to comic strips and T-shirts. You can even buy instant oatmeal with dinosaur eggs in it!
WHERE DID THE DINOSAURS COME FROM?
In light of the recent popularity of these overgrown reptiles, many people have begun to wonder: how do dinosaurs fit into the Bible? Let’s take a look at the two different viewpoints about the origins of the dinosaurs:
THE EVOLUTIONISTS VIEW:
“Dinosaurs are a diverse group of animals that were the dominant terrestrial vertebrates for over 160 million years, from the late Triassic period (about 230 million years ago) until the end of the Cretaceous (about 65 million years ago).”2 They teach that dinosaurs evolved from some reptile that had evolved from some sort of amphibian. Evolution teaches that all of the complex life forms that now exist have evolved over millions of years from simpler life forms. However, the question that the evolutionists have yet to answer is: where is the missing link – the transitional fossil forms between species? (We looked at the theory of evolution in Origins #1: Creation Versus Evolution). The lack of transitional forms in the fossil record is one of many evidences that the theory of evolution is false.
When they dig up a dinosaur bone, you realize of course that it does not have a label attached to it showing its date. There is absolutely no proof that the dinosaurs lived 65 million years ago. This is merely a guess based on a technique called radiometric dating. “All radiometric dating methods are based on assumptions about events that happened in the past. If the assumptions are accepted as true (as is typically done in the evolutionary dating processes), results can be biased toward a desired age.”3 For more information on radiometric dating, and how it actually supports the Biblical account of creation more than the theory of evolution, see Mike Riddle’s booklet “Doesn’t Carbon 14 Disprove the Bible?”
The evolutionist view teaches that dinosaurs lived millions of years before humans and therefore humans and dinosaurs never lived together. They say that dinosaur history is recorded in the fossil layers in the earth. In part #4 of our Origins series, “The Flood,” we will look at a more reasonable explanation for the fossil record, and also consider the question of what really happened to the dinosaurs. To the evolutionists, this is a mystery. They say that 65 million years ago the dinosaurs all died off because of some great cataclysmic event like an asteroid hitting the earth. If they were honest, they would admit that they don’t know what happened to the dinosaurs. Finally, some evolutionists teach that some dinosaurs have evolved into birds, and are still around on planet earth in bird-form.
THE CREATIONISTS VIEW:
“Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind”; and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth according to its kind, cattle according to its kind, and everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.” (Genesis 1:24-25).
As Christians, we believe that the Bible is the inspired, inerrant, and infallible Word of God. Therefore, when the Bible teaches that God created every land animal that exists on day six of creation week, we believe it. Genesis 2:19 tells us, “Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name.” If that’s true, then God created dinosaurs on day six of creation along with all of the other land animals, and also human beings. That means that in the Garden of Eden, in addition to lions and giraffes and hippos, there were Brachiosaurs, Tyrannosaurus rexes, and Triceratops! Some people would argue, “If the dinosaurs lived at the same time as human beings, they would have killed them off!” However, this is only based on the assumption that some of the dinosaurs were carnivores. In the next part of our Origins series, The Flood, we are going to look at that a little further.
The evolutionary idea that dinosaurs died off millions of years before human beings does not fit at all with what the Bible teaches. After the six-day creation week, “God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good.” (Genesis 1:31a). How could God’s creation have been called very good if there had been millions of years of death and suffering and bloodshed on earth? It doesn’t make sense. Before Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, there was no death! The Bible makes this abundantly clear when it says, “Therefore, just as through one man (Adam) sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.” (Romans 5:12). This verse tells us that before Adam sinned, there was no death, because death is the curse or consequence for sin and rebellion. This one verse is concrete proof that dinosaurs could not have lived and died millions of years before mankind.
THE GAP THEORY:
One of the theories that some people have come up with to try to make evolution fit into the Bible is called the gap theory. Henry Morris of the Institute for Creation Research does a good job of refuting this theory in the notes to the Defender’s Study Bible:
“In an attempt to accommodate the supposed evolutionary geological ages in Genesis, theorists postulate a long gap in time between Genesis 1:1 (In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth) and Genesis 1:2 (And the earth was without form, and void), in which it was hoped these ages could be pigeon-holed and forgotten as far as Biblical exegesis was concerned. This gap theory, however, requires a worldwide cataclysm at the end of the geological ages in order to account for the globally mandated and darkened earth described in Genesis 1:2. The cataclysm, in turn, is hypothetically connected with the fall of Lucifer in heaven (Isaiah 14:9-14) and his expulsion to the earth (Ezekiel 28:12-15), though such a cataclysm is nowhere mentioned in Scripture… in addition to its obvious contradictions with other important and clear Biblical passages (Genesis 1:31; Exodus 20:11)…”4 There is no reason for us to try to fit evolution into the Bible because there is no scientific basis for this theory whatsoever.
THE BIG QUESTION:
If God created the dinosaurs on day six of creation week alongside of mankind, then where are the dinosaurs mentioned in the Bible?
DINOSAURS IN THE BIBLE:
The Bible mentions at least 138 different animals5; from lions and bears and eagles, to sheep and goats and deer. If God created the dinosaurs alongside of the other animals, it would make sense that we would find them mentioned in the Bible. Some people would say, “I’ve read through the whole Bible, and I’ve never seen the word dinosaur in it before.” It’s true that the word dinosaur isn’t mentioned in the Bible, and there’s a very good reason for that. When the Bible was originally written, the Old Testament was written in Hebrew (and some Aramaic) and the New Testament was written in Greek. When the Bible was first translated into English with the King James Version in 1611, the word dinosaur hadn’t been invented yet. That word wasn’t coined until 1841 by Sir Richard Owen, a British scientist. (Note – the word dinosaur comes from two Greek words, deinos meaning terrible or wonderful, and sauros meaning lizard). If the Bible was first translated into English in 1611, and the word dinosaur wasn’t invented until 230 years later, we shouldn’t be surprised that we don’t see that word in the Bible. However, we do see many descriptions of dinosaurs in God’s Word:
DINOSAURS IN THE BOOK OF JOB:
Let me give you a little bit of a background to the book of Job. The book opens with the statement: “There was a man in thelandofUz, whose name was Job; and that man was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil. And seven sons and three daughters were born to him. Also, his possessions were seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen, five hundred female donkeys, and a very large household, so that this man was the greatest of all the people of the East.” (Job 1:1-3).
In this story, the devil appeared before God one day, and the Lord said, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth?” The devil responded by saying, “Yes, Job fears God, but not without good reason! You have always protected him and his home and his property from harm. You have made him prosperous in everything he does. Look how rich he is! But take away everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face!” God’s response was, “That’s ridiculous. Job serves me because he loves me, not just because of the good things that I give to him.” So God gave the devil permission to take away everything that Job owned – his family, his possessions, and even his health. Job lost everything, and yet he never gave up his faith in God. Consider some of these powerful, faith-filled statements that Job made in the midst of his suffering:
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job 1:21).
“When his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!” Job said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” (Job 2:9-10).
“For I know that my Redeemer lives.” (Job 19:25).
In the midst of this great trial of pain and suffering, three of Job’s friends, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite, came to talk with him. The majority of the book of Job is the dialogue between Job and these three friends, who basically said, “Job, we have it all figured out: We know why your life is such a mess. Either there’s unconfessed sin in your life, or you’re walking in unbelief, because bad things don’t happen to good people.” Job’s friends thought they had it all figured out, but Job said, “You don’t know what you’re talking about.” After his three friends stopped lecturing Job, a fourth man, Elihu, came and shared his thoughts with Job on why he was suffering.
Finally, “the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said: “Who is this who darkens counsel By words without knowledge? Now prepare yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer Me. Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding.” (Job 38:1-4). When God started speaking to Job, it finally got his attention, and he sat silent and listened.
“God finally answers Job, but He does so with about seventy-seven rhetorical questions, not one of which has anything to do with the sufferings of Job… Evidently the purpose of the book of Job, in spite of the opinions of most commentators, is not to answer the question as to why righteous people suffer. Although this is the burning theme, God never answers it at all in His four chapter monologue. Instead, His questions all have to do with His great creation and man’s responsibility thereto. That, evidently, is God’s great concern.”6
Throughout God’s monologue, he draws Job’s attention to His majestic creation, including many different animals that he had created, from lions (38:39-40) and ravens (38:41), to mountain goats and deer (39:1-4), wild donkeys (39:5-8), the wild ox (39:9-12); ostriches (39:13-18), horses (39:19-25) and hawks (39:26-30). Then the Lord uses an example to show Job how great and powerful he is, by making a comparison to one of the greatest animals that ever lived: Behemoth!
“Look now at the behemoth, which I made along with you; He eats grass like an ox.” (Job 40:15).
Whatever this creature is called the behemoth, one of the first things that God tells Job about it is, “I made him along with you.” In other words, this land beast was created on day six along with human beings. He is not talking about a creature that lived 65 million years before humans. We also learn that this creature was a herbivore – he eats grass like an ox. Some footnotes in certain study Bibles say that the behemoth might be a hippo or an elephant, but those animals don’t fit the description that follows.
“See now, his strength is in his hips, and his power is in his stomach muscles. He moves his tail like a cedar; the sinews of his thighs are tightly knit. His bones are like beams of bronze, His ribs like bars of iron.” (Job 40:16-18).
God is describing a great big powerful creature here. When it describes the power in his stomach muscles, we get the impression that it has a big belly. A hippo has a big belly. An elephant has a big belly. Sumo wrestlers have big bellies. There are many different kinds of animals that have big stomachs, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are being described in this passage here. When the Lord describes this animal, it says, “He moves his tail like a cedar.” A hippo’s tail is like a little flap of skin, and an elephant’s tail is like a little rope. Neither hippos nor elephants have thick tails like cedar trees.
Graphic © 2012 Answers in Genesis. www.AnswersInGenesis.org.
There is an animal that had a tail like a cedar – the sauropod dinosaurs like the Brachiosaurus or Apatosaurus. The very next verse in this passage of Scripture continues describing this animal for us:
“He is the first of the ways of God; Only He who made him can bring near His sword.” (Job 40:19).
The King James Version of the Bible translates that word first as chief. It comes from the Hebrew word reshiyth which implies that the behemoth was the largest land animal that God had created. Obviously this cannot be referring to an elephant or a hippo, as these aren’t the biggest animals in God’s creation. There is no creature alive today that fits this description. However, the sauropod dinosaurs are the largest animals that have ever lived on planet Earth. The Supersaurus for example was around 120 feet long, 65 feet high, weighing in at around 120,000 pounds!
The last part of that verse says of the behemoth that “only God who made him can bring near His sword.” In other words, no human being could overcome such an animal, but God could. It is abundantly clear that the behemoth mentioned in this passage of Scripture is none other than a sauropod dinosaur.
ORIGINS #3 BIBLIOGRAPHY:
- http://www.montrealgazette.com/entertainment. “Last Day of the Dinosaurs showsMontreal’s Cutting Edge” by Brendan Kelly, The Montreal Gazette, Nov. 21, 2010.
- Dinosaurs, http://www.wikipedia.org.
- Mike Riddle, Doesn’t Carbon 14 Disprove the Bible? Answers in Genesis Publishing. 2007.
- Henry Morris, The Defenders Study Bible. World Publishing. 1995.
- For a complete listing, see Animals of the Bible, http://www.christiananswers.net/dictionary/animals.html.
- Henry Morris, ibid.
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