Did God create dinosaurs or are they the result of sin?
The conventional evolutionary model faces numerous difficulties in explaining both the origin and the disappearance of the dinosaurs. Is it possible to study the dinosaurs (and other fossils) from a perspective consistent with the biblical account of creation? Were dinosaurs the result of millions of years of evolution or were they created by God? These questions are important for believers because the Bible says God created the animals and saw that His creation was good. Were there “good” dinosaurs? How do they fit into this picture?
The book of Genesis says that God created “living creatures after their kind, and beasts, snakes and land animals after their kind” (Genesis 1:24) on the sixth day of creation week. Were dinosaurs created on that day? “And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground – everything that has the breath of life in it – I give every green plant for food.” (Genesis 1:30). Can we really fit the ferocious carnivorous dinosaurs in this newly created, vegetarian, perfect world? The biblical account (Genesis 3:14-19) suggests that the curse that followed the fall of Adam and Eve caused biological changes that led to changes in the diet of many animals, giving rise to the current competitive relationships, predation and parasitism. Though the Bible does not go into detail on the changes, they are interpreted today as genetic modification since we know from science that such major changes would require genetic alteration. Though these changes began immediately, their full manifestation probably occurred over several generations. Recent genetic research has shown that small changes in the activity of regulatory genes can cause major physiological and even anatomical changes. It is important to remember that those organisms who died in the flood and were preserved as fossils, lived some time after creation and the entrance of sin, therefore they do not represent the original physiology of created organisms.
Did dinosaurs coexist with humans?
Much has been written and discussed about certain evidence allegedly showing human presence alongside dinosaur remains. This evidence includes what at the time was interpreted as human footprints alongside dinosaur footprints and prehistoric cave paintings and tools, which represent human figures with exceptional creatures very similar to current reconstructions of dinosaurs. However, rigorous scientific investigations have shown some of these paintings to be modern paintings meant to fool people. Others are in fact ancient paintings but it remains unclear what the organism in the painting is. Therefore, its better not to jump to conclusions based on unsubstantiated data.
Consider for example, the alleged human footprints found alongside dinosaur tracks in the Paluxy riverbed in Texas. Decades ago, some people proclaimed that this was the ultimate test against the theory of evolution and in favor of universal biblical flood. Intrigued by these strong statements scientists, both evolutionists and creationists, studied in detail the markings found on rocks and conducted laboratory tests. If the tracks had been genuine, the sediment below the mark should have shown a deformation caused by the weight of the animal. To check whether the deformation existed, the traces were cut in sections and analyzed, but the result was negative. Creation scientists concluded that the alleged human footprints were actually pseudoprints, which are a product of erosion. Other studies have proven certain paintings and drawings to have been forged by fanatical defenders of the idea of coexistence between humans and dinosaurs. The fossil forgery and other frauds that have been carried out in favor of creationism have severely damaged the reputation of creation scientists engaged in honest scientific research.
Does the Bible mention dinosaurs?
The account of creation in Genesis 1 tells us that God created the sea creatures and flying creatures on the fifth day and the rest of the animals on the sixth day. Among land animals are creatures that crawl, or creep, but dinosaurs are not mentioned specifically. This should not surprise us. First, the word “dinosaur” did not exist in the time of Moses (the author of the Book of Genesis), and there is no specific reason, other than to satisfy our curiosity, for which they should have been especially mentioned. In fact, many other groups of animals were created and not mentioned separately in the account (beetles, sharks, starfish, etc). The fact that the dinosaurs do not appear in the Bible does not prove that God did not create them. Neither does their strange body form. We must remember that there are currently numerous animals just as strangely designed as dinosaurs that we don’t pay much attention to, such as angler fish. Some people think that dinosaurs appeared after the sin of Adam and Eve, as a result of the curse. However, the Bible does not specify this.
Most creation scientists believe that dinosaurs disappeared during the Genesis flood or shortly thereafter. This is reasonable when you consider the overall proportions of the disaster and the massive accumulation of debris. The idea that the dinosaurs disappeared during a global catastrophe that we identify with the biblical flood is a hypothesis that should be seriously considered, and upon which scientific research can provide more data, since the Bible is silent on the matter. The proof of the veracity of this hypothesis must come from geological and paleontological data, but we must be careful not to try to force the Bible to say something that is not written.
The Bible mentions two strange creatures, Behemoth (Job 40:15-18) and Leviathan (Job 41:1), which some people interpret as possible examples of postdiluvian dinosaurs. However, most scholars disagree with this interpretation and translate the words Behemoth and Leviathan as hippo and crocodile, respectively. If they are right, these creatures would have no connection with the dinosaurs. In any case, the meaning of both terms is too ambiguous, and does not provide sufficient evidence to say that dinosaurs are mentioned in the Bible.
The Scriptures do not mention the existence of dinosaurs – at least not according to our present knowledge of them – either before or after the Genesis flood. The fact that they’re not mentioned in the Bible does not mean they never existed. This is just one of many issues on which the Bible is silent and therefore provides fascinating topics open to research and discussion.
The evidence that dinosaurs existed is clear: we have bones, teeth, eggs, footprints and even skin molds but at some point in Earth’s history they disappeared. Their extinction could have occurred before, during or after the flood of Genesis. As with other fossils, the origin and the disappearance of the dinosaurs are shrouded in mystery. Deciphering this mystery requires rigorous and careful research that Christians with interest and ability should be encouraged to undertake. Dinosaurs are not a challenge for believers and should not be seen to compromise our faith in the teachings of the Bible.
Geoscience Research Institute
November 29, 2012