Digging Up the Truth About Dinosaurs

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Are dinosaurs proof of millions of years of evolution? Or a reminder of God’s glory?

Walk into just about any kindergarten classroom and ask the children, “When did dinosaurs live?” In nearly every case, they will respond, “Millions of years ago.”

Regularly repeated in children’s books, television shows, and movies, this refrain of dinosaurs living millions of years ago has permeated our society so thoroughly that the majority of children grow up assuming it’s true.

Contradicting the Bible

The evolutionary view of dinosaurs may be the most effective tool secularists use to promote their ideas about millions of years. However, the teaching of evolution and millions of years contradicts the biblical account of creation at numerous points. For example, the Bible reveals that God made all land animals and the first two humans on the sixth day of creation week and that each of these six days was the length of a normal day. The Bible, God’s inspired Word, also records the world’s true history and timescale. From its genealogies, we deduce that the sixth day was only thousands of years ago. We can conclude then that, according to the Bible, dinosaurs did not live millions of years before humans. Sadly, because our sin brought death and disease into the world, we are ultimately responsible for the extinction of these beasts.

Furthermore, God said that he would send two of every kind of land animal for Noah to take aboard the ark, and that must have included dinosaurs. People often scoff at such a concept, arguing that the ark would not have had enough room. However, among the estimated 50–80 dinosaur kinds, the average adult was about the size of a bison. This means the ark had adequate space for every kind of dinosaur, particularly if God sent juveniles to Noah.

Understanding the Evidence

When we say that people lived at the same time as dinosaurs, people often accuse us of being unscientific and lacking supporting evidence, but these accusations are simply untrue. We can better understand all the evidence for dinosaurs through the lens of Scripture. For example, dinosaur fossils are found with the remains of sea creatures buried in sedimentary layers stretching across continents. These finds indicate that these layers were deposited by a watery event large enough to cover the continents and that these creatures died during that event. The global flood described in Genesis 7–8 provides a perfect explanation for such large-scale sedimentation.

Scientists have also discovered soft tissue and blood cells in some dinosaur bones. While evolutionists have scrambled to find a mechanism that could have preserved these features for more than 66 million years, biblical creationists simply argue that the soft-tissue find fits perfectly with our belief that dinosaurs lived just thousands of years ago.

Some of the many dragon legends from around the globe also seem to confirm the biblical view that humans encountered dinosaurs. The creatures described in dozens of these tales sound very much like what we call dinosaurs today. Also, certain carvings and paintings strongly resemble dinosaurs, though they were completed centuries before dinosaur skeletons were being excavated and reconstructed in museums. If dinosaurs truly died out millions of years ago, how could so many people groups throughout history have passed on stories about them and depicted them in various ways?

Displaying God’s Glory

Besides contradicting the Bible’s creation account and historical timeline, the evolutionary view of dinosaurs undercuts a fundamental biblical truth. Scripture tells us that all things were made by and for their Creator, Jesus Christ (Colossians 1:16). Just as the heavens declare the glory of God (Psalm 19:1), the rest of God’s creation also clearly displays his eternal power, infinite wisdom, and divine nature (Romans 1:20), including the creatures that God made.

To display his splendor and might, the Lord directed Job to consider the behaviors and abilities of many creatures. In addition to mountain goats, wild donkeys, ostriches, horses, and hawks, God spoke of a creature called behemoth in Job 40:15–24. The description of this beast stresses its strength and enormity, emphasizing God’s matchless might. This creature’s tail resembled a cedar tree, and its bones and limbs were compared to bronze and iron, respectively. People typically identify the behemoth as a hippopotamus or elephant, but neither animal matches every detail.

What better land animal could God have chosen to illustrate his power than a titanic sauropod?

One category of creature, however, fits each of the criteria in this passage of Job: long-neck sauropod dinosaurs, such as the Apatosaurus. Sauropods were the largest creatures to ever walk the earth. One variety, the Argentinosaurus, is estimated to have reached over 100 feet long and 24 feet high at the shoulders while weighing a mindboggling 55–80 tons. What better land animal could God have chosen to illustrate his power than a titanic sauropod?

Huge sauropods were not the only kinds of dinosaur that magnified God’s glory. Consider the fearsome Tyrannosaurus rex. We all know about its incredible strength, but tyrannosaurs sported many other features exhibiting the Lord’s creativity. The T. rex’s thick, muscular tail balanced its tiny arms and massive head, allowing it to walk on two feet. Speaking of its massive head, fossils indicate that the T. rex’s olfactory bulb and nerve were very large, meaning that it had an extremely keen sense of smell. The gigantic skull also boasted large openings, making it both light and strong. And with plenty of surface area for muscle attachments on its skull, the T. rex had an estimated bite force exceeding all other known land predators.

The Pachycephalosaurus had a robust vertebrae and skull that grew thick and domed with age, seeming to indicate that it sparred by butting heads like bighorn sheep, although likely at lower speeds, perhaps to win mating rights. Another dinosaur, the Parasaurolophus, reached 40 feet in length and featured a large, bony crest on its head that may have been used for regulating body temperature and for generating or hearing low-frequency sounds. These creatures walked on all fours although they likely ran on their significantly larger hind legs.

Countering Evolution

We could cite many other dynamic examples of God’s creativity in making dinosaurs. Each one of these marvelous beasts displayed part of the unfathomable majesty of our Creator. We must counter the evolutionary indoctrination young people receive in our culture and direct them to Jesus Christ, the almighty God who created these spectacular animals and who humbly died in our place and rose from the dead to save us from our sin.

As you think about dinosaurs or as you look at the world around you, reflect on the boundless power, wisdom, and creativity of our Creator who made this world not long ago and filled it with constant reminders of his magnificent glory.

Tim Chaffey holds a master of divinity degree specializing in apologetics and theology and a ThM in church history and theology from Liberty University School of Divinity. He is content manager for Answers in Genesis’ attractions division.

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