Looks like you are using an old version of Internet Explorer - Please update your browser
What is the definition of a dinosaur?
What is the definition according to God’s word and then you of what a dinosaur is. Thank you for your tireless efforts to uphold the truth of God’s word.
From the children in classroom 1,
– F.S., USA
Thanks so much, children, for sending in your question. Did you know that the word “dinosaur” is actually a relatively new word? “When the King James Bible was first translated into English in 1611, the word “dinosaur” did not exist. The word dinosaur was invented in 1841 by an English scientist named Sir Richard Owen. It was created for a particular group of land animals and it is still the word we use to describe these creatures today.”1 The word “dinosaur” actually means “terrifying lizard” in Greek. “Though the word “dinosaur” strictly refers to animals that lived on the land, the sea reptiles and flying reptiles are often grouped with the dinosaurs.”2
So, when we look at what the Bible tells us about dinosaurs, we have to understand that the actual word “dinosaur” is not in the Bible. However, the Bible does mention creatures that fit the modern description of dinosaurs!
Let's start at the beginning—creation! Genesis 1:24–25 tells us that God created land creatures (including dinosaurs) on Day Six. We know that all dinosaurs originally ate plants (see Genesis 1:30). Since God created Adam and Eve on Day Six, we know that people existed along with dinosaurs. When Adam named the creatures that God had made, dinosaurs would have been included (see Genesis 2:19–20).
However, sin changed the world. Sometime after Adam and Eve sinned, certain animals became meat-eaters, including some types of dinosaurs. Since there was no death before sin, there were no fossils before sin. That means that all fossils were created after Adam and Eve sinned. Many fossils were created by the Flood. Which brings us to an interesting point: dinosaurs were on Noah's Ark and survived the Flood (See Genesis 6:19–22).
Did you know that there is a description of an animal mentioned in the book of Job that sounds just like a dinosaur? It is called “behemoth” and was probably a type of plant-eating sauropod.
Look now at the behemoth, which I made along with you; He eats grass like an ox. 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 40:15–18
So the Bible actually reveals many interesting facts about dinosaurs. We believe the Bible, and can use it to help us interpret what we find in the world around us—including fossilized and unfossilized dinosaur bones. To learn more about dinosaurs (and dragons that breath fire) please read the following:
I hope this answers your question. Kids, we love to hear from you! If you have any questions, please ask an adult to help you submit them using this page on our website. We’ll be looking forward to receiving more interesting questions!
1Ken Ham, Dinosaurs for Kids, Master Books, Arkansas, 2009, p. 19.
2Ken Ham, "What Really Happened to the Dinosaurs?", The New Answers Book, Master Books, 2007, http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/nab/what-happened-to-the-dinosaurs.