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Does the Bible mention dinosaurs?

There are no direct references in the Bible to dinosaurs, at least not by that name, but some words could possibly have included them (as will be illustrated from some quotes below). Good material written on this subject may be found at The Institute for Creation Research at http://www.icr.org. Some of the books that discuss dinosaurs are: The Genesis Flood, The Genesis Record, Biblical Creationism, and Science and the Bible.

Here are a few comments from two of the books mentioned above:

(1) From the Genesis Flood, by Morris and Whitcomb

The “Mesozoic” Strata and the Dinosaurs

Proceeding higher in the geologic column (though not always, or even usually, higher in actual formational superposition), we come to the extensive Mesozoic strata, including the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous systems. The “index fossils” for these strata are again marine organisms, especially the ammonites. Again there are many different kinds of these and of the other characteristic marine creatures of the period, and apparently they fall into large numbers of more or less distinct “horizons,” which have been used as a basis for inter-regional and even inter-continental correlation. It is probable that these zones of similar assemblages can be explained on much the same basis as the zones of similar assemblages of trilobites and brachiopods in the Paleozoic strata.

The supposedly equivalent continental strata of the Mesozoic contain probably the most interesting of all fossils, those of the great dinosaurs. The question of the sudden extinction of these powerful creatures that supposedly ruled the earth for so long is still one of the great mysteries of uniformitarian paleontology. Various theories have been suggested, such as destruction by volcanoes, changes in environments, eating of dinosaur eggs by increasing numbers of mammals, some sort of dinosaur disease epidemic, etc.

These are some of the theories that have been advanced to explain the sudden extinction of dinosaurs throughout the world. Each theory will explain the death of some dinosaurs in some places but attempts to apply any of them, or combinations of them, to worldwide extinction have failed. This dinosaur story is like a mystery thriller with the last pages torn out. A most important part is missing. That is true and the paleontologist knows it. He also knows the riddle will probably never be solved.6-126

Or at least it never will be solved as long as paleontologists insist on a uniformitarian explanation! The Biblical Deluge is a quite adequate solution.6-127

Another mystery connected with the dinosaurs is the number of great dinosaur graveyards found in various parts of the world. The entombment of such numbers of such great creatures literally demands some form of catastrophic action. One such location, the Dinosaur National Monument, in Utah and Colorado, in the Morrison formation of the Jurassic, for example, has yielded remains of more than 300 dinosaurs of many different kinds.

The quarry area is a dinosaur graveyard, not a place where they died. A majority of the remains probably floated down an eastward flowing river until they were stranded on a shallow sandbar. Some of them, such as the stegosaurs, may have come from far-away dry-land areas to the west. Perhaps they drowned trying to ford a tributary stream or were washed away during floods. Some of the swamp dwellers may have mired down on the very sandbar that became their grave while others may have floated for miles before being stranded.6-128

One could hardly ask for a better description of the way in which these great reptiles were overwhelmed, drowned and buried by the Deluge waters. As far as changes within the dinosaur lines were concerned, the most conspicuous was the tendency for each group to “evolve” from small ancestors to large descendants. Dr. Colbert, probably the chief authority on dinosaurs, says:

It is interesting to note that giantism was achieved independently by various separate lines of dinosaurian evolution. Time and again in the collective history of these reptiles a phylogenetic line had its beginning with small animals and very quickly progressed to animals of large or even huge size.

It is not clear how much of this tendency has been inferred from actual fossil position in successive strata, but to the extent that it is based on objective field evidence, it would seem merely to result from the abilities of the larger and more mature animals to escape the floodwaters longer. This is exactly what one would expect to find, in general, in the dinosaurian sediments of the Deluge.

(2) From The Genesis Record, by Henry Morris

Animal life was not simply “brought forth” from the earth or water, as was true for plant life. The principle of consciousness was not capable of development merely by complex organization of the basic physical elements; and so it required a new creation. God had created the physical elements of the universe on the first day and here He performed His second act of true creation. “God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth.” The “living creature” is the same as the “living soul,” so that this act of creation can be understood as the creation of the entity of conscious life which would henceforth be an integral part of every animate being, including man.

The first animals specifically mentioned as the product of this act of creation were the “great whales,” or “great sea-monsters” as most translations render the Hebrew word tannin. It is significant, however, that this same word is most frequently translated “dragon.” Evidently the term includes all large sea-creatures, even the monsters of the past that are now extinct. The frequent references to dragons in the Bible, as well as in the early records and traditions of most of the nations of antiquity, certainly cannot be shrugged off as mere fairy tales. Most probably they represent memories of dinosaurs handed down by tribal ancestors who encountered them before they became extinct.

The types of animals mentioned in this passage are apparently intended to include every inhabitant of the waters and atmosphere. Furthermore, each was to reproduce after its own kind. Like the various plants, the actual biochemical reproductive systems of the animals were programmed to assure the fixity of the kinds. Physically and chemically, animals are similar to plants. Modern genetics has shown that all replicating systems function in the framework of the marvelous information program in the DNA molecule. The DNA for each kind is programmed to allow for wide individual variations within the kind, but not beyond the structure of the kind itself.

In another place Morris writes:

The land animals made during the early part of the sixth day are categorized as “cattle, creeping things, and beasts of the earth.” This description is evidently intended to be comprehensive, in so far as land animals are concerned. Very likely, the term “cattle” refers to domesticable animals, “beasts of the earth” refers to large wild animals, and “creeping things” refers to all animals that crawl or creep close to the surface of the ground.

This classification has no correlation with the arbitrary system of man-made taxonomy (amphibians, reptiles, mammals, insects), but is a more natural system based on the relation of the animals to man’s interests. Thus the term “beasts of the earth” includes the large mammals such as lions and elephants, and probably also the large extinct reptiles known as dinosaurs. “Creeping things” includes the insects and smaller reptiles, and probably also most amphibians and many small mammals (e.g., moles, rats; note Leviticus 11:29-31).

Later, speaking of the ark, he writes:

Since, as we have already seen, the Ark could have carried as many as one hundred and twenty-five thousand sheep, and since the average size of land animals is surely less than that of a sheep, it is obvious that no more than 60 percent of its capacity would have to be used for animals. Actually, it would have been less than this, since the Biblical “kind” is probably considerably broader than that of the arbitrary “species” category of modern biology.

There were a few large animals (elephants, dinosaurs, giraffes, etc.) to be carried on the Ark, but many more small ones (mice, robins, lizards, frogs, etc.). Even the large animals were probably represented by young (therefore small) individuals, since they had to spend a year in the Ark without reproductive activity and then go out to repopulate the earth.

Related Topics: Creation