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31. Dinosaurs

“Behold, Behemoth, which I made as I made you; he eats grass like an ox… Behold, his strength in his loins, and his power in the muscles of his belly. He makes his tail stiff like a cedar; the sinews of his thighs are knit together. His bones are tubes of bronze, his limbs like bars of iron.” Job 40:15-18 (ESV)

Few of God’s creatures capture the imagination like mighty dinosaurs. Evolutionists tell us dinosaurs became extinct about 65 million years ago. They tell us man first appeared as much as a million years or so ago to perhaps just a few tens of thousands of years ago. Although they cannot give an exact figure for dinosaur’s departure or man’s arrival, they are uniformly adamant that man and dinosaur never lived together. But does the fact that dinosaurs are extinct today necessarily require that they became extinct millions ago? Why are Evolutionists so certain dinosaurs could not have roamed the earth at the same time as man?

The biblical account plainly reveals that God made land animals on the sixth day of the Creation week (Gen 1:24). Dinosaurs fit the description of creatures made on the sixth day. There is no biblical account of animal extinction prior to the completion of the creation week. There is no room in [a plain reading of] the Creation account for dinosaur extinction before the arrival of man. This can only mean dinosaurs must have lived at the same time as man.

Exactly how dinosaurs became extinct is as much a mystery for Creationists as for Evolutionists. Both camps propose a range of likely causes fitting with their respective models. The important difference is not how, but when. Popular Evolutionist theories about dinosaur extinction generally involve a major break in the food chain caused by catastrophic climate change, perhaps caused by an asteroid impact or massive volcanic activity. The prime Creationist theory is that although dinosaurs were represented on Noah’s ark, most were unable to survive for long on the initially barren post-flood earth. They then suppose the few dinosaurs hardy enough to survive the first years after the flood were probably hunted either for food or to eliminate threats to humans and their livestock. It is interesting, if you step back from these two theories, to see the degree of similarity in the big picture. Aside from the time scale and the involvement of humans in the eventual elimination of most post-flood dinosaurs, both theories involve planetary catastrophe and difficulties with the food chain.

Regardless of how dinosaurs became extinct, the biblical account leaves no doubt that they roamed the earth with humans. The book of Job includes descriptions of great land and water creatures called Behemoth (Job 40:15-24) and Leviathan (Job 41) respectively. In those closing chapters of Job, God is confronting Job’s self-righteous attitude and displaying His own glory in order to humble Job. Job is shown two huge creatures, Behemoth and Leviathan. Behemoth is described as grazing and having strong loins and powerful belly. Behemoth’s tail is like a cedar, his sinews are knit together, his bones are like tubes of bronze, and his limbs like bars of iron. Behemoth is described as roaming far and wide and having no fear of swamps, mountains, or the Jordan River during the spring floods. God asks Job the rhetorical question, “Can anyone take him by his eyes or pierce his nose with a snare?” This creature is sometimes thought to be an elephant or rhinoceros, but those animals do not have great tails. They do not wade through floods. They prefer to graze on plains. Although these are fearsome beasts, God called Behemoth first or foremost of his great animal creations. It seems far more likely that Job saw what we would call a bracheasaur or brontosaur.

Leviathan is similarly fearsome and untamable, except that Leviathan is described as living in the sea. Leviathan has rows of teeth and tight rows of shields along his back. He sneezes light and breathes fire, has a great neck, and he is difficult if not impossible to capture or kill. This passage is sometimes thought to be the source (or product) of sea dragon myths. Some dinosaurs are known to have lived in the sea, such as plesiosaur. The matter of breathing fire at first sounds entirely contrived, but it may not be so far fetched as one might imagine. There are nearly 500 species of fish that give off electric charge or emit a phosphorescent glow. Some reptiles and numerous sea creatures are known to store venom and other toxins in their bodies, including certain types of oils. It is certainly within the realm of possibility that a creature could have existed once that combined electric charge with an abundant oil producing gland to “sneeze sparks.”

Perhaps the most amazing aspect of the biblical account is that it describes creatures modern Evolutionary paleontologists claim were found only in the last two to three centuries. It seems highly unlikely a text written thousands of years ago could describe creatures buried for millions of years and only recently discovered—unless of course those creatures actually lived during the time the text was first written.

The bible is not the only ancient record depicting what we would call dinosaurs. Around the world there are museum displays of ancient art depicting the hunting of animals that do not have modern parallels, but do appear to be various types of dinosaurs. Most such artwork is very ancient, dating to the first several centuries after the Flood of Noah. Most well known are Chinese depictions of fire-breathing dragons. European folklore includes stories of its own great beasts, several of which are similar to the creature that the Beowulf tale calls a Grindel. There ancient oral and written records of creatures we would call pterodactyls such diverse places as western China and in the Upper Nile region. While any one of these might seem anecdotal at best, taken together they strongly suggest the survival of a diverse though shrinking dinosaur population up to near modern times.

Only a handful of reptile species exist today. The Gila monster is one example of a modern dinosaur surviving in relatively small numbers in Asia today. Like crocodiles and alligators, they require a warm climate. Snakes, turtles, and most lizards also prefer warmth. There is room to speculate that a few species may yet roam undiscovered and uncatalogued in remote places. It has long been speculated that the Loch Ness monster is some sort of plesiosaur and not just the imagination of some inebriated Scots.

Although we may not know the exact cause of dinosaur extinction, the fact that many species have become extinct presents its own set of problems for the theory of Evolution. In the modern age we see species becoming extinct every year, as we have for many decades. In all that time, we have never observed the spontaneous evolution of any new species. Of course we have seen minor adaptation and some mutation within the range of genetic variability of a given species, but there is not one single recorded case of the natural formation of an entirely new kind of organism through adaptation or mutation. The obvious problem is that kinds become extinct in nature but do not appear spontaneously as Darwinian theory predicts. There are more than five million genetically unique life forms alive today. Although new species are frequently discovered, discovery is far different from the idea of appearing through the process of Evolution. If Evolution were true, it would stand to reason based on the number of unique kinds existing now that the rate of new species development should outpace the rate of extinction. Instead, we observe several existing species going extinct every year and none appearing. This lopsided ratio fits the Creation model where no new kinds appear now although some kinds may become extinct. The Evolution model predicts an even or better ratio favoring appearance of new organisms.