Several releases from the entertainment world have spawned a popular market for dinosaur-themed merchandise. These gigantic creatures, shown destroying entire human settlements with one swish of their tails or swipe from their paws, grip our imagination.
Did God Create Dinosaurs?
By Raul Esperante
Several releases from the entertainment world have spawned a popular market for dinosaur-themed merchandise. These gigantic creatures, shown destroying entire human settlements with one swish of their tails or swipe from their paws, grip our imagination. Did God create creatures so formidable? Why aren’t they mentioned in the Bible?
Where Do They Come From?
The evidence that dinosaurs existed is clear: we have bones, teeth, eggs, footprints, even skin molds. However, the picture of dinosaurs revealed by science is quite different from that of the entertainment industry. Paleontologists have been able to study fossilized stomach contents and coprolites (dung) of dinosaurs, and have found that many dinosaurs were actually herbivores. Study of their bones and footprints have revealed that some were small, similar in size to a sheep or dog. For example, Struthiomimus was the size of an ostrich, and Compsognathus was no larger than a rooster.
Genesis 1 tells us that God created the land animals on the sixth day of Creation week, and provided “every green plant for food.” Dinosaurs must have been included, since they were land animals. We should not be surprised that dinosaurs are not mentioned specifically in the Bible. First, the word “dinosaur” did not exist at the time of Moses. Second, many other groups of animals are not mentioned in the Bible, such as sharks, and starfish, to name a few.
At the end of that sixth day of Creation week, God saw that His creation was good—even “very good.” This raises a problem. Although many dinosaurs were plant eaters, some of them were large, fearsome carnivores that would pose a danger to human life. Can we regard these gigantic, ferocious, potentially human-eating dinosaurs as “good”? Do these carnivorous dinosaurs fit in the newly created, vegetarian, perfect world?
The Entrance of Sin and Dinosaurs
The biblical account of Creation suggests that the curse that followed the fall of Adam and Eve (Gen. 3:14-19) caused biological changes that led to changes in the diet and behavior of many animals, giving rise to current competitive relationships, predation, and parasitism. Although the Bible does not describe these changes in detail, they are interpreted today as genetic modification, since we know from science that such major changes would require genetic alteration. We do not know whether the changes occurred immediately or developed over several generations, but they were in full evidence by the time the dinosaurs were buried by the Flood.
At some point in earth’s history, dinosaurs disappeared. There is no valid historical record of live dinosaurs, despite some wishful claims to the contrary. Some have speculated that biblical references to mythical creatures may be based on cultural memories of pre-Flood dinosaurs, but we have no way of confirming this. The Bible mentions the behemoth (Job 40:15-18) and Leviathan (Job 41:1), which some have interpreted as possible examples of post-Flood dinosaurs. However, many scholars identify the behemoth as probably the hippo, and Leviathan as the crocodile. Both species lived in the Nile, where ancient Hebrews would have encountered them. Uncertainty about the identity of the creatures does not justify any claim that dinosaurs are mentioned in the Bible.
Most Creation scientists believe that dinosaurs disappeared during the Genesis flood or shortly thereafter, but more study is needed for a better understanding of these creatures. Deciphering the mystery of the disappearance of the dinosaurs requires rigorous and careful research that Christians with interest and ability should be encouraged to undertake. It is possible that research on dinosaurs could lead to important breakthroughs in our understanding of the biblical record of Creation and the Flood.