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What Does the Bible Say about Dinosaurs?

Bible Answer Book Hank Hanegraaff Thomas Nelson

Maybe you’ve seen it (stories about Dinosaurs) on the Internet, the popular claim that human footprints have been discovered alongside dinosaur tracks in the Paluxy Riverbed of Glen Rose, Texas. It is argued that these footprints in stone prove that the world is six thousand years old and therefore dinosaurs existed contemporaneously with human beings. Intensive scrutiny, however, has caused many to abandon this pretext.

First, while footprints of three-toed carnivorous dinosaurs (tridactyls) are evidenced in stone, there is no compelling evidence for human footprints in the same time and space. Indeed, the prints are either too large to be human or questionable in origin.

Furthermore, some of the prints previously attributed to humans show claw marks consistent with three-toed tridactyls and inconsistent with five-toed humans.

Finally, many prints claimed to be human are little more than erosion patterns—an illustration of wish giving birth to reality.

Creationists who have questioned the Paluxy Riverbed prints are to be commended for following facts and tracks wherever they lead. As noted by the Institute for Creation Research in their Acts and Facts, “Scientists must always be willing to re-evaluate prior interpretations once new data becomes available. Creationists have rightly accused evolutionists of being close-minded on key issues, and we cannot afford to become like them in this respect. Jesus Christ claimed to be the Truth, and since we follow Him, we must be lovers of truth.”

Do Recently Discovered T. Rex Bones Point to a Young Earth?

The Internet is awash with evidence that scientists have found “unfossilized” T. rex bones replete with “fresh blood cells and hemoglobin.” Thus, we now have “powerful testimony against the whole idea of dinosaurs living millions of years ago.” Or do we?

First, the scientists who conducted the research never claimed to have found either fresh blood cells or hemoglobin. The scientific journals instead report the discovery of collagen, a protein found in bone. And the presence of collagen would not, in and of itself, prove that humans walked with dinosaurs in the last several thousand years.

Furthermore, headlines such as “Blood Chemicals Found in Dino Bone” are grounded in sensationalistic news flashes, not scientific literature. And yet this “fact” of science is cited as one of the six evidences that the universe is young.

Finally, statements that no intact dinosaur blood cells have been discovered have prompted the unfounded allegation that scientists are presently engaged in a massive cover-up or conspiracy. This, however, is no more factual than the contention that we now have “physical evidence that dinosaur bones are not millions of years old.”

There is no need or room for such make-believe stories in the creation/evolution debate. In truth, an earth measured in billions of years is no threat to a biblical view of creation. No matter how many years the evolutionist postulates, chance operating on natural processes could not produce so much as a DNA molecule, let alone a dinosaur.

Test everything. Hold on to the good. — 1 Thessalonians 5:21

Is There a Biblical Distinction Between Dinosaurs and Dragons?

Young-earth creationists often argue that the Bible is full of references to dinosaurs. Nineteenth-century English paleontologist Sir Richard Owen did not coin the word dinosaur (“terrible lizard”) until 1841, thus the King James Version erroneously substituted the word dragon for dinosaur. Had the word been coined prior to 1611, passages such as Isaiah 27:1 and Psalm 74:13 would reference dinosaurs instead of dragons. Or would they?

First, a quick look at passages cited by young- earth creationists is sufficient to recognize that they have been misused as pretexts for the notion that dinosaurs lived contemporaneously with humans. Isaiah 27 depicts the destruction of demonic nations that presume to frustrate the purposes of God. As such, God will destroy “Leviathan the gliding serpent, Leviathan the coiling serpent; he will slay the monster of the sea” (v. 1). Likewise, in Psalm 74, God crushes Leviathan—multiheaded monster of the sea—and promises the establishment of a new world order in which “there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain” (Revelation 21:4). To recast multiheaded demonic forces in the image of single-headed dinosaur fossils is singularly wrongheaded.

Furthermore, it should be noted that the motif of a sovereign God who rides the stormy clouds and destroys the multiheaded monster arising out of the chaotic seas is a shared ancient Near Eastern narrative appropriated by biblical writers as a means of arguing against the false gods of paganism. Such literary substitution is employed by the inspired biblical authors to underscore the reality that it is not Baal who rules supreme from Mount Saphon (in western Syria) but Yahweh the king of Mount Sinai who conquers the roiling habitat of the coiling serpent.

Finally, just as biblical evidence demonstrating that dinosaurs lived in the same time and space as humans is suspect, so too the extrabiblical evidence. As demonstrated elsewhere, footprints of humans together with dinosaurs in the Paluxy Riverbed of Glen Rose, Texas, have proven suspect, as have alleged fresh blood cells in the unfossilized remains of a T. rex (see passage above).

In sum, an objective reading of the biblical text is sufficient to demonstrate that dragons are not equivalent to dinosaurs. Abusing biblical truth is no small matter.

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Talk About It

Have you ever asked, what does the Bible say about dinosaurs? What questions do you still have? Leave a comment below and we’ll consider your questions for future blog posts in this series.

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