If We Start From Scripture, What Can We Conclude About Dinosaurs?

To the best of my understandably limited recollection, I was not a gifted student of science. I barely survived Mrs. Chalfant’s high school biology class and the only thing that has stayed with me from physiology is the stench of the formaldehyde soaked cat I had to dissect. I have to look to men and women proficient in those fields to understand all of the facts just like anyone else. I am however, a biblical creationist. I believe that what God has given to us in Scripture is accurate and true. God’s word is unchanging and Scripture is not a cryptic text, impossible for us to decipher its true meaning. The Bible does not have multiple meanings, it only has one, which is why it is imperative that we must properly discern what the original writer’s intent was when he put ink to parchment. While some things may be difficult for my finite mind to understand, I rest assured that although I lack the ability to comprehend all things, my intellect does not limit the power of the one true and holy God in any way. God does not need men to fully understand every part of his being or accept the words that are preserved for us in the texts of Scripture in order for them to be true. Our God and Savior, who is without beginning or end, is a perfect eye-witness to history because he was the only one there at its beginning. We can trust in and we must hold to the innerancy and infallibility of God’s divine written revelation to us. We have only two options, we either believe what the text says, or we do not. There is no middle ground.

“And God said, ‘Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds – livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.’ And it was so. And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

And God blessed them. And God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’ And God said, ‘Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.’ And it was so. And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning the sixth day.”  -Genesis 1:24-31

According to an old English legend, a poisonous dragon once terrorized a small town called Silene in Libya. The dragon lived in a lake near the town and spread what was described as a plague among the people. To appease the dragon, and in an attempt to keep its aggression at bay, the townspeople offered two lambs every day to the beast for it to eat. Eventually this was not enough to satisfy the dragons hunger and the decision was made to offer it a human sacrifice. Lots were drawn among the townspeople and the lot fell upon the kings daughter. The daughter was led down to the lake and prepared to be handed over to the beast.

A rider happened by and observed what was taking place as the dragon emerged from the lake and advanced toward the kings daughter. The rider, making the sign of a cross, charged the dragon, wounding it with a blow from his lance. He then called to the girl to throw him her girdle with which he bound the dragon so that she was able to lead the beast back into the town in victory. The rider, now known as Saint George, was offered a large reward by the king. However, he refused the reward, instead imploring the town’s people to consider the gospel of Christ. Some of the townspeople were reportedly saved and baptized, so the story goes.

There is evidence of man, dinosaurs, large birds of prey, and violent sea creatures living together, found in ancient writings, art, and legend all throughout history. Things like the Utah sauropod petroglyph and the Ankgor ruins dinosaur carving near Siem Reap, Cambodia are incredibly interesting findings, not to mention quite difficult to explain if dinosaurs and man lived millions of years apart and never crossed paths.

sauropod_widePetroglyph resembling a sauropod dinosaur discovered in a rock formation in Natural Bridges Monument in Utah.
5519254475_20e3725e50_bA stone carving resembling a dinosaur in the Angkor ruins outside of Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Kenneth Cole, writing for Answers In Genesis, gives some observations concerning the discovery of the carving in Cambodia:

“Among the ruins of Ta Prohm, near a huge stone entrance, one can see that the roundels on pilasters on the south side of the west entrance are unusual in design. What one sees are roundels depicting various common animals – pigs, monkeys, water buffaloes, roosters, snakes – and what appears to be a dinosaur! There are no mythological figures among the roundels, so one can reasonably conclude that these figures depict the animals that were commonly seen by the ancient Khmer people in the twelfth century. That means that only a little over 800 years ago, some dinosaurs were likely still living in the region of Cambodia! Of course this is no surprise to biblical creationists, because we know from Genesis 1 that land animals (such as dinosaurs) and humans were living together in the beginning, and that representatives of the land animals (e.g. dinosaurs) were saved on the Ark to repopulate the earth after the Flood only 4,300 years ago.”¹

The Bible also presents a very different view of history than what is held to by evolutionists, theistic evolutionists, and old earth creationists alike. So how can we fit dinosaurs into the Bible? The simple answer is: we don’t. Dr. Jason Lisle helpfully explains that “when people ask how do fit dinosaurs into the Bible, they are really asking how do I fit what I know about dinosaurs into the Bible. How can I make it fit, how can I interpret God’s word to allow for dinosaurs? We don’t want to start with what we know to be true, what we think we know to be true, and fit that into the word of God. Not at all. We want to start with the word of God. We are going to use the bible to explain dinosaurs.”² That is what this argument ultimately boils down to. Individuals looking at the same evidence, evaluating the same set of facts, and interpreting them differently based off of their own world views.

image002-e1502917535685.jpg                   debate-of-truth-e1502917578806.jpg

Since we, as believers in Jesus Christ, look at the evidence through the lens of a biblical worldview and recognize the claims of the Bible regarding origins and the creation account, let’s look at some simple facts about dinosaurs and man living together at the same time on earth. The first fact that is sufficient to end any discussion among believers, whether we want to accept it or not, is the account of the sixth day of creation given to us in Genesis 1. God created man and land animals (dinosaurs are land animals) on the sixth twenty-hour day at the very beginning of the existence of the world. Other biblical accounts describe animals that sound very similar to descriptions of dinosaurs, sea creatures, and flying beasts. Behemoth (Job 40:15-19), Leviathan (Job 41:1-34), and flying reptiles (Isaiah 14:29; 30:6). The Hebrew word for dragon (Tannin תַּנִּין) is also found 27 times throughout the bible (Deut. 32:33; Neh. 2:13; Job 30:29; Psalm 44:19; 74:13; 91:13; 148:7; Isaiah 13:22; 27:1; 34:13; 35:7; 43:20; 51:9; Jer. 9:11; 10:22; 14:6; 49:33; 51:34; 51:37; Ezek. 29:3; Micah 1:8; Gen. 1:21; Exodus 7:9; 7:10; 7:12; Job 7:12; Lam. 4:3). 2. We find legends of dinosaur like creatures all throughout history, ancient writing, and art, including multiple drawings and carvings that resemble dinosaurs. Modern day archaeology has at times found the exact dinosaur remains that match those descriptions in the very regions in which the depictions were found. Scientists and archaeologists have also recently discovered red blood cells and soft tissue in T-Rex bones from separate digs in Montana, as further proof that what the Bible claims is accurate. Dinosaurs are not millions of years old, but rather lived within several thousand years of the present day. This evidence lines up with a biblical account of the creation and an estimated age of the earth based of lineages that we have in Scripture.

If we trust in the all powerful Creator of the universe, if we understand that the Scriptures are God’s inerrant word given to men, then it is foolish to say that the text in Genesis 1 and 2 cannot mean what it says because we are now technologically advanced beyond our ancestors and we understand that secular science reveals that the Bible’s claims about creation are nothing more than Ancient Near Eastern myths. So we come to a very simple divide in how we think and what we will choose to accept. On the one hand, we can say science has said things that contradict Scripture, so the text must mean something else and cannot be taken literally. On the other hand we can stand on Scripture believing that it is the word of God, understanding that God knows all things and accepting the biblical claim that wisdom and knowledge come from him. As a follower of Christ and as a believer in the triune God of the Bible, the Creator of all things, it is an either-or, not a both-and. Either you believe in the God of the Bible and are faithful to the inspired text that he has given us, believing what it says even in the face of the world calling you a fool, or you believe in God and Scripture as long as it makes sense and can be adapted and made to fit into the claims of a secular world view.

 

-Brian

 

1. Cole, MD Kenneth E. “Evidence of Dinosaurs at Angkor.” Answers in Genesis, 15 Jan. 2007, answersingenesis.org/dinosaurs/humans/evidence-of-dinosaurs-at-angkor/.

2. Lisle, Dr. Jason. “Dinosaurs and the Bible.” Answers in Genesis, 17 Mar. 2009, answersingenesis.org/media/video/animals/dinosaurs-and-bible/.

 

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