The Bible does not directly mention the existence of dinosaurs. However, it provides some clues that allow us to infer that dinosaurs did indeed exist in the past. Here is an overview of the biblical evidence for dinosaurs:
The Creation Account
Genesis 1 describes how God created the heavens, the earth, and all living creatures in 6 literal 24-hour days. This includes the land animals that were created on Day 6:
“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.” (Genesis 1:25 ESV)
The Hebrew word used here for “beasts” refers to large land animals. This creation account allows room for God having created dinosaurs alongside other land animals and mammals.
Dinosaurs on Noah’s Ark
Genesis 6-9 describes a worldwide flood that wiped out all creatures on earth, except for those present on Noah’s Ark. Genesis 7:14-16 indicates that representatives of all land animal kinds were included on the Ark:
“They and every beast, according to its kind, and all the livestock according to their kinds, and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, according to its kind, and every bird, according to its kind, every winged creature. They went into the ark with Noah, two and two of all flesh in which there was the breath of life.”
It is logical to infer that dinosaurs were also on the Ark, as they are land animals. God sent the pairs of dinosaurs to Noah so they would be preserved through the Flood.
Dinosaurs in the Book of Job
Job 40 describes a huge creature called “behemoth” that “moves his tail like a cedar.” This vivid description matches our knowledge of sauropods like Apatosaurus that had huge tail clubs.
“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.” (Job 40:15-17 ESV)
Later in Job 41, another creature called “leviathan” is depicted with characteristics similar to large dinosaurs like Kronosaurus. Verses 18-21 describe the impenetrability of its scales, a possible reference to armored dinosaurs:
“His sneezings flash forth light, and his eyes are like the eyelids of the dawn. Out of his mouth go flaming torches; sparks of fire leap forth. Out of his nostrils comes forth smoke, as from a boiling pot and burning rushes. His breath kindles coals, and a flame comes forth from his mouth.” (Job 41:18-21 ESV)
Dinosaurs and Humans Coexisted
Some people claim dinosaurs lived millions of years before humans. But several biblical facts contradict that idea:
- God created dinosaurs on Day 6 along with other land animals, before creating Adam and Eve on that same day, according to Genesis 1.
- Adam named all the animals, which would have included dinosaurs (Genesis 2:19-20).
- Noah took dinosaurs on the Ark, showing they were still alive at that time, around 4,500 years ago according to the biblical timeline.
So according to Scripture, dinosaurs and humans coexisted, though man was given dominion over the animals (Genesis 1:28).
What Happened to the Dinosaurs?
If dinosaurs lived alongside early humans, why don’t we see them today? Here are some explanations that Bible scholars propose:
- Many dinosaurs likely died in the global Flood, though some representatives were preserved on the Ark.
- After the Flood, environmental changes and competition from other animals may have caused dinosaurs to die out.
- Dinosaurs may have been hunted to extinction for food and because of the threat some larger ones posed to humans.
- Some dinosaurs likely evolved into more modern bird types or smaller reptilian species that still exist today.
The disappearance of dinosaurs remains a bit of a mystery. But the biblical and scientific evidence confirms that God did create dinosaurs, though likely not in the distant past as secular theories maintain.
Dinosaur Figures and Dragon Legends
Ancient artifact depictions of dinosaur-like creatures lend further credibility to the idea that dinosaurs once walked the earth with humans. For example:
- Pottery figurines from ancient Mexico look remarkably dinosaurian.
- Carvings on the Ta Prohm temple in Cambodia bear a striking resemblance to a Stegosaurus.
- Dragon legends all around the world describe combative beasts strongly matching dinosaurs.
It’s logical to conclude that ancient peoples encountered dinosaur-like creatures firsthand and depicted them in their art and folklore. They may have interpreted them as “dragons” and exaggerated some of their features, while maintaining an overall recognizable dinosaurian form.
What the Bible Doesn’t Say
When examining dinosaurs and the Bible, it’s also helpful to note what Scripture does NOT say about them:
- The Bible nowhere says when dinosaurs lived or became extinct.
- No verse says dinosaurs lived before humans or were wiped out long before man arrived.
- Scripture does not state that Noah took baby dinosaurs on the Ark who later died out.
- No passage depicts dinosaurs as being responsible for death and suffering before the Fall.
So while the Bible provides some evidence for coexistence with humans, it does not definitively answer every question we might have about dinosaurs. Christians have latitude for some differing interpretations of the details surrounding dinosaurs and their place in biblical history.
Dinosaurs Point to Our All-Powerful Creator
The very existence of dinosaurs – their massive size and great strength – points to the power and majesty of God as Creator (Psalm 148:5; Romans 1:20). While the details are sketchy, Scripture provides a basic framework confirming that God made the dinosaurs, as part of His perfect original creation.
The Fall had devastating effects on both mankind and animals, but Christ’s resurrection guarantees the future restoration of the natural world to its Edenic wonder (Romans 8:21). When we get to the New Earth, it’s possible God may allow us to study His dinosaur creations and enjoy their company in a redeemed state, free from sin and death.
Dinosaurs and the Gospel
Studying dinosaurs can seem like merely an academic exercise. But considering these magnificent creatures God made points us to Him as Creator. Their subsequent extinction and faith in their restoration are vivid illustrations of the Fall and salvation. Dinosaurs powerfully testify to the deep impacts of Adam’s sin on the natural world.
Yet the saving work of Christ did not only redeem mankind. One day, Christ will reconcile and restore all things to Himself (Colossians 1:19-20). Our all-powerful Savior has conquered sin and death, and will one day fulfill His promise to make all things new (Revelation 21:5).
Speculating about dinosaurs provides a fun adventure. But the ultimate purpose is to glorify God as Maker and Redeemer. In-depth study of dinosaurs and supposed evidence against the Bible often represents a desire to undermine God’s Word. Christians should receive dinosaur research cautiously in light of Scripture.
The dinosaurs uniquely showcase God’s creative power and the far-reaching effects of the Fall. They can and should point us to worship the Lord. Rather than undercut our faith, dinosaur discoveries should strengthen our confidence in the truth and authority of God’s Word from the very first verse. And they should increase our awe of the massive redemptive work accomplished at Christ’s Cross.