| Paleontology - 3
by Bruce Malone
Although the monstrous creature was obviously a vegetarian, its size was overwhelming. Its hips were built
to withstand the enormous force of each pounding step and its midsection was a mass of muscle. Its gigantic
tail extended far behind him, not unlike a giant oak tree swaying behind his body. Its bones were built like
steel girders with ribs like iron bars to support his enormous weight. This is the greatest creature to roam the
swamps and rivers of the earth.
Is this a scene from 1993's blockbuster movie, Jurassic Park? It could be, but it isn't. Although the above
description could only fit an Apatosaurus type dinosaur, it is a paraphrased description taken from the oldest
book of the Bible, Job 40: 15-24. If dinosaurs have been extinct for 65 million years, how could a writer of
the Bible have accurately described the appearance, food, and habitat of this creature?
The vast majority of books on dinosaurs are written from an evolutionary perspective which assumes that the dinosaurs died out 65 million years ago (article I-4 offers some alternatives). The most popular theory for the demise of the dinosaur involves a large asteroid hitting the earth. However, the better explanation is the possibility that dinosaurs became fossilized as a direct result of Noah's flood.
The straightforward description in Job (which was written after the flood) indicates that dinosaurs co-existed with man. There is also other intriguing evidence for this possibility. In the early 1900's on the Doheny expedition into the Grand Canyon, some Indian cave drawings were found. One of these drawings closely resembled a duck-billed dinosaur. Indians had to have been aware of these living animals in order to draw them. Legends from ancient China to ancient England have recorded descriptions of dinosaur-like creatures. More evidence for the recent existence of dinosaurs comes from the carbon-14 dating of their bones. If dinosaurs died more than 65 million years ago there should be no carbon-14 left in their bones. Yet, careful work by at least one group of scientists has detected carbon-141.
Almost all fossils we find today were buried during Noah's flood. The flood was a devastating event that completely wiped life off the earth except for the animals on Noah's Ark. Many of the fossils we find, including dinosaurs, were buried catastrophically. As the water rose to cover all land surfaces, the animals drowned, sank, and were buried by massive amounts of rapidly accumulating sediment. The order and general lack of mixing of separate kinds of animals is most likely due to territorial or ecological grouping. Much work remains to be done in this area of research.
Genesis 7:2 states that Noah saved two of every representative "kind" of land animal on the ark. Insects would not have been included in the ancient definition of animal life but dinosaurs would have. Noah would have taken young specimens, not huge, older creatures. Dinosaurs emerged from the ark to inhabit an entirely different world. Instead of a warm, mild climate worldwide, which existed before the flood, they found a harsh world and climate which soon settled into a lengthy ice age. If climatic hardships did not cause the ultimate dinosaur extinction, man's tendency to destroy probably did.
This is just a brief and incomplete overview of the Biblical perspective for how dinosaurs fit into earth history and how they became extinct. Many questions remain unanswered. However, Christians do not need to feel shy or foolish about standing on the Word of Scripture in their understanding of the world around us. Life, including dinosaurs, are readily explained from a creation perspective because there is ample scientific evidence to support the Biblical record. Evolution serves as the foundational basis for the religion of humanism and atheism where man is autonomous, accountable to no one but himself. These religious beliefs are popular because they have no need for God, no need for His rules, guidelines, or moral standards. Creation serves as the foundational basis for Christianity which acknowledges that all things were created by Jesus Christ, that we live in a fallen universe, and that it will be restored to perfection in the future.
There is a danger in our current public educational system of becoming so indoctrinated in evolutionary thinking that we will be completely closed to the creation alternative. As concerned parents, we need to be careful what our children are taught and make sure they are hearing all the facts. By teaching them the evidence for creation and the fallacies of evolutionary explanations, they will be directed toward God instead of away from Him.
1. Chemical Analysis and Dating of Dinosaur Bones, L. Dahmer et al., Proc. of 2nd Conf. on Creationism, p. 371, 1990.
John Whitmore is a M.S. Geologist and Assistant Professor of Geology at Cedarville College in Cedarville, Ohio.