Dinosaurs, Science, and the Bible
Apologetics Press Advanced Christian Evidences Correspondence Course
DINOSAURS, SCIENCE, AND THE BIBLE
Dinosaurs! Iguanodon, Struthiomimus, Poddkesaurus, Triceratops, Sty-
racosaurus, Stegosaurus, Trachodon, Psittacosaurus, Apatosaurus, Tyranno-
saurus. Who were these strange creatures with polysyllabic names? Where
did they come from? Where did they go? Or did these magnificent creatures
of the past—some of which stood 3½ stories tall and weighed over 100 tons
—really exist? Such questions frequently are “bothersome” to people who
sincerely are seeking the truth about the question of ultimate origins. And so
it is to the dinosaurs, and what the Bible and science have to say about them,
that we now turn our attention.
There can be no doubt about it: dinosaurs really did exist. We’ve discov-
ered their bones on all seven continents—from North America to the Ant-
arctic. Visitors to any of the larger museums of natural history can see the life-
size replicas of these magnificent creatures, which makes it somewhat diffi-
cult to suggest that they never existed.
The first discovery of the dinosaurs as far as “recent” times is concerned
occurred in the spring of 1822. Gideon Mantell, a country doctor in England
with a life-long passion for collecting fossils, set off in horse and buggy to
visit a patient. His wife Mary Ann went along for the ride. While Dr. Mantell
tended to the ill patient, Mrs. Mantell took a stroll and came across a pile of
stones that had been placed alongside the road to be used in filling ruts caused
by spring rains. Amidst those stones, she glimpsed some very large fossil teeth.
She took them back to her husband, who was amazed, never having seen
such huge teeth before. He went to the quarry from which the stones had
been cut, and found more teeth like those his wife had discovered. Although
he showed the teeth to several scientists, none agreed with him that they were
from some kind of heretofore-unknown creature. He, however, was stub-
bornly sure that they were. In 1825, he eventually named the long-dead owner
of the teeth as Iguanodon (literally “iguana-tooth”), since the teeth were simi-
lar to those of an iguana, but much larger. Several years later, more teeth like
these were discovered in a different quarry. Now no one doubted that Ig-
uanodon had once lived on the Earth. Meanwhile, huge bones of another
creature that came to be known as Megalosaurus had been dug up farther
away in Oxfordshire. By 1842, enough of these kinds of fossils had been un-
covered to convince the leading British anatomist, Sir Richard Owen of the
British Museum of Natural History, that a whole tribe of huge, lizard-like rep-
tiles had lived in the distant past. Based on his studies, he named them “di-
nosaurs” (from the Greek words deinos and sauros, translated by him as “fear-
fully great lizards”)—today known to us as “terrible lizards.”
Soon, American fossil hunters also joined in the search. The climax came in
March 1877 when two schoolmasters—Arthur Lakes and O.W. Lucas—sep-
arately stumbled onto colossal fossil bones projecting from the rocks in differ-
ent parts of Colorado. Lakes revealed his find to the well-known paleontolo-
gist, Othniel Marsh. Lucas showed his finds to Marsh’s bitter rival, Edward
Cope. Marsh and Cope became the most famous of the “dinosaur hunters.”
All told, Cope named 9 new genera of dinosaurs, while Marsh’s total was
19. Now no one who bothered to keep up with the times doubted the exis-
tence of the dinosaurs. The question no longer was “Did the dinosaurs ex-
ist?” Rather, the question was, and still is, “when did the dinosaurs exist?”
Today, an important controversy exists between evolutionists and crea-
tionists regarding the matter of exactly when the dinosaurs existed. In fact, a
chasm exists between these two groups that never will be bridged—so long
as each side maintains its present view. Evolutionists advocate that dinosaurs
evolved from some ancient reptile(s) 200 million years ago, and that they be-
came extinct roughly 65-70 million years ago. Man (in one form or another)
allegedly evolved roughly 2-3 million years ago, and thus was separated from
the dinosaurs by approximately 65 million years of geologic time. Creation-
ists who accept Genesis 1-11 as an accurate, historical record of God’s cre-
ative activity, oppose such claims, and instead maintain that the dinosaurs
were created by God within the six literal days described in the biblical rec-
ord. Thus, man and the dinosaurs would have been created at essentially
the same time, and would have lived together as contemporaries on the Earth.
One thing on which both creationists and evolutionists do agree is that di-
nosaurs make marvelous teaching tools. Rare is the adult—and even more
rare is the child—who does not have a keen interest in dinosaurs. These mag-
nificent beasts with the odd names capture our attention as we fixate on their
massive size, their lizard-like skin, or the terror they apparently were able to
create as they roamed the Earth. From kindergarten through graduate school,
dinosaurs frequently are used as a tool to indoctrinate students regarding the
“fact” of organic evolution. In most public school, college, and university set-
tings, whenever dinosaurs are discussed, it is in the context of their evolution-
ary origin, development, and extinction. Students are told that these won-
drous animals evolved from some ancient reptile into what we now know
as birds. In such a setting, it is also commonplace to use the dinosaurs to in-
struct on the ancient nature of the Earth and/or Universe.
What effect does this kind of teaching have on young minds? Because al-
most all youngsters have a fascination with dinosaurs, and because teach-
ers are among the most trusted of all adults, children often accept without
question evolutionary dogma and its accompanying concept of an ancient
Earth. With what result? If testimony from many of the evolutionists them-
selves can be accepted at face value, the study of dinosaurs was the deciding
factor in their conclusion to abandon their belief in God and to accept in its
place organic evolution. Evolutionists like Stephen Jay Gould, Robert Bakker,
and others are on record as stating that it was the study of dinosaurs, at a very
young age, which set them on their lifelong path as evolutionists. Because di-
nosaurs are fascinating to children, because they are such an effective teach-
ing aid, and because they generally are used to teach evolution, these crea-
tures represent a formidable tool to be used in robbing students of all ages of
their faith in God and His Word. This makes the controversy over dinosaurs
Knowledgeable, conservative Bible students are fully aware of the plain
and simple teachings of the Bible concerning the creation of all life forms—
including the dinosaurs. Exodus 20:11 (cf. 31:17) could not be any clearer
than it is: “For in six days Jehovah made heaven and earth, the sea, and all
that in them is, and rested on the seventh day.” Consider this: if God made
(in the six days of creation) the heavens, the earth, the seas, and all that in
them is, what does that leave out? The answer, of course, is absolutely noth-
ing! Furthermore, Genesis 2:1 clearly states that at the end of the six days,
the Creation was “finished.” If God created everything in six days, and if at
the end of those six days the Creation was finished, then everything that was
created was created in those six days.
What, then, does this mean? It means simply this: dinosaurs and men
lived as contemporaries on the Earth! There is no other conclusion that
respects the clear statements of the verbally inspired Word of God. For some,
however, this conclusion simply is not acceptable, and they have gone to
great lengths to try to avoid the implications of the Bible’s teaching on this
subject. Contrast such statements (“Man is a very recent newcomer to this
planet”) with statements from Jesus Christ Himself: “But from the beginning
of the creation, male and female made he them” (Mark 10:6; cf.: Matthew
19:4, emp. added). Further contrast such statements (“all of these are recent
additions to the earth geologically”) to statements of the inspired apostle Paul:
“For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly
seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting
power and divinity; that they may be without excuse” (Romans 1:20, emp.
added). The term “perceived” is from the Greek noeo, a word used for ratio-
nal human intelligence. Paul, speaking by inspiration, stated that someone
human was “perceiving.” What were they perceiving? The things God had
made. How long had they been perceiving those things? Since the creation
of the world! Who, from a human vantage point, was doing the “perceiv-
ing”? Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45, Romans 5:14) and Eve (1 Timothy 2:13).
The apostle’s point was that Adam and Eve had been present since the crea-
tion of the world (i.e., as a part of the six-day creative activity of God), per-
ceiving the things that were made. And that includes the dinosaurs!
But does the Bible speak of dinosaurs? Conservative Bible scholars look
to Job 40:15-24 and answer with a resounding, “Yes!” Consider these verses:
Behold now, behemoth, which I made as well as thee; he eateth grass
as an ox. Lo now, his strength is in his loins, and his force is in the mus-
cles of his belly. He moveth his tail like a cedar: the sinews of his thighs
are knit together. His bones are as tubes of brass; his limbs are like bars
of iron. He is the chief of the ways of God: He only that made him giv-
eth him his sword. Surely the mountains bring him forth food, where
all the beasts of the field do play. He lieth under the lotus trees, in the
covert of the reed, and the fen. The lotus-trees cover him with their
shade; the willows of the brook compass him about. Behold, if a river
overflow, he trembleth not; he is confident, though a Jordan swell
even to his mouth. Shall any take him when he is on the watch, or
pierce through his nose with a snare?
What is this “behemoth” creature? Some have argued that it is an elephant
or hippopotamus. But the text says he is “the chief of the ways of God” and
that he “moveth his tail like a cedar.” There are creatures (dinosaurs) larger
than elephants (the largest dinosaur, Argentinosaurus, stood over 3 stories tall
and weighed over 100 tons!). And did you ever see the tails of either the ele-
phant or the hippo? Enough said! Yes, the Bible does speak—both directly
(Job 40:15-24) and indirectly (Exodus 20:11)—of dinosaurs. And the Bible
teaching is plain. Men and dinosaurs lived on the Earth at the same time. We
repeat: there is no other view that can be entertained respecting the verbal,
plenary inspiration of God’s Word.
The evolutionary claims of dinosaurs living and becoming extinct long be-
fore man ever arrived are at odds with what the scientific facts have to say.
Science bears out that the Bible is correct: man and the dinosaurs lived on the
Earth at the same time. Consider the following.
In the late 1800s, Samuel Hubbard, honorary curator of archaeology at the
Oakland, California, Museum of Natural History, was excavating ancient In-
dian dwellings in the Hava Supai Canyon in Arizona. On the walls of the can-
yon where the Indians’ ancestors once lived long ago, Dr. Hubbard found el-
egant drawings of an elephant, an ibex, a dinosaur, and other animals. Dr.
Hubbard stated concerning the dinosaur drawing: “Taken all in all, the pro-
portions are good.” He further suggested that the huge reptile is “depicted in
the attitude in which man would be most likely to see it—reared on its hind
legs, balancing with the long tail, either feeding or in fighting position, possi-
bly defending itself against a party of men” (as quoted in Verrill, 1954, pp.
155ff.). Dr. Hubbard also noted: “The fact that some prehistoric man made
a pictograph of a dinosaur on the walls of this canyon upsets completely all
of our theories regarding the antiquity of man…. The fact that the animal is
upright and balanced on its tail would seem to indicate that the prehistoric
artist must have seen it alive” (1925, pp. 5,7, emp. in orig.). Nearby, Dr. Hub-
bard and his team of archaeologists discovered dinosaur tracks preserved in
strata identified as Triassic—alleged by evolutionists to be more than 165 mil-
lion years old. Question: How would the Indians have known how to draw
such a perfect picture of an animal (the dinosaur) they had never seen (or had
described to them by someone who had seen it)?
According to the belief commonly held by evolutionists, no advanced mam-
mals were present in the “age of the dinosaurs.” Artists’ reconstructions, in
fact, generally show the huge reptiles living in swamps surrounded only by
other species of dinosaurs. The dinosaurs allegedly became extinct in the Cre-
taceous Period, and the only mammals that had evolved up to that point in
time (even toward the very end of the period) were, according to the late evo-
lutionist of Harvard, George Gaylord Simpson, supposedly “small, mostly
about mouse-sized, and rare” (1957, p. 797).
It is unthinkable, in evolutionary terms, that dinosaurs and advanced mam-
mals (e.g.: such as giraffes or elephants) could have lived at the same time.
Once again, however, Dr. Hubbard’s discoveries have “thrown a monkey
wrench” into the evolutionary timescale.
Another highly important feature of Dr. Hubbard’s report is the dis-
covery of fossil footprints of both the three-toed carnivorous dinosaurs
and the imperial elephants in the same locality. If, as it appears, both
of these creatures left their footprints in the river’s sand or mud at ap-
proximately the same period, then we must assume that the dinosaurs
continued to survive for millions of years later than scientists would
have us believe, or else that the imperial elephants appeared on earth
millions of years before their supposed arrival. But it seems highly
preposterous, and entirely contrary to all known laws of evolution, to
assume that these highly developed pachyderms were inhabiting the
earth long ages before more primitive types of mammals (Verrill, p.
To complicate matters, researchers reported in the April 18, 2002 issue of
Nature, one of the premier science journals in the world, that they now have
determined that the “last common ancestor of extant primates” existed (as
dated by evolutionary dating methods) 85 million years ago (Tavaré, Mar-
shall, et al., 2002). Since dinosaurs are supposed to have died out 65 million
years ago, that means the primate would have lived with the dinosaurs
for at least 20 million years. One of the coauthors of the Nature paper,
Christophe Soligo of London’s Natural History Museum, stated in regard to
the find: “What we demonstrate is that modern orders of mammals appeared
well before dinosaurs disappeared…” (see “Primate Ancestor Lived with
Dinos,” 2002). So much for the commonly held idea that dinosaurs evolved
In 1945, a German archeologist discovered clay figurines buried at the
foot of El Toro Mountain on the outskirts of Acambaro, Mexico. Eventually,
over 32,000 figurines and artifacts were found. In order to prove their au-
thenticity, the owners had three radiometric tests performed by Isotopes In-
corporated of New Jersey, resulting in dates of 1640 B.C., 4530 B.C., and
1110 B.C. Eighteen samples were further subjected to thermoluminescent
testing by the University of Pennsylvania, all of which gave dates of approxi-
mately 2500 B.C. All of these dates corresponded with the dates given to
pieces of pottery that were found scattered among the figurines. Interestingly
however, the dating results were later withdrawn when it was learned that
some of the figurines depicted dinosaurs.
In 1990, samples of various dinosaur bones were submitted for Carbon-14
dating to the University of Arizona’s department of geosciences’ laboratory
of isotope geochemistry. Bones from an Allosaurus and an Acrocanthosaur-
us were among those sent to the university’s testing facility to undergo a “blind”
dating procedure (which means that the technicians performing the tests did
not know the bones were from dinosaurs). Amazingly, the C-14 dates as-
signed to the fossils were 16,120 and 23,760 years, respectively—a far cry
from the millions of years that evolutionists suggest should be assigned to di-
nosaur fossils (see Dahmer, et al., 1990).
In 1966, Dr. Javier Cabrera Darquea, professor of medicine at the Uni-
versity of Lima, Peru, was presented with an unusual rock by a local farmer
for his birthday. On the face of the rock was a picture of a fish. When he ex-
amined it more closely, he realized that the fish that had been carved on the
rock had been extinct for thousands of years. The rocks turned out to be an-
cient burial stones that the Indians had placed with their dead. Eventually,
Dr. Cabrera located over 11,000 rocks in all—almost one third of which de-
picted specific types of dinosaurs such as Triceratops, Stegosaurus, and var-
ious pterosaurs. Again, we ask: How could the Indians have drawn such ac-
curate pictures of dinosaurs if they had never seen the animals (or had them
described by someone who had seen them)? [For a brief discussion of Ca-
brera’s research, see Swift, 1997).]
Whatever became of the dinosaurs? Why did they become extinct? Evo-
lutionists have suggested many different theories, but none seems to fit all
the facts. Reginald Daly, in his classic work, Earth’s Most Challenging Mys-
teries, gives an extensive listing of some 25 or so proposed theories and dis-
cusses each (1972, pp. 29ff.). Probably the most popular theory (which has
been around for a little more than two decades) is the one first set forth by
the late Nobel laureate, Luis Alvarez, and his son Walter. The Alvarezes sug-
gested that the dinosaurs were killed off in a period of about three months
some 65 million years ago as the result of an asteroid colliding with the Earth.
The impact itself resulted in an envelope of dust forming above the Earth.
But the impact also caused worldwide forest fires, which added soot and ash
to the dust. The thick curtain of dust, soot, and ash then blocked out the Sun’s
rays, causing plants to die. This, in turn, caused the herbivorous (plant-eat-
ing) animals to die, which caused the carnivorous (meat-eating) animals to
die (Alvarez and Asaro, 1990). There are various alternative explanations to
the data used to support this unusual theory, however—explanations that
do not postulate an asteroid impact (see DeYoung, 2000, pp. 26-35).
The most likely scenario, it seems to us, involves a drastic and sudden
change in world conditions caused by the Noahic flood. There can be little
doubt that the damage inflicted by such a worldwide flood would have im-
pacted the Earth in a most significant manner. This explanation is quite at-
tractive, and is accepted by many creationists today.
Contrary to some popular opinions or beliefs, dinosaurs do not present a
problem to creationists. In fact, just the opposite is true. It is evolutionists who
are presented with a “problem.” While they continue to maintain, as pale-
ontologist Roland T. Bird of the American Museum of Natural History once
put it, that “no man had ever existed in the age of the reptiles” (1939, 43:
257), the evidence documents exactly the opposite.
Varieties of domestic animals and beasts were created, and finally, man,
the zenith of God’s creation, stood proudly upon the Earth. The dinosaur—
one of the most majestic of God’s creatures—stood with him. No doubt they
pondered each other’s existence. Today, we still stand in awe of these fear-
some giants. And as we do, their presence in the past should remind us of the
magnificence of the Creator Who was able to speak them into existence by
“the word of His power” (Hebrews 1:3). Awesome creatures— from the hand
of an awesome Creator.
Alvarez, Walter and Frank Asaro (1990), “An Extraterrestrial Impact,” Scientific
American, 263:78-84, October.
Bird, Roland T. (1939), “Thunder in His Footsteps,” Natural History, 43:
Dahmer, Lionel, D. Kouznetsov, et al. (1990), “Report on Chemical Analysis and
Further Dating of Dinosaur Bones and Dinosaur Petroglyphs,” Proceedings
of the Second International Conference on Creationism, ed. R.E. Walsh and
C. L. Brooks (Pittsburgh, PA: Creation Science Fellowship), pp. 371-374.
Daly, Reginald (1972), Earth’s Most Challenging Mysteries (Nutley, NJ: Craig Press).
DeYoung, Donald (2000), Dinosaurs and Creation (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Hubbard, Samuel (1925), Discoveries Relating to Prehistoric Man by the Do-
heny Scientific Expedition, (Oakland, CA: Museum of Natural History).
“Primate Ancestor Lived with Dinos” (2002), [On-line], URL: http://news.bbc.
Simpson, George Gaylord, C.S. Pittendrigh and L.H. Tiffany (1957), Life: An
Introduction to Biology (New York: Harcourt, Brace & Company).
Swift, Dennis (1997), “Messages on Stone,” Creation Ex Nihilo, 19:20-23,
Tavaré, Simon, C.R. Marshall, Oliver Will, Christophe Soligo, and R.D. Martin
(2002), “Using the Fossil Record to Estimate the Age of the last Common
Ancestor of Extant Primates,” Nature, 416:726-729, April 18.
Verrill, A.H. (1954), Strange Prehistoric Animals and Their History (Boston, MA:
Cover artwork by Louis Lavoie. Used by permission.
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Dinosaurs, Science, and the Bible
Apologetics Press Advanced Christian Evidences Correspondence Course
Bert Thompson, Ph.D. and Brad Harrub, Ph.D.
Write TRUE or FALSE in the blanks before the following statements.
1. The word dinosaur is found in only one place in
2. We now know for certain that a giant asteroid was
the cause of the dinosaurs’ extinction.
3. Over 11,000 Indian burial stones have been lo-
cated, with almost one-third depicting pictures of
dinosaurs on them.
4. In 1990, samples of various dinosaur bones
were submitted for Carbon-14 dating, and came
back with dates of over 250 million years old.
5. Dinosaur figurines were found near Acambaro,
Mexico with radiocarbon dates ranging from 1110
B.C. to 4530 B.C.
6. The behemoth was probably a hippopotamus or
7. The largest dinosaur known to walk the Earth was
Triceratops, which weighed in at over 120 tons.
8. Gideon Mantell was an American fossil hunter
who eventually named nine new genera of di-
Circle the correct answer(s).
1. Evolutionists advocate that dinosaurs evolved from some an-
cient reptile about:
(a) 500 million years ago
(b) 2 million years ago
(c) 65 million years ago
(d) 200 million years ago
2. Which of the following are used to describe the behemoth?
(a) Taller than the lotus tree (b) Chief of the ways of God
(c) Bones are as tubes of brass (d) Moves its tail like a cedar