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What should we believe about dinosaurs?

When I was growing up, I was taught that dinosaurs lived on the earth for millions of years before human beings existed and that they grew to be very large. This supposedly proved the Bible wrong because the Bible chronology doesn’t allow the long period of time necessary for dinosaurs to grow that big. What gave credence to the beliefs about dinosaurs was the fossil record which provided “evidence” that could be touched and handled.

How should those of us who believe the Bible deal with this “evidence”? Did dinosaurs really exist? What does the Bible say? In this post, I will explain how Genesis 1:6-8 provides a framework that we should use when we process all the supposed facts about dinosaurs.

Let’s start by looking at Genesis 1:6-8. Notice that God created something called an expanse. That is not a term we use in everyday life, so what was the expanse and what was it like?

Gen. 1:6 Then God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.”
Gen. 1:7 God made the expanse, and separated the waters which were below the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse; and it was so.
Gen. 1:8 God called the expanse heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day.

Before God created the expanse, the earth was covered with a layer of water. After God created the expanse, the earth was still covered with a layer of water, but the surface of the ocean was surrounded by the expanse, and the expanse was surrounded by another layer of water. The expanse is what we call the atmosphere. The outer layer of water was up in the sky where we see clouds.

Illustration of the expanse mentioned in Gen 1:6-8If God created this layer of water up in the sky, what happened to it? The answer is found in Genesis 7:11.

Gen. 7:11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on the same day all the fountains of the great deep burst open, and the floodgates of the sky were opened.

The floodgates of the sky refers to the layer of water that surrounded the atmosphere. During the flood, that water descended upon the earth, and now that layer of water is no longer up there. This tells us that the earth was very different before the flood compared to now.

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Let’s think about those differences.  Before the flood, there was a layer of water surrounding the earth.  After the flood, there was no longer a layer of water surrounding the earth.  How did this change the earth? Was the climate on the earth very different before the flood than it is today? Was life expectancy very different before the flood? Did animals grow bigger before the flood than they do now? What does all this say about the existence of dinosaurs?

When we think about dinosaurs and try to figure out how they fit into world history, we have to start with the fact that the Bible tells us that the earth changed very dramatically. It is possible that before the flood, the conditions on the earth were such that there were creatures that were very different than anything we see in our world today. Thus, it is possible that dinosaurs existed, but the existence of dinosaurs does not prove the Bible wrong.

 

“Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.”

 

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