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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Dinosaurs and the Bible

When reading the following excerpts "What Happened to the Dinosaurs?" and "When did God create dinosaurs, and when did they become extinct?", it is important to acknowledge that

1.) The rock layers containing human fossils consistently occur above those layers containing dinosaur fossils. Additionally, many mammal bones, including many long extinct species such as the wooly mammoth, are often found to be the actual bone (and sometimes other tissue) of the animal/person. In other words, the large mammal fossils haven't been buried long enough for complete mineralization to take effect. On the other hand, the 'bones' of dinosaurs have been buried so long that they have been completely replaced by minerals.

Because of this and much other reasonable evidence, scientists generally conclude that humans came on the earthly scene much later than dinosaurs. (See the 2/8/90 Awake! excerpt: "Discovering `The Great Reptiles' of the Past" pp.7-11; Heading: "When Did They Live?")

2.) Moses, when writing the book of Genesis, did not specifically report on dinosaurs, whose existence was deduced from fossils in the 19th century. Instead, Moses was inspired to use words that could be understood by people of his day—but words that were accurate in all they said about earth’s creation.

3.) The Bible account in the first chapter of Genesis simply states the general order of creation. It allows for possibly thousands of millions of years for the formation of the earth and many millenniums in six creative eras, or “days,” to prepare the earth for human habitation. Many creationists believe that the universe and the earth and all life on it were created in six 24-hour days some 10,000 years ago. This, however, is not what the Bible teaches. (See: The Bible’s Viewpoint - Does Science Contradict the Genesis Account? g 9/06 pp. 18-20; Watchtower Online Library)

What Happened to the Dinosaurs?

Some dinosaurs (and pterosaurs) may indeed have been created in the fifth era listed in Genesis, when the Bible says that God made “flying creatures” and “great sea monsters.” Perhaps other types of dinosaurs were created in the sixth epoch. The vast array of dinosaurs with their huge appetites would have been appropriate considering the abundant vegetation that evidently existed in their time.—Genesis 1:20-24.

When the dinosaurs had fulfilled their purpose, God ended their lives. But the Bible is silent on how He did that or when. We can be sure that dinosaurs were created by Jehovah for a purpose, even if we do not fully understand that purpose at this time. They were no mistake, no product of evolution. That they suddenly appear in the fossil record unconnected to any fossil ancestors, and also disappear without leaving connecting fossil links, is evidence against the view that such animals gradually evolved over millions of years of time. Thus, the fossil record does not support the evolution theory. Instead, it harmonizes with the Bible’s view of creative acts of God. (2/8/90 Awake!)

When did God create dinosaurs, and when did they become extinct?

The Bible does not provide specific answers to this question. According to the Genesis account, animals were created during the fifth and sixth creative periods or ‘days.’ If the Hebrew expression translated “great sea monsters” [Hebrew, tan·ni·nim´] includes dinosaurs, which often inhabited swampy, watery areas, this would mean that dinosaurs were created on the fifth “day.” (Gen. 1:21)


Dinosaurs were reptiles, and some kinds of dinosaurs bear strong resemblance structurally and otherwise to lizards (sauros is, in fact, the Greek word for “lizard”; saura in Leviticus 11:29, LXX). Not all types of dinosaurs were of such gigantic size.


Some of the older translations of the Bible at times use the word “dragons” to translate the Hebrew tan·ni·nim´ (“sea monsters,” NW). (Ps. 74:13; 148:7; Isa. 27:1, Authorized Version) The term “dragon” (Greek, dra´kon) is found in the Christian Greek Scriptures. It has been suggested as possible that, rather than having a purely mythical source, this expression may originally have been applied to enormous creatures such as the dinosaurs, taking on mythical tones only after these mammoth creatures had long since disappeared. Interestingly, many of the mythical depictions of the “dragon” strongly resemble certain types within the family of huge reptilian creatures that includes the dinosaur. (7/15/73 Watchtower, 'Questions from Readers')

For more, see:

Dinosaurs - Links to Information (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

Dinosaurs - When Did They Live? (Jehovah's Witnesses Questions and Answers)