I’ve heard the above question several times recently and would like to spend some time dealing with it, to see if we have any reason to doubt the Scriptures, due to the absence of dinosaurs being mentioned in the Bible.
The evidence for dinosaurs is fairly comprehensive and has come from many different continents, in the form of fossils along with stories and pictures depicting these large beasts.
Dinosaurs were said to exist between 65 and 240 million years ago. Given therefore the strength of the hard evidence, the question naturally arises as to why there is no apparent mention of these prehistoric creatures in the Bible.
I can relate to this scepticism and remember having a conversation with a fellow believer, stating that I didn’t believe in dinosaurs because they weren’t mentioned in the Bible (strange I know!!!). My views have evolved somewhat, and I would now side with the available evidence which is right in front of us today.
I have since looked back on my views wondering, why did I feel God needed to tell me about dinosaurs in order for them to have existed?
I will now seek to answer why dinosaurs are not mentioned in the Bible, to answer sceptics who feel their absence undermines the Word Of God and also to, prepare fellow believers who come up against this objection.
Here are three points which I feel need to be made to negate this supposed objection to the Bible’s reliability.
1) Claim based on mistaken belief
Many non-believers think that believers all ascribe to the theory of a young earth e.g. that our earth is only around 6,000 years old. Meaning that we will seek to either deny the existence of dinosaurs or will claim that the evidence is wrong when it states that dinosaurs existed around 65-240 million years ago, as our “young earth” hasn’t been around that long.
Without delving into the young vs old earth theories too much in this article, (will do this another time), will just say that I personally do not believe in a young earth and would say that, the vast majority of apologists do not ascribe to this theory either. Many modern Biblical scholars today would hold to the view that the term “days” in Genesis were not necessarily 24 hour days but were more metaphorical references to periods of time in which God created the world we live in.
So the first point to make is that the claim can often be based on a false assumption, namely that all Christians believe the earth is too young.
2) Why do dinosaurs need to be mentioned?
Having held to my previous view that if God didn’t mention them they didn’t exist, I can now see the error of this thinking. God didn’t mention many other things but I have no issues accepting them e.g. he did not mention bacteria, trilobytes, planets and many other animals.
Jews didn’t have a word in their language for dinosaurs so why would he mention creatures they knew nothing about. To mention them, knowing they would not exist at a point in the future to a people who had no vocabulary or experience of them, would have been potentially confusing and unnecessary.
You could say, in terms of God’s purpose, that dinosaurs were not relevant to God’s story of creation. Genesis is not a scientific document nor should it be read as such (science came later) but is a theological document intended to explain God to his people.
3) How do we know they weren’t mentioned?
Can we say that dinosaurs have not been mentioned? Certainly we can say they haven’t been mentioned by their current names given to them by man, but references within the Bible could indeed be referring to dinosaurs.
On day 6 of the creation story it says that God made creatures and all the wild animals: