Flatlander Faith

Apologetics from an Anabaptist perspective

The dinosaur question

In 1991 an archaeological research team discovered dinosaur bones in the Frenchman River Valley of south-western Saskatchewan. Over 20 years of painstaking work by hand uncovered the almost complete fossilized skeleton of a T. Rex and then removed it from the rock in which it was embedded.

Named Scotty, the massive reconstructed skeleton is now on display at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum in Regina. Scotty is the largest T. Rex ever discovered, 50 cm longer and 400 kg heavier than the Chicago Field Museum’s Sue.

The R.S.M., formerly known as the Saskatchewan Natural History Museum, displays 3-dimensional scenes of Saskatchewan flora and fauna, both of the present day and of the past. This includes lifelike re-creations of smaller land-dwelling and water-dwelling dinosaurs.

I know there are Christians who recoil at the subject of dinosaurs. “The Bible never mentions dinosaurs, so I don’t see why I should believe they ever existed,” some say “It’s just a story made up by evolutionists.”

People who say, or think, things like that aren’t as common as they once used to be. But if you are one of those who still has qualms about the dinosaur question, here are a few points that might calm your fears.

  1. It’s hard to argue with a pretty much complete fossil skeleton. Fossils are being found all over the world. Those as complete as Scotty are uncommon, and it’s possible that sometimes bones have been assembled incorrectly, but that isn’t enough to explain away all the evidence that has been discovered.
  2. Richard Owen coined the word dinosaur in 1842 after bones were discovered in various places that did not match any creature now living. It combines two Greek words and means “terrible lizard.”
  3. The Bible speaks of dragons, sea monsters, behemoth and leviathan. These could well be descriptions of the beasts we now label dinosaurs. Bible commentators in the past thought the description of behemoth in Job 405-24 sounded like a hippopotamus. They were doing their best to match it to some animal that they knew existed. Does it really match? I don’t think so. The hippopotamus is a fearsome beast, but this sounds like something even bigger and more fearsome. “He moveth his tail like a cedar,” cannot describe a hippopotamus which has a tail like a rope that is less than 20 inches long. Leviathan also sound like something bigger and more fearsome than a crocodile. 
  4. Many folktales about dragons are too fantastic to be believable. Yet the great number of such stories, and the fact that the dragons they describe are a lot like dinosaurs, leads one to believe there is some underlying truth. It’s not necessary to believe every detail of these stories, but neither is it wise to dismiss them altogether.   
  5. The book of Job appears to have originated as oral history some centuries before the development of a phonetic writing system. Behemoth, leviathan and the unicorn (not a cute cousin of the horse, more likely something like a humongous rhinoceros), likely describe animals which later became extinct and whose bones we have been digging up over the past two centuries. 

6 responses to “The dinosaur question

  1. Stuart Wedel August 23, 2019 at 17:06

    What are your thoughts about the distant stars which are said to be millions of light years away from the earth and how do you reconcile the apparent age of the universe with the Genesis account in the Bible?

    • Bob Goodnough August 23, 2019 at 21:36

      I started school 71 years ago and on my way through elementary school and high school I was taught about evolution. Most of what I was taught then about the evidences and proofs of evolution have been disproved in the intervening years, but evolution is still being taught – it is a very flexible doctrine. For that reason I don’t like to get involved in highly technical arguments about matters that are beyond my depth and may change in coming years, anyway.
      Evolution is a belief system, and is the only belief system permitted in our educational system and research communities. Those who come across evidence that contradicts the prevailing orthodoxy soon find themselves ostracized.
      One point that seems beyond discussion is that the half life of the carbon 14 isotope is 5,730 years and dating by this method correlates well with known history. Other radioactive dating methods appear to be dependent upon presuppositions of the starting conditions of the hypothetical time period.
      Charles Darwin divided humanity into different races and proposed that in the struggle for survival only the most favoured race would survive, that being the white race. Nobody wants to talk about that anymore, but evolution is still being taught.
      Perhaps the true test of a belief system is the results it produces. There can be no denying that Darwin’s race concept has had horrible and tragic consequences.

    • vonhonnauldt August 24, 2019 at 20:14

      Many times Scripture talks about creation, saying, among other things, that God “stretches out the stars,” thus giving the appearance of great age. It also repeats the Genesis account that God created everything in six days. “Remember the Sabbath, for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day,” Exodus 20:11.

  2. krc August 23, 2019 at 20:25

    funny they named it scotty

    better than ralphy or plain joe

    i never heard of christians denying dinosaurs existence before

    interesting…

  3. Bob Goodnough August 23, 2019 at 21:38

    Just repeating what a couple of people have said to me. Fear of what they don’t understand, I suppose, but fear doesn’t look good on a Christian.

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