Did Dinosaurs Really Exist? Really?

It came up in the conversation: “We sent our son to a Christian camp, and they taught him there were no dinosaurs–that unbelievers just made them up. He was confused about it for years.”

I’m always surprised when I hear anyone deny that there was ever any such thing as a dinosaur. True, dinosaurs aren’t mentioned in the Holy Scriptures. Neither are ancient China, the polar regions of the earth, or volcanoes, and Spain is the westernmost country mentioned in the Bible (did you know that?). Furthermore, although dinosaur fossils have been found all over the world, the Middle East–the region where most of the action in the Bible takes place– is singularly impoverished in that respect.

It’s also true that a lot of the things we used to “know” about dinosaurs have turned out to be wrong. When all you’ve got to go on is bones and tracks, it leaves a lot of room for error. Compared to what I was brought up on, some of these feathered monstrosities that are today’s representations of dinosaurs look altogether screwy.

And then we’ve got “behemoth,” in Job 40:15-24–a big, fearsome, awe-inspiring animal described as eating grass and having a tail like a cedar, as in a cedar tree. Whatever it was, behemoth was a herbivore–and can you think of any herbivorous land animal today whose tail would remind you of a cedar tree?

What do you suppose God was talking about, when He spoke to Job and used behemoth as an example to teach Job about His divine sovereignty?

Whether behemoth was a dinosaur or not, one thing we do know is that its like is on the earth no more.

Believing that dinosaurs existed should not threaten anyone’s Christian faith. We don’t want to put ourselves into the position of claiming that the bones–say, a Tyrannosaurus skull, or a brontosaur skeleton–were manufactured by the thousands and thousands and seeded all over the earth by some powerful and fiendishly clever conspiracy formed by persons who otherwise can hardly find their way out of a rest room. [Note: It turns out there really is a conspiracy theory that says the government, or “corporations,” or even God just made up dinosaurs as means of either spreading disbelief or, in God’s case, testing our faith.]

Yes, they are not discussed in the Bible. So what? Does anyone know all there is to know about God and His ways? Like, isn’t that what they were trying to teach poor Job?

Christians are at liberty to enjoy dinosaurs as the work of God’s hands, and to be richly amused by the endless revisions necessary to the scientific study of dinosaurs–and even, if so moved, to jump into that study themselves and lend a hand.