“Where are All the Dinosaurs?”

“Where are All the Dinosaurs?”

Genesis 1-6

G.K. Chesterton once wrote: “I had always felt life first as a story: and if there is a story there is a storyteller.”  I want to tell you a story.  The story I want to tell you is one that many of you already know or have seen or read a version of it.  It is a story that is also our story; it is the story of Beginnings, and we find it in the first book of the Bible. 

Out of the imagination of the mind of God came forth a world brimming with life and worship.  On the first day God created the heavens and the earth; day and night.  On the second day He divided the heavens from the earth.  On the third day God created the land, sea, and vegetation.  On the fourth day He created the sun, moon, and stars.  On the fifth day, God created creatures great and small.  On the sixth day, God created land animals and concluded his creation with the apex of it with the creation of mankind.  And, on the seventh day… God rested. 

Out of the mind of God came all sorts of species of plants, trees, vegetables, and fruit.  Out of the mind of God came elephants, giraffes, lions, tigers, bears, and even the platypus.  Out of the mind of God came everything from the Photocorynus Spiniceps (the smallest known vertebrate fish measuring up to 6.2mm in length) to the great Antarctic Blue Whale (the largest ocean dweller weighing up to 400,000 pounds and can grow up to 98’ long), and God designed and created every other fish in between.  The crazy thing is that we are still discovering species both on the earth and in the sea.

Out of the imagination of God, He created human beings, and said: “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” (v. 24).  Before I even get into what it means to be created in the image of God, consider how amazing the human body is!  When God created Adam and Eve, he created them with the same anatomy we have today; that means that God created humans with tongues consisting of about 8,000 tastebuds, with each tastebud containing dozens of cells that help you experience thousands of flavors.  He created you with a heart that never takes a break until the day you die.  God created you with a body of at least 2.5 million sweat pores, a liver that can regenerate itself, two lungs, two kidneys, with your small intestines measuring about 20 feet and your large intestine measuring about 5 feet. 

That’s not all you were created with!  As a final example of just how amazing your body is, Adam was created with not one, but two eyes with each having an estimated 2 million working parts, 256 traits that are specifically unique to each person (the finger print only has 40 unique traits), with more than 1 million nerves that connect the eye to the brain that make it possible for 80 percent of all the information you take in to be done so through your eyes.  If your eye was a camera, it would have 576 megapixels compared to the 48 megapixels the camera on my iPhone 14 has.   

Aside from the fact that Adam and Eve were created with amazing physical bodies, they, along with the rest of humanity, were created in a unique category within creation as the only species created in the image of God as the climax of all he had created saving the best of all that was made for last:

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”  And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.  And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. (Gen. 1:27-30)

Part of what it means to be created in the image of God includes not just the responsibility to manage creation, but also the ability to create.  As image bearers, Adam and Eve, along with every generation that followed them, were given the ability to create language, cook, throw parties, make babies, practice medicine, design clothing, build houses, plant gardens, tell stories, create tools to plunge the depts of the seas, build rockets to soar to the heavens, and to learn the human anatomy and discover ways to heal the sick.  However, the thing that sets mankind apart from the rest of creation is not only his ability to create, but also that he was designed to know and worship the God who created him with all the faculties God designed him with. This is what the psalmist marveled over when he wrote,

O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger. When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? (Psalm 8:1–4)

So, what about the dinosaurs?  Were they in Eden?  Did Adam, after he was given the task to name the animals, also name the T-Rex, the Triceratops, the Megalosaurus, and the Megalodon? 

The Point of Creation

When God created, he didn’t use special effects or any tricks; he spoke, and Creation came into being. Before I say anything else, I want you to know that I am convinced that God created everything mentioned in Genesis 1 in six literal days for two reasons: First, because of what I read in the Bible of which I will share three simple verses with you:

For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” (Exodus 20:11)

For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens (he is God!), who formed the earth and made it (he established it; he did not create it empty, he formed it to be inhabited!): “I am the Lord, and there is no other.” (Isaiah 45:18)

By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.” (Hebrews 11:3)

The second reason why I believe God created everything we read in Genesis 1 is because he is able to do it, and when he did it, he created everything with what theologians call “apparent age” (in its mature state).  So, when God created everything, he did not create them in their infancy but in their mature state with the ability to reproduce.  This is why I do not feel the need to argue against the hypothesis of scientists who say that our universe is estimated to be 13.8 billion years old based on the speed light travels.  I do not believe the universe is 13.8 billion years old, but I do believe God created the universe in its mature state so that the stars we are able to see reflect the fact that God created them to shine.  The point of the creation account is not how long it took him to do it, but that God created it all, and when he was finished with creation, he declared it to be “very good” (v. 31).  What made it good?  It was good because a good God, with the word of his power, spoke it into existence. 

So what is the point of creation according to Genesis 1?  Of all that I mentioned that is visibly true of creation, are details God did not see the need to include in Genesis.  We are not given any specifics concerning how many species of fish, bugs, birds, lizards, mammals, planetary systems, or how many sets of eyes Adam and Eve had except for their differences as man and woman made uniquely designed with the ability to reproduce and fill the earth with other humans.  We are not even told how many minutes, hours, days, months, or years are represented between the moment Adam and Eve enjoyed each other’s company while “naked and unashamed” (Gen. 2:25) and the birth of their first child. 

So, where are the dinosaurs?  Just as God did not see the need to inform us of Adam’s two lungs, heart, and liver, he did not see the need to inform us of giant lizards that walked the earth.  It is possible that the “great sea creatures” in Genesis 1:21 may have included the Megalodon, the Behemoth mentioned in Job 40:15-24 could be a type of giant beast, or the Leviathan mentioned in Job 41 might be a giant lizard?  However, the giant sea creatures might only be a species of whale, or the behemoth could be a hippopotamus; we probably will never know on this side of eternity and that is okay.

Let me tell you what I do know. What our world experienced in the first two chapters of Genesis was a kind of peace it does not know today.  The peace I am referring to is what the Hebrew ancients called shalom.  It is a peace that can only be known with the presence of God, and it was violated when Adam and Eve believed the serpent over God and broke the command given to them: “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Gen. 2:16-17).   

What was Lost in Creation?

Let me begin by telling you what was not lost in creation.  What was not lost in creation were the dinosaurs. What was lost after Adam and Eve bit into the fruit was shalom, and it wasn’t just lost to Adam and Eve, it was lost to the rest of creation with Adam as the representative of mankind and the one responsible for managing and caring for what God had created.

Everything in the Garden of Eden was given to Adam and Eve for their pleasure and management.  The only thing that was kept from them was the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil – not because God was selfish, but because He loved them.  Then a day came when the couple found themselves before the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  From out of the tree could be heard a voice from the mouth of a snake: “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden?’” 

The root of the temptation was to question the goodness of God because He withheld fruit from only one tree in the garden.  In other words, Satan was tempting Eve to doubt the goodness of God.  Thomas Watson once wrote concerning sin, “Sin first tempts and then damns.  It is first a fox and then a lion.”[1]  So Eve, “saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took its fruit and ate…” she then gave some to her husband and he did the same (Gen. 3:6).  Their innocence was violated by their rebellion, “Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked” (v. 7). 

Adam and Eve were deceived into believing that they could be equals with their Creator and after their sin they were deeply disappointed.  Instead of experiencing the kind of liberty the Serpent promised, Adam and Eve experienced shame.  The greatest cost to Adam and Eve and the rest of the human race was what their sin did to shalom they once experienced by vandalizing it with a death what was both physical and spiritual.  This is what the Apostle Paul wrote about in Romans 5:12-14, “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come”(Romans 5:12–14).

Adam and Eve’s sin not only bring physical and spiritual death, but it spread through the birth of Cain and was evidenced when he murdered his younger brother because he did not like the way God favored Abel’s worship of God over his own.  God judged Cain by banishing him.  I want you to see something in the passage that I believe will help you understand where all the dinosaurs are in the Bible, but first, here is what God said to Cain: “And the Lord said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground. And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you work the ground, it shall no longer yield to you its strength. You shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth” (Genesis 4:10–12).

In response to Cain being sentenced to being a “fugitive and a wanderer” on the earth, notice Cain’s response to God’s judgement: “My punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold, you have driven me today away from the ground, and from your face I shall be hidden. I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me” (Genesis 4:13–14).  The response of anyone reading these verses in light of Genesis 1-3 ought to be, “Who are the other people that Cain is afraid will murder him?”  If you think that Cain is overexaggerating a bit, notice God’s answer to Cain’s concern: “Then the Lord said to him, ‘Not so! If anyone kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.’ And the Lord put a mark on Cain, lest any who found him should attack him. Then Cain went away from the presence of the Lord and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden” (Genesis 4:15–16). 

Who are all the violent people Cain is afraid of and where did they come from?  The answer to that question is simply this: We do not know.  What is the point?  The point is that there are some things that God, in his wisdom, did not see the need for us to know, and there are things that are included in the Bible that were written because of what we must know.  What we know, based on these verses, is that there were enough people on the earth that Cain was afraid of that God had to put a mark on him to ensure no one would murder him in the way that he murdered his own brother. 

What is it that we must know?  What we must know is that since Adam and Eve bit into the fruit, things have not gone from bad to better as the serpent promised, but from bad to worse.  Cain fathered a number of children with his wife and so the bloodline of Cain continued and eventually Lamech was born.  Lamech was the first to pervert God’s intended purpose of the institution of marriage by becoming the father of polygamy; we are given a glimpse into this man’s heart through the poem he wrote for his wives:

“Adah and Zillah, hear my voice;

    you wives of Lamech, listen to what I say:

I have killed a man for wounding me,

    a young man for striking me.

If Cain’s revenge is sevenfold,

    then Lamech’s is seventy-sevenfold.” (Gen. 4:24-24)

After Cain murdered Abel and was condemned by God to wander the earth, he was promised: “If anyone kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold” (Gen. 4:15).  However, when we come to verse 24, Lamech promised, “If Cain’s revenge is sevenfold, then Lamech’s is seventy-sevenfold.”  Adam and Eve wanted to be like God, so they ate what God told them not to eat.  Cain could not stand the way God responded to Abel’s offering, so he murdered him.  We do not know how much time passed between Adam’s sin and Cain’s, but by the time he murdered Abel, the earth was already filled with violent people.  Cain’s great grandson Lamech was not only a violent man who had little regard for the sanctify of life, but his wickedness extended into the sanctity of marriage by becoming the first practicing polygamist. 

By the time you get to Genesis 6, we discover that Adam and Eve’s sin spread like gangrene from one generation to the next to the point that we are told in Genesis 6:5, “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5).


So, where are all the dinosaurs?  Honestly, I am not sure.  However, permit me to offer my thoughts in light of the first six chapters in Genesis.  Hollywood, books, and our imaginations have led us to believe that man and dinosaurs could not coexist.  We assume that if a Tyrannosaurus rex and someone like Adam crossed paths, that he would be gobbled up.  In a world where man and dinosaurs exist, one might assume the apex predator would be a creature like the Tyrannosaurus rex.

What we learn from the book of Genesis is that the apex-predator is really man.  Because the “…wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (v. 5), we are given the reason why the flood was necessary: “Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence” (v. 11). 

Now if you are really looking for a scary lizard in the Bible, you really do not need to look very far.  He is known by a whole host of names: He is called the Accuser (Rev. 12:10), the Adversary (1 Peter 5:8), the Beast (Rev. 14:9-10), the Deceiver (Rev. 12:9), the Devil (1 John 3:8), the Enemy (Matt. 13:39), and the Evil One (John 17:15), and the great dragon (Rev. 12:9).  However, in Genesis 3:15, the great dragon is reduced to a serpent, and we are promised that One would come through Adam and Eve’s descendants who would crush the head of that dragon (Gen. 3:15).  Jesus Christ was born, lived, died on cross for our sins, and rose from the grave to do just that.

[1] Thomas Watson. The Mischief of Sin (Morgan, PA: Soli Deo Gloria Publications; 1994), p. 20.