Recently news photos showed newly discovered bones of dinosaurs labeled as millions of years old. Sometimes these discoveries shake the faith of Christians and cause many to try to find a place for dinosaurs in the Bible. This little article deals with time and these dinosaur bones in light of what the Bible has to say about creation.
First, although these bones certainly look like the bones of a giant animal, these bones are not real bones, but rather they are fossilized bones, or rocks in a shape that appears to be bone. The concept that bones of animals can be transformed into rocks over a long time period after being buried in mud under great pressure and still retain the exact original shape of the bones is untested. How long does this process take - ten thousand years, one million years? No one knows for certain because no one has ever carried out an experiment on some dead animal under these conditions and turned the bones of the dead animal into rocks that retained the exact same shape of the original bones. Some experts do not believe this is even a possibility. If you could do the experiment, would the resulting rock be exactly the same shape as the beginning bones of the animal? Or would the so-called chemical replacement process expand the shape to be larger? Were these animals really large? Or were they small, and became expanded in the transformation? We do not know! In fact, we cannot know because men do not live long enough to do such an experiment! Note that these fossilized bones can be ground up and analyzed. Small amounts of amino acids can be recovered. However, we do not know whether these acids were a part of an earlier living being. They might have diffused later into the fossilized bone from living bacteria during the long period in the mud and water after creation. Again, there is much we do not know!
Second, the Bible provides a suitable answer to where these bones came from. Consider creation in the book of Genesis. Let’s use the creation of Eve as an example. Suppose that you had been standing by in the Garden at one minute after God had brought His creation to life and presented her to Adam. As you looked at Eve how old would she have appeared to be? Twenty? Thirty? Forty? We do not know. But we do know that she was not created as a baby that Adam had to first rear to adulthood (see Genesis 2 where she is called woman and wife.) Thus, it is clear that Eve was created with apparent age. She wasn t but one minute old but she looked much older, didn t she?
Consider further the creation of the plants and animals. Each was created full grown, not as a seed or baby animal (see Genesis 1:11-25). Each began after creation to form seeds and baby animals. How old would a tree have to be to produce seed? How old would an animal have to be to produce offspring? In short, each was created with apparent age although at its initial creation each would have been less than one second old.
Now consider creation of the earth. The earth, too, was created with apparent age. The Grand Canyon appears to have taken millions of years to form. Mountains seem to have been rising for millions of years. Consider the saltiness of the sea. This saltiness would have taken millions of years to form from the rain dissolving salts from the land and flowing via rivers into the sea. The Dead Sea is 8 times as salty as the oceans. How long would it take to form the Dead Sea from evaporation of the water from the Jordan River?
Now, what about those dinosaur fossils? These rocks that may seem to be dinosaur bones can be suitably explained by assuming they were made as part of the earth created by God and represent what may seem to some to be apparently millions of years old. They are just part of the earth’s apparent age. That would mean dinosaurs may have never lived on the earth.
Summary: We do not have to rationalize dinosaur bones into some part of the Bible other than chapter one of Genesis. Nor do we have to question our faith as we look upon these bone-shaped rocks. God created the earth. It looks very old just as God intended it to look. Believe it. It is in your Bible!