‘What Do You Say When Kids Ask About Dinosaurs?’

Dinosaur bones (Wikipedia Commons)


The National Catholic Register had the following in an article by Stacy Trasancos:

What Do You Say When Kids Ask About Dinosaurs?

Suppose you catechize your children properly and teach them all about Adam and Eve, the Garden of Eden and original sin. Suppose you sit on the sofa one Sunday evening, read the Bible with them and explain how God created all of the plants and animals.

On Monday morning, they return to their science classes and learn about fossils and dinosaurs, which have sparked an interest and led them to browse the Internet for more information. It’s not like dinosaurs are taboo or anything. Kids love dinosaurs! Eventually, they ask the obvious question.

“So, Mom, I have been wondering: Did the dinosaurs live before or after Adam and Eve?” …

If the answer is that the dinosaurs lived before Adam and Eve, then it follows that all words and sentences in the first three chapters of Genesis are not to be taken literally. Dinosaurs are believed to have dominated the earth for more than 100 million years, first appearing more than 200 million years ago in the Triassic Period and reigning during the Jurassic Period …

If the answer is that the dinosaurs lived after Adam and Eve and roamed with antediluvian giants (or something) before the Great Flood of Noah, then fine, maybe, just maybe, you have preserved the literal sense of the very first Bible story to a T. …

My kids have asked this question, and I have practiced my answer. First, do not teach them young-earth creationism. In my opinion, that is a failure to teach at all. It requires you to tell kids that a certain narrow group of self-appointed authorities are the sole authorities of both science and theology, and that is a dangerous corral to shove them in.

It may seem tidy and safe at first, but young-earth creationism sets kids up for, at least, confusion and, at worst, rejection of religion in favor of scientific enlightenment as they begin to crack open biology textbooks on their own. …

Genesis is real, but not a science text. …

Meanwhile, say something like this to your kids: “Dinosaurs lived before Adam and Eve. You have been taught about how God created plants and animals before he created man and woman. Well, there is much more to the story. Scientists have learned about fossils, taxonomy, anatomy and genetics, all subjects you will learn in time. Be excited; it is mind-blowing to explore how God designed nature!” https://www.ncregister.com/blog/what-do-you-say-when-kids-ask-about-dinosaurs

Stacy Trasancos is right that the dinosaur matter is a good question to be ready to answer.

The Bible admonishes godly parents are to teach their children:

6 “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. (Deuteronomy 6:6-7, NKJV)

Furthermore, in the New Testament we read that Christians are also to “be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason” (1 Peter 3:15, KJV).

Stacy Trasancos is right that there were dinosaurs prior to the time of Adam and Eve.

Stacy Trasancos is right that the young-earth creationists have issues that cause confusion (and worse).

Yet, some parts of Stacy Trasancos’s answers are wrong.

She is wrong to indicate one should not take important parts of Genesis literally.

She is wrong to indicate that Genesis may not be scientifically accurate.

The Bible teaches:

1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)

But the Bible does not say when that happened, other than it happened in “the beginning.” Many (including this author) have added up ages of various biblical figures when they became fathers, combined with reigns of biblical kings and other scriptures, and concluded that from the time Adam and Eve left the Garden of Eden to present, there has been a little less than 6,000 years (for details, please see the article Does God Have a 6,000 Year Plan? What Year Does the 6,000 Years End?).

While there was a creation in Genesis 1:1, there was a gap between that and the recreation that was needed in Genesis 1:2. Thus, this explanation (which, in my view, is the one that best agrees with the records, despite flaws, of science) is commonly referred to as the gap theory. And yes, I hold to it (see How Old is the Earth and How Long Were the Days of Creation?).

Now notice what the KJV translation of Genesis 1:2 states:

2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. (Genesis 1:2, KJV)

Because the NKJV also kept about the same translation, many have been confused about what Genesis 1:2 really teaches.

The following is the Hebrew transliterated into characters that non-Hebrew readers can recognize:

2 weh’ares haytah tohû wabohû wehošek ‘al-penê tehôm werûha elohîm merapet ‘al-penê hammayim.

(Genesis 1:2 from Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, edited by Karl Ellinger and Wilhelm Rudolph. Fifth Revised Edition, edited by Adrian Schenker. © 1977 and 1997 Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft Stuttgart. Used by permission. With certain letters in modern form by COGwriter as html would not display minimized certain characters properly)

Here is a somewhat literal translation of it:

2 the earth hath existed waste and void, and darkness [is] on the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God fluttering on the face of the waters (Genesis 1:2, Young’s Literal Translation)

Here is a more understandable translation of it:

2 But the earth became waste and void, and with darkness on the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God moved upon on the face of the waters (Genesis 1:2, clarified literal translation)

Before going further, notice something else:

18 For thus says the Lord,
Who created the heavens,
Who is God,
Who formed the earth and made it,
Who has established it,
Who did not create it in vain,
Who formed it to be inhabited:
“I am the Lord, and there is no other” (Isaiah 45:18)

Notice that the earth was NOT created in vain. The word translated as ‘vain’ above is the same Hebrew word (tohu) translated as ‘without form’ in Genesis 1:2 (tohu). Obviously, then, according to the Bible, something happened between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2. It should be noted that this is NOT a gap between day 1 and day 2 as some anti-gap people have written, as day 1 began with Genesis 1:3.

“Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35) and Isaiah 45:18 is clearly in support of the gap-theory position that there must have been a second creation. So is, Psalm 104:30.

It should be pointed out that in the Hebrew of the Masoretic Old Testament text, there a pause/gap symbol between the first and second verses of Genesis.

Furthermore, in the Masoretic text in which Jewish scholars tried to incorporate enough “indicators” to guide the reader … is one small mark which is technically known as Rebhia which is classified as a “disjunctive accent” intended to notify the reader that he should pause before proceeding to the next verse. Such a mark appears at the end of Genesis 1:1. This mark has been noticed by several scholars including Luther. It is one indication among others, that the waw (וּ‬) which introduces verse 2 should be rendered “but” rather than “and,” a disjunctive rather than a conjunctive. (Custance AC. Without Form and Void. 1970, pp. 18-19)

This shows a gap, not a conjunctive connection, between verses one and two, therefore verse one is NOT an explanation of verse two.

So we see that, anciently, there is an actual gap symbol between verses 1 and 2 of Genesis. And that instead of Genesis 1:2 beginning with “And” like the KJV and Douay Rheims have, it should begin with “But.”

Now, one anti-Gap article asks, “WHY CAN’T WE JUST BELIEVE THE BIBLE?” It then refers to the biblical gap view as an “imagined theory” and claimed it was based on non-biblical evidence (Closing the Gap. co-written by Brian and Kenneth Hoeck for Truth On The Web Ministries. http://www.truthontheweb.org/gapclose.htm accessed 07/23/18), yet it failed to mention that there is an actual pause/gap in the Masoretic text of scripture.

And a correct translation of the Bible makes the point more apparent.

Notice that humans were not made until well after Genesis 1:1:

27 And God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them. 28 And God blessed them; and God said unto them: ‘Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that creepeth upon the earth.’ (Genesis 1:27-28, Jewish Publication Society Tanakh 1917)

28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. (Genesis 1:28, KJV)

The Roman Catholic Original Douay Old Testament (1610) also teaches to “replenish the earth, and subdue it” (though the version I checked uses old English spelling, like “fubdew it”).

To replenish (Strong’s word 4390, transliterated from Hebrew into uwmil°uw) means to “restore (a stock or supply of something) to the former level or condition.” There would be no reason to “replenish” if there had not been a previous time when the Earth existed.

Furthermore, consider that this was the same command (with the same Strong’s word 4390, transliterated from Hebrew into uwmil°uw) God gave Noah after the Great Flood:

1 And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them: ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth. (Genesis 9:1, Jewish Publication Society Tanakh 1917)

1 And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth. (Genesis 9:1, KJV)

Adam was told to replenish as Noah had.

There was a major time ‘gap’ between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2..

It was during that time that there were dinosaurs.

Here is some information from the old Worldwide Church of God on this topic:

Do dinosaurs disprove the Bible? Scientists say ancient dinosaur fossils are millions of years old. Yet the Bible supposedly says that everything was created a mere 6,000 years ago. Do science and the Bible contradict each other?

At some time in the past, the earth was inhabited by a bizarre assembly of awesome and immense reptiles. Gigantic dinosaurs roamed the land. “Thunder lizards” weighing 50 tons must have shaken the ground as they walked.

Scientists say the strange and remarkable “age of reptiles” occurred more than 70 million years ago. Yet most fundamentalist churches and creationist groups attempt to support the idea that God created the whole universe, including man and the dinosaurs, about 6,000 years ago.

Thus the dinosaur has come to symbolize one of the most fundamental challenges to the Bible and Christianity: Can the Bible account for the existence of dinosaurs and other extinct creatures in the short period of 6,000 years? And if not, must the Bible be rejected?

The fact is, fundamentalists face a real problem in trying to squeeze dinosaurs into 6,000 years of earth history. The facts just don’t allow it, even when Noah’s Flood is invoked as an explanation.

Fact # 1: There is a vast difference between the world of man and that of the dinosaurs. … The world in which dinosaurs roamed was in most respects utterly unlike our own. Man would feel strange and foreign in that world …

Fact # 2: The world of the dinosaurs and the modern world of mammals are not intermixed in the fossil record. …

Fact #3: Many dating methods show dinosaurs lived millions of years ago. …

Fact #4: Both the Bible and the stratigraphic record conflict with the view that Noah’s Flood killed the dinosaurs. …

Genesis 6:19 clearly states that “of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female.”

Dinosaurs were land-dwelling, air-breathing creatures and should therefore have been on the ark, if they were alive at that time. Therefore, they would not have been killed by the Flood and would still be alive today!

The same holds true for the flying reptiles, which would have been in the ark and should have survived. …

For these four reasons, we must reject the traditional fundamentalist idea that the earth and all life forms that have ever appeared were created a mere 6,000 years ago.

Yet the Bible does supply the answer! It recognizes an inhabited earth — a prehuman world — prior to the creation week of Genesis I. Genesis 1:1 speaks of the original creation: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” But between the first two verses of Genesis, a time gap of unknown length exists. Surprising as it may seem, the Bible nowhere specifies the time of the original creation; perhaps it was billions of years ago. (Ginskey RA. THE BIBLE AND THE DINOSAUR WORLD. Plain Truth, May 1977)

Yes, the earth may well be billions of years old. Furthermore, the fact that there are no dinosaurs now shows that they were gone before the great flood.

As far as them being gone, the old Worldwide Church of God published the following:

In the dim past of antiquity, giant dinosaurs roamed the earth. Suddenly — the dinosaur’s strange world came to a cataclysmic end.

Dinosaur expert Dr. Edwin Colbert admits, “There can be no doubt about it. All of the dinosaurs along with various other… reptiles, became extinct.

“… NOT ONE OF THEM SURVIVED, as is amply proved by the fact that during almost a century and a half of paleontological exploration, the wide world over, no trace of a dinosaur bone or tooth has ever been found in any post-Cretaceous rocks, not even in the earliest of them. The proof of the geologic record on this score is IRREFUTABLE” (Dinosaurs, Edwin H. Colbert, p. 249). …

This sudden extinction of reptilian life was certainly a mysterious event. But equally puzzling to scientists was the sudden appearance of entirely new forms of life, totally unrelated to the reptiles.

Neither is there evidence of transition from reptiles to mammals. Then, where did the living things of this present age come from? (Kroll P. The Day the DINOSAURS DIED. Worldwide Church of God, 1970)

Well, the answer to that last question is that God made everything.

As far as why, we have a free online booklet: The MYSTERY of GOD’s PLAN: Why Did God Create Anything? Why Did God Make You?

That being said, yes there were dinosaurs before Adam and Eve.

God had dinosaurs go extinct before He created humans in Genesis 1:27.

One should not be afraid to teach children the truth about God’s creation, including dinosaurs.

The Bible is true and is not unscientific.

For more information on that, we have another free booklet: Is God’s Existence Logical?

Yes, you can believe the Bible and teach your children from it, as well as answer questions about dinosaurs.

UPDATE 08/02/21: We just uploaded the following related video:


Were Dinosaurs Prior to Adam & Eve?

When did dinosaurs live? The ‘National Catholic Register’ had an article by Stacy Trasancos titled ‘What Do You Say When Kids Ask About Dinosaurs?’ She brought up some dangers with the ‘young earth creationists’ and stated that dinosaurs were prior to Adam and Eve. Yet, she basically said that the first few verses of Genesis 1 should not be trusted. Yet, that is not the case. Does the Bible support any type of time gap between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2? Is there a gap symbol shown in the Masoretic text? Did the KJV and NKJV translator err in translating a disjunctive as a conjunctive? Must the earth only be about 6,000 years old? Is billions of years possible? Getting to dinosaurs themselves, do the fossil records support them being prior to a time of replenishment? Could dinosaurs have been destroyed by a ‘dark ice age’ or does the Great Flood of Noah’s time make the most sense? Did the old Worldwide Church of God bring up several facts that ‘young earth fundamentalists’ misunderstand and discount? Is the Bible scientifically reliable? Dr. Thiel addresses these issues and more.

Here is a link to our video: Were Dinosaurs Prior to Adam & Eve?

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

How Old is the Earth and How Long Were the Days of Creation? Gap Theory? Does the Bible allow for the creation of the universe and earth billions of years ago? Why do some believe they are no older than 6,000 years old? What is the gap theory? Were the days of creation in Genesis 1:3 through 2:3 24 hours long? Here are links to two sermons: Gap Theory: Doctrine or Modern Heresy? and Genesis, ‘Prehistoric man,’ and the Gap theory. Here is a link to a related article in Spanish: ¿Cuán vieja es la Tierra? ¿Cuán largos fueron los Días de la Creación? ¿Teoría de la brecha?
Why Did God Create Anything? Why did God make you?
Is God’s Existence Logical? Is it really logical to believe in God? Yes! Would you like Christian answers to give atheists? This is a free online booklet that deal with improper theories and musings called science related to the origin of the origin of the universe, the origin of life, and evolution. Two animated videos of related interest are also available: Big Bang: Nothing or Creator? and A Lifegiver or Spontaneous Evolution?
Does it Make Physical Sense to believe in God? Some say it is not logical to believe in God. Is that true? Here is a link to a YouTube sermon titled Is it logical to believe in God?
Is Evolution Probable or Impossible or Is God’s Existence Logical? Part II This short article clearly answers what ‘pseudo-scientists’ refuse to acknowledge. Here is a link to a YouTube video titled Is There Another View of Evolution? and another titled Quickly Disprove Evolution as the Origin of Life.

Where Did God Come From? Any ideas? And how has God been able to exist? Who is God?
How is God Omnipotent, Omnipresent, and Omniscient? Here is a biblical article which answers what many really wonder about it.
Has time been lost? It Saturday the seventh day of the week?
Questions and Answers from Genesis Many wonder about certain early events that this article discusses.
Was Unitarianism the Teaching of the Bible or Early Church? Many, including Jehovah’s Witnesses, claim it was, but was it?
What is the Meaning of Life? Who does God say is happy? What is your ultimate destiny? Do you really know? Does God actually have a plan for YOU personally? There is also a video titled What is the meaning of your life?
The MYSTERY of GOD’s PLAN: Why Did God Create Anything? Why Did God Make You? This free online book helps answers some of the biggest questions that human have, including the biblical meaning of life. Here is a link to three related sermons: Mysteries of God’s Plan, Mysteries of Truth, Sin, Rest, Suffering, and God’s Plan, Mystery of Race, and The Mystery of YOU.

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