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Worldviews and dinosaurs

Titans of the Earth, Sea, and Air, chapter 1

by and Joel Tay


ID 209384333© Volodymyr Melnyk | Dreamstime.com17021-t-rex
Tyrannosaurus rex

Dinosaurs have fascinated scientists from the time they were first discovered. These creatures were different from all living creatures they had previously seen. Scientists realized they were looking at the remains of some of the largest land animals that ever lived. But what were they dealing with?

The best way to understand them is by using the historical framework that God revealed in Scripture. The Bible tells us that the creation of the earth was just a little over 6,000 years ago, in the space of six ordinary-length days. This is the true beginning of dinosaurs.

God originally created everything to be “very good”, including the dinosaurs. But our foreparents disobeyed God, and God subjected the world to death and degradation. About 1,500 years after creation, mankind had become so evil that God sent a global Flood to wipe almost all of them out. But He preserved eight people and at least one pair of all land vertebrate kinds so they could repopulate the earth. This must also logically include dinosaurs.

But the evolutionary view says instead that the earth is 4.5 billion years old. And somehow matter, time, and energy became the first living cell. After much more time, energy, and natural selection, bacteria somehow became brachiosaurids. There was allegedly an ‘age of dinosaurs’ 243–66 million years ago. This is long before man was supposed to have swung down from the trees.

Our starting point

Creation Ministries International (CMI) is often called a ‘young-earth creationist’ ministry, but we are really a biblical creationist ministry.1 Views such as the ‘billions of years’ in the big bang and ‘millions of years’ of evolution are not derived from the Bible. The ‘young-earth’ view is not our starting point, but is derived from our real starting point, the Bible as God’s inerrant written Word.2

All philosophical systems, not just Christianity, start with axioms or presuppositions. These are the starting assumptions that underpin every other. There are good reasons for accepting the axioms of Scripture as true because they lead to a consistent view of physical and moral reality, which other axioms can’t provide. Specifically, the ‘young-earth’ view is not an axiom, but a theorem logically deduced from the biblical propositions.

How does this work? Genesis contains many Hebrew grammatical features that show it presents a straightforward history of the world from its creation.3 The New Testament authors, and Jesus Himself, affirmed this history. In particular, Genesis, backed up by the rest of Scripture, unambiguously teaches several facts about the history of the earth and life upon it. We outline them below and refer to some of our previous works for more information. The other chapters of this book reinforce most of them:

Photo 145006245 © Siarhei Yurchanka | Dreamstime.com17021-earth
  • God created the heavens, Earth, and everything in them in six consecutive normal days, the same as those of our working week (Exodus 20:8–11).4
  • God created many different plants and animals that could reproduce “after their kinds”. This is the opposite of evolution, which claims that all living creatures evolved from a single-celled organism, which itself came from non-living chemicals.5
  • From Genesis 5 and 11, and various other time markers in the Bible’s history, we can deduce that man was created about 6,000 years ago.6
  • Earth is about 6,000 years old since Jesus said that mankind was there from the ‘beginning of creation’, not billions of years later (Mark 10:6).7,8
  • Adam sinned and brought physical death to mankind (Romans 5:12–19; 1 Corinthians 15:21–22).9,10
  • Since man was the federal head of creation, the whole creation was cursed (Romans 8:20–22),11 which included the death of animals.12
  • This included the end of the original vegetarian diet for both humans and animals (Genesis 1:29–30). While God didn’t permit humans to eat meat until after the Flood (Genesis 9:3), many animals became carnivorous before that.
  • 17021-figure1
    Figure 1: The evolutionary order of events conflicts with the Genesis account of creation (each time the centre lines intersect). For example, in Genesis, land creatures like dinosaurs were created after the swimming and flying creatures, though evolution says the opposite.
  • About 1,500 years after creation, God judged the world by a globe-covering Flood13—not a local flood.14 Jesus and Peter compared this Flood with the coming Judgment (Luke 17:26–27; 2 Peter 3:3–7). This destroyed all land vertebrate animals and people not on the ocean-liner-sized Ark.15
  • Since the fossils show evidence of dead humans and animals, the fossil record must have been laid down after Adam’s sin. All views that try to mix millions of years with the Bible place the fossils long before Adam.16 If so, death is not the result of sin, which undermines the Gospel’s claim that Jesus died for our sin.17 In reality, most of the fossil record was caused by the Flood.
  • A century or more after the Flood, in the “days of Peleg” (Genesis 10:25), God divided the earth that “had one language and the same words” (Genesis 11:1).18 This division was God’s judgment on the people at Babel for disobeying His command to spread out and repopulate the earth after the Flood. So, God came down and forced them to disperse.19

Evolutionary bias vs biblical coherence

It’s important to realize that ‘scientific data’ does not speak for itself, but is interpreted within a framework. Evolutionists start with the axiom of naturalism or materialism. They mean that nature or matter is all that exists; so, God (if He even exists in their framework) performed no miraculous acts of creation. Theistic evolutionists don’t claim that matter is all that exists, but their view of history differs in no practical way from that of atheistic evolutionists. Biblical creationists have the same data and observations, but interpret them within the framework of God’s Word.

Both creationists and evolutionists may appeal to scientific as well as philosophical assumptions outside of science/empiricism. Biblical creationists believe in a creator who is actively involved in His creation and who not only created all things, but also upholds His creation (Colossians 1:15–17). Thus, the existence of miracles is logically consistent with a Christian worldview.

‘Natural law’ came from a biblical worldview that teaches a God of order, not of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33). This is why science began with a biblical worldview and was ‘stillborn’ in other ancient cultures such as Greece and China. But, if there is no creator, or if Zeus and his gang were in charge, why should there be any order at all? So, on the one hand, materialists assume some kind of ‘natural law’, and on the other hand, they cannot explain why there should even be a ‘natural law’. Indeed, the biblical worldview has been both historically and logically fruitful for the foundation and advancement of science.20

Miracles are not a ‘violation’ of ‘natural laws’, because natural laws are descriptions of the way that God normally operates in sustaining the universe. Conversely, a miracle is just a description of God working in an extraordinary way within the universe. Therefore, miracles are an addition to natural law, not a ‘violation’.21


But apart from instances in the Bible that tell us that a miracle is involved, creationary scientists have no problem operating consistently within the scientific paradigm. In contrast, most evolutionists operate within a materialistic worldview and cannot appeal to miracles. In a materialistic worldview, appeals outside ‘known scientific law’ necessarily result in a self-contradictory worldview. For that matter, even when they appeal to natural law, they are hijacking a Christian concept. There is nothing in atheism per se that implies that the universe should follow laws. That is, the proposition “there is no God” does not imply “the universe is orderly.”

Yet evolutionists often appeal to philosophical assumptions from outside of science. In particular, evolution is a theorem inferred from their axiom of materialism. Evolution is essentially the idea that things made themselves. It requires evolutionists to deny ‘scientific laws’ such as biogenesis, thermodynamics, and information theory. Thus, if evolution is true, it contradicts even the materialism it is derived from. Evolution includes these unproven and unscientific ideas:

  • Nothing gave rise to something at an alleged ‘big bang’ (cosmological evolution).
  • Non-living chemicals gave rise to the first living cell (chemical evolution).
  • Single-celled organisms gave rise to multi-celled organisms (biological evolution).
  • Invertebrates (animals without backbones) gave rise to vertebrates (animals with backbones).
  • Ape-like creatures gave rise to man.
  • Non-intelligent and amoral matter gave rise to intelligence and morality.
  • Man’s yearnings gave rise to religions.

So, it’s not a question of biased religious creationists versus objective scientific evolutionists. Instead, it is the biases of the Christian religion versus the biases of the religion of secular humanism. They result in different interpretations of the same scientific data. The creationists embrace a coherent worldview when they appeal to additions to ‘natural law’, but the same results in a contradictory worldview for evolution.

The geneticist Professor Richard Lewontin (1929–2021) is a renowned champion of neo-Darwinism, and certainly one of the world’s leaders in promoting evolutionary biology. He wrote this very revealing comment (the italics were in the original). It illustrates the implicit philosophical bias against Genesis creation regardless of whether or not the facts support it:

Keaton Halley17021-allosaurus_
Allosaurus at Dinosaur National Monument in Utah

We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfil many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism.

It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.

The eminent Kant scholar Lewis Beck used to say that anyone who could believe in God could believe in anything. To appeal to an omnipotent deity is to allow that at any moment the regularities of nature may be ruptured, that miracles may happen.22

Operational/experimental vs origins/historical science

What about Lewontin’s concern in the last paragraph that materialism is essential for science? To answer that, we must differentiate between two types of ‘science’: experimental (operational) science and origins or historical science.23 Normal (operational) science deals only with repeatable, observable processes in the present, while origins science helps us to make educated guesses about origins in the past.

Operational Science Historical Science

Operational science

Science is, by nature, always subject to change. For example, there are very few scientific theories that can go for decades without small modifications. Part of this is due to the inductive, and therefore subjective, nature of science. However, science in general allows us to exercise a pragmatic understanding of the world around us. Operational science, in particular, allows us to experiment and disprove hypotheses that do not line up with the scientific data. Experimentation sets it apart from historical science. With historical science, we cannot travel back in time to carry out experiments on historical events. All we can do is to piece together clues in the present and make an educated guess of what previously took place. This makes historical science far more subjective compared to operational science.

Operational science has led to many improvements in the quality of life, e.g., putting men on the moon and curing diseases. Because creation was finished at the end of Day 6, biblical creationists would try to find natural laws for every aspect of operational science. They would not invoke a miracle to explain any repeating event in nature in the present.

Historical science

In contrast, evolution is a speculation about the unobservable and unrepeatable past. So even if it is called science, it is not the same as operational science. One of the leading evolutionary biologists of the 20th century, Ernst Mayr (1904–2005), admitted just that:

For example, Darwin introduced historicity into science. Evolutionary biology, in contrast with physics and chemistry, is a historical science—the evolutionist attempts to explain events and processes that have already taken place. Laws and experiments are inappropriate techniques for the explication of such events and processes. Instead, one constructs a historical narrative, consisting of a tentative reconstruction of the particular scenario that led to the events one is trying to explain.24

Biblical creation is also a claim about the past. Thus, both creation and evolution come under origins or historical science. Rather than observation, origins science uses the principles of causality (everything that has a beginning has a cause25) and analogy (e.g., we observe that intelligence is needed to generate complex coded information in the present, so we can reasonably assume the same for the past). And because there was no material intelligent designer for life, it is reasonable to invoke a non-material designer for life. Creationists invoke the miraculous only for origins science, and as shown, this does not mean they invoke it for operational science.

To explain further: the laws that govern the operation of a computer are not those that made the computer in the first place. That is, we can study the computer’s operation in terms of the laws of electron behaviour in semiconductors. But these laws didn’t make the computer; this required an intelligent engineer. And note that proposing a designer for a computer is not denying that the computer works by repeatable laws of physics.

Indeed, another prominent evolutionist made a similar comparison, Edward Osborn (“E.O.”) Wilson (1929–2021). He was a world-renowned expert on ants and a pioneer of sociobiology and biodiversity. He explained:

If a moving automobile were an organism, functional biology would explain how it is constructed and operates, while evolutionary biology would reconstruct its origin and history—how it came to be made and its journey thus far.26

Similarly, it is good science to propose that the enormous information in the genetic code was originally designed. This does not preclude us from believing that it works entirely by the laws of chemistry involving DNA, RNA, proteins, etc. Conversely, we can agree that the coding machinery works according to reproducible laws of chemistry. But this does not prove the sufficiency of the laws of chemistry to build it from a primordial soup.

The poster children for evolution!

Dinosaurs have been the subject of media interest, fascinating documentaries, and Hollywood blockbusters for many decades now. And invariably, they are associated with an alleged ‘great age of dinosaurs’ from 243–66 million years ago, where these great creatures dominated the earth. Even many young children parrot that they died 66 million years ago when a giant asteroid hit the earth and wiped them out. One of the authors (JS) remembers that his first introduction to millions of years was through dinosaurs when he was only seven years old. Some children today even echo that dinosaurs grew feathers and evolved into birds.

These popular views contradict the biblical creation view outlined above. Therefore, it’s imperative to deal with the topic. Dinosaurs are not proof of evolution. Rather, they are a powerful testimony to the awesome power of the Creator God of the Bible. Having the right interpretative filter when studying this subject is the key.

Book outline

We need to define what we are talking about. So, what does the word dinosaur mean? And what distinguishes dinosaurs from non-dinosaurs? Then, after defining the term, determine the major groups of dinosaurs. Were they warm- or cold-blooded? Were they really the ‘pea-brained’, lumbering brutes that older books portray? Some dinosaurs were undoubtedly enormous, but how big were they? And what was really the biggest of them all? See Chapter 3 for answers to these questions, as well as the meaning of ‘created kinds’.

But how did dinosaurs become an issue? It began with people discovering the bones of creatures that they had never seen. They realized that they belonged to a new type of reptile, named ‘dinosaur’ in 1841. Ever since then, people have raced to try to find new types of dinosaurs. At times, there was an infamous bitter rivalry, especially in late 19th-century America. Dinosaurs have been found all over the world. Chapter 2 covers the history of their discovery.

What can we know?

Can science actually answer all of these questions? The answer is no! Our task is more difficult because no person alive today has seen a dinosaur. So how can we be even sure what they looked like?


There is enough evidence to have a good idea of the body shape at least. We have dinosaur bones, and the muscle scars provide evidence for the position and size of the muscles. In many cases, we even have some skin or other soft tissue, much to the surprise of evolutionists (see Ch. 13). Finally, in several cases, we have 3-dimensional preservation of the body shape and its organs. From these, we can see the enormous variety in these magnificent creatures of the land, the dinosaurs (see Ch. 5–9), as well as non-dinosaur reptiles of the sea and air (Ch. 10). These can fascinate people of all ages. From ages about 7–10, one of the authors (JS) learned everything he could get his hands on about them, and even modelled a chess set of dinosaur figurines.

What did these great creatures eat? We know from the Bible that God created all of them to be plant-eaters. But some became meat-eaters after the Fall and before the Flood. Sometimes dinosaur remains are so well preserved that we have remnants of their last meal (see Ch. 11).

Why did dinosaurs become extinct? The fossils are a clue: the Flood buried many. Indeed, they provide strong evidence that this Flood did occur (see Ch. 12). But some survived on the Ark (see Ch. 14), which explains how we have records of humans seeing them (Ch. 15). Sadly, it’s not likely that any are still alive (Ch. 16).

But wait, you might be thinking—maybe some are alive, but are called “birds”. Actually, no. The claims that dinosaurs evolved into birds are fraught with problems (see Ch. 17 and 18).

What does all this mean?

We hope that this book provides much fascinating information about unquestionably fascinating creatures. But in the last chapter (19), we want to tie it all together into the biblical framework outlined above. Far from being evidence for millions of years and evolution, dinosaurs fit best with the Bible’s history. We want people to know that the Bible can and should be trusted—and dinosaurs, properly understood, are a huge help and witness to God’s creation.

Published: 18 June 2024


  1. Bates, G., We are … biblical creationists? Being careful not to play into the opposition’s hands … creation.com/biblical-creationists, 4 Oct 2011. Return to text.
  2. Garner, P., The Church Fathers on the Genesis Flood, creation.com/flood-fathers, 28 Feb 2012. Return to text.
  3. Sarfati, J., Genesis is history! Creation 37(2):50–52, 2015; creation.com/genesis-is-history. Return to text.
  4. Sarfati, J., Refuting Compromise, Ch. 2, CBP, 2004–2020; as well as the articles under creation.com/genesis. Return to text.
  5. This is the ‘general theory of evolution’, according to Kerkut, G.A. (1927–2004), Implications of Evolution, p. 157, Pergamon, Oxford, UK, 1960. Return to text.
  6. Sanders, L., How does the Bible teach 6,000 years? Creation 35(1):54–55, 2013; creation.com/6000-years. Return to text.
  7. Wieland, C., Jesus on the age of the earth, Creation 34(2):51–54, 2012; creation.com/jesus-age. Return to text.
  8. Halley, K., ‘From the beginning of creation’—what did Jesus mean? creation.com/from-the-beginning, 25 Nov 2014. Return to text.
  9. Sanders, L., Romans 5:12–21: Paul’s view of a literal Adam, J. Creation 22(2):105–107, 2008; creation.com/romans5. Return to text.
  10. Sanders, L., Christ as the last Adam: Paul’s use of the Creation narrative in 1 Corinthians 15, J. Creation 23(3):70–75, 2009; creation.com/1-corinthians-15. Return to text.
  11. Smith, H.B. Jr, Cosmic and universal death from Adam’s Fall: an exegesis of Romans 8:19–23a, J. Creation 21(1):75–85, 2007; creation.com/romans8. Return to text.
  12. Sarfati, J., The Fall: a cosmic catastrophe—Hugh Ross’s blunders on plant death in the Bible, J. Creation 19(3):62, 2005; creation.com/plant_death. Return to text.
  13. Sanders, L., The global Flood—according to the New Testament, creation.com/nt-global-flood. Return to text.
  14. Halley, K. and Bates, G., Faltering on the Flood: Evading the Bible’s clear meaning is disastrous, creation.com/local-flood, 18 May 2017. Return to text.
  15. Sarfati, J., How did all the animals fit on Noah’s Ark? Creation 19(2):16–19, 1997; creation.com/ark-animals. Return to text.
  16. Sanders, L. and Bates, G., Did God create over billions of years? creation.com/billions, 6 Oct 2011. Return to text.
  17. Sarfati, J., ‘Just preach the Gospel!’ or: how not to impress atheists, Creation 35(3):15–17, 2013; creation.com/just-preach-gospel. Return to text.
  18. Sarfati, J., ‘In Peleg’s days, the earth was divided’: What does this mean? creation.com/peleg2, 3 Nov 2007. Return to text.
  19. Adamthwaite, M., The languages of Babel, Creation 42(1):52–55, 2020; creation.com/babel-languages. Return to text.
  20. Sarfati, J., Why does science work at all? Creation 31(3):12–14, 2009; creation.com/whyscience. Return to text.
  21. Sarfati, J., Miracles and science, creation.com/miracles, 2 Sep 2006. Return to text.
  22. Lewontin, R., Billions and billions of demons (review of The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark by Carl Sagan, 1997), New York Review, p. 31, 9 Jan 1997; creation.com/lewontin. Return to text.
  23. Thaxton, C.B. and 8 others, The Mystery of Life’s Origin, pp. 274–270, updated and expanded edition, Discovery Institute, 2020. See review at creation.com/thaxton. Return to text.
  24. Mayr, E., Darwin’s Influence on Modern Thought, based on a lecture that Mayr delivered in Stockholm on receiving the Crafoord Prize from the Royal Swedish Academy of Science, 23 Sep 1999; published on scientificamerican.com, 24 Nov 2009. Return to text.
  25. Sarfati, J., If God created the universe, then who created God? J. Creation 12(1):20–22, 1998; creation.com/whocreated. Return to text.
  26. Wilson, E.O., From so Simple a Beginning, p. 12, Norton, 2006. Return to text.

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