Echoes of the Jurassic
Dinosaurs: “Chief Among God’s Way”
Dinosaurs are fascinating creatures not just to little ones, but to adults too. These reptilian-like critters are perfect for a child’s imaginary world. They come in all sizes and shapes, yet they are extinct. They have the added quality of being gigantic and scary.
Unlike modern lions, tigers, wolves, and any other animals that are known to be dangerous and menacing, children can’t see these amazing creatures in the context of today’s reality. For children and parents alike, these creatures do not exist in our present world, so why not relax and have fun with them?
Why not pay attention to these mysterious creatures? They have left behind a trail of fossil remains that have turned science upside down, and they have given us a glimpse of the past that appears far different than the world we live in today. It was the well-known British paleontologist Richard Owen (1804-1892) who first introduced the term “Dinosauria” during an 1841 presentation of his research at the Academy of the British Association of Science. The term was derived from ancient Greek “deinos,” that Owen originally defined as meaning “fearfully great,” and “sauros,” for lizard or reptile. It was in the following year that the dinosaur was formally classified as a “terrible lizard,” a large reptilian creature that walked upright. The huge bone fossils of several creatures, including Sea Dragons, discovered at that time represented some sort of enormous reptiles that had never been seen before. Owen would classify dinosaurs as a suborder of reptile.
In Job 40 (NKJV), the Bible mentions dinosaur-like creatures with a detailed description of a large terrestrial animal called “Behemoth.” In Job 40 (NKJV), the Bible mentions dinosaur-like creatures with a detailed description of a large terrestrial animal called “Behemoth.” In this chapter, God is speaking to Job and setting the stage where He will question him. In verse 7, God begins, “Now prepare yourself like a man; I will question you and you shall answer Me.” God declares His majesty by showing Job a giant beast of the field. This Behemoth is described as an herbivore in verse 15, “who eats grass like an ox,” and lives at the same time as man. In verses 16-18, the emphasis is placed on the hips being strong, its powerful abdomen (stomach) muscles, a very huge tail (like a cedar tree) and thighs that are pronounced with a tightly-knit muscular structure. Though like beams of bronze, his bones are agile, designed to move with a strong rib cage that is hard to penetrate (like bars of iron).
There are many commentaries that refer to this creature as today’s elephant or hippopotamus. However, these theories do not line up with the biblical description. Saying that this creature’s tail is like a cedar tree contradicts what these commentators are suggesting. Most important to note is the description in verse 19 which states, “He is the first of the ways of God. Only He who made him can bring near his sword.” This leads us to the conclusion that this creature was not only strong and muscular, but it had to be massively large like the Brachiosaurus. This dinosaur could have easily towered over man standing almost 40 feet tall and weighing 62 tons. Brachiosaurus was accurately portrayed in the first blockbuster film “Jurassic Park” (1993). It was introduced in the beginning of the film, while everything was calm and peaceful, before the terror began as a T. rex and other scary creatures were released and ran wild.
The scene portrays the gigantic Brachiosaurus rising up on his hind legs to eat from a tall tree. Could that have been similar to the scene that God showed to Job in chapter 40? As already noted, the description of this creature, with a massive abdomen and muscular thighs, standing on his hind legs, would be a scene to behold. It demonstrates clearly the majesty and strength of our Creator, who can easily devour and kill our enemy no matter how big it might look.
As it is described in the Bible, the Leviathan or Sea Dragon has the ability to breathe fire. In the next chapter, God describes to Job another large creature of the sea, the Sea Dragon. It is like Behemoth in strength, and in size it dwarfs man, threatening his very existence. As it is described in the Bible, the Leviathan or Sea Dragon has the ability to breathe fire. We read, “Out of his mouth go burning lights: sparks of fire shoot out. Smoke goes out of his nostrils, as from a boiling pot and burning rushes.” (Job 41:18-19 NKJV) Although the idea of fire breathing dragons is usually associated with mythology, their description in God’s Word should be carefully considered. These creatures are mentioned too many times in historical accounts to be considered purely imaginary.
Komodo Dragons, the Kraken (giant squid), or the Golden Taken (thought to be the bearer of the golden fleece of Jason and the Argonauts fame), are creatures once thought to be purely mythological in nature that have proven to be very real. The biological idea of creatures producing fire should never be completely disregarded, because we see creatures with bioluminescence like phytoplankton as well as dozens of land and sea organisms that exhibit several types of camouflage. Even tiny fire flies are capable of producing their own light. There are insects that have the capacity to use liquid chemicals to produce small combustible reactions that produce heat equivalent to boiling water such as the Bombardier Beetle.
Leviathan is mentioned six times in the Old Testament. Leviathan is mentioned six times in the Old Testament. This includes Isaiah 27:1 in which it is used twice. The creature is described in Psalm 104:26 as being so large that it is “playing” amongst the ships. There is also indication that this creature was fearsome, and like the Behemoth, it can only be successfully approached by God. These creatures often represent evil that only God can tame or destroy. God demonstrates His majesty within His creation, and He also demonstrates His almighty strength and power for all to see. These amazing creatures, whether we call them dinosaurs, dragons, or monsters, are all made by the Creator who is also our Savior.
The Sea Dragons
The term “dragon” was used for extinct massive creatures found before Owen first coined the term “Dinosaur.” It is interesting to note that in the British Museum of Natural History, there are large fossilized bones of marine reptiles stamped “SEA-DRAG.” According to creationist researcher Vance Nelson, the author of Untold Secrets of Planet Earth: Dire Dragons (2012), this was short for sea dragon. He states, “This, along with other evidence and accounts, shows that the early paleontologists often referred to these creatures as dragons, both before and after the word dinosaur was used.”
Before Owen’s discovery of dinosaurs, large kinds of extinct marine reptiles that lived on land alongside the dinosaurs were classified as “Sea-Dragons.” This distinctive category included the Ichthyosauri (Ichthyosaurus) and Plesiosauri (Plesiosaurus). Both are extinct kinds of large marine reptilian animals. Over a hundred-year period, geologists of the day identified these fossils as kinds of fish, crocodiles, and dolphins, but until this complete skeleton was discovered in England in 1834, the Ichthyosaur was categorized as a Sea Dragon. Dr. William Buckland, professor of Geology at Oxford, was the first scientist to work with these creatures. In his book, Geology and Mineralogy, Considered with Reference to Natural Theology (1836), he gave the following description:
Thus, in the same individual, the snout of a Porpoise is combined with the teeth of a Crocodile, the head of a Lizard with the vertebra of a fish, and the sternum of an Ornithorhynchus (platypus) with the paddles of a Whale. The general outline of an Ichthyosaurus must have most nearly resembled the modern Porpoise, and Grampus (Orca). It had four broad feet, or paddles, and terminated behind in a long and powerful tail. Some of the largest of these reptiles must have exceeded thirty feet in length.
The English word dragon is derived from Greek, “drákōn,” which relates to a serpent or reptilian type of huge creature. It became apparent that, as the paleontologists of that time started to put all the fossil evidence together, they found creatures that were extremely puzzling. Some of them had never been seen before, and the name “Sea-Dragon” was considered an appropriate term. The English word dragon is derived from Greek, “drákōn,” which relates to a serpent or reptilian type of huge creature. These fossils represented some sort of monster of the sea that had the potential to be a dangerous predator. Could this fearsome creature, who inhabited the warm and shallow oceans in the past, be the monster addressed in numerous maritime accounts? Could these have wreaked havoc on those who used the sea for transportation and a food source?
Another Sea Dragon was the Plesiosaurus. Like the Ichthyosaurus, it had “saurus” at the end of its name inferring that it was a giant marine reptile. Measuring a modest 11 feet, it was named in 1824 after an almost complete skeleton was found in England in 1823. It had unique features, such as two pairs of elongated large paddles, a long slender neck, a small pointed head with teeth, and a broad, flat body with a tiny tail. It had nostrils on its head, and it was believed to be air-breathing and warm blooded. This very popular Sea Dragon had a plethora of fossils that have been collected over the years, many of them recently. Since 1990, there have been 17 new kinds of plesiosaurs discovered, thereby doubling the amount that are known today.
The Plesiosaurus was a general category in which all of the long-necked Sea Dragons, including the giant Elasmosaurus measuring 34 feet in length, were placed. It was found in Fort Wallace, Kansas in 1868. It was first named by Edward Cope (1840-1897), one of the most famous paleontologists during the Great Dinosaur Rush or Bone Wars (1877-1892) in America. A great rivalry took place between Cope and another renowned American paleontologist, Othniel Marsh (1831 –1899). They discovered dinosaur fossil bone beds located in Wyoming, Colorado, and Nebraska. This area is known today as the Morrison Formation. It was, and still is, prolific at producing a plethora of dinosaur kinds including the Triceratops, Stegosaurus, Allosaurus, and so many others.
Both men savagely fought to reach dinosaur sites. They spied on and stole from each other. Sadly, they also eventually destroyed each other’s reputations. It was Cope’s discovery of the Elasmosaurus that brought Marsh’s attention to an embarrassing mistake that would separate these two men for as long as they lived. Cope had mistakenly put the head on the tail end of his discovery because he did not account for the correct orientation of the vertebrae as well as the Elasmosaurus’ long neck. In Marsh’s words, “When I informed Professor Cope of it, his wounded vanity received a shock from which he has never recovered, and he has since become my bitter enemy.”
The Contradictory Fossil Record
Samuel Tutin and Robert Butler published a paper in the Acta Palaeontologica Polonica, a quarterly international Paleontological journal titled, “The completeness of the fossil record of plesiosaurs, marine reptiles from the Mesozoic” (2017). It was a report with some good news. Even though the archives of fossil records are flawed concerning the assessment of the Sea Dragons, the fossil record gives hope. They compiled 178 specimens of 114 different species of the plesiosaur and came to the conclusion that, “Significantly higher median completeness values in plesiosaurs and ichthyosaurs than in contemporary terrestrial groups support the hypothesis that the marine tetrapod fossil record is more complete than that of terrestrial tetrapods.” The verdict is that the fossil record for the Sea Dragons is significantly more complete than for the four-footed dinosaurs.
“Why would the fossil record of Sea Dragons, like fish, be significantly better than their terrestrial counterparts?” Don’t fish float when dead, and should that also include sea dragons? Predators will eat them, even before they sink to the bottom. Their large bones can easily separate and disarticulate in salty water conditions before ever reaching the bottom. How can they fall through the sea and be so well preserved? In the Institute of Creation Research (ICR) Impact article #362 (August 2003), Mac Baker asks these important questions. The article includes a quote from Steve Parker from the Encyclopedia of the Age of Dinosaurs (2000) in which he states, “Hundreds of beautifully preserved skeletons, with the bones still joined, or articulated, as in life, have been found.”
Baker includes the discovery of Pterosaur, a flying dinosaur, whose remains were discovered in an ichthyosaur's stomach. This bizarre activity, where a Sea Dragon makes a meal of an extinct flying reptile, is like a photo taken during an extremely quick burial. The only logical explanation is that it came from a catastrophic burial of an undigested meal demonstrated for all to see. Another fossil testimony of abrupt and rapid burial is the discovery of at least two ichthyosaurs that were blanketed so rapidly that they were fossilized while giving birth to their young. It appears that the biblical account of the world-wide catastrophic flood would be a logical deduction for the cause of such a quick burial of these magnificent creatures.
Paleontologists have identified enormous amounts of excellently preserved fish fossils that are exquisite in every detail, including fish caught in the act of eating other fish. Similar to these testimonies is the Green River Formation which represents one of the largest fossil graveyards in the world. It spreads over 25,000 square miles with average thickness of 2000 feet. Paleontologists have identified enormous amounts of excellently preserved fish fossils that are exquisite in every detail, including fish caught in the act of eating other fish. These examples are caught in a split second of time. It is like the shutter on a camera letting in a glimmer of light capturing in an instant a scene of history from within the Green River rocks. How could such a testimony be ignored by evolutionists? With this kind of exceptional preservation, this is clearly a catastrophic event demonstrated in the extraordinary fish fossils found in this limestone grave.
As we address a contradictory fossil record, we take note of the research going on with the discovery of soft tissue found in allegedly ancient creatures, including dinosaur bones. There has been a series of research projects to demonstrate that dinosaurs are not millions of years old, but fit more comfortably within the biblical timeframe of several thousand years. An excellent DVD, The Echoes of the Jurassic: Discovery of Dinosaur Soft Tissue, has been produced by the Creation Research Society. As they share their findings, we can see that only a biblical timeframe can explain the presence of soft tissue in allegedly 70 million-year-old or older specimens. This easy-to-understand documentary takes you to interesting dinosaur dig sites, and allows you to witness the evidence that powerfully affirms God’s Word!
Please consider partnering with CSI by receiving, for a minimum gift of $35.00, this faith-affirming DVD. As we begin a new year, we certainly need your prayers. This year we will be celebrating CSI’s 30th year anniversary of serving the Creator. Thanks for being there and encouraging us with prayers and financial gifts over the years.
Yours in Christ,
Executive Director of CSI