Were Dinosaurs on the Ark?


There has been an opinion that since dinosaurs (reptiles) were land animals, Noah was required by God to bring two of their kind onto the ark. This idea has been popularized by an exhibit in the Ark Encounter amusement and theme park in Williamstown, KY.

The concept is based upon Genesis 1: 24 – 30 which describes God creating both land animals and man on the sixth day. The supposition is further advanced by assuming that some 1600 to 1700 years passed from man’s creation until Noah gathered up all the land animals on the ark.  This would be too little time for dinosaurs to multiply to the vast number of known, archeological finds, but then become extinct.  Thus the claim, Noah had to collect two for the ark.

When applying logic, if one starts with an incorrect premise, then anything can be proven. Deeper study of the Bible shows what God was meaning when He described His creative acts as “days” and when man was actually created.

We define a day by saying it is the interval required for one complete rotation of the planet around its axis. The word God uses in the Genesis account indeed, has this definition.  But of course, since God didn’t create the Earth until the third day, He must really have had a different concept in mind.

Most likely, God was simply summarizing His creative acts in a way mankind could grasp. We live and even represent our lives by tracking days (we date nearly everything).  God was merely providing a comfortable “dating” of the infinitely complex creative acts He performed.  Likely, He chose to provide the order of the listing of things He created, so we would be able to see each “day” the items He brought into existence became more and more complex.

The reason this must be true, is provided in Genesis 2.

“This is the history of the heavens and the earth when they were created.” (Gen 2:4) God departs from using “days” to summarize His creative acts in order to provide a detailed sequence of events leading up to the first sin.  Continuing Genesis 2: 4 and into 5, “In the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, when no plant of the field was yet in the earth, and no herb of the field had yet sprung up, …”

Clearly, in the Genesis 1 summary, this would be early on the third “day”, before creating vegetables, plants, seeds, trees, etc. However, in Genesis 2: 7, God tells us He created a man.

“Then the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath or spirit of life; and man became a living being.”

Genesis 2: 8 – 17 continues the history after creating man; He formed all kinds of lush vegetation, fruit trees, a garden, etc. Adam was placed into the Garden of Eden and given a tremendous job; “And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast and living creature of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them; and whatever Adam called every living creature that was its name.” (Gen 2: 19)

Returning to dinosaurs, they are an animal and God must have formed them and let Adam name them. So, they must be on the ark?  No, by the time of the Great Flood, they were extinct. Here’s how.

In my next blog, I will discuss what “time” is, how ancient things are dated, and provide an argument that before the first sin, there was no aging of Adam. If I prove to be correct, consider Adam’s job.  The current estimate of species of land animals is 6.5 million (+/- 1.5 million).  And, there are estimated to be 10,000 species of birds. These do not count the ones that have already become extinct.  So, as a conservative estimate, Adam had to name somewhere in the neighborhood of nine million animals and birds.

Suppose God really wanted to work Adam and brought him an animal in the morning and one in the afternoon for six days a week (God would surely let him rest one day a week). He would need to name twelve a week for fifty-two weeks or 624 a year.  Under this scenario, it would take Adam over 14,000 years to give names to all.

But what if God wanted to make it easy on Adam and only require one per year. Then it would take Adam nine million years to name all the animals and birds.  And this would entirely take place BEFORE God created Eve.  “And Adam gave names to all the livestock, and to the birds of the air, and to every wild beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found a helper meet for him.” (Gen 2:20)  So Eve was created afterwards.  Together, they might have lived for even more millions of years before they committed first sin.  We just don’t know.

Given the potential length of time and of Adam and Eve’s location, if God had formed dinosaurs first, there would be ample time for them to greatly multiply, covering various parts of the earth and then being destroyed (as many scientists believe) by some cataclysmic event on the other side of the world such as an asteroid striking the earth near the Yucatan peninsula leaving a crater that is still there today.

So, no … Noah did not take dinosaurs onto the ark.

Be sure to read my next blog about “time”.