We received the following e-mail from Hans who has criticized my presentation on Dinosaurs and the Bible.  I put his message in purple text with my response in black.

Hans: Hi listening to your message regarding dinosaurs, there is a vital point that you and other people like you, cannot provide any fossils of modern animals like lions, sheep, giraffe etc. There is [sic] absolutely no comparable fossils.

Lisle: We do, in fact, find fossils of modern animals like lions, sheep, and giraffes.[1],[2],[3]  I’m not sure why you thought otherwise.  If you are claiming that we do not find modern animals in the same fossil layers as dinosaurs, then that too is an error.  Parrot, owl, penguin, and salmon fossils have been found in dinosaur layers, along with many other modern animals.[4]

Hans: These dinosaurs were created during the first two days of creation…

Lisle: Where does the Bible say any animals were made on days 1 and 2?  On the contrary, the Bible states that the land animals (indeed, everything that creeps upon the earth) were made on day 6 of the creation week (Genesis 1:24-31).  Land animals could not have lived on days 1 and 2 because dry land wasn’t created until day 3 (Genesis 1:9-10,13).  How long do you think dinosaurs could tread water?

Hans: …when a day could have been a billion years in our concept of time.

Lisle:  No, the Hebrew word translated “day” is yom and means “day.”  It never means billions of years.  Perhaps your confusion stems from the fact that “yom” is sometimes used in a non-literal fashion to indicate a period of time, particularly in poetic sections of the Bible and when used as part of a prepositional phrase such as “the day of the Lord.”  However, the Bible states that each of the days of creation was one period of light and one period of darkness, bounded by one evening and one morning, which marks them as literal days (Genesis 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31).  That is, each was an ordinary day (a rotation of earth), the same as the days of our work week (Exodus 20:8,11).  The context of Genesis 1 does not allow for any non-literal use of the word “day.”  God does know how to tell time; after all, He created it.

Furthermore, since land was not made until the third day, do you think the dinosaurs were treading water for billions of years?  Plants were also made on the third day (Genesis 1:11-13), so what were the dinosaurs supposed to eat (while treading water) for the supposed billions of years?

Hans: Even though God created light on about the so called second day,… 

Lisle: No, God created light on the first day (Genesis 1:3,5).  Indeed, a period of light and a period of darkness define a day according to God (Genesis 1:5).  So, there could not have been a second day if light had not been created on the first day.

Hans: He only created the sun a few days later, once that was in place we could determine how long a day was,24 hours.

Lisle: Actually, it is the rotation of the earth that determines the length of a day, not the motion of the sun.  The sun doesn’t go around the earth; rather, the earth rotates (whether the sun is there or not).  That is where we get the 24 hours.  Each rotation exposes one side to light and the other side to darkness.  God created the sun on the fourth day to continue to provide the light that God Himself provided for the first three days (Genesis 1:14-19, 3).  Earth’s motion is what sets the length of the day at 24 hours – not the sun.

Hans: those awkward animals were created billions of years before the sun was created.

Lisle: The animals were made on days 5 and 6 (Genesis 1:20-31), whereas the sun was made on day 4 (Genesis 1:14-19).  Therefore, no animals lived before the sun.  Plants were made on day 3.  So, any hypothetical animals living before day 3 would have had nothing to eat.  God knew what He was doing when He made dry land, plants, and land animals in that order.   Any other order wouldn’t work.

Hans: maybe they had been created by God or some lesser gods that we read of so often in the bible.

Lisle: The Bible teaches that there is only one God (Isaiah 45:5; Deuteronomy 6:4), and He alone has the power of creation (John 1:1-3).  There are no “lesser gods.”  People invented false gods (idols), but an idol cannot create anything.

Hans: God saw and destroyed these feeble attempts by these gods.

Lisle: It sounds like you have been reading pagan mythology – not Scripture.  Again, the Bible says that there is only one God (Isaiah 45: 5, 22, 46:9, Joel 2:27).  Idols invented by man cannot do anything at all because they are not alive or conscious (1 Kings 18:21-39; Isaiah 46:6-7).  So, they certainly cannot create animals.  All animals were created by the one and only God (John 1:1-3).  The Bible states, “All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made” (John 1:3 NKJV).

Hans: He was busy designing the world as we know over possibly a billion YEARS…

Lisle: The Bible states, “For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them” (Exodus 20:11a).  This passage explains why we have a seven-day week.  Namely, God chose to create in six days and then rested for one day as a pattern for the Israelites to follow (Exodus 20:8-11).  The idea of billions of years is a secular concept required for evolution.  It has absolutely no support in Scripture.

Hans: …and when the right time came he blew life into all His majestic designs which appeared in a day but were the subject of careful and intricate designs from the smallest insect to an elephant.

Lisle: Jesus taught that human beings existed “from the beginning of the creation” (Mark 10:6) – not billions of years later.  That is, Adam and Eve were present on the first week of the universe (Genesis 1:26-31).

It is very tempting for Christians to embrace the speculations of secular scientists on origins and then attempt to reinterpret the Scriptures to match.  This is called eisegesis.  But the appropriate way to read Scripture is to interpret it according to its own words.  This is exegesis.  We should interpret God’s Word the same way that Jesus did in His earthly ministry.  You may want to read the book Understanding Genesis which expounds upon how the Bible interprets itself, and therefore how we should interpret the Scriptures if we are going to understand them rightly.  I pray this is helpful to you.

– Dr. Jason Lisle



[1] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30402757/  <accessed 9/19/2023>

[2] https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02724634.2016.1169190  <accessed 9/19/2023>

[3] https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00359190309519935  <accessed 9/19/2023>

[4] https://creation.com/werner-living-fossils  <accessed 9/19/2023>