Why it would be a sin not to include dinosaurs in illustrated children’s Bibles.
The other night I was reading Zondervan’s Beginner’s Bible: Timeless Children’s Stories to my four-year-old twins when I came to a disturbing realization. Though the children’s Bible includes hundreds of illustrations depicting all sorts of animals—snakes, camels, sheep, fish, doves, lions, donkeys, whales—I couldn’t find a single dinosaur anywhere. I hoped to spot at least a brachiosaurus grazing on treetops in the Garden of Eden, or perhaps a ravenous velociraptor chasing a shepherd across the Judean wilderness. But no.
Until recently, I was unaware that the biblical world was full of dinosaurs. Last Monday, the $27 million Creation Museum opened in Petersburg, Kentucky, and the curtain went up on the wondrous revelation that triceratops and T-rexes were as common in Abraham’s day as cats and dogs are in ours. Founded by the Answers in Genesis ministry, the museum hopes to counter the wicked theory of evolution, contending that God created the Earth from scratch barely 6,000 years ago. On the sixth day, they say, He created the dinosaurs.
Paleontologists, of course, insist that fossils show that dinosaurs and humans were separated by more than 60 million years. But Answers in Genesis co-founder Mark Looy isn’t swayed by such evidence. “They all had to exist at the same time because they were all made on the same day,” Looy told Salon. “There may not be any fossil evidence showing dinosaurs and people in the same place at the same time. But it is clearly written that they were alive at the same time.”
After the Flood
As the Creation Museum sees it, the fossils date after the great flood, and that there were two of every kind of dinosaur on Noah’s ark. What a strategic miracle the ark must have been, considering it had to house reptilian creatures that stood several stories tall and could have consumed entire villages for brunch. The food supply on Noah’s ark must have entailed a forest, and the ark itself must have been much larger than the Bible modestly reports. According to Genesis, the ark was 30 cubits (45 feet) tall by 300 cubits (450 feet) long. A single sauroposeidon, however, was some 60 feet tall and 130 feet long. By my rough calculation, Noah’s ark must have been the size of 30 World War II aircraft carriers. This may sound fantastic, but it was probably a piece of cake for Noah to build considering that God ran the lumberyard.
To rectify the omission of pre-historic creatures from my boys’ copy of The Beginner’s Bible, I scanned images from the book and photoshopped in a bunch of dinosaurs. I suggest that Zonderkidz, the children’s division of Zondervan, makes similar dino additions to their next edition. It’s a vast improvement, enriching familiar Bible stories and making them so much more exciting. Trust me, Zonderkidz—your sales will soar. Now that our family Bible is filled with huge flesh-eating monsters, my kids can’t put the dang thing down!
To help you out, here’s a list of Jurassic additions I’ve made:
* Jacob, returning to his homeland with his sheep, a donkey, and a camel: I added a friendly Stegosaurus to protect the patriarch on his journey.
* David and Goliath. I replaced the Philistine giant with a T-rex, making David’s victory that much more impressive.
* Daniel in the Lion’s den. The Bible doesn’t say the den didn’t include raptors, so I inserted a pair of the two-legged, razor-toothed carnivores among the lions. Now the look of calm on Daniel’s face bespeaks an even greater miracle!
* Jonah, swallowed by a fish: I’m sorry, but a “big fish” is just too vague. So I turned him into a Dunkleosteus terrelli—”the first king of the beasts.” This sea creature was 33 feet long, weighed four tons, and had bladed jaws more powerful than a T-rex’s.
* The Nativity scene: Your sheep, donkey, and cows are as sweet and cuddly as stuffed animals—and just as boring, so I added an iguanodon to the background. You can only see a portion of the 3 1/2-ton beast’s back leg and part of his tail, but the creature’s massive size accentuates the smallness of the stable in which the Savior was born.
* Jesus’ sermon on the mount: In your illustration, Jesus points at little blue birds flying overhead, and in the text he says: “Look at the birds. Do they store up food in a barn? No. God feeds them.” Once again, a ho-hum artistic interpretation of the Gospels. I replaced these harmless, fluffy fowl with rapacious pterodactyls. With their broad wings and long, toothy jaws, these flying lizards certainly had no need to store food in barns. In fact, they look like they might swoop down and snatch up some disciples. Hmmm. Are the pterodactyls foreshadowing the Rapture? With the addition of dinosaurs, anything in the Bible is possible.
This story originally appeared on The Revealer.