Countless children around the world grow up crazy about dinosaurs. I myself even recently located my first-ever recorded "What do you want to be when you grow up" answer, to which I wrote: "a dinosaur bone digger-upper." These creatures have always fascinated us, if not for the theological and scientific debate their existence causes and the questions their extinction raises, then for the primal way they appear in dreams and fears, and the clever ways fictional shows and movies have postulated throwing dinosaurs and man into a setting and seeing what happens.
Author Darek Isaacs doesn't need Steven Spielberg to imagine this scenario for him, however. In the book Dragons or Dinosaurs: Creation or Evolution (Bridge-Logos, 2010), Isaacs studies in great detail (with loads of photos; you can even purchase an accompanying DVD) everything from cave paintings that look a heck of a lot like dinosaurs to stories recorded both in the Bible and around the world about creatures called dragons. Could it be that these legends are less mythical and have more of a factual basis that binds all of human-and-dinosaur existence together? We sat down with the author to find out.
(Watch the video version of this interview below)
Darek, the whole dinosaurs-and-man debate: not always a way to be popular within the scientific community. What brought you to the question of their possible co-existence?
It started by looking at the timeline of the Bible. If you look at Genesis 1, you have God creating - in the first six days - all the creatures. And the land creatures were created on Day Six, and that's when Adam & Eve were created. So from a biblical perspective, that doesn't leave any room for a 65-million-year gap between dinosaurs and man. Man and dinosaurs had to co-exist.
This project started a little more than a year ago. I did a dinosaur dig up in Montana. It was led by Otis Kline, the founder of the Glendive Dinosaur and Fossil Museum, a museum based on biblical creation. He found a huge ceratopsian dinosaur, which is like the Triceratops with the horns coming out of the face, but this one isn't a triceratops because the horns don't come out the front, they actually come out to the side a bit, like a bull. It was huge, 34 feet long. They named the dinosaur Big John.
I was on the final excavation team, getting the very last remnants of the big dude out. As we're out there digging this thing out of the hard rock of the Montana badlands, the question was always there [in my mind]: Evolutionists claim this thing lived 65 million years ago; according to the Bible, we're dealing with thousands here. What gives?
That's where the whole thing really started to take shape for me. Then you also have the phenomenon of dragon legends which I knew about. What is remarkable about dragon legends is that they're in China, they're in Australia, they're in Africa, Europe, North America, South America… And really in one collective shout the whole world said, "There are these things called dragons that we're really scared of!" And, there is a lot of sensationalism attached to dragons, but if you scrape all that way, scrape all the pagan religion stuff that is dumped on top of them, you really have a very similar creature at the base of all of them: this huge, elongated reptile with a big, long neck, scales, some of them have wings, some of them do not, they climb in and out of the water, they're eating livestock, and humans are very afraid of them.
When you start matching them up with what we think dinosaurs looked like, pretty soon you start to realize, scale-for-scale, these things sound an awful lot alike! The only variable, of course, is when they existed. Evolution claims 65 million years ago, creationists say, hey, man and dinosaur had to exist together.
You do say in the book that the theory of evolution crumbles if these species co-existed. Can you break that down for us?
Absolutely. To make a claim like that, I wanted to use an evolutionist to prove my point. A guy named Louis Jacobs wrote The Quest for the African Dinosaur. Last I checked, he was a stringent evolutionist. He actually gave me the quote for the idea when he talks about the co-occurrence of man and dinosaur. He says if that were to be proven true, the theory of evolution would be demolished.
And the reason why is the way they date their dinosaurs. Dinosaur fossils are found embedded in rock. And they have methods that they think correctly date the rock [layer]. So if there is a dinosaur fossil embedded in this rock, they date that rock layer and they come up with an [estimate] like 70 million years, and therefore the bone that is encapsulated in that rock must also be 70 million years [old]. So they build their entire ladder - if you will - of evolutionary descent or ascent on these layers of rock. So if something is buried very, very low (and I'm really simplifying this now) on this geologic column, and you go up ten feet, then it must be millions of years older than the thing ten feet above it.
Well, if we're able to show that what was buried here [points to a spot even lower on the imaginary column than the item buried very low] matches and has lived with things that are buried at the very top, that means they have misread every ounce of data that they have. And that is why it just fails, everything now breaks, because our core assumption is now shown to be flawed.
You cite evidence (your word) of things like cave paintings, soft-tissue remnants, dragon lore around the world, etc. against that argument about layers of sediment and rock. Can you touch a little bit on the battle between these groups who would look at the same facts and arrive at different conclusions?
It's really a worldview as a starting point. From my perspective, I believe in the inerrancy of Scripture. I'm a Bible man, cover to cover. And I see the Bible as a "Governor of Science." And what I mean by that is that all scientific data (and really, "Science" is just our accumulation of knowledge), all of our knowledge and all of our conclusions from it, have to be weighed against the Bible and the authority of the Bible. So if something contradicts what the Bible says then we have to go, "Our conclusions on the data are wrong."
However, Science - secular science - I have quotes in my book where they actually say anything that points to God, anything that points to an Intelligent Designer? We have to remove that data completely. It's shocking. I've written a chapter called "The Theory of Imagination" where I break down how when things point to an Intelligent Designer, they don't think that's naturalistic, so it can't be within the realms of science, so they have to remove all of that data, and all of those conclusions. So when they see data that points to an idea that there is a Creator, they can't use it, or they don't want to. When we see data or conclusions from data that contradict the authority of Scripture, we know that our conclusions on that data are incorrect, because the Bible is our spine, it's what we stand on.
Where did dragons or dinosaurs go, and how have they faded into myth?
That is one of the things that was most interesting about this project. After I really threw all this evidence - from archaeological evidence, biological evidence (as you mentioned earlier, the soft-tissue findings), all the dragon lore, and also the historical records of Pliny the Elder, Herodotus, Flavius Josephus who speak of dragons - well then how in the world did they go to myth if they really walked with man?
It's very unfortunate, but it was a theological mistake! Throughout the Dark Ages, the institution of the Church - really the institution of the Roman Catholic Church - did all they could to keep the Bible out of native languages. They kept it in Latin. So for a thousand years you had a very ignorant - not by their own fault - mass of people that just didn't know what the Bible said. So they created systematic theologies to try to explain things to people, but one of the things they failed in - and this is the critical point - is that they didn't understand the aspect of sin on the world. According to the Bible, sin brought death. From our perspective now, we see the decay of all things from post-Fall, when Adam sinned.
Well we should expect to see things go extinct; we should expect to see the decay of the natural world. But what happened was they had this built-in belief that God had a hand of preservation over all of Creation. They got that from the story of Noah. According to the story of Noah in Genesis, God wiped out the Earth, but did give us a single act of preservation when he said bring all of the land animals two-by-two onto the ark. Now people who in their ignorance didn't know the Bible looked at that and they failed to make the distinction that this was a one-time occurrence. And they thought at that point that God would always preserve all kinds of creatures throughout all time and space. So the Church built up a belief that extinctions were impossible. It wasn't until the year 1800 where a guy named Georges Cuvier, a French scientist who was not a Christian, started publishing his research that actually extinctions were taking place. And it shocked the Church, because all of a sudden this is one of the first big clashes between what the Church believed ("God won't allow anything to die out"), and Science going, "We have evidence things are dying out." And so only in 1800 did that belief start to change.
So if you can imagine living in the year 1750 and you hear all these stories about dragons, all these things about them climbing in and out of water, and disembowelings, and things like that, but you nor your friends have ever seen one, and you have this strong belief that God would never allow anything to go extinct, all of a sudden if something is not alive for you to see [in 1750], then it was never alive. And that is how and why they faded into myth.
One of the quotes from your book states, "For the rational mind, the evolutionary timeline is now kicking in its death throes." Sounds like you're pretty convinced. Most people might consider the "rational mind" to be on the other side of the argument. How do you counter that?
I am thoroughly convinced. I emptied every shot I have in this book. It is all the evidence that has convinced me. After you go through all the cave paintings, after you go through the archaeological evidence… after you get to the soft tissue found in Montana (what I mean by that is there was a Tyrannosaurus Rex bone found that still had red blood cells, still had soft, stretchable tissue, still had collagen protein fragments) …those can not last 70 million years, and everyone knows that, the evolutionists know that. Really it's one of the greatest discoveries in paleontological history to find these things in there, because it confirms the truth of the Bible.
And so when you add the dragon mythology, and you add the historical accounts of Pliny, when you add the fresh tissue inside dinosaur bone, and then all the evidence of all the archaeological findings, the only variable that doesn't add up is when evolutionists say they lived. And then you add the point that they are disregarding data if it points to God. To me, it is an open-and-shut case, but I don't think we'll ever destroy the theory of evolution. I don't think the theory of evolution will go away until Jesus Christ comes back. Because it's not about evidence to them, it's about them standing accountable to an Almighty God, and they do not want to be accountable to a God.
If then you are not going to change the minds of most of those in the scientific community who do not want to be accountable or who want to choose to ignore evidence, then what can you hope for? What can considering the idea that man and dinosaur co-existed - possibly in the form of dragons in stories from all around the world - do for the believer?
I want to express to them and show to them the joy that I have found in the strength that our Bible is built on. And it is so encouraging to know that our Bible is the only complete and perfect worldview and the only thing that makes sense in this natural world. We can walk around in joy and know that our faith is being confirmed throughout all of nature. We need to pray for and love the evolutionists who are really struggling with this, because we know where this ends for them. My hope is that we can reach them, that's why we do what we do.
Darek Isaacs is an author, film producer and speaker, and President & Founder of Watchmen 33, an organization focused on defending and confirming the authority of the Bible. Darek graduated in May, 2010 with his Masters in Theological Studies from Liberty University. He frequently travels throughout the country for speaking and filming events. Darek maintains that only through the knowledge of Jesus Christ can the great mysteries of human existence be answered. Darek and his wife Tabitha live in Jacksonville, Alabama.
Original publication date: July 7, 2010