The latest science claims the dinosaurs died out 66 million years ago—a million years earlier than previously thought—resulting from a combination of a colossal meteor hitting the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico and fallout from volcanoes, according to a study reported by the journal Science last February.
But how does this jibe with Scripture? There are two prevailing approaches among biblical inerrantists: the young-earth perspective (YEC), which puts dinosaurs on the earth until after Noah’s Flood, and the old-earth perspective (OEC), which places them prior to man’s creation in a period of long creation “days” and makes a distinction between animal death (part of God’s good creation) and human death and disease caused by sin. (Some OEC proponents see the creation days as a literary framework to explain what God did, not as chronological days.)
The YEC camp, meanwhile, holds that dinosaurs came about with the other land animals on day six. Perhaps infant dinosaurs boarded Noah’s Ark, as was likely with other large animals. Following the flood, radical environmental changes from the flood judgment may have been the dinos’ demise.
The YEC perspective points to passages such as Job 40-41 as evidence that Scripture likely references the “terrible lizards.” Behemoth (Job 40) is described as the “first of the works of God” with “limbs like bars of iron” and a tail like a cedar. Most OEC commentators dismiss this thinking, suggesting Behemoth may have been a hippo or some other large beast.
In Job 41, Leviathan sounds like a dragon-like dinosaur, according to YEC proponents, with its fierce, untamable nature. In contrast, some conservative scholars such as Gleason Archer have suggested Leviathan is a crocodile.
A third way, put forth by Greg Neyman of Old Earth Ministries, suggests God in fact describes dinosaurs in Job 40-41, but they are descriptions of extinct animals for which Job may or may not have had a reference.