Did the Dinosaurs miss Noah’s Ark?

By Blogger Dr. Karin Heller


I’ve got a couple of questions for you. If Noah took two of every kind of animal on the ark, what happened to the dinosaurs? Were they alive before Noah’s time or did Noah decide not to take them? Is the week that God took to create the earth actually a span of over thousands of years? If so, does that mean that the dinosaurs were all killed because of the flood instead of a meteorite like kids are taught in school?



Dear Billy,

Dr. Karin Heller

The Noah story has been handed down in two versions, one from the 5th century B.C. and the other much older (perhaps the 8th century B.C). At this time, people did not know about the dinosaurs and a meteorite killing them. This is a 20th century hypothesis. The biblical authors wrote with the knowledge of their time. Their purpose was not to cover such hypotheses. The Noah and the creation stories come from the writers’ imagination. They are similar to Walt Disney productions with one exception – the creation and the Noah stories contain a highly theological message. We are called to explore this theological message and embrace it with FAITH!

From Cartoonstock.com

The week spoken about in Genesis 1 is symbolic for ALL the time which exists between the beginning of this universe and the end of time. God creates EVERY WEEK and EVERY DAY and stars, plants, animals and human beings! Every day he has his lights overcome the darkness of the night. Even at the end of time God will create a new heaven and a new earth (Is 66:22; Rev 21:1).  The question if this week was 1,000 years long or something else is not a good question because the biblical authors think in other categories than we do today! The narratives of creation and Noah’s ark have THEOLOGICAL meanings. Therefore, if you want to dig deeper into the message convened in these narratives, you’ll have to change your reading method and come to the Bible with the RIGHT questions. Often in the gospels, Jesus corrects people when they do not come to him with the right questions! For example the young rich man comes to Jesus and asks, “Master what good deed must I do to possess eternal life?” Jesus does not give him an answer right away, because he is off track with his question! To put him on track, Jesus confronts him with another question and says, “Why do you ask me about what is good?” (Matt 19:16-17). Learn to come to the Bible with questions that are on track!

– Karin

Dr. Karin Heller is a professor on the theology faculty at Whitworth University.Her blog, Table Talk with Dr. Karin Heller, features her responses to questions that students have asked her over the years.  Check back each week to see new posts, and if you have a question leave it in the comment section below!

7 responses to “Did the Dinosaurs miss Noah’s Ark?

  1. This reminds of Job 40, where a dinosaur is actually mentioned!


  2. There are tons and tons and tons of dinosaurs on the earth. We see them, eat them, and watch them every day. They are called birds.

  3. I’m with Sam: some prehistoric animals made the cut since they’re alive and well today.

  4. I would disagree with the comments above. A sparrow is not quite the same kind of creature as a Tyrannosaurus Rex.

  5. In this debate are we not missing what is really at stake in this narrative? Is this narrative about Tyrannosaurus Rex vs. bird or does it convey a message which fosters and supports my faith TODAY in a God who creates, saves and reconciles himself with mankind in a renewed way? When I listen to the Noah story, I give thanks for my baptism, the gift of Christ and his Church announced in the image of God’s ark and God’s faithful servant Noah. The story tells me that salvation is not only for me and you, but for heaven and earth as well as ALL living creatures!
    Dr. Karin Heller

  6. This conversation did seem to go off in a strange direction didn’t it?

  7. Sorry, didn’t mean to get off track!

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