“You Cannot Legislate Morality!” by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


“You Cannot Legislate Morality!”

The CEO of a major American corporation was forced to resign after admitting to a sexual affair with a female subordinate (Merle, 2005). The incident triggered the oft’-debated ethical question: “Should one’s personal behavior in moral matters have any bearing on one’s position in public life?” Conventional wisdom now says, “no.” You’ve heard the claims—over and over again ad nauseam: “What a person does on his own time is none of the company’s business.” “Public life and private life are separate issues.” “After all, you cannot legislate morality and personal behavior.” From the president of the United States and the CEO of a large corporation to the public school teacher, Americans in large numbers have swallowed the baseless and ludicrous assertion that personal conduct and moral choices have no bearing on one’s employment position and credibility. Character, integrity, and ethical behavior increasingly have been detached from job performance as people compartmentalize their lives into separate and distinct spheres.
But such ethical schizophrenia is irrational, nonsensical, and destructive to the fabric of society. When a person manifests immorality in one aspect of his life, he demonstrates a character flaw that has become a part of his being. This circumstance must inevitably and naturally permeate a person’s character. If he is willing to lie in his private life, logically his propensity for lying can know no boundaries. The person who becomes comfortable with lying in one area of his life will eventually feel comfortable lying in other areas as well. Once a person sacrifices her integrity by embracing one illicit behavior (e.g., lying), she instantaneously opens herself up to embracing additional illicit behaviors (e.g., stealing, cheating). If a man cannot be trusted with your wife, why would you trust him with your money or your business?
God’s Word is the only reliable guide for human behavior (Psalm 119). In the Bible, God has given rules for the regulation of human behavior. Only He is in a position to establish the parameters of proper behavior. Without law, humans would have no guidance and no framework for assessing their actions. They would be free to conduct themselves in any manner whatsoever. One person may choose to murder while another may choose not to murder. There would be no ultimate difference between those two choices—no objective basis upon which to assign any ethical or moral significance. The person who engages in immoral behavior would be open to being immoral in any and every area of his or her life. Only incidental circumstances would decide when and where the immorality manifested itself. If a CEO would sacrifice his sexual integrity, given the right circumstances, he would be willing to sacrifice his financial integrity as well.
Human civilization is, in fact, grounded and dependent on the fundamental principle that human behavior can and must be regulated. Laws, by definition, regulate human behavior! Why do we have traffic laws? Why do we require people to drive their automobiles on the correct side of the road, stop at red traffic lights, or yield to pedestrians in crosswalks? Weren’t we told that we could not legislate human behavior? Why do we have laws governing the food industry’s handling of food for human consumption? I thought we could not legislate human behavior? Why do we have laws that make murder, stealing, and perjury in court illegal—if human morality cannot be legislated? The fact of the matter is that human behavior can and must be governed. The very fabric and functioning of society depends on it!
Ultimately, morality must be based on the laws of God, with the understanding that one day all humans will stand before the Supreme Judge of the world Who will “render to each one according to his deeds” (Romans 2:6): “For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil (Ecclesiastes 12:14). “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men” (2 Corinthians 5:10-11).


Merle, Renae (2005), “Boeing CEO Resigns Over Affair with Subordinate,” Washington Post, Tuesday, March 8, [On-line], URL: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A13173-2005Mar7.html.

From Mark Copeland... "A HARMONY OF THE LIFE OF PAUL" Between The First And Second Roman Captivity (63-67 A.D.)

                    "A HARMONY OF THE LIFE OF PAUL"

       Between The First And Second Roman Captivity (63-67 A.D.)


1. During his first Roman imprisonment, Paul expected to be released...
   a. Expressed in his epistle to the Philippians - Php 1:23-27; 2:24
   b. Expressed in his plans to visit Philemon - Phm 22

2. That he was released and traveled some more is evidenced...
   a. By references made in such epistles as 1st and 2nd Timothy, Titus
   b. By the testimony of those who came along later:  Chrysostom, 
      Jerome, Eusebius, and  even Clement of Rome, who lived in the latter part of the first century A.D.

[The exact nature and extent of his travels between his two Roman
imprisonments is uncertain.  In his book, A Harmony Of The Life Of St.
Paul, Frank J. Goodwin offers the following information concerning...]


      1. Paul certainly desired to go to Philippi - Php 1:26; 2:24
      2. He desired to visit Philemon at Colosse - Phm 22
      3. If he went to Colosse, he would have probably visited nearby
         Laodicea and Hierapolis - cf. Col 2:1; 4:12-13,15-16
      4. He had expressed a desire to travel to Spain - Ro 15:24,28
         a. Clement implies that he may have done so (1 Clem 5:5)
         b. He is stated as doing so in the Canon of Muratori (as per ISBE)

      1. Paul and Timothy went to Ephesus - 1Ti 1:3; 3:14-15
      2. Leaving Timothy at Ephesus, Paul went to Macedonia - 1Ti 1:3
      3. Paul and Titus made a trip to Crete - Tit 1:5
      4. Paul to Miletus, where he left Trophimus sick - 2Ti 4:20
      5. Paul returned to Ephesus, where he was served by Onesiphorus 
         - 2Ti 1:16-18
      6. A trip was made to Troas, where Paul left a cloak and books with Carpus - 2Ti 4:13
      7. He also went to Corinth with Erastus - 2Ti 4:20
      8. He spent a winter at Nicopolis - Tit 3:12
         a. Conybeare supposes that Paul was arrested in Nicopolis
         b. He was then sent to Rome for his second imprisonment

[During these travels, Paul was assisted by many brethren.  He was also
opposed by a few.  Here is a brief review of Paul's acquaintances during this time...]


      1. Timothy, who went with Paul to Ephesus and remained there 
         - 1Ti 1:1-3
      2. Titus...left in Crete, and then asked to come to Paul in 
         Nicopolis - Tit 1:4-5; 3:14-15
      3. Erastus, who stayed in Corinth - 2Ti 4:20
      4. Trophimus, whom Paul left sick at Miletus - 2Ti 4:20
      5. Carpus, who was with Paul at Troas - 2Ti 4:13
      6. Onesiphorus, who saw Paul in Rome and ministered to him at Ephesus - 2Ti 1:16-18
      7. Artemas and Tychicus, who were sent to Titus in Crete - Tit 3:12
      8. Zenas the lawyer, and Apollos, who were asked to come to Nicopolis - Tit 3:13

      1. Hymenaeus and Alexander
         a. Both of whom lost their faith, and began to blaspheme - 1Ti 1:19-20
         b. Hymenaeus declared that the resurrection had already occurred - 2Ti 2:17-18
         c. Alexander did Paul much harm, and resisted Paul's words 
            - 2Ti 4:14-15
      2. Philetus, who joined with Hymenaeus in his false teaching 
         - 2Ti 2:17-18

[As was the case during his earlier journeys and even while imprisoned
in Rome, Paul took advantage of opportunities to write letters...]


      1. Written from Macedonia (63 or 64 A.D.) - 1Ti 1:1-3
      2. Purpose:  To instruct Timothy concerning church matters at 
         Ephesus, and provide counsel for Timothy's own spiritual progress
      3. Theme:  Sound Doctrine For A Church And Its Preacher
      4. Brief Outline:
         a. Charge concerning sound doctrine - 1Ti 1:1-20
         b. General instructions concerning the church - 1Ti 2:1-3:13
         c. Advice to Timothy - 1Ti 3:14-4:16
         d. Instructions concerning members of the church - 1Ti 5:1- 6:21

      1. Written perhaps from Corinth or Ephesus (63-66 A.D.) - Tit 1:1-4
      2. Purpose:  To instruct Titus concerning church matters at Crete
      3. Theme:  Set In Order The Things That Are Lacking
      4. Brief Outline:
         a. Instructions concerning church organization - Tit 1:1-16
         b. Instructions concerning Christian conduct - Tit 2:1-3:15


1. The time of Paul's life "Between The First And Second Roman Captivity
   (63-67 A.D.)" is  similar to the period we described as "Paul's Early Years Of Service (36-45 A.D.)"...
   a. The Scriptures reveal little about each of them
   b. What indication we have is that Paul was active and fruitful during both periods

2. Even less is revealed about the final period of Paul's life...
   a. The second Roman captivity
   b. His martyrdom

Yet we will notice that with the help of his faith and friends, Paul was
able to finish his sojourn in this life with joyful anticipation of what
was to come.   May we be blessed to have the same faith, and the same support from good friends in Christ!

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

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The Eternality of Hell [Part I] by Eric Lyons, M.Min. Kyle Butt, M.A.


The Eternality of Hell [Part I]

It hardly surprises God-fearing men and women that unbelievers of all sorts reject the notion of an unending penalty for wickedness. Since atheists, agnostics, and infidels of every stripe do not believe in the existence of heaven or an immortal soul, they certainly do not give the idea of an eternal hell much thought (other than to criticize the notion). It is somewhat surprising to many Bible believers, however, to learn that a growing number of people who believe in God, and who accept as genuine the existence of the soul, are rejecting the idea of an eternal punishment for those who live and die outside the body of Christ. What Edward Fudge espoused over twenty years ago in his volume, The Fire That Consumes, and what more recently published works by such writers as Homer Hailey and F. LaGard Smith espouse, is the idea that “the wicked, following whatever degree and duration of pain that God may justly inflict, will finally and truly die, perish and become extinct for ever and ever” (Fudge, 1982, p. 425). Allegedly, as best-selling author Smith wrote in the foreword of Hailey’s book, God’s Judgements & Punishments, “total destruction rather than conscious, ongoing punishment is the dreaded fate which awaits the wicked” (Hailey, 2003, p. 10). “In hell...those who have rejected God and have refused to believe in his Son will be totally wiped out! Completely eradicated. Their existence will come to an abrupt end” (Smith, 2003, p. 184). According to Smith and other annihilationists, the choice for mankind is simple: “Blessed existence versus non-existence” (Smith, p. 190).


To those familiar with Jesus’ statement recorded in Matthew 25:46, it would seem that the question of whether or not the wicked will one day be annihilated, or punished forever in hell, is rather easy to answer. After explaining to His disciples how God will separate the righteous from the wicked at the Judgment (Matthew 25:31-45), Jesus concluded by telling them that the wicked “shall go away into eternal punishment: but the righteous into eternal life” (25:46, ASV). For many Christians, this verse settles the issue: the wicked will not be extinguished by God after the Judgment, but will suffer unending punishment. The righteous, on the other hand, will enjoy the bliss of an unending life with God in heaven.
Recognizing the fact that if “eternal” means “unending” in Matthew 25:46, then their whole theory about what happens to the wicked after the Judgment crumbles, certain annihilationists have alleged that the word eternal has nothing whatsoever to do with time or the unending duration of the afterlife. F. LaGard Smith, just prior to his discussion of (what he calls) “The Tormenting Conundrum of Hell” (chapter 8), stated:
If you have a computer Bible program (or an antiquated concordance!), pull up the word eternaland be prepared for a shock. In all of its many associations, there is not a single hint of time.... To be eternal is to have a lasting nature. To have the kind of qualities which endure despite the passing of time (if, in fact, there is any time at all) [p. 162, italics and parenthetical items in orig., emp. added].
To say, then, that we will have eternal life in heaven says nothing about how long we will live in heaven. It’s already begun before we get there! The point is that life in heaven will be a qualitativelydifferent kind of life from the one we have known in earth’s space and time (p. 163, italics in orig., emp. added; see also Hailey, pp. 132-133).
With such an interpretation in place for the word “eternal” (and specifically for the phrase “eternal life”), Smith seemingly laid the groundwork for his interpretation of “eternal fire/punishment.” He confidently declared:
“Eternal fire” bespeaks the nature of hell’s fire, not its duration.... [W]hen we hear Jesus speaking about “eternal fire,” there’s no reason to think in terms of clocks or calendars. Time is not the issue.Effect is the issue (p. 174, italics in orig.).
“Eternal punishment” will no more be punishment throughout an endless eternity than was the immediate, devastating punishment suffered by the people of Sodom and Gomorrah (p. 175).
Although Smith seems to think that he has presented a convincing case about the annihilation of the wicked in hell through his definition of the word “eternal,” he actually never gave a precise definition of Greek words translated “eternal” or “everlasting.” In the introduction to his book, Smith admitted: “The afterlife, by its very nature, is a subject which calls for careful study of the text.... [T]here are the necessary word studies to be done, so that we can be confident we’re not confusing linguistic apples and oranges” (p. 9). Unfortunately for the reader, Smith omitted vital, fundamental word studies, and as a result, caused mass confusion for the reader.
First, he failed to cite even one Greek lexicographer in his defense of the word eternal “in all its many associations” not having “a single hint of time” (p. 162, emp. added). Perhaps the reason for Smith’s omission of relevant material from Greek dictionaries is that such word studies overwhelmingly disagree with his premise. Notice how the following eminently respected Greek scholars have defined the two New Testament Greek words (aion and aionios) that commonly are translated “forever,” “eternal,” or “everlasting,” especially when they are connected with ideas that relate to the invisible world.
  • The first two definitions of the word aion provided by Danker, Arndt, and Gingrich are as follows: (1) “a long period of time, without ref. to beginning or end” and (2) “a segment of time as a particular unit of history, age.” Three definitions are then provided for aionios: (1) “pert. to a long period of time, long ago;” (2) “pert. to a period of time without beginning or end, eternal of God;” and (3) “pert. to a period of unending duration, without end” (Danker, et al., 2000, pp. 32-33, italics in orig.).
  • According to Thayer, aion is used in the New Testament numerous times simply to mean “forever” (1962, p. 19). He then defined aionios in the following three ways: (1) “without beginning or end, that which always has been and always will be;” (2) “without beginning;” and (3) “without end, never to cease, everlasting” (p. 20).
  • Of aionios (the Greek word used twice in Matthew 25:46 to describe both “punishment” and “life”), W.E. Vine wrote: “describes duration, either undefined but not endless, as in Rom. 16:25; 2 Tim. 1:9; Tit. 1:2; or undefined because endless as in Rom. 16:26 and the other sixty-six places in the N.T.” (1940, 2:43).
  • Of the word aionios, R.C.H. Lenski asked, “[I]f this Greek adjective does not mean ‘eternal,’ which Greek adjective does have that meaning? Or did the Greek world, including the Jewish (Jesus spoke Aramaic) world, have no words for eternity or eternal?” (1943, p. 997).
  • According to A.T. Robertson: “The word aionios...means either without beginning or without end or both. It comes as near to the idea of eternal as the Greek can put it in one word”(1930, 1:202, emp. added).
  • The first definition Hermann Sasse provided for aion in the highly regarded Theological Dictionary of the New Testament is “in the sense of prolonged time or eternity” (1964, 1:198). Later, when discussing aionios “as a term for the object eschatological expectation,” he indicated that it likewise is used to mean “unceasing” or “endless,” while sometimes extending beyond the purely temporal meaning (1:209; see also Carson, 1996, p. 523).
  • Writing in The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology under the subject heading of time, Joachim Guhrt stated that aion is “primarily a designation for a long period of time [either ending or unending—EL/KB].... Eternity is thus not necessarily a timeless concept, but the most comprehensive temporal one which the experience of time has produced” (1978, p. 826). Although Guhrt admitted that when aionios is used in the gospel of John (to form “eternal life”), it can be used in a qualitative sense, nevertheless “there is also a temporal sense, so that eternal (aionios) indicates the quantity of this life” (p. 832; see also Robertson, 1932, 5:49-50).
  • Finally, James Orr wrote in the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia that
    the reply...that aionios...denotes quality, not duration, cannot be sustained. Whatever else the term includes, it connotes duration.... [I]t can hardly be questioned that “the aeons of the aeons” and similar phrases are the practical New Testament equivalents for eternity, and that aionios in its application to God and to life (“eternal life”) includes the idea of unending duration.... When, therefore, the term is applied in the same context to punishment and to life (Matt. 25:46), and no hint is given anywhere of limitation, the only reasonable exegesis is to take the word in its full sense of “eternal” (1956, 4:2502).
When Smith commented on the word eternal, saying, “In all of its many associations, there is not a single hint of time” (p. 162), he placed himself at odds with the most respected Greek lexicographers and scholars of the past century. Any attempt to explain away eternal punishment by redefining the Greek words for eternal will fail because eternal “describes duration” (Vine, 2:43).
Second, even without delving into various Greek dictionaries to find the meaning of the word aionios(translated “eternal” or “everlasting” in Matthew 25:46), one easily could grasp the primary meaning of the word simply by noting two contrasts that Paul made in two of his epistles. First, in 2 Corinthians 4:18, he indicated that the antithesis of the spiritual things that are “eternal,” are the physical “things which...aretemporary (proskaira)” [viz., that which endures for a time or season]. Later, in his letter to Philemon, he wrote that “perhaps” his servant Onesimus “departed for a while” so that he (Philemon) “might receive himforever” (Philemon 15). Paul suggested that perhaps Onesimus had abandoned his master for a season/hour (horan), so that their relationship might become one that prevailed in both this life and in the unending life to come. In each of these passages, Paul contrasted the temporary with the eternal—that which comes to an end, with that which is unending.
Third, Bible translators obviously believed that aionios denotes duration, else surely they would have chosen to use English words other than “everlasting” or “eternal” in their respective translations of this Greek word. According to the fourth edition of The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, the English word “everlasting” means exactly what it sounds like it means: “1. Lasting forever; eternal. 2a. Continuing indefinitely or for a long period of time,” and in its noun form, “eternal duration” (2000, pp. 616-617). The word “eternal” is similarly defined: “1. Being without beginning or end; existing outside of time.... 2. Continuing without interruption; perpetual...” (p. 611; see also Merriam-Webster’s definition of these words). Why have English Bible translators been translating aionios as “everlasting” or “eternal” for the past four centuries? Because they understood that this word denotes duration, and specifically, when dealing with the future state of the righteous and the wicked, an unending, unceasing duration. Considering that the Greek words aion and aionios, and the English words everlasting and eternal, all obviously signify duration, one is bewildered as to how Smith could allege that in the word eternal, “[i]n all of its many associations, there is not a single hint of time” (p. 162). Talk about confusing apples with oranges!
Though Smith’s definition of eternal is troubling, his attempt at explaining away Matthew 25:46 (in light of his doctrine of annihilationism) is even more perplexing. Having just previously indicated that “eternal” saysnothing about duration (pp. 162-163,174), he then proceeded to argue that “the Hebrew word olam and the Greek word aionios, both of which mean the same as ‘eternal’ ” (p. 174), do indicate some kind of duration, but not always an ongoing, unending duration. He gave eight examples from the Old Testament where “eternal” (olam) means “all the days of life” [as when a servant pledged allegiance to his master, had his ear pierced to the door, and was not discharged as long as he lived (cf. Deuteronomy 15:17; see Gesenius, 1847, p. 612)]. He then connected Matthew 25, verses 41 and 46, to his discussion of olam, saying:
So it is that when Jesus talks about the great dividing of the sheep from the goats, and says of those on his left, “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels,” the point is destination, not duration. Likewise, when Jesus says, “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life” (Matthew 25:41,46), he’s speaking of the kind of punishment—namely destruction—which has everlasting consequences (p. 175, italics in orig.).
Such was Smith’s explanation of Matthew 25:46. At first, he alleged that “eternal” is not about time (pp. 162-163,174). Then he alleged that it was about time, though not always unending in its nature (p. 174). Finally, he stated that “eternal” is not about duration, but destination (p. 175). To say the least, we find his reasoning extremely confusing.
When all of the evidence is considered, Smith’s comments regarding Matthew 25:46 and the word “eternal” are nothing more than a tenuous attempt to propagate an extremely dangerous doctrine. As we have documented, “eternal” does imply duration. Furthermore, simply because the Old Testament Hebrew word for eternal (olam) often involved an eventual ending, does not mean that “eternal” is to be understood in that sense in every case in the New Testament (and certainly not in Matthew 25:46).
Admittedly, there are instances in the Old Testament where the Hebrew word olam means something other than eternal (cf. Exodus 12:24; 29:9; 40:15; Joshua 14:9). As Smith noted, the example of the slave who served his master “forever” (Deuteronomy 15:17) does not mean he will serve him for eternity. The context demands that we interpret the word olam (“forever”) in this verse (and numerous others in the Old Testament) to mean something other than performing the action everlastingly (cf. Exodus 40:15; Leviticus 16:34; 1 Chronicles 16:17). In this case of the “eternal” slave, olam was used to mean “as long as the slave lived on Earth.”
In other Old Testament passages, however, the Hebrew word for eternal clearly is used to mean unending in its duration. When Abraham called on the name of the Lord (Genesis 21:33), He called on the “Eternal” (olam) God. The psalmist praised the God Who is “from everlasting to everlasting” (90:2; cf. Micah 5:2), and Solomon, near the end of Ecclesiastes, wrote of man’s place in the next life as being an “eternal home” (12:5). When the psalmist wrote, “My days are like a shadow that lengthens, and I wither away like grass. But You, oh Lord, shall endure forever (olam)” (Psalm 102:11-12), he quite obviously was contrasting the shortness of human life with the duration of God’s existence. The psalmist went on to say that God’s “years would have no end” (Psalm 102:27). According to Daniel 12:2, “Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting (olam) life, some to shame and everlasting (olam) contempt.” Olam was used in these cases to convey the idea of eternal in duration.
In fact, the Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon gives the following definition for the word olam: (1) long duration, antiquity, futurity, for ever, ever, everlasting, evermore, perpetual old, ancient, world; (1a) ancient time, long time (of past); (1b) (of future); (1b1) forever, always; (1b2) continuous existence, perpetual; (1b3) everlasting, indefinite or unending future, eternity (see “Owlam,” 1999).
Like so many words throughout Scripture that have more than one meaning, olam and aionios must be understood in light of the contexts in which they are found. Take, for example, the use of the word “day” (Hebrew yom; Greek hemera) in Scripture. Depending on the context in which it is found, it can mean: (1) the period opposite of night (Genesis 1:5); (2) a literal 24-hours (cf. Joshua 6:1-16); (3) a period of time in the future (not necessarily a literal 24 hours—cf. Matthew 7:22; 2 Peter 3:10); or (4) the total days of Creation (Genesis 2:4). When questions arise about the kind of days experienced during the Creation week, one is compelled to examine the specific context of Genesis 1. When he does, an overwhelming amount of evidence points to these days being literal 24-hour days just as we experience today. (Perhaps most noteworthy is the fact that each of these days is described as having both an “evening” and a “morning”—1:5,8,13,19,23,31.) Similarly, the word “eternal” also must be understood in light of its immediate and remote contexts.
Although Smith saw fit to indoctrinate his readers on how the Hebrew word for eternal (olam) frequently is used to mean something other than eternal in duration, he completely neglected to mention any of the numerous Old Testament passages where olam is used to mean a literal forever (as noted above—Genesis 21:33; Ecclesiastes 12:5; et al.). Why mention one usage, but ignore the other? Furthermore, it seems quite inappropriate for someone to comment on a New Testament verse like Matthew 25:46 (originally written in Greek), and basically deal only with how that corresponding Hebrew word is used in the Old Testament, all the while neglecting the overwhelming majority of instances in the New Testament where the word means “unending.”
The word aionios is used seventy times throughout the New Testament. Three times it is used to describe God’s eternal nature (Romans 16:26; 1 Timothy 6:16; Hebrews 9:14). It is found over forty times in the New Testament, in reference to the unending happiness of the righteous (e.g., John 10:28; Romans 5:21; 6:23; 1 John 1:2). And five times it is used in reference to the punishment of the wicked (cf. 2 Thessalonians 1:9; Jude 7). In Matthew 25:46, the word appears twice—once in reference to “eternal punishment,” and once in reference to “eternal life.” Simply put, if the punishment mentioned in this verse is temporary, then so is heaven. Contextually, the two are linked. Just as Jesus expected His disciples to understand heaven as a place of permanent, unending happiness for conscious souls of people, He likewise intended for them to understand hell as a place of permanent, unending torment for conscious souls. The fact that Christ made a special point of repeating aionios in the same sentence requires that we stay with the plain meaning of the word. Both heaven and hell will be eternal (unending!) in duration.
Matthew 25:46 serves as a death knell to the theory of annihilationism. Those who teach the limited duration of hell either refrain altogether from commenting on this particular verse, or the comments they make, like Smith’s, are disorderly and void of evidentiary support. In Homer Hailey’s work on God’s judgments (in which half of the book was dedicated specifically to defending the position that hell is not eternal), he never once gave a clear explanation of this verse. The only comment he offered that might remotely be considered an “explanation” of Matthew 25:46 is found on page 153, where it follows immediately after his only quotation of this verse. Hailey wrote:
It is sometimes said that Jesus gave a full and accurate picture of hell. Certainly, it was accurate, but it was not the complete teaching on the subject. Much would be added by the Holy Spirit through Paul and Peter, and through John in Revelation. The seven times Jesus used the wordGehenna, He used it from the Jewish point of view. He left the universal aspect of the subject to be revealed by the Holy Spirit (2003, emp. in orig.).
Certainly the Holy Spirit inspired others to write on this subject. But that does not mean that what Jesus said about “eternal punishment” is wrong (or not worthy of comment). How can someone write a book titledGod’s Judgements & Punishments, yet never explain the Lord’s comments on “eternal punishment”?
Even after granting annihilationists the fact that aionios can extend at times beyond the meaning of duration, and also may be used on occasion in a qualitative sense (see Guhrt, 1978, p. 832), as we have already seen, “the temporal sense is rarely forfeited” (Carson, 1996, p. 523). First and foremost, the word has to do with duration. Moreover, whenever aion is brought into the discussion, the case against annihilationism is strengthened considerably. If God “lives for ever (aion) and ever (aion)” (Revelation 1:18; 10:6; 15:7), and glory is to be given to Him “for ever and ever” (Revelation 1:6; 4:9-10; 5:13; 7:12), and if the saved “shall reign for ever and ever” with the Lord in heaven (Revelation 22:5), then the wicked assuredly “will be tormented day and night for ever and ever” (Revelation 20:10; cf. Revelation 14:11). “Forever and ever” is “the formula of eternity” (Vincent, 1889, 2:418). Without a doubt, it denotes duration, even when describing the punishment of the wicked in hell. As Moses Stuart concluded in his book,Exegetical Essays on Several Words Relating to Future Punishment:
[I]f the Scriptures have not asserted the endless punishment of the wicked, neither have they asserted the endless happiness of the righteous, nor the endless glory and existence of the Godhead. The one is equally certain with the other. Both are laid in the same balance. They must be tried by the same tests. And if we give up the one, we must, in order to be consistent, give up the other also (1830, p. 57).


Sodom and Gomorrah

Another argument of the annihilationist goes something like this: (1) Sodom and Gomorrah were burned to ashes, and were completely annihilated; (2) in the New Testament, hell is likened to Sodom and Gomorrah; thus (3) hell will not be eternal. Those who attempt to explain away the Bible’s teaching on the eternality of hell are well known for making such an argument. Immediately after quoting 2 Peter 2:6 and Jude 7, where the inspired writers compared the future judgment of the unrighteous to the condemnation of Sodom and Gomorrah, F. LaGard Smith asked if hell’s fire was indeed an “[e]ternal fire...that keeps on burning its victims forever?” (p. 173). His answer:
Not if Sodom and Gomorrah are anything to go by. The fate of those two abominable cities stands as the quintessential illustration of a consuming fire. In the wake of that catastrophic fire—however long it burned—nothing was left of the two cities, not even a trace! For anyone still insisting that hell is all about ongoing torment in fire and brimstone, serious thought needs to be given to a specific day in history when fire and brimstone literally rained down on the wicked.
To be sure, there would have been suffering in the process—undoubtedly even some “weeping and gnashing of teeth.” But their suffering would not have lasted long (p. 173, emp. in orig.).
Two pages later, he stated matter of factly: “ ‘Eternal punishment’ will no more be punishment throughout an endless eternity than was the immediate, devastating punishment suffered by the people of Sodom and Gomorrah” (p. 175). Is Smith right? Will the destruction of those in hell after the Judgment be exactly like the one-time physical annihilation of Sodom and Gomorrah?
What Smith and others who hold to the theory of annihilationism seem to forget is that analogies are meant to be carried only so far. When Jesus compared His disciples to sheep (John 10), He obviously did not mean that His followers are the most senseless people on Earth. Rather, He was stressing that His disciples are dependent upon Him to direct their paths in the way of righteousness, just as sheep are dependent upon the leadership of a shepherd to keep them from harm. Biblical comparisons that are pressed beyond their intended design produce needless (and sometimes dangerous) misunderstandings of Scripture. Those who teach that the command in the parable of the tares to allow both the wheat and the tares to “grow together until the harvest” (Matthew 13:30) somehow prevents the church from exercising discipline upon wayward members, have overextended Jesus’ parable. Such an interpretation stands at odds with what Jesus and Paul taught elsewhere (cf. Matthew 18:15-17; 1 Corinthians 5:1-13; 2 Thessalonians 3:6,14-15). Likewise, those who point to the earthly comparisons that Jesus and the inspired writers made with the ultimate punishment of the unrighteous in hell have carried the analogies too far.
The physical punishment that Sodom and Gomorrah suffered for their heinous sins was destruction of theirphysical lives. “The Lord rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah...out of the heavens” (Genesis 18:24). For the next 2,000 years, this unique fiery judgment served as a constant reminder to the descendants of Abraham of God’s hatred toward sin. Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Amos, and Zephaniah all reminded their Hebrew brethren of this devastating event, as they communicated God’s wrath upon sinners. It seems only natural then, that when Jesus and the apostles and prophets of the first century chose to illustrate the spiritual “everlasting destruction” (2 Thessalonians 1:9) of the souls of the unrighteous in hell, they compared it to the infamous physical destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. The devastating event that had occurred over 2,000 years earlier was one of the best earthly examples that God’s messengers could use to convey the idea of the type of judgment, pain, and suffering that eventually would be brought upon the unrighteous.
The comparison of Sodom and Gomorrah’s temporal destruction with that which the souls of the unrighteous will experience spiritually in hell was meant to be about the type of judgment and punishment suffered, not the duration of the punishment. Like the judgment of the immoral citizens of these two cities of old, the eventual punishment upon all of the unrighteous will be final, deliberate, devastating, and hot—like the fire and brimstone that devastated the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah. However, whenever spiritual truths are illustrated using earthly examples there are limitations—at least two of which are apparent in this instance. First, unlike the kind of fire that burned in Sodom and Gomorrah, which caused excruciating physical pain to those who dwelt in those cities, the “fire” of hell will torment spiritual bodies (cf. Luke 16:24). It obviously will be a different kind of “fire” than what we see upon the Earth, because heaven and hell are not physical places, but spiritual. Second, and perhaps most important, the New Testament explicitly teaches that the fiery destruction of the unrighteous in hell differs from that of Sodom and Gomorrah in that the flames of hell will burn forever. Whereas “Sodom...was overthrown in a moment” by fire (Lamentations 4:6, emp. added), the fire and destruction of hell is described in the New Testament as “unquenchable” (three times—Matthew 3:12; Mark 9:43,48) and as “eternal” (six times—Matthew 18:8; 25:41,46; Mark 3:29; 2 Thessalonians 1:9; Jude 7). If the Bible nowhere used such terminology to describe the punishment of the wicked in hell, then we might come to the same conclusion Smith and others have in regard to the annihilation of the wicked. The truth of the matter, however, is that God conspicuously and purposefully revealed the significant difference between the type of temporary flames that consumed Sodom and Gomorrah, and the unending flames that burn in hell, by using such terms as “eternal” and “unquenchable.” Jesus even used the term “eternal” in reference to hell in the same sentence He used the word to describe heaven (Matthew 25:46). How much clearer could He have made it that heaven and hell are both eternal in duration? If God wanted to get across to mankind that hell is a place of everlasting torment, what else should He have done than what He did?
But someone might ask, “How is ‘eternal’ used in Jude 7 in reference to the punishment of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah if their punishment was simply temporary? Is the word ‘eternal’ used in a different sense in this passage?” Although Sodom and Gomorrah’s “suffering...of eternal fire” (Jude 7) is used by proponents of the theory of annihilationism to assert that the wicked will not suffer forever in hell, “the term ‘suffering’ (hupechousai—literally to ‘hold under’) is a present-tense participle, which asserts that the ancient citizens of the twin cities were suffering at the time that this letter was penned. The ‘eternal fire’ was not that which was rained upon Sodom and Gomorrah, but that into which they entered at death to suffer eternally” (Jackson, 2003, 39:30, emp. in orig.; see also Hiebert, 1989, p. 239). The immoral inhabitants of these cities suffered a one-time physical death by fire, and currently are suffering in torment while awaiting their sentence to hell (cf. Luke 16:19-31).
Additional evidence from Jude shows that the example of Sodom and Gomorrah was in no way intended to be construed to teach annihilationism. Within the immediate context of the passage, after mentioning Sodom and Gomorrah, the inspired Jude said: “Likewise also these dreamers...” (vs. 8). He next recorded a compendium of sins of which “these dreamers” were guilty. Then, in verse 13, just six verses from the statements concerning the wicked twin cities, Jude commented that these sinners were “wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever” (emp. added). His point was clear: just as the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah once suffered earthly destruction, and were at present enduring continuing punishment (as evinced by the present-tense participle), those wicked men during the time of Jude could look forward to the same darkness and punishment for no less time than “forever.”

Chaff, Tares, and Withered Branches

Other biblical comparisons to the punishment of the wicked that some offer as proof of its temporality include the chaff mentioned by John the Baptizer (Matthew 3:11-12), as well as the tares and the withered vine branches discussed by Jesus (Matthew 13:24-30,36-43; John 15:1-10). Allegedly, since all three of these combustible components “burn up” when cast into fire, rather than burn continually, then there is no existence for any wicked soul beyond that of being “burned up.” After expounding on these three illustrations of hell, Homer Hailey asked (in a chapter he wrote titled “Examples of Eternal Punishments”): “Considered strictly from the words of Jesus, and what He intended to teach, is there anything in these figures from which we can conclude that one who is cast into the fire continues consciousness or suffers beyond the point of having been burned up?” (p. 144, emp. added).
Although Hailey meant for this to be a rhetorical question with the “obvious” answer being “no,” there is something that indicates the punishment continues forever and ever; John said that Jesus “will burn up the chaff with unquenchable (asbesto) fire” (Matthew 3:12, emp. added). This fire differs from that of normal flames in that it is perpetual. Greek lexicographers Danker, Arndt, and Gingrich defined asbestosas “inextinguishable” fire, and then listed “eternal” (aionios; Matthew 18:8; 25:41) as its closest synonym (2000, p. 141). If the wicked are annihilated in hell, one is forced to ask what possible purpose “unquenchable fire” serves? Why have an “inextinguishable” fire for “extinguishable” souls? Why should the fire burn forever if its purpose comes to an end? Furthermore, since Jesus used the word “unquenchable,” it is evident that His parallels to physical materials burning were incomplete, and needed to be qualified in order for His point to be communicated.
A second thought regarding the three above-mentioned comparisons to hell is that “their illustrative value, in terms of punishment, is limited. They are strictly material objects; human beings are not!” (Jackson, 2003, 39:30). Any physical example that inspired men used to give their audience a glimpse into the future punishment of the wicked fails to give an adequate picture of the unending duration of hell. Obviously, the duration of hell is not what John and Jesus attempted to illustrate with those particular analogies. Furthermore, if the punishment of the wicked is not eternal, because the chaff, tares, and withered vine branches to which this punishment is compared are not eternal, then pray tell, will the righteous be annihilated as well? After all, in the parable of the tares, the wheat represented the righteous, whom Jesus said “will shine forth as the sun” in heaven (Matthew 13:43, emp. added). If the Sun is a physical object that will be extinguished when Jesus returns, then, using the “logic” of annihilationists, shouldn’t the righteous be annihilated as well? Peter wrote:
The heavens and the earth...are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. ...The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells (2 Peter 3:7,10-13, emp. added).
Since all that are in the physical heavens (including the Sun) “will be dissolved” at the coming of the day of God, and since the kingdom of heaven will be illuminated by the glory of God instead of the Sun (Revelation 21:23; 22:5), then clearly when Jesus compared the souls of the righteous to the Sun, He was not referring to the Sun’s temporary existence in the heavens. The eventual extinction of the Sun was not the point of comparison with the righteous. The comparison is of the Sun’s “brilliance and splendor” (Lenski, 1943, p. 540), which the saints will acquire from “the glory of God” (Revelation 21:23) after being separated from those who will be cast “into outer darkness” (cf. Matthew 22:13; 25:30). In contrast to the righteous who will “reign forever and ever” in the presence of the Lamb (Revelation 22:5), the wicked will burn “day and night forever and ever” (Revelation 20:10) in “the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41).


A final picture of the wicked’s punishment can be derived from an understanding of the Greek wordgehenna. This word appears twelve times in the New Testament, and literally means “Valley of the Sons of Hinnom” (Danker, et al., 2000, p. 191)—the name given to the valley south of the walls of Jerusalem. This valley was notoriously connected to the sinful, horrific practice of child sacrifice associated with the pagan god Molech. Josiah, the righteous king of Judah, in his efforts to restore true worship, ransacked the pagan worship arena and “defiled Topheth, which is the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, that no man might make his son or his daughter pass through the fire to Molech” (2 Kings 23:10; cf. 2 Chronicles 28:3; 33:6). As a result, the valley became a refuse dump for discarding filth, dead animals, and other garbage (see Jeremiah 7:32).
Allegedly, since all that was thrown into this earthly model of hell was “ultimately consumed” (see Smith, 2003, p. 176), then the wicked who will be cast into “hell fire” (Matthew 5:22) likewise will be annihilated. This is yet another comparison to hell that has been pressed beyond its intended design. The length of time in which humans, animals, and garbage burned in the valley of Gehenna is not the emphasis of the comparison. The burning dump in the valley of Gehenna served as a great example of what hell will be like for the damned, because it had been a place of fiery torment in the days when children were tortured by fire in the idolatrous worship of Molech. It then was decimated and polluted by King Josiah so as to make it an undesirable place to live, work, or perform religious ceremonies, even for the heathens. Jews associated this place with sin and suffering, which “led to the application of its name, in the Greek form of it, to the place of final and eternal punishment” (McGarvey, 1875, p. 55).
One must recognize that no earthly example can ever perfectly parallel “eternal punishment,” because nothing physical lasts forever. Every earthly example that gives mankind some insight into the hideousness of hell, falls short in this aspect. That which once burned in the valley of Gehenna has been consumed. The burning fire of this repugnant valley has long been quenched. Hell’s fire, on the other hand, “shall never be quenched” (Mark 9:43), the figurative “worm” that eats on the flesh of hell’s inhabitants “does not die” (Mark 9:48), and the wicked who find themselves in hell (due to their rejection of the grace of God) “shall suffer the punishment of eternal destruction” (2 Thessalonians 1:9, emp. added, RSV).
In many of the instances in which a physical example is given to illustrate the horrors of hell, it is of extreme interest that Jesus and the inspired writers added descriptive words like “unquenchable” and “eternal” to denote the difference between the physical illustration and the spiritual reality of the future spiritual punishment.


American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (2000), (Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin), fourth edition.
Carson, D.A. (1996), The Gagging of God: Christianity Confronts Pluralism (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).
Danker, Frederick William, William Arndt, and F.W. Gingrich, (2000), Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press).
Fudge, Edward W. (1982), The Fire That Consumes (Houston, TX: Providential Press).
Gesenius, William (1847), Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1979 reprint).
Guhrt, Joachim (1978), “Time,” The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, ed. Colin Brown (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).
Hailey, Homer (2003), God’s Judgements & Punishments (Las Vegas, NV: Nevada Publications).
Hiebert, D. Edmond (1989), Second Peter and Jude (Greenville, SC: Unusual Publications).
Jackson, Wayne (2003), “Homer Hailey’s Last Book,” Christian Courier, 39:29-31, December.
Lenski, R.C.H. (1943), The Interpretation of St. Matthew’s Gospel (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg).
McGarvey, J.W. (1875), Commentary on Matthew and Mark (Delight AR: Gospel Light).
Orr, James (1956), “Punishment,” International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, ed. James Orr (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans), 4:2501-2504.
Owlam: 5769” (1999), Logos Library System: Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon (Logos Research Systems, Inc.: Bellingham, WA).
Robertson, A.T. (1930), Word Pictures in the New Testament (Nashville, TN: Broadman).
Robertson, A.T. (1932), Word Pictures in the New Testament (Nashville, TN: Broadman).
Sasse, Hermann (1964), “Aion, Aionios,” Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, ed. Gerhard Kittel (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Smith, F. LaGard (2003), After Life (Nashville, TN: Cotswold Publishing).
Stuart, Moses (1830), Exegetical Essays on Several Words Relating to Future Punishment (Rosemead, CA: The Old Paths Book Club, 1954 reprint).
Thayer, Joseph (1962 reprint), Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).
Vincent, M.R. (1889), Word Studies in the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1946 reprint).
Vine, W.E. (1940), An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words (Old Tappan, NJ: Revell).

“Our God is a Consuming Fire” by Kyle Butt, M.A.


“Our God is a Consuming Fire”

In an effort to bolster the idea that the punishment of the wicked in the afterlife will be annihilation, proponents of annihilationism frequently have focused on the biblical terms “consume” and “consuming.” Since the Bible does indeed say that “our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:29), and since the words “consume” and “consuming” can, and sometimes do, refer to the annihilation of physical matter, then many annihilationists have asserted that God will annihilate the souls of wicked humans. Homer Hailey, in his posthumously published book, God’s Judgements and Punishments, has an entire chapter titled “Our God—A Consuming Fire.” In that chapter, he deals almost entirely with the Old Testament usage of the terms “consume” and “consuming.” Concerning these terms, he remarked:
The word needing a clear definition is “consume” or “consuming.” The English word is translated from so many Hebrew words, and the Hebrew words are translated by so many English words, that it is difficult to find a precise definition for “consume.” It is best therefore to learn its meaning from usage and examples (2003, p. 136).
Hailey then proceeded to the burning bush passage, in which Moses approached the bush that “burned with fire” but “was not consumed” (Exodus 3:2). Hailey concluded: “In this instance, ‘consumed’ meant ‘burned up’ ” (p. 136). He then cited an example of a burnt offering being “consumed” on the altar (Leviticus 9:23-24) as evidence to suggest that “consumed” means to burn up.
After listing these non-human subjects of consumption, Hailey listed several Old Testament examples in which sinful humans are said to have been “consumed”: “Let sinners be consumed out of the earth. And let the wicked be no more” (Psalm 104:35); “But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of Jehovah shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; in smoke shall they consume away” (Psalm 37: 20). Hailey also listed the rebellion of Korah, where God told Moses and Aaron to get away from the rebels “that I may consume them in a moment” (Numbers 16:21). And later in the same context, God sent a plague among the people in which God made the same comment about consuming them as He did concerning the rebels in verse 21.
When it came time to summarize his chapter, Hailey placed two columns at the top of the final page, one titled “What is Said,” and the other titled “What is Not Said.” In the “What is Said” column, he listed Hebrews 12:29, Numbers 16 and Deuteronomy 4:24. Then he listed the “means of consuming,” and recorded the Earth swallowing the rebels with Korah, the plague, and fire arriving from heaven. In the “What is Not Said” column, the entire text under the column is one line that reads: “That they all burn forever” (p. 139). He obviously was attempting to lead the reader to conclude that consume and consuming must mean annihilation.
Is it correct to understand that the biblical use of the words “consume” and “consuming” must entail that the souls of the wicked will be annihilated? Simply put, no. First, in order to conclude that the words imply annihilation, Hailey provided examples like the burning bush and the burning of an offering that do refer to the item being consumed—burned up completely. Conspicuously missing, however, are those examples in which the item that is consumed is not burned up completely. The Hebrew words translated “to consume” can mean any number of things, including: “to eat, devour, slay, to be wasted, to be destroyed, to feed, exterminate, to cause to cease, be accomplished, and exhaust, among others” (see “Akal,” 1999; “Kalah,” 1999). Are there examples in which the terms “consume” and “consuming” do not insinuate total incineration? Certainly. For instance, in Jeremiah 14, the Lord commented that He by no means would accept the idolatrous Israelites, and then stated: “But I will consume them by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence” (14:12). Would their being consumed necessitate that their bodies would be completely burned into nonexistence? The text answered that question when it stated that the bodies of those consumed would “be cast out in the streets of Jerusalem because of the famine and the sword; they will have no one to bury them” (14:12). The consuming taking place in Jeremiah obviously did not entail a complete burning up, but instead a punishment of physical death in which the bodies of those who were consumed would still remain for some time to decay in the open streets.
Again, in Genesis 31:15, Rachel and Leah, in their discussion of their father’s behavior, commented: “Are we not considered strangers by him? For he has sold us, and also completely consumed our money.” Did they mean to say that their money had been burned and annihilated into nonexistence? No. Rather, it had been spent or wasted, and thus no longer was of use to them.
Genesis 31:40 serves as a final example of the various ways the word “consumed” can be used. In this text, Jacob describes the hardships he endured during his tenure with Laban.
In that discussion, Jacob stated: “There I was! In the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night, and my sleep departed from my eyes.” Was Jacob completely burned up or annihilated during the day? Not in any sense. Interestingly, the same Hebrew word is used in Genesis 31:40 that is used in Deuteronomy 4:24—which was cited by Hailey, and from which his Hebrews 12:29 quote is taken. It is evident, then, that the words “consume” and “consuming” do not necessarily connote complete annihilation, but can, and often do, make reference to a state of waste and ruin, or, as in Jacob’s case, pain, suffering and hardship.
It also is interesting to note that, among the examples given by Hailey that supposedly imply the annihilation of those things (or people) which were consumed, are the individuals who were consumed in the rebellion of Korah in Numbers 16. Yet in the New Testament, Jude offered divinely inspired commentary on certain sinful individuals, stating: “Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, and perished in the rebellion of Korah” (vs. 11). Jude further commented that these sinners were “raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame; wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever” (vs. 13). Therefore, these sinners had “perished in the rebellion of Korah,” and yet their souls were not completely consumed or annihilated, but had a reservation in a place where there was “blackness of darkness forever.” From the New Testament commentary offered by Jude, it is evident that those consumed in the rebellion of Korah did not go out of existence altogether, but that their physical lives were ended and their souls awaited a punishment in darkness forever.
Once again, an appeal to incomplete word studies in an attempt to force the idea of annihilationism on the biblical text is speculative and unfounded, to say the least. The overwhelming evidence of Scripture explicitly states and implicitly teaches that the souls of the wicked will be punished in the fires of hell forever—without respite.


Akal: 398” (1999), Logos Library System: Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon (Logos Research Systems: Bellingham, WA).
Hailey, Homer (2003), God’s Judgements & Punishments (Las Vegas, NV: Nevada Publications).
Kalahl: 3615” (1999), Logos Library System: Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon (Logos Research Systems: Bellingham, WA).

Dinosaurs and Humans—Together? by Eric Lyons, M.Min. Bert Thompson, Ph.D.


Dinosaurs and Humans—Together?

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.
Bert Thompson, Ph.D.
Why is it so difficult for people to accept that dinosaurs and humans once lived together? No doubt one of the reasons is due to the fact that for many years, we have been inundated with information—on television, in books, in classrooms, in movies, in magazines, and on all sorts of paraphernalia—suggesting that dinosaurs and humans are separated by 60+ million years of geologic time. Thus, evolutionary scientists (and those who accept their timeline) have constructed a barrier that must be broken down in order to get people to consider the coexistence of dinosaurs and humans.
A second reason why people are uneasy about the idea of dinosaurs and humans living contemporaneously on Earth is that in the twenty-first century, mankind is accustomed to thinking that almost all dinosaurs were enormous killing machines. Geologist John Clayton has suggested, for example: (1) “It is ludicrous to suggest that man cohabited with the dinosaurs in an Alley Oop kind of world” (1991, p. 37); and (2) “Man could not have lived in a world full of dinosaurs, so by the time God created Adam the dinosaurs were gone” (1990, p. 14).
People apparently seem to think that dinosaurs would have killed all of the humans by biting them in half with their super-sized teeth, or by hunting them down and cutting them open with five-inch long, sickle-like claws. People think that the large plant eaters would have crushed humans with their massive feet, or smashed them with their huge tails. Humans are just too small, dumb, and scrawny to have lived during the time of the dinosaurs. At least that seems to be the way evolutionary scientists, moviemakers, book writers, and magazine editors portray these “terrible lizards.”
Truly, dinosaurs were remarkable creatures. Some were extremely large. Others were smaller, but with sharp teeth and long claws. Some had big heads, some had giant tails, and some had both. Others were covered with spikes or armored plates. People in general seem to think of them as being almost invincible—animals that lived during a time in which man simply could not have survived. They would have been unapproachable, and certainly, untamable. Right? Just how is it that creationists can reasonably believe that dinosaurs and humans once lived on this Earth together at the same time?


Most people today, it seems, are constantly on the go. Whether man or woman, young or old, with children or without, we (especially in America) are a busy people. Time seems to leave us before we realize we had it. We go to school, attend classes, and learn what we are told. We work hard, and we play hard. But how often do people step back from the hustle and bustle of life, take a deep breath, and think outside of the proverbial box? Consider the topic of dinosaurs. Rather than thinking critically about the possibility of humans and dinosaurs coexisting on Earth at one time in the past, most students are content to swallow everything a high school teacher or college professor tells them about the “wild world” of dinosaurs. In the classrooms of evolutionary scientists, thinking outside the “evolutionary box” (e.g., questioning whether it is logical to believe in the cohabitation of dinosaurs and humans) is not acceptable conduct.
The truth is, humans live in a world that is home to many incredible creatures. Numerous large animals, some of which are very intimidating, cohabit this Earth with humanity, and have for thousands of years. Man generally shies away from some of these animals. Others, however, he has been able to nurture and tame.
Komodo dragon head
Komodo Dragons are the world’s largest lizards. They can grow to be 10 feet long (almost twice the length of an average human) and can weigh as much as 275 pounds. Still, their short, stocky legs can carry them 15 miles per hour (as fast as most dogs run). After stalking and killing deer, wild boar, and other prey, they devour their dinner in a matter of minutes. Furthermore, these amazing creatures can consume up to 80% of their own weight. A 100-pound Komodo can eat 80 pounds of food in one meal! And, as if that is not enough “bad news” about an animal with which we share this planet, millions of deadly bacteria grow inside its mouth, and make any bite poisonous and potentially fatal. Yet despite its size, sharp teeth, speed, power, poison, and digestive habits, neither this animal, nor any other large reptile (e.g., the anaconda), has kept man from flourishing on Earth.
Trained elephants performing
While continuing to think outside of the “dangerous dinosaur” box, consider the world’s largest land animal with which we share the Earth today—the imperial elephant. With somewhat amusing features (like long “noses” and big ears), these awesome animals can reach weights of up to 11 tons (22,000 pounds!). One elephant easily could kill a man just by stepping on him with one foot, or by striking him with its powerful trunk. Yet, for thousands of years, humans have been known to live with, and even tame, these massive beasts. Over 2,200 years ago, the empire of Carthage, led by its infamous general, Hannibal, used tame African elephants to cross the Swiss Alps and battle the Romans. Today, many elephants still are being controlled by man. Tamed elephants are used in various Asian countries in religious ceremonies, or to do physical labor like hauling lumber or transporting people from place to place. Elephants also are frequently seen performing at circuses. Amazing, is it not, that humans have trained these creatures, which can outweigh them by as much as 20,000 pounds—to perform some of the same tricks we train dogs to perform?
Humans have been able to live alongside elephants for thousands of years. Some humans and elephants even have become very good “friends.” Why, then, is it so hard for people to think of humans living together with some of the large dinosaurs? Yes, some dinosaurs like Brachiosaurus grew to be about four times larger than the largest elephants. Surely we would all agree, however, that if man can work, play, and go to battle alongside (or on top of!) elephants, it certainly is not absurd to think that humans did similar things with certain dinosaurs—especially when you consider that the average dinosaur (about the size of a large cow—see Horner and Lessem, 1993, p. 124) was reasonably smaller than the average elephant.
Whales are the largest animals of which we are aware that have ever existed on Earth—larger than any shark, elephant, or dinosaur. Blue whales have been known to weigh as much as 400,000 pounds (200 tons!), possess a heart the size of a Volkswagen Beetle®, and have a tongue large enough to hold 50 people. Yet, humans have hunted many species of whales for centuries. Furthermore, whale researchers and photographers have been able to get close enough to touch these massive creatures in the open ocean.
Trained orca performing
Killer whales (also called orcas) are another one of God’s magnificent creatures with which we live on the Earth. Orcas are one of the oceans’ fiercest predators, able even to kill much larger whales, including blue whales, when swimming in packs (referred to as “pods”). They hunt so well that very few animals can escape their predatory practices. Orcas eat hundreds of thousands of pounds of mammal and fish meat every year. Seals, sea lions, walruses, otters, polar bears, and even a moose have all been found in the stomachs of these ferocious creatures.
Amazingly, these incredible “killing machines” (weighing up to 11,000 pounds!) can be captured, tamed, and trained to do all sorts of things. The famous orcas living at Sea World in Orlando, Florida, occasionally take their trainers for rides on their backs. Trainers of orcas even have been known to stick their heads inside the whales’ mouths (which usually hold about 40-56 large, 3-inch-long teeth) without fear of getting bitten.
Orca mouth and teeth
How can a mere 150-pound man teach a 10,000-pound whale to jump hurdles, ring bells, and perform other tricks—without being harmed? The answer is found in the fact that God made man in His own image, and gave him the ability to have dominance over the lower creation. As early as Genesis chapter one we read:
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (1:26-28, emp. added).
Regarding this supremacy that God gave mankind over His creation, the psalmist added:
What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and You have crowned him with glory and honor. You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen—even the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea that pass through the paths of the seas. O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth! (8:4-9, emp. added).
Trained lions performing
The reason man can tame and/or live with even the largest and most vicious creatures on Earth is because God created man “higher” than the animals, and gave him the ability to “subdue” them and have “dominion” over them. If man, in the twenty-first century, can live with (and tame) such amazing creatures as the Komodo Dragon, the elephant, the blue whale, and the killer whale, as well as lions (“the king of all beasts”), tigers, and bears, it should not be difficult to accept the fact that man once lived and interacted with dinosaurs. James wrote: “For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind” (3:7).


Most people likely are unaware that the word “dinosaur” was not coined until the 1840s. Thus, if these creatures lived alongside humans prior to that time (and the evidence indicates that they did—see Thompson and Harrub, 2003, pp. 197-226), they were not called dinosaurs. So what were they called? Dragons. Numerous cultures throughout the world possess ancient stories about “dragons” that closely resemble what we today would call dinosaurs (which is to be expected if dinosaurs and humans actually lived together). From ancient texts in Mesopotamia, China, and Europe, creatures with scaly skin, slender necks, and long tails are described.
In far-eastern countries such as China, dragons often are described in ancient writings. Some of them are said to have been domesticated, and even were used to pull the chariots of Chinese rulers. Also, many of the ancient Chinese people are said to have used “dragon bones” for special medicines and potions. While visiting the continent of Asia in the 1200s, Italian explorer Marco Polo said that he saw long reptiles called Lindworms that easily ran as fast as a horse! In the British Isles, hundreds of dragon stories have come down to the present day. One account told of an animal with a crested head, teeth like a saw, and a long tail. Also, in 1449 in England, it was reported that two huge reptiles were seen fighting on the banks of the river Stour.
The epic poem Beowulf describes a battle in Denmark between a man named Beowulf and a terrible monster called Grendel. Beowulf was a real person. He lived from A.D. 495 to 583, and was king of a group of people known as the Geatingas. Grendel was a bipedal creature that possessed large, powerful jaws, and had small, weak forearms. (Beowulf slew him, you may recall, by tearing off one of those arms.) As Bill Cooper inquired:
Is there a predatory animal from the fossil record known to us, who had two massive hindlegs and two comparatively puny forelimbs? There is indeed.... I doubt that the reader needs to be guided by me as to which particular species of predatory dinosaur the details of his physical description fit best (1995, pp. 159,160).
Could it be—Tyrannosaurus rex?! Why not? The description of Grendel, recorded sometime before the tenth century A.D. (over nine centuries before the relatively recent discovery of dinosaur fossils), more closely resembles a Tyrannosaurus rex than any animal alive today. (NOTE: There is no indication that either Beowulf or Grendel was mythical in nature.)
If humans today can manipulate animals that are 100 times their own size (e.g., the elephant), that have a mouthful of 3-inch-long, dagger-like teeth (e.g., the killer whale), or that have claws that could be used to rip human beings apart (e.g., lions, tigers, and bears), why is it so difficult to believe that humans and dinosaurs once inhabited this Earth at the same time? Admittedly, many human lives likely were lost to certain species of dinosaurs for various reasons. But, for thousands of years, people also have lost their lives to animals that still inhabit the Earth today (like sharks, tigers, lions, poisonous reptiles, bears, elephants, etc.). Although we probably will never know exactly which details of the countless number of dragon stories are fact or fantasy, the simple truth is that the huge lizards in them sound very much like some of the dinosaurs we know once existed. Ancient paintings, figurines, rock carvings, and other such illustrations also have been found throughout the world that point to a time when dinosaurs and humans once roamed this Earth together. One cannot help but wonder, if they never did coexist (as evolutionists would have us believe), what logical explanation can be given for the existence of hundreds of dragon legends, and the thousands of artifacts that either describe or depict these creatures hundreds or thousands of years before modern man began learning about dinosaurs as a result of the fossil record?
Sadly, however, it is not just evolutionists who take issue with the coexistence of humans and dinosaurs. In a book he authored in 1998 titled The Genesis Question, well-known progressive creationist Hugh Ross ridiculed the concept that the biblical creatures, behemoth and leviathan, were dinosaurs or dinosaur-like animals. According to Ross, “No creatures on Earth, alive or extinct, fit the literal descriptions” of the animals that God described to the patriarch Job in Job 40:15-41:34. Furthermore, “No dinosaur...ever breathed fire or smoke or had bones of iron and brass” (p. 48). Ross has chosen to believe that the magnificent creatures described by God in His second speech to Job were the hippopotamus and the crocodile.
Like so many professed Christians who have tried to amalgamate the long evolutionary ages with the biblical account of Creation, Ross’s reservations to accept the likelihood of behemoth being a dinosaur and leviathan being a dinosaur-like, water-living reptile are not the result of a sensible, judicious exegesis of the biblical text. A man who believes that dinosaurs “dominated the Earth’s land and sea life from 250 million to 65 million years ago” (p. 48), and that “no credible evidence whatever suggests the coexistence of primates and the great dinosaurs” (p. 49), obviously will have a difficult time accepting that behemoth and leviathan (which existed at the same time as Job) were dinosaurs or dinosaur-like animals. [For additional information on the cohabitation of humans and dinosaurs, see Thompson and Harrub, 2003. For a discussion on the reality and the identity of behemoth and leviathan, see Lyons, 2001.]
Two of the main reasons Ross gives for rejecting the dinosaur-like features of these creatures are: (1) “no creatures on Earth, alive or extinct, fit the literal descriptions;” and (2) “no dinosaur...ever breathed fire or smoke.” According to Ross, such “facts” present a problem when Bible students understand these creatures as being dinosaurs.
We wonder if Ross could answer two questions for us. First, although admittedly no creature alive todayfits the “literal descriptions” of leviathan and behemoth, how can Ross confidently assert that no extinct animal resembles the description of behemoth or leviathan? How does Ross know the description of every creature that has lived on the Earth? How does he know what feats they were capable of performing? Ross might suggest: “But common sense tells us that no creature had ribs of ‘iron’ or bones of ‘brass’ ” (cf. Job 40:18). True. But when God employed such metaphors and similes, any reasonable Bible student can understand that He was stressing the fact that behemoth’s bones were incredibly solid—like they were made of solid metal. Interestingly, although dinosaurs had the largest, most massive bones of any known animal that has ever walked the Earth (e.g., one fossilized Argentinosaurus vertebra was five feet high and five feet wide—see Meyer, 2002), and even though they are known to have the most massive tails of any animal ever known (e.g., the 40-foot-long tail of Diplodocus), which could reasonably be likened to a “cedar” (Job 40:17), Ross has chosen rather to believe that behemoth was a hippo—an animal with a tail shorter than many dogs and cats.
A second question we would appreciate Hugh Ross answering for us is how he can be so certain that “no dinosaur...ever breathed fire or smoke.” By his own candid admission, Ross never has seen a dinosaur (since he believes they became extinct 65+ million years ago), and thus he obviously never has observed every dinosaur that walked on land (or dinosaur-like reptile that swam in the oceans). As Henry M. Morris observed in his book, The Biblical Basis for Modern Science: “To say that the leviathan could not have breathed fire is to say much more than we know about leviathans (or water dragons or sea serpents)” (1984, p. 359, parenthetical item in orig.). When a person considers that electric eels can produce enough electricity (500-600 volts) to stun a horse without ever shocking itself, that anglerfish and fireflies can manufacture “light,” that the Komodo dragon can store deadly bacteria inside its own mouth, and that bombardier beetles can produce a caustic, noxious fluid that can be expelled from their bodies at a temperature of 212 degrees Fahrenheit, it is not difficult to accept the possibility that certain dinosaurs or dinosaur-like, water-living reptiles were capable of expelling certain hot gaseous fumes that might ignite.
Hugh Ross, it seems, has forgotten that all animals, including the dinosaurs, were designed and created by God on days five and six of Creation. If Jehovah wanted to create one or more dinosaurs that could expel fire, smoke, or some deadly chemical out of their mouths without harming themselves, He certainly couldhave done so. Bearing in mind the way that God described leviathan to Job in Job 41:18-21, and considering that many secular stories have circulated for millennia that describe “fiery dragons,” it is logical to conclude that He did create such creatures. It seems fitting to ask Dr. Ross the same rhetorical question God asked Abraham long ago: “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” (Genesis 18:14). Who is Hugh Ross to say that “no dinosaur...ever breathed fire”?


Although evolutionists are quick to discount anything that the Bible has to say about the coexistence of humans and dinosaurs, anyone who claims to be a Christian (and thus trusts the Bible to be God’s revelation to man) must accept whatever information they find in the Bible to be accurate. In regard to the coexistence of humans and dinosaurs, many modern-day “Bible believers” either have rejected what the Bible has to say on the subject, or else they never have given it much thought in light of various Bible passages. According to the Scriptures, the whole of God’s earthly creation was brought into existence within six days. Exodus 20:11 states: “For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day” (cf. also Exodus 31:17). The apostle John declared that “all things were made by Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made” (John 1:3). If God created the Earth, the heavens, the seas, and everything in them in six days, what does that omit? It omitsabsolutely nothing! [NOTE: Genesis 1:31 records that the Creation was “perfect,” and Genesis 2:1 states that it was “finished.”]
The Genesis record goes on to inform us that no animals were created before day five, at which time God created sea-dwelling creatures and birds (Genesis 1:20-23). On the sixth day of Creation, Genesis chapters 1 and 2 indicate that God made all of the land animals, as well as the first two humans, Adam and Eve. According to Genesis 2:19-20,
Out of the ground, the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him (emp. added).
God miraculously “brought...every beast of the field” to Adam in order that he might give them names, and also realize that his mate had not yet been created by God. A Christian cannot reasonably reject the view that dinosaurs (as land-dwelling animals) and humans once lived together, because Adam lived alongside dinosaurs. He even gave them names. Just as Adam lived on the Earth as a contemporary with such “intimidating” animals as lions, bears, rhinoceroses, hippopotami, and elephants, the inescapable conclusion is that he also lived with dinosaurs. [NOTE: Through the years, attempts have been made to introduce into the biblical record the concept of an old Earth so that evolutionary concepts (such as the separation of men and dinosaurs by millions of years) could be made acceptable to Bible believers. These attempts (generally known as the Day-Age Theory and the Gap Theory) have failed, because the premises upon which they were developed were false. For an in-depth refutation of these theories (and others), see Thompson, 2000.]
Bible believers who question the possibility of humans being able to cohabitate the Earth with dinosaurs should consider the types of creatures with which Noah and his family cohabited for more than 365 days while on the ark. Genesis 7:13-16 states:
On the very same day Noah and Noah’s sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, and Noah’s wife and the three wives of his sons with them, entered the ark—they and every beast after its kind, all cattle after their kind, every creeping thing that creeps on the earth after its kind, and every bird after its kind, every bird of every sort. And they went into the ark to Noah, two by two, of all flesh in which is the breath of life. So those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him; and the Lord shut him in (emp. added).
Representatives of all kinds of the land animals of the Earth were on the ark. Earlier, God had instructed Noah, saying:
And of every living thing of all flesh you shall bring two of every sort into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female. Of the birds after their kind, of animals after their kind, and of every creeping thing of the earth after its kind, two of every kind will come to you to keep them alive (6:19-20, emp. added).
Similar to how God “brought” the animals to Adam centuries earlier in order to be named, He told Noah that all of the animals he was to take on the ark would “come to” him. Animals of all kinds migrated to where Noah lived, and joined him and his family on the ark. For a little over one year, Noah and his seven family members lived on a boat with bears, bats, alligators, gorillas, lions, tigers, and many other animals that humans normally try to avoid. Also included in this list of land animals would have been dinosaurs (since by definition dinosaurs are land-living animals). If dinosaurs were living during the time of Noah (and there is overwhelming evidence that they must have been, since humans after that time have encountered dinosaurs), the simple truth is that they were on the ark.
Sadly, it is very unpopular to teach that mankind once coexisted with dinosaurs. The average person has been programmed by his or her environment to think that humans and dinosaurs never could have lived together. Not only are we told that dinosaurs became extinct over 60 million years ago, but the mindset of most people seems to be that even if this alleged 60-million-year gap of time did not exist, these creatures would have been far too dangerous for us to exist along with them. Even many Christians have a difficult time accepting the idea of humans and dinosaurs cohabiting the Earth at the same time. For some reason, when these Christians read the Creation account or rehearse the story of Noah and the Flood, they rarely consider these accounts in light of the many kinds of animals that have since become extinct.
Draw a human standing next to a dinosaur (except for cartoonish purposes), and prepare to be ridiculed. Draw a human riding a small dinosaur, and you likely will be labeled eccentric. Few people seem to care that ancient art depicts Indians riding these creatures, or that certain ancient Chinese writings mention dinosaur-like creatures pulling the chariots of Chinese rulers. Even many “Bible believers” seem to dismiss the historical and biblical evidence of humans and dinosaurs living at the same time and within close proximity to each other. But draw a picture of a man riding on the back of a 20,000-pound elephant, and no one has a problem with it. Write an article about the woman you saw at Sea World riding on the back of an 8,000 pound killer whale, or about how she stuck her head inside the whale’s massive mouth, and everyone understands these stories as being acceptable observations of reality. Tell a friend about the man at the circus who has tamed lions, tigers, and bears, and that is nothing but old news. Just refrain from telling people about the evidence for man’s coexistence with dinosaurs, because “that is absurd”—or so we are told.
If man can tame many types of dangerous and ferocious animals that live on Earth today, why is it so difficult to think of man being capable of surviving alongside dinosaurs? Ancient man was able to build pyramids that stood nearly 500 feet high. He constructed the Great Pyramid with over two million blocks of stone that had to be cut, transported, and assembled to create the almost six-million-ton structure. To this day, modern man still does not know exactly how the Egyptians built these great pyramids. More than one thousand years before astronomers discovered that the length of a year was precisely 365.2422 days, ancient man (without any help from computers or modern measuring devices) calculated the length of a year as 365.2420 days long. He also figured the orbital period of Venus to be 584 days, when current science shows it at 583.92 days. Our early forefathers were capable of tunneling through rock in order to mine precious metals from deep within the Earth (Job 28). Humans formed tools out of bronze and iron (Genesis 4:22). And a man named Noah even built an ark thousands of years ago that was larger than many ships of today (Genesis 6-8).
Our forefathers were not the ignorant, unlearned nitwits that many evolutionists today make them out to be. Rather, our ancestors were intelligent individuals who were more than capable of surviving alongside dinosaurs. They were made in the image of God, and given dominion “over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Genesis 1:28)—including the dinosaurs.


But if dinosaurs and humans did once live as contemporaries on Earth, why is it that human fossils have not been found alongside, near, or in the same strata as dinosaur fossils? If they lived together and died together, shouldn’t there be evidence from the fossil record of their coexistence?
Admittedly, at times questions like these appear somewhat puzzling. We know from the biblical record that dinosaurs and humans coexisted. Furthermore, various ancient paintings, figurines, rock carvings, and historical references confirm they were contemporaries upon the Earth. Why, then, at first glance, does the fossil record seem not to corroborate this information?
First, fossils are rare. Not every living plant, animal, or human fossilizes after death. In fact, it is extremely rare for things once living to fossilize. Dead animals lying in a field or on the side of the road do not fossilize. In order for something to become fossilized, it must be buried rapidly in just the right place. Consider as an example all the bison that were slaughtered and left to rot on the prairies of the Old West. In those days, you could buy a seat on a train, pull up to a herd of bison, and keep shooting out of the window until you were either out of bullets or your barrel overheated. When everyone had enough, the train would move on, leaving the dead and dying animals behind. By 1885, millions of bison had been reduced to just 500 (Jones, n.d.). What happened to all of their remains? We do not see them on the prairies today. Why? Because their bones and flesh were scavenged by worms, birds, insects, and other animals. The smallest portions were digested by bacteria, fungi, and enzymatic degradation until the buffalo remains were gone. Even oxygen plays a part in breaking down the chemicals that make up the living body. Evolutionary scientist James Powell described another situation where a rather large population of animals died. He wrote:
[I]n the winter after the great Yellowstone fires of 1988, thousands of elk perished from extreme cold coupled with lack of food. Late the following spring, their carcasses were strewn everywhere. Yet only a few years later, bones from the great elk kill are scarce. The odds that a single one will be preserved so that it can be found 65 million years from now approach zero. At best we can expect to find fossil evidence of only a tiny fraction of the animals that once lived. The earth’s normal processes destroy or hide most of the clues (1998, p. xv).
Normally, as Powell indicated, living things do not fossilize. Under normal conditions, living things decay and rot. It is atypical for plants and animals to fossilize, because they must avoid even the tiniest of scavengers, bacteria, fungi, etc. For bones to fossilize, they must be buried—the deeper and sooner the better. Fine sediments, like mud and silt, are good because they block out oxygen. In this “protected” environment, bones and teeth may last long enough to mineralize. But, normally, carcasses do not find themselves in such environments.
Second, although dinosaur graveyards have been discovered in various countries around the world (e.g., Tanzania, Africa; Jenson, Utah [USA]) where thousands of dinosaur bones are jumbled together (obviously due to some sort of catastrophe—e.g., a flood), most people are unaware of the fact that, in museums, “in spite of the intense popular and scientific interest in the dinosaurs and the well-publicized efforts of generations of dinosaur hunters, only about 2,100 articulated dinosaur bones (two or more aligned in the same position as in life)” exist (Powell, 1998, p. xv, parenthetical comment in orig.; see also Dodson, 1990, 87:7608; Lewin, 1990). Furthermore, in an article in the October 1990 issue of the Proceedings of theNational Academy of Sciences, Peter Dodson of the University of Pennsylvania reported that almost half (45.3%) of all dinosaur genera are based on a single specimen, and 74% are represented by five specimens or less (p. 7608). Even some of the most famous dinosaurs are based on a fraction of what they were originally. For example, the 120-foot-long Argentinosaurus replica (housed in the Fernbank Museum o Natural History in Atlanta, Georgia) is based on only 10 percent of its remains (a dozen backbone vertebrae, a few limb bones and part of the hips) [Meyer, 2002]. Truthfully, although dinosaurs have captured the attention of scientists for more than 150 years, their fossilized remains are not as prevalent as many would think.
Third, humans make up an infinitesimal portion of the fossil record. Due to the number of drawings of our alleged human ancestors that appear in the news on a regular basis, one might get the feeling that hominoid and human fossils are ubiquitous. But such is not the case. More than two decades ago, in an article in New Scientist, John Reader wrote: “The entire hominid collection known today would barely cover a billiard table (1981, 89:802). One year later, Lyall Watson similarly stated: “The fossils that decorate our family tree are so scarce that there are still more scientists than specimens. The remarkable fact is that all the physical evidence we have for human evolution can still be placed, with room to spare, inside a single coffin” (1982, 90:44, emp. added). It is true, of course, that additional alleged hominid fossils have been discovered since Watson and Reader made their comments, but none qualifies as a legitimate human ancestor (see Harrub and Thompson, 2003, pp. 14ff.). In a conversation with James Powell, president and director of the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, renowned evolutionary paleoanthropologist Meave Leakey gave some insight into her frustrations in searching for hominid (or human) fossils when she described her “nearly futile hunt for human bone in a new field area as four years of hard work producing only three nondescript scraps” (see Powell, 1998, p. xv, emp. added). More recently, David Begun concluded an article in Science titled “The Earliest Hominins—Is Less More?,” by admitting: “[T]he level of uncertainty in the available direct evidence at this time renders irreconcilable differences of opinion inevitable. The solution is in the mantra of all paleontologists: We need more fossils!” (2004, 303:1479-1480, emp. added). Although hominid/human fossils are the most sought-after fossils in the world, scientists readily admit that few such fossils have been found.
As you can see, the question “Why don’t we find dinosaur and human fossils together?” is extremely misleading. The truth is, fossils themselves are rare. And, of all those things that do fossilize, it appears that less than 1% are vertebrates (fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, or mammals) [see Snelling, 1991, p. 30]. Furthermore, human fossils make up a microscopic part of the fossil record. Searching for one is like trying to find the one proverbial needle in a haystack. The real question then, is not, “Why don’t we find dinosaur and human fossils together?,” but, “Where are all of the human fossils?”
Simply because human fossils apparently have not been found with dinosaur fossils does not make the case for the coexistence of dinosaurs and humans any less credible. Think about it. Where are the human fossils that have been found with the recently extinct Pyrenean Ibex? Can we prove that Dodo birds and humans once lived together by observing their fossilized remains together in a particular layer of rock? We know that they once coexisted, but can a person point to the fossil record for such information? The chance of finding human fossils is rare. The chance of finding exactly the combination of fossils for which one is searching (in this case, dinosaurs and humans) is even less likely.
Fourth, considering that sedimentary rocks (the sort of rocks in which fossils are most likely to be found) cover two-thirds of the continents and are over a mile thick on average, even if there are dinosaur and human remains fossilized in the same rock, the chance of them being exposed, discovered, recognized, and reported together is very improbable. They might be exposed somewhere in the world today (like in a mine, road cutting, or a cliff), but unless they are discovered before the wind, Sun, and rain reduce them to dust, such exposure is useless to scientists.
Furthermore, it may very well be the case that these bones have been discovered together in times past, but for at least two reasons, were not reported. First, someone who might have found these bones in a quarry, could react by saying, “Hey look guys, it’s a bunch of old bones. But quick, pass me another stick of dynamite so we can get the next ton of coal out of here.” The proof that men and dinosaurs were fossilized together may have gone up in smoke years ago. Second, it may be possible that human bones have been found by scientists alongside dinosaur fossils, yet simply have not been reported widely. By saying this, we do not mean to accuse evolutionary researchers of dishonesty. Rather, we simply believe they are afflicted with presuppositions that have affected their judgment. It is evolutionary geologists and paleontologists who are doing most of the research in this area. If they did happen upon human fossils and dinosaur fossils in the same strata, is it not possible that they would think to themselves, “Oh, these human fossils are an anomaly; they cannot have actually existed in this time period because evolution is true”? If evolutionists can “confuse” a dolphin’s rib for a human collarbone (Anderson, 1983, p. 199), or an extinct pig’s tooth for a human tooth (e.g., Nebraska Man; see Harrub and Thompson, 2003, pp. 88-89), then similar mistakes could easily be made concerning human and dinosaur fossils. If one ever has been found with another, scientists could have misinterpreted the “anomaly.” Because (from an evolutionary perspective) human fossils “shouldn’t be where they are,” they might very well not get reported as being where they are!
Additionally, we find a number of evidences in the fossil record which clearly refute the evolutionary notion that humans and other large mammals were not present during the “age of the reptiles.” Evolutionary timelines present mammals as having evolved from reptiles. Raven and Johnson, in their college text,Biology, wrote: “During the Mesozoic Era, the reptiles, which had evolved earlier from the amphibians, became dominant and in turn gave rise to the mammals and the birds” (1989, p. 432). George Gaylord Simpson and his co-authors contended that no “advanced mammals” were present during the age of the dinosaurs. Why not? The dinosaurs allegedly became extinct in the Cretaceous Period, and the only mammals that had evolved up to that point were “small, mostly about mouse-sized, and rare” (1957, p. 797, emp. added). This is a logical explanation if one contends that mammals evolved from reptiles, because that scenario require mammals to appear much later in the picture.
But therein lies the problem. A significant discovery, reported in the January 13, 2005 issue of Nature, has challenged everything evolutionists have ever maintained regarding the cohabitation of dinosaurs and mammals. The Associated Press noted:
Villagers digging in China’s rich fossil beds have uncovered the preserved remains of a tiny dinosaur in the belly of a mammal, a startling discovery for scientists who have long believed early mammals couldn’t possibly attack and eat a dinosaur (Verrengia, 2005).
Not only is there substantial proof of large mammals coexisting with dinosaurs, but now we also have scientific evidence of a large mammal eating a dinosaur! Scientists discovered the fossil remains of two different mammals. One (Repenomamus giganticus) was 50% larger than mammals previously considered to be living alongside dinosaurs. The other, Repenomamus robustus, was fully intact—and had a dinosaur in its stomach. Yaoming Hu and his co-authors wrote in Nature:
During preparation of the specimen, a patch of small bones was revealed within the ribcage, on the ventral sides of the posterior left thoracic ribs and vertebrae, where the stomach is positioned in extant mammals. Unduplicated dentition [teeth—EL/BT], limb bones and phalanges [bones of the toes or “fingers”—EL/BT] in the patch confirm that these bones belong to a juvenile individual of Psittacosaurus, an herbivorous dinosaur that is common in Jehol Biota. The serrated teeth in the patched skeleton are typical of juvenile Psittacosaurus. The skull and most of the skeleton of the juvenile Psittacosaurus are broken, disarticulated and displaced, in contrast to the preservation of the R. robustus skeleton, which is essentially in its original anatomical relation. Although fragmentary, the bones of the Psittacosaurus are packed in a restricted area. These conditions indicate that the juvenile skeleton ofPsittacosaurus is the remaining stomach contents of the mammal (Hu, et al., 2005, 433:151).
In discussing this amazing find, Nature writer Anne Weil observed: “Discoveries of large, carnivorous mammals from the Cretaceous challenge the long-held view that primitive mammals were small and uninteresting. Have paleontologists been asking the wrong question?” (2005, 433:116, emp. added). Maybe a better question would be: Have paleontologists been analyzing the data via evolutionary presuppositions?
It may be that dinosaur and human fossils will never be found together. But, regardless of whether they are or not, the evidence for the coexistence of humans and dinosaurs at one time in the past is undeniable to the unbiased truth seeker. Human footprints in coal veins that are allegedly 250 million years old, human artifacts buried in limestone dated at 135 million years old, clay figurines of dinosaurs from an ancient civilization in Mexico, ancient dinosaur petroglyphs, and much, much more, all point to a conclusion that evolutionists will not accept—dinosaurs and humans once lived on Earth together.


Anderson, I. (1983), “Humanoid Collarbone Exposed as Dolphin’s Rib,” New Scientist, April 28.
Begun, David (2004), “The Earliest Hominins—Is Less More?,” Science, 3003:1478-1480, March 5.
Clayton, John N. (1990), Dinosaurs—One of God’s More Interesting and Useful Creations (South Bend, IN: Privately published by the author).
Clayton, John N. (1991), Does God Exist? Christian Evidences Intermediate Course Teacher’s Guide(South Bend, IN: Privately published by the author).
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