Thank you for your question. Christians who, like us, take the Bible to be the word of God and entirely true, sometimes differ on precisely how it should be interpreted. This is one of those times.

Some such Christians take the reference to six"days" of creation in Genesis 1 very literally to refer to six consecutive 24-hour periods. These Christians believe that dinosaurs and humans were created on the same day (Genesis 1:24-31), and so lived together on the earth until dinosaurs died out. They believe that evidence from science supports this view. The organization Answers in Genesis takes this view, and you’ll find information on dinosaurs on their website at http://www.answersingenesis.org/Home/Area/faq/dinosaurs.asp.

Other Christians who likewise believe in the truthfulness and authority of the Bible point out that Genesis 1 uses poetic language to express the truth it contains. Accordingly, we should not press the details too literally. When someone today speaks of the sun"rising," they don’t mean to imply that the sun is going round the earth. Similarly, these Christians argue, the Bible’s account of creation conveys truth about God and his world in a poetic way that would have been understandable at the time it was written. They typically interpret the"days" of creation as much longer periods of time. This would allow for the possibility that dinosaurs died out before God created man. An organization called Answers in Creation argues for this view (see http://www.answersincreation.org/dino.htm).

It is important to note that deciding whether language is used figuratively is a question of literary style and genre. For example, whatever we think of Genesis 1, we are not free to interpret Luke’s account of Jesus’ miracles as merely figurative, because he himself claims to be writing an accurate historical account (Luke 1:1-4). The style of the other gospels and the Old Testament history of Israel show that they, too, are intended to be taken at face value.

It is also important to note that both groups of Christians see the existence of dinosaurs as no barrier to their trust in the Bible. Science and the Bible are not in conflict, but we have to recognize that our understanding of both is limited.