Since the first discovery of dinosaurs, Christians have had to rationalize how the giant lizards fit into the Bible, and when they existed.
While there have been extensive arguments over the issue by religious and secular groups, strict creationists have begun to make a strong push toward trying to prove the legitimacy of the co-habitation of dinosaurs with mankind.
According to them, there is no question that God created the two on the same day just few thousands of years ago.
"[A]lmost every culture has stories about dragons," explained Ken Ham, founder of the $27 million Creation Museum, which supports a literal interpretation of the Bible, in a statement. "We believe this is because people and dinosaurs inhabited the earth at the same time, and what we would call a dinosaur, the ancients referred to as dragons."
Despite scientific assertions that dinosaurs lived, died, and became extinct millions of years ago before man, there is still a great deal of support in favor of a six-day account of creation, which would place humans side-by-side with behemoths like Tyrannosaurus rex. With a quick Google search, people can find thousands of websites describing in detail why dinosaurs must have been living in the same period as man.
For years, one of the debated issues is whether or not the Bible even mentions the beasts. If one can pinpoint scriptural support, then it would surely put man as a coexisting specie.
Three words may be synonymous, argue some Christians, for the huge lizards: "tanniyn," "behemoth," and "leviathan." The most widely used example is "behemoth," which is found in Job.
"The word 'dinosaur' is not found anywhere in the Bible," explains a creationist web link titled "Are Dinosaurs in the Bible?" "This is because the word 'dinosaur' was not invented until the mid 1800's. The King James Bible was translated into English in 1611, so we would not expect to find the word 'dinosaur.'"
Since this explanation for the existence of "behemoths" is so vague, however, strict creationists have had to come up with more evidence in recent years to try and back up their claims.
Some have used direct biblical text to try and back up their analysis. An example is that these large creatures have "tails like cedar trees" in the Bible, which many dispute must be dinosaurs.
Others have tried to make a direct scientific link by looking at the same fossil evidence that evolutionists look at. An example of this has been arguments that carbon dating does not accurately place dinosaurs as living more than 10,000 years ago.
Several non-Christians, as well as Christians who do not believe in a complete literal translation of the Bible, have expressed that evolutionary evidence is much more convincing then what has been presented by strict creationists, however. They also argue that creationists simply mold their evidence, so it can fit into the Bible.
Despite who's right, several ministries in the past years have been willing to invest in the literal creation model, making large financial contributions.
In 2001, an American evangelist named Kent Hovind built a theme park in Pensacola, Fla., completely based on the dinosaur-human relationship called Dinosaur Adventure Land. The legitimacy of the learning exhibit has been debated by many groups, however, and even some fellow Young Earth creationists – who believe the earth was created relatively recently (about 6,000 years ago) – have not supported his evidence.
At the newly-made Creation Museum in Petersburg, Ky., dinosaurs have become such a popular theme that the builders even unveiled a two-story Dinosaur Den on July 4. This is in addition several other dino models throughout the museum.
"We are so thankful to have the resources to build a quality exhibit devoted to the very creatures so closely associated with the arguments about creation and evolution," added Ham. "We are hoping that people of all ages will enjoy the dinosaur displays and learn that the science of paleontology supports biblical creation."
It's clear that the co-habitation issue will not be cleared up anytime soon, and debates will continue to thrive. But at least the two camps can agree on one thing: dinosaurs are quite fascinating.