The recent blockbuster movie, The Lost World (the sequel to Jurassic Park), has captivated the attention of the country. The science fiction thriller weaves a story of extinct dinosaurs cloned back to life on a deserted island. Efforts to contain them go awry and mayhem ensues. Let me briefly answer some of the movie's themes and place dinosaurs in their proper Biblical context.
Dinosaurs- Dinosaurs did exist, some were large, others small. Their usually fragmentary remains are found in sedimentary rock units, hardened from sediments laid down by high energy water currents. There is a lot of evidence suggesting man and dinosaur lived at the same time and even some interesting hints that some might still exist today.
Cloning- To clone an animal requires the entire DNA code to be intact. While this has now been accomplished with living mammals, the DNA breaks down rapidly once the animal dies. There is no chance that enough fossil DNA would be preserved to allow cloning.
Dinosaur Behavior- The movie and the book on which it is based, extensively discuss dinosaur behavior. The cloned beasts exhibit high intelligence, parental care for young, memory, revenge, etc-none of which can rightly be discerned from fossilized bone.
Evolution-Whenever dinosaur fossils are found, they are fully dinosaurs, no transitional fossils have been found. The dinosaurs appear to have been created as dinosaurs. The book on which the movie is based has an entire chapter entitled, "Problems of Evolution," in which the impotence of natural selection and random mutation to produce large scale evolutionary change is discussed. When someone brings up the possibility that "evolution is directed," the main character, a scientist, answers, "No, that's creationism and creationism is wrong." Just plain wrong. No reason given, except that natural forces are all we are allowed to consider.
Chaos Theory- In this theory life's complexity is attributed to an undiscovered trend in nature which produces order from disorder, merely by natural processes. It consists of mathematical and computer simulations, and rightly refers to small fluctuations in existing order. Unfortunately, the observed trend in nature is toward deterioration, not improvement.
The Lost World- There is no island paradise where dinosaurs exist. Dinosaurs are better understood as animal types created during Creation Week and part of that once "very good" (Genesis 1:3) earth. They fell under sin's penalty in Genesis 3 when Adam rebelled. In Noah's day, the fully wicked and violent world was judged by the Creator during which many dinosaurs died and were buried and fossilized in flood sediments. In time, the survivors on Noah's Ark also became extinct or nearly so.
That "very good" Edenic world is indeed lost. Even the pre-flood world, with its canopy-controlled climate, is gone. Our present world with all its hardships is all we really know.
But there is a coming world, a restored creation awaiting us—"a new heaven and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness" (II Peter 3:13).
*Dr. John Morris is President of ICR.