Does the Bible explain dinosaurs? If so where? If not, why? Hows that list of questions grab you? Well, as I was trying to answer this question from a previous post, I found myself creating an answer big enough for a new blog post.
There are several schools of thought concerning this, and I am reserving the right NOT to get into the “creation vs. evolution debate” in this particular post. I do intend to do so as an addition to the bible study tab at some point in the future though. So whatever we’ve been indoctrinated with in our public school systems, we’ll put on the back burner for now & stick to the Biblical view concerning this.
Leviathan and Behemoth in the Book of Job
The book of Job is the first place many turn to whenever this topic is brought up. Let’s check it out and see what it says.
For the sake of context, I’ll just point out that God is answering Job by giving him a series of impossible challenges and asking him impossible questions (highly recommend studying this book for a ton of reasons by the way). Among all that the Lord is saying to Job, he breaks into the following:
Job 40 – Behemoth
15 Behold now behemoth, which I made with thee; he eateth grass as an ox. 16 Lo now, his strength is in his loins, and his force is in the navel of his belly. 17 He moveth his tail like a cedar: the sinews of his stones are wrapped together. 18 His bones are as strong pieces of brass; his bones are like bars of iron. 19 He is the chief of the ways of God: he that made him can make his sword to approach unto him. 20 Surely the mountains bring him forth food, where all the beasts of the field play.
21 He lieth under the shady trees, in the covert of the reed, and fens. 22 The shady trees cover him with their shadow; the willows of the brook compass him about. 23 Behold, he drinketh up a river, and hasteth not: he trusteth that he can draw up Jordan into his mouth. 24 He taketh it with his eyes: his nose pierceth through snares.
The first verse fills us in right off the bat that this behemoth was created “with thee”, which I would understand as being created at the same time as Adam on the sixth day. If you check out Genesis 1, you’ll find that there was no death unleashed upon the earth yet. That came in later after the fall of man. I point this out to say that nothing was eating anything other than plant life. I point this out to any that may have been taught that God did away with the dinosaurs to make life easier on man. And yes I have heard that as an excuse for the lack of explanation before.
I’ve heard several explanations to what the Holy Spirit is filling us in on throughout these verses in Job. From dinosaurs to crocodiles to hippos. Before we get too into this, let’s read what God has to say about the leviathan.
Job 41 – Leviathan
1 Canst thou draw out leviathan with an hook? or his tongue with a cord which thou lettest down? 2 Canst thou put an hook into his nose? or bore his jaw through with a thorn? 3 Will he make many supplications unto thee? will he speak soft words unto thee? 4 Will he make a covenant with thee? wilt thou take him for a servant for ever? 5 Wilt thou play with him as with a bird? or wilt thou bind him for thy maidens?
6 Shall the companions make a banquet of him? shall they part him among the merchants? 7 Canst thou fill his skin with barbed irons? or his head with fish spears? 8 Lay thine hand upon him, remember the battle, do no more. 9 Behold, the hope of him is in vain: shall not one be cast down even at the sight of him? 10 None is so fierce that dare stir him up: who then is able to stand before me?
12 I will not conceal his parts, nor his power, nor his comely proportion. 13 Who can discover the face of his garment? or who can come to him with his double bridle? 14 Who can open the doors of his face? his teeth are terrible round about. 15 His scales are his pride, shut up together as with a close seal. 16 One is so near to another, that no air can come between them. 17 They are joined one to another, they stick together, that they cannot be sundered.
18 By his neesings a light doth shine, and his eyes are like the eyelids of the morning. 19 Out of his mouth go burning lamps, and sparks of fire leap out. 20 Out of his nostrils goeth smoke, as out of a seething pot or caldron. 21 His breath kindleth coals, and a flame goeth out of his mouth. 22 In his neck remaineth strength, and sorrow is turned into joy before him.
23 The flakes of his flesh are joined together: they are firm in themselves; they cannot be moved. 24 His heart is as firm as a stone; yea, as hard as a piece of the nether millstone. 25 When he raiseth up himself, the mighty are afraid: by reason of breakings they purify themselves.
26 The sword of him that layeth at him cannot hold: the spear, the dart, nor the habergeon. 27 He esteemeth iron as straw, and brass as rotten wood. 28 The arrow cannot make him flee: slingstones are turned with him into stubble. 29 Darts are counted as stubble: he laugheth at the shaking of a spear.
30 Sharp stones are under him: he spreadeth sharp pointed things upon the mire. 31 He maketh the deep to boil like a pot: he maketh the sea like a pot of ointment. 32 He maketh a path to shine after him; one would think the deep to be hoary. 33 Upon earth there is not his like, who is made without fear. 34 He beholdeth all high things: he is a king over all the children of pride.
When you read all that concerning Leviathan, what goes through your head? Dinosaur? Whale? To me, I think neither. Unless of course dinosaurs could breathe fire & sneeze light.
Conclusion about Behemoth and Leviathan
I believe that these two characters found in Job are neither a common animal or an extinct dinosaur. Firstly, trying to compare the descriptions given by God himself to any animal we know of is laughable. This isn’t some guy that is struggling to describe something like for example, the apostle John describing what he was seeing in the Revelation. This is God talking about creatures that he personally made. I’m sure he’s not struggling to describe anything.
Second, God is not describing anything that once was or had long since been. He was talking to Job in the now, present tense. These two were still around in the days of Job, which (I’ve heard guessed) to be around the same time as Abraham. So these two are not extinct. At lease not in Job’s days which are post flood.
My personal belief is that these two creatures that God seems very fond of are of a nature unlike our own, meaning perhaps of a spiritual nature, or maybe somewhere in between. Creatures that God may have either used or has reserved for specific purposes. That’s what I think concerning this.
Back to the Dinosaurs
So far, I’ve explained Behemoth and Leviathan and why I’m not in the ‘they were dinosaurs’ camp. So where did they come in?
Well, let’s just try to figure out what a dinosaur is. Performing a quick search, I found this via Google:
The word dinosaur comes from the ancient Greek words deinos (“fearfully great”, as in awe-inspiring) and sauros (a lizard). The name was invented in 1842 by Richard Owen, who knew they were not lizards, but thought that they may have been derived from them. Owen used the term deinos as a superlative.
I think is of importance when we’re trying to figure out what the Bible says about the dinosaurs, would be what would they be called before the word ‘dinosaur’ was invented? Because it seems before 1842, there was no such thing as the term dinosaur.
I am convinced by several sources (Kent Hovind being one of them), that the term dragon was used to cover these giant lizards. Now the Bible uses the word dragon in many different ways, but in many cases might just be referring to dinosaurs. Not to mention that every ancient civilization had stories documented all over the world of dragons, and if you take the time to check out some of the ancient artwork, these take on all kinds of shapes and sizes.
This goes without saying, but, if people were drawing them, were they seeing them? Seems to be the case. To me anyways, this is as good of an explanation as any to answer the question; “Does the Bible Explain Dinosaurs?”
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