Are dinosaurs ever mentioned in the Bible? Does God use a different name for them?
The word “dinosaur” means “terrible,” “wondrous,” or “powerful lizards”; but you won’t find the word in the Bible because it’s a recently created word. This word was first used in 1841 by the famed biologist and paleontologist, Sir Richard Owen. If you break down this word, it’s from the Greek words “deinos” (terrible) and “sauros” (lizard). He created this word because nothing in the English vocabulary was found to be useful for them. What else would you call such a gigantic “lizard” when finding one? Sometimes the word “dragon” was used, which may be the origin of the Chinese “dragon,” as thousands of fossils were found due to soil erosion, floods, and excavations. Nearly every culture has called dinosaurs either “lizards” or “dragons.” But, as we shall read, this is a relatively new word in the English language. Just because the word “dinosaur” doesn’t appear in the Bible doesn’t mean they aren’t in there.
God as Creator
Since we know that dinosaurs existed, God must have created them because Genesis 1:21 says that “God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarmed after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind; and God saw that it was good.” “Every living creature” obviously includes dinosaurs. The Book of Job includes Job’s question, “Am I the sea, or the sea monster, that You set a guard over me” (Job 7:12)? Whatever exists or has existed is all from the hand of our Creator God; therefore, part of His creation must necessarily include dinosaurs. Perhaps their nature changed after the fall in the Garden where Adam and Eve were banned. And with the ground being cursed, the animal’s fear of man was also given; so the dinosaurs may have been in the Garden of Eden.
Job’s Description of the Behemoth
The fact is, very few animals were mentioned by name, probably because of the enormous numbers of them in the world; and the Bible couldn’t possibly mention every animal created in the creation account because the list would be so enormous that it would require a whole book in itself. Actually, it is clear that dinosaurs were mentioned in the Bible, not by name because, as we have seen, this word is new to us. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t in the Bible. When you read the 40th and 41st chapters of the Book of Job, this description could not have been anything else but a dinosaur. I urge you to read all of Job 40 and 41 and see why I know there were dinosaurs in the Bible. Even though some of the translations use the word “Behemoth” as being an elephant or hippo, there has never been a hippo or elephant that I’ve ever seen with a tail like a “cedar” (Job 40:17). The cedars of Lebanon, now extinct themselves, were over 130 feet tall and had stout trunks that could be over 8 feet in diameter. In Job 40:19 the enormous creature ranked first in all of God’s works (verse 19). Its size allowed it to be unfazed by a “raging river” (Job 40:23) and irresistible to humans or other animals that tried to “trap it” (Job 40:24).
In Job chapter 41, some translate the leviathan as a whale; but what whale has razor-sharp teeth like iron that can swallow its prey whole (verse 14). What whale is there where the weapons of man cannot penetrate it (verses 26-29)? What whale do you know of that can destroy its prey by simply passing over it (verse 30) and has no fear whatsoever of anything or anyone (verses 31-34)? If you ever visit the Natural History Museum in Oslo, Norway, you will see the remains of one of the largest dinosaur sea predators ever found. It’s called Pliosaur Kronosaurus, and this dinosaur (now extinct) was estimated to be over 50 feet long. Even today, its teeth are sharp enough to cut wood.
Additional Dinosaur Scriptures
The Book of Psalms, the Book of Jeremiah, and the Book of Ezekiel all give additional verses that support what the Book of Job has already stated. Psalm 64:13 says, “You divided the sea by Your strength; You broke the heads of the sea monsters in the waters.” And “you divided the sea by Your strength; You broke the heads of the sea monsters in the waters” (Psalm 148:7). Isaiah the prophet describes a gigantic beast as both a dragon (Isaiah 51:9) and Leviathan (Isaiah 27:1). I urge you to read other verses like Psalm 74:13, 91:13, and 148:7 and also Jeremiah 51:34 and Ezekiel 29:3 and 32:2. You won’t see these at the zoo; they are long gone. However, there is a substantial amount of anthropic, paleontological, and historical evidence for the coexistence of dinosaurs and man. There are the fossilized footprints of humans and dinosaurs found together at the same places and at the same time in North America and West-Central Asia. Even though there aren’t many like this, it seems clear that the prophets, the psalmist, Moses, and Job wrote of these dragons, beasts, leviathans, or behemoths as if they had seen them. How else could they have described something in such finite detail if they hadn’t seen them with their own eyes? One example is the Book of Job, which describes these dragons or beasts as someone giving an eyewitness account; and, indeed, they are!
God was not concerned about giving us a scientific explanation of all life which He created on the planet. It’s not a book about the heavens–it’s a book about getting to heaven. The only way to enter the kingdom of God is through being born again (John 3:3-8); and the only access to heaven is through the door, which is Jesus Christ (John 10:9, Acts 4:12). I hope this has given you some things to read on your own. Many good study Bibles have great footnotes that give us more explanation of the details of the creatures that God created. As impressive as they are, they are nothing next to the omnipotent God.
May God richly bless you,
Pastor Jack Wellman
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