What does the Bible say about Dinosaurs?
There are many running theories about whether dinosaurs are in the Bible. A general understanding of the most popular range from:
- Dinosaurs are merely made up to support the theory of evolution.
- Dinosaurs were animals that had become corrupted, weren't taken into the ark, and died in the flood.
- Dinosaurs were created by God, possibly even taken onto the ark, but died thereafter.
Those who have collected dinosaur remains in the Midwest plains of Canada and the United States or in the Colorado Plateau region have no lingering doubt concerning their reality. Thousands of specimens have been found and excavated, thereby debunking the first theory mentioned. However, simply because we acknowledge the existence of dinosaurs does not mean we must accept that it took millions of years for their appearance/disappearance. The second theory comes from those who see the dinosaur bones, but feel there is no direct Biblical supporting evidence for their creation. Theory number three, is one that is rather plausible and even supported in the Bible.
Did God create dinosaurs?
Would God have created dinosaurs? Why is there no mention of dinosaurs in the Bible, especially the creation account? In Creation, there are many creatures that were not mentioned by name that do exist. When thinking of dinosaurs, most first thoughts are of gargantuan, ferocious lizards. It makes it hard to believe that God would create something so monstrous for the Garden of Eden.
Actually, the fossil remains indicate that they were indeed a highly diversified group, ranging in size from that of a rabbit to tremendous beasts 20 feet high, 85 feet long, and weighing up to 50 tons. It appears that some were relatively light-footed and had bipedal locomotion, while others were quadrupedal and moved about in a slow and cumbersome manner. Some were carnivores and others herbivores. Certain types were well suited for aquatic habitat while others remained on land. However, overall most dinosuars were relatively the size of humans.
Not only that, something to be considered is that humans at the time of Adam up until Noah lived hundreds of years. Adam died at 930 years, Methuselah died at 969, Noah lived 950 years. With such longevitity, isn't only logical to believe that mankind grew larger and taller? True, it might not be the size of a 20-foot dinosaur, but perhaps proportional to how one experiences the grandiose size of a blue whale compared to the modern average human.
What about the large ferocious teeth? How would a "T-Rex" fit into the picture of paradise? If one can imagine a lion in heaven eating grass like a cow, perhaps a Tyrannosaurs Rex in the Garden of Eden is no longer a stretch of the imagination.
Isaiah 11:6-7 shares this picture of heaven:
“ The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb,
The leopard shall lie down with the young goat,
The calf and the young lion and the fatling together;
And a little child shall lead them.
The cow and the bear shall graze;
Their young ones shall lie down together;
And the lion shall eat straw like the ox. "
Predators of our world today were not predators at the start of Creation. Lions used to eat straw and wolves didn't eat lambs. It was not until sin came in and corrupted animals, bringing in death, predation, and "survival of the fittest." Is it also possible that dinosaurs once were peaceful creatures?
Are dinosaurs mentioned in the Bible?
There has been much discussion on the topic specifically involving verses in Job 40-41. Job is considered to be the oldest book of the Bible. Scholars in studying Job's longevity (he lived up to 140 years), descriptions of his wealth and household believe he was most likely alive after the time of Noah, but before the time of Abraham.
Behemoth: Job 40
Job 40:15-24 speaks of a "behemoth." No one is really sure what it is, but read its description.
15 “Look now at the behemoth,which I made along with you; he eats grass like an ox.
16 See now, his strength is in his hips, and his power is in his stomach muscles.
17 He moves his tail like a cedar; the sinews of his thighs are tightly knit.
18 His bones are like beams of bronze, his ribs like bars of iron.
19 He is the first of the ways of God; only He who made him can bring near His sword.
20 Surely the mountains yield food for him, and all the beasts of the field play there.
21 He lies under the lotus trees, in a covert of reeds and marsh.
22 The lotus trees cover him with their shade; the willows by the brook surround him.
23 Indeed the river may rage, yet he is not disturbed; he is confident, though the Jordan gushes into his mouth,
24 Though he takes it in his eyes, or one pierces his nose with a snare."
The way the "behemoth" is described, doesn't it almost sound like a dinosaur? Perhaps one of the sauropods? Some will argue these verses are referring to the hippopotamus or elephant. However, they run into the problem of explaning vs 17, since the tails of both animals are...well, far from looking like a cedar tree (let along moving like one). Their tails more resemble switches.
Leviathan: Job 41
In Job 41:1-2,7,12-32, the "Leviathan" is another creature described that has been hard to find a modern equivalent.
1“Can you draw out Leviathan with a hook, or snare his tongue with a line which you lower?
2 Can you put a reed through his nose, or pierce his jaw with a hook?...
7 Can you fill his skin with harpoons, or his head with fishing spears?...
12 “I will not conceal his limbs, his mighty power, or his graceful proportions.
13 Who can remove his outer coat? Who can approach him with a double bridle?
14 Who can open the doors of his face, with his terrible teeth all around?
15 His rows of scales are his pride, shut up tightly as with a seal;
16 One is so near another that no air can come between them;
17 They are joined one to another, they stick together and cannot be parted.
18 His sneezings flash forth light, and his eyes are like the eyelids of the morning.
19 Out of his mouth go burning lights; sparks of fire shoot out.
20 Smoke goes out of his nostrils, as from a boiling pot and burning rushes.
21 His breath kindles coals, and a flame goes out of his mouth.
22 Strength dwells in his neck, and sorrow dances before him.
23 The folds of his flesh are joined together; they are firm on him and cannot be moved.
24 His heart is as hard as stone, even as hard as the lower millstone.
25 When he raises himself up, the mighty are afraid; because of his crashings they are beside themselves.
26 Though the sword reaches him, it cannot avail; nor does spear, dart, or javelin.
27 He regards iron as straw, and bronze as rotten wood.
28 The arrow cannot make him flee; slingstones become like stubble to him.
29Darts are regarded as straw; he laughs at the threat of javelins.
30 His undersides are like sharp potsherds; he spreads pointed marks in the mire.
31 He makes the deep boil like a pot; he makes the sea like a pot of ointment.
32 He leaves a shining wake behind him; one would think the deep had white hair.
Some have translated the Leviathan to be a "crocodile," because of the large number currently present in the region. However, the crocodile pales in comparison to the description given to the Leviathan. Do crocodiles really raise themselves? Aren't the underbellies of crocodiles smooth rather than "sharp potsherds?" Does the crocodile really move fast enough and graceful enough to leave a "shining wake"? Other verses also mention the Leviathan the Bible furthering the concept that dinosaurs were alive with humans: Psalms 74:14, 104:25-26, Is 27:1.
Why are dinosaurs not alive today?
The sudden extinction of the dinosaurs, as shown by the geological record, is a mystery that evolutionary paleontologists have considerable difficulty explaining. What happened to wipe out the dinosaurs so quickly? A change of temperature? A change in the plants? Blasts of heat from a meteor? Mammals eating dinosaur eggs? A change in oxygen concentration? Over-specialization? Senility? All these have been offered as explanations by evolutionary scientists. The dominant theory at present is that a large object from space hit Earth and blasted up so much dust that the sun was obscured for months. Plants and animals died. However there are problems with this theory. If this happened, why was the extinction selective? Why did some plants and animals, including some more fragile than dinosaurs, not become extinct?
Were dinosaurs on ark?
From a biblical perspective, the most likely explanation for the extinction of the dinosaurs is the worldwide Flood described in Genesis 6 and 7. Soon after the flood mankind began to rapidly decrease in size, and in length of years. There was a class of very large animals which perished at the flood. God knew that the strength of man would decrease, and these mammoth animals could not be controlled by feeble man.
Dinosaurs and the Bible
Ironically enough, by trusting the Bible, Christians have no need to "explain away" dinosaurs and do mental gymnastics to try and disprove their existence. The Bible even leaves the door open for Christians to discover dinosaurs alive today. Should a dinosaur exist today and ever be discovered roaming around deep in some jungle, it would not really affect our understanding of the Bible or our faith. On the other hand for evolutionists - or those of the belief of creation and dinosaurs evolved and lived millions of years ago - would have to restructure their entire system if a dinosaur appeared alive on the today's scene.
For more information see:
- Did Creation take place in 6 literal days?
- Does evolution contradict the Bible?
- Is there evidence the flood was global?
- Is there evidence for a young earth?