A faithful CLCer writes, “Were there dinosaurs in the Bible? We have been taught in school about their existence. I Googled the question and was led to Job 40:15 where it references Behemoth and the description seems to be “dinosaur like”. Are there other animals or proof that dinosaurs ever existed?”
Since I’ve been out of town at two different conferences this week, I asked our ‘resident theologian’, Dr. James Garrett, to handle this one for me, and here is his reply:
This is an interesting question because it reveals some differences in language and language development. The term “dinosaur” is a relatively recent word derived from the Greek words “deino” meaning “fearfully great or terrible” and “saur/sauros” meaning “lizard (or generalized reptile).” So, we will not see the word “dinosaur” itself contained in most Bibles. We do, however, see three particular words that DO give us insight into the modern term “dinosaur.” Interestingly, these words are “behemoth,” “leviathan,” and “dragon.” Based on our current knowledge, “behemoth” probably refers to a hippopotamus and this reference probably excludes “behemoth” from being a dinosaur (although that CAN be argues as well.) “Leviathan” probably refers to some type of water monster and is often thought of as a crocodile (from Egyptian Nile River resources.) The thought of a crocodile will certainly reference a dinosaur because some scientists even think of the crocodile as being a modern day dinosaur. The word often translated as “dragon” also is usually in reference to a serpent or sea serpent, and again, will qualify as a dinosaur.
The bottom line is this: dinosaurs DID exist in the Bible, even though the name of such is NOT reflected. They were part of God’s original six-days creation and DID co-exist with humankind. There have been recent archaeological findings in Texas (and other areas) where dinosaur foot prints and human foot prints are seen together in the same strata. This is a good indication of their co-existence. And, as mentioned previously, there are some animals alive today that indicate to us that all dinosaurs did not die out in the flood or otherwise; again, I reference the crocodile as well as certain lizard and lizard-like creatures.
The deeper truth is this: God’s Word has been faithfully transmitted to the 21st century, even if the language has changed since its original transmission. Dinosaurs did exist and their existence is recognition of God’s creation process as well as the truth of Noah and the flood. Although dinosaurs are highly referenced in scientific circles regarding the evolutionary processes, that does not negate their reality nor their Biblical existence.
I hope this helps. It is short but keep in mind, large tomes have been written regarding dinosaurs and the Bible.
Thanks, Pastor Jim – I also hope that helped. Now, what would YOU like to ask the pastor?