Each time I lead a beginners' Bible study, inevitably, instead of some serious theological inquiry, someone will ask, "Does the Bible speak about dinosaurs?" I don't mind their questions, really. I suppose it is a legitimate question. So, does the Bible actually mention dinosaurs?
Well, if you do a search for the word dinosaur, you won't find that word in the Bible. That's most likely because it's a relatively new word, coined in the mid 1800's by Sir Richard Owen. However, even though you won't find the word dinosaur, if you look closely, you will uncover some very intriguing facts - some descriptions of creatures that will raise your eyebrows - huge creatures. Were these creatures that the Bible describes really dinosaurs? Perhaps so! Or perhaps even more dangerous than dinosaurs. Let's look at some really interesting scriptures.
The book of Job is considered to be the oldest book in the Bible - even written before the book of Genesis. This book reveals some astounding details of what could be dinosaurs. In Job chapter 40, God, in sort of a "who do you think you are, anyway" tone of voice, describes to Job some of His largest living creations. One of them is the called the "Behemoth".
The first time I recall hearing the word Behemoth was way back in the 1970's. It was the name my brother called his well-used, run down, old Chrysler (I think it was a Chrysler). He bought it for $50. It must have weighed a couple of tons, but had a big V-8 engine. If there is one similarity between my brother's Behemoth and the one described in Bible, it's power.
“Take a look at Behemoth, which I made, just as I made you. It eats grass like an ox. See its powerful loins and the muscles of its belly. Its tail is as strong as a cedar. The sinews of its thighs are knit tightly together. Its bones are tubes of bronze. Its limbs are bars of iron." (Job 40:15-18)
Some have speculated that the Behemoth was simply an elephant. But wait. Look at the description of its tail. Does an elephant have a tail as "strong as a cedar"? No. In the Bible, cedar trees were huge and used for lumber. An elephant's tail is small. As a matter of fact, any large land animal that we know of has a small tail. Think about a hippopotamus, or a rhinoceros, or a giraffe - all tiny tails. There is no large animal I can think of with a large, strong tail - except maybe a brontosaurus!
The Behemoth sure was huge and powerful, but it's nothing compared to another creature that God calls the "King of Beasts" in Job 41. The entire chapter is devoted to this terror called the Leviathan. Unlike the land dwelling Behemoth, the Leviathan seems to be a sea monster of some sort. And could also travel on land.
“I want to emphasize Leviathan’s limbs and its enormous strength and graceful form. Who can strip off its hide, and who can penetrate its double layer of armor? Who could pry open its jaws? For its teeth are terrible! The scales on its back are like rows of shields tightly sealed together." (Job 41:12-15)
The Leviathan seems to have been so dominate that man could do nothing to harm it, let alone kill it. I suppose humans could only do one thing when confronting a Leviathan...RUN!
"When it rises, the mighty are afraid, gripped by terror. No sword can stop it, no spear, dart, or javelin. Iron is nothing but straw to that creature, and bronze is like rotten wood. Arrows cannot make it flee. Stones shot from a sling are like bits of grass. Clubs are like a blade of grass, and it laughs at the swish of javelins." (Job 41:25-29)
The prophet Isaiah apparently knew of such a creature, and even describes it in detail.
"In that day the Lord will take his terrible, swift sword and punish Leviathan, the swiftly moving serpent, the coiling, writhing serpent. He will kill the dragon of the sea." (Isaiah 27:1)
To me, the most interesting description of the Leviathan reveals that it was a sort of dragon! Is that possible? I sure would like to think so. It would be really cool if a dragon that breathed fire really existed long ago.
"Lightning leaps from its mouth; flames of fire flash out. Smoke streams from its nostrils like steam from a pot heated over burning rushes. Its breath would kindle coals, for flames shoot from its mouth." (Job 41:19-21)
Whatever it was, the Leviathan was the biggest and baddest when it comes to a terrifying creature.
"Nothing on earth is its equal, no other creature so fearless. Of all the creatures, it is the proudest. It is the king of beasts.” (Job 41:33-34)
What ever happened to these guys? I don't know. I sure wish they were still around to see in person though. At least from a distance. But so far, none have been discovered, alive at least. Maybe they died off and became extinct because of some disease. No one knows for sure. One thing we do know....there were some scary monsters back then.
However, if you think these are scary, they're nothing compared to the one who is the most terrifying of all time - a spiritual being - called Satan. But he's too scary to talk about for now. Maybe another time.