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Issue Features
Discovery Magazine 9/1/1998


Dinosaurs in the Bible?

 Whether we are young or old, dinosaurs seem to capture our attention. Perhaps it is their strange-sounding names (like StruthiomimusPodokesaurus, or Styracosaurus). Perhaps it is their huge size (they were the largest, land-living creatures ever to inhabit the Earth). Or perhaps it is the way they looked (Stegasaurus had huge plates standing up on its back). Whatever it is about them that intrigues us, almost everyone is interested in the "terribly-great lizards" of the past.

Does the Bible mention dinosaurs? Yes. First, it discusses them in the same books, chapters, and verses that speak of bacteria, kangaroos, and anteaters. Where is that?! In Exodus 20:11, the Bible states: "For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day." In Genesis 1:20-27, we learn that God made all living creatures on days five and six of the creation week. While these verses do not mention dinosaurs (or bacteria, kangaroos, and anteaters) by name, it is clear that God made every type of creature during the six days of creation. Genesis 2:1 informs us that at the end of day six, God was finished with His creation. If God created everything in six days, and did not create anything else after those six days, then dinosaurs must have been a part of that six-day creation.

Second, while God was having a discussion with Job, He asked Job if he had seen the "behemoth" [be-HAY-mohth]? God described the animal by saying: "He eats grass like an ox. See now, his strength is in his hips, and his power is in his stomach muscles. He moves his tail like a cedar; the sinews of his thighs are tightly knit. His bones are like beams of bronze, his ribs like bars of iron. He is the first [chief] of the ways of God" (Job 40:15-19). Certainly, no other creature (living or extinct) fits this description better than a dinosaur. Many dinosaurs had huge tails "like a cedar" tree. Their bones were like "beams of bronze." Their ribs were like "bars of iron." And they easily could be called the "chief of the ways of God" (the diplodocids and brachiosaurids were the largest land-living animals ever to roam the Earth!).

Why, then, doesn’t the Bible simply call the behemoth a "dinosaur"? The word "dinosaur" did not enter the English language until 1842. The King James Version of the Bible was published in 1611 (that’s 231 years before the word "dinosaur" even came into existence). But is thedescription of a dinosaur provided within the book of Job? Yes, it is.

All of this means, of course, that men and dinosaurs lived together on the Earth at the same time. How exciting that must have been! And how powerful God must be in order to create such magnificent animals. Let us remember to give Him honor and praise for all that He has done.



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