Scriptures

Did Dinosaurs Exist?

Introduction

There is no disputing that dinosaurs existed, even the atheist and the evolutionist believe they existed, because archaeology has discovered many dinosaur parts over the years. There have been bones and teeth from these creatures found and identified as early as the 1800s. When we look back from our present date there has been a variety of different dinosaurs distinguished because since then their remains have been found all around the world.

It was the English scientist, Dr. Richard Owens, in 1842 who said described them as ‘terrible lizards,’ or ‘dinosauria,’ as they are now called. The Greek words ‘dino’ means terrible and the word, ‘saur’ means lizard.

Throughout the years, their bones have been unearthed, and dinosaurs have been a fascination for humans for decades. Today you can go along to many museums and see life-size skeletal reconstructions they have built from their fossils and bones.

When I was younger, one of the films which tried to bring them to life was ‘Jurassic Park’, and then there were other TV programmes called ‘Walking with dinosaurs.’ People are fascinated by these strange creates, their size, their diet and their lifestyles.

I wonder if they had the same effect on people in Bible times? Were they present with Adam and Eve in the garden? And if mankind lived with them for years, what happened to them? These are great questions and well worth taking the time to try and answer.

When Were Dinosaurs Created?

Unlike some evolutionist who believe that Earth is billions of years old, creationists believe that God created the world as detailed in Genesis approximately 6,000 – 10,000 years ago. When I was younger I used to hear on the TV that the Earth was around one million years old but as I got older this date got bigger and bigger.

Some creationists agree that dinosaurs lived and then died off long before humans populated the land, but other creationists generally believe dinosaurs co-existed with men and I have no doubt that God may have included two of each on Noah’s Ark, and just like other groups of animals, they became extinct sometime after the flood.

If there was no ‘former creation’ during which Dinosaurs roamed the earth,

when did they exist?

Well, Genesis offers us something to think about.

‘So, God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.’ Genesis 1:21

On the fourth day God created ‘great sea monsters’, R.S.V. Here the Hebrew word used is ‘tanniyn’, which is used to describes any ‘long’ creature and is used to refer to sea monsters, dragons, serpents and lizards. Since the word ‘dinosaur’ comes from ‘deino saurus’ and means ‘terrible lizard’, and verse 21 has therefore been described as referring to the ‘Saurian’ age.

Well, perhaps the ‘days’ of creation were vast geological periods and not 24-hour days? Not so! It is true that the word ‘yom’, ‘day’ is used in several ways in the Bible and was used to refer to an indefinite period of time, as, for instance,

‘the day of temptation in the wildernesses’.

Psalm 95:8 ‘Do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah, as you did that day at Massah in the wilderness’.

Isaiah 2:11 ‘The eyes of the arrogant will be humbled and human pride brought low; the LORD alone will be exalted in that day.’

But, remember that the account of creation repeatedly says,

‘And there was evening and there was morning, one day. So, it was evening and there was morning a second day.’

Brother J.B. Rotherham’s literal rendering of the Hebrew text gives us this as the literal translation.

Again, when the Israelites were commanded to ‘remember the sabbath day’ they were given a reason.

‘For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, and the seventh (day) is a Sabbath’.

The rule to follow is quite simple, when the word ‘day’ is preceded by a number, it must be understood to refer to literal days of 24 hours. Those of us, who believe in the omnipotence of God, have no difficulty in accepting that He who said,

‘Light be!’,

and there was light, was also capable of completing the work of creation without resorting to the use of ‘vast geological periods’. Bear in mind that those who accept the Darwinian theory of Evolution need vast periods of time to accommodate it.

Does the Bible mention dinosaurs?

Let me say right from the start you won’t find, Tyrannosaurus Rex or the term ‘dinosaur’ anywhere in the Bible, but they do use the Hebrew word ‘tanniyn’ to describe a creature resembling a giant reptile. This animal appears 28 times in the Old Testament, with English translations referring to it most often as a ‘dragon’, but also as a ‘sea-monster, serpent and whale’.

The Tanniyn

The term applies to a water monster, both marine and river, as well as a land monster. Many scholars believe Scripture writers used ‘tanniyn’ to describe images of dinosaurs in the Bible.

‘Speak to him and say: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: ‘I am against you, Pharaoh king of Egypt, you great monster lying among your streams. You say, ‘The Nile belongs to me; I made it for myself.’ Ezekiel 29:3

The Behemoth

Besides giant reptiles, the Bible also includes several references to a monstrous and mighty beast, specifically called Behemoth in the Book of Job.

‘Look at Behemoth, which I made along with you and which feeds on grass like an ox. What strength it has in its loins, what power in the muscles of its belly! Its tail sways like a cedar; the sinews of its thighs are close-knit. Its bones are tubes of bronze, its limbs like rods of iron. It ranks first among the works of God, yet its Maker can approach it with his sword. The hills bring it their produce, and all the wild animals play nearby. Under the lotus plants it lies, hidden among the reeds in the marsh. The lotuses conceal it in their shadow; the poplars by the stream surround it. A raging river does not alarm it; it is secure, though the Jordan should surge against its mouth. Can anyone capture it by the eyes, or trap it and pierce its nose?’ Job 40:15-24

It’s interesting that the footnote in your Bible has this description of the Behemoth, a water-ox, the hippopotamus or Nile-horse. From this description of the Behemoth, it seems possible that the Book of Job was describing a giant, vegetation-eating sauropod.

The Leviathan

The Leviathan, or sea dragon also appears a few times in Scripture and in other ancient literature.

‘In that day, the LORD will punish with his sword—his fierce, great and powerful sword—Leviathan the gliding serpent, Leviathan the coiling serpent; he will slay the monster of the sea.’ Isaiah 27:1

‘It was you who split open the sea by your power; you broke the heads of the monster in the waters. It was you who crushed the heads of Leviathan and gave it as food to the creatures of the desert.’ Psalm 74:13-14

‘Can you pull in Leviathan with a fishhook or tie down its tongue with a rope? Can you put a cord through its nose or pierce its jaw with a hook? Will it keep begging you for mercy? Will it speak to you with gentle words? Will it make an agreement with you for you to take it as your slave for life? Can you make a pet of it like a bird or put it on a leash for the young women in your house? Will traders barter for it? Will they divide it up among the merchants? Can you fill its hide with harpoons or its head with fishing spears? If you lay a hand on it, you will remember the struggle and never do it again! Any hope of subduing it is false; the mere sight of it is overpowering. No one is fierce enough to rouse it. Who then is able to stand against me? Who has a claim against me that I must pay? Everything under heaven belongs to me. ‘I will not fail to speak of Leviathan’s limbs, its strength and its graceful form. Who can strip off its outer coat? Who can penetrate its double coat of armour? Who dares open the doors of its mouth, ringed about with fearsome teeth? Its back has rows of shields tightly sealed together; each is so close to the next that no air can pass between. They are joined fast to one another; they cling together and cannot be parted. Its snorting throws out flashes of light; its eyes are like the rays of dawn. Flames stream from its mouth; sparks of fire shoot out. Smoke pours from its nostrils as from a boiling pot over burning reeds. Its breath sets coals ablaze, and flames dart from its mouth. Strength resides in its neck; dismay goes before it. The folds of its flesh are tightly joined; they are firm and immovable. Its chest is hard as rock, hard as a lower millstone. When it rises up, the mighty are terrified; they retreat before its thrashing. The sword that reaches it has no effect, nor does the spear or the dart or the javelin. Iron it treats like straw and bronze like rotten wood. Arrows do not make it flee; sling stones are like chaff to it. A club seems to it but a piece of straw; it laughs at the rattling of the lance. Its undersides are jagged potsherds, leaving a trail in the mud like a threshing sledge. It makes the depths churn like a boiling caldron and stirs up the sea like a pot of ointment. It leaves a glistening wake behind it; one would think the deep had white hair. Nothing on earth is its equal—a creature without fear. It looks down on all that are haughty; it is king over all that are proud.’ Job 41:1–34

Again, it’s interesting that the footnote of our Bible described the leviathan as a ‘wreathed animal,’ i.e. a serpent, especially the crocodile or some other large sea-monster. Job here describes the twisting, serpent-like Leviathan in terms of a fierce, fire breathing dragon.

The Four-Legged Insects/Fowls

‘All flying insects that walk on all fours are to be regarded as unclean by you. There are, however, some flying insects that walk on all fours that you may eat: those that have jointed legs for hopping on the ground.’ Leviticus 11:20-21

Because the King James Version uses the word, ‘fowls’, this has led to some scholars to believe that these creatures may have been among the pterosaurs or flying reptiles.

Other References to Dinosaurs mentioned in the Bible

‘There the ships go to and fro, and Leviathan, which you formed to frolic there. Psalm 104:26

‘Praise the LORD from the earth, you great sea creatures and all ocean depths.’ Psalm 148:7

‘Am I the sea, or the monster of the deep, that you put me under guard?’ Job 7:12

Whatever these creatures were like, they have led some interpreters of the Bible to think that the Scripture writers may have been rendering pictures of dinosaurs.

Conclusion

Let’s be clear, we’re in agreement with most evolutionist in terms of the existence of dinosaurs, but the real debate is always over WHEN they existed. As we have seen, we didn’t have to do any real archaeological digging through the Scriptures to find the support that dinosaurs existed.

 

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."

Romans 3:23

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