"Dinosaurs and The Bible"
Elder David Green
" Praise ye the LORD. Praise ye the LORD from the heavens: praise him in the heights. Praise ye him, all his angels: praise ye him, all his hosts. Praise ye him, sun and moon: praise him, all ye stars of light. Praise him, ye heavens of heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens. Let them praise the name of the LORD: for he commanded, and they were created. He hath also stablished them for ever and ever: he hath made a decree which shall not pass. Praise the LORD from the earth, ye dragons, and all deeps: Fire, and hail; snow, and vapour; stormy wind fulfilling his word: Mountains, and all hills; fruitful trees, and all cedars: Beasts, and all cattle; creeping things, and flying fowl: Kings of the earth, and all people; princes, and all judges of the earth: Both young men, and maidens; old men, and children: Let them praise the name of the LORD: for his name alone is excellent; his glory is above the earth and heaven. He also exalteth the horn of his people, the praise of all his saints; even of the children of Israel, a people near unto him. Praise ye the LORD." (Psalm 148).
Dinosaurs are creatures we learn about from the time we are very small until we are very old. Some even question their existence. However, the fact is, dinosaur bones have been found on every continent, including Antarctica. So we know they existed at some point. Some scientists and all public school textbooks tell us that the dinosaurs died millions of years before man came on the scene, yet what does the Bible say?
This may come as a surprise to some, but the Bible has a lot to say about dinosaurs! No, the word is not found in our KJV Bible, but that is because the word dinosaur was not coined until 1842, by a creationist named Richard Owen. Our Bible was first translated in 1611.
"Interestingly, the word ‘dragon’ is used a number of times in the Old Testament. In most instances, the word dinosaur could substitute for dragon and it would fit very nicely. Creation scientists believe that dinosaurs were called dragons before the word dinosaur was invented in the 1800s. We would not expect to find the word dinosaur in Bibles like the Authorized Version (1611), as it was translated well before the word dinosaur was ever used." - Ken Ham, Dinosaurs and the Bible
In a generic sense, the word Dinosaur
has come to mean "any of various large extinct reptiles." (Merriam
Webster's Online Dictionary). Thus, in this sermon we may speak of
dinosaurs as being in the land, in the water or in the air.
In order to "unlock" the mystery of the dinosaurs in our KJV, we will also take a look at the original Hebrew word tan-neen' or tan-neem', which is usually translated dragon, but not always. Strong's concordance gives us this definition of that Greek word:
A marine or land monster, that is, sea serpent or jackal: - dragon, sea-monster, serpent, whale.
Notice in our text, and let us re-read verse 7:
"Praise the LORD from the earth, ye dragons, and all deeps"
These dinosaurs, which seem fierce to
us were created to give praise to Almighty God, their creator!
"And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth." (Genesis 1:20-22).
The first types of dinosaurs were created on Day Five of Creation. Remember, the days of creation were literal days, just like we know them today... I am amazed at how many people try to explain away the word day here. If I say that I will see you in six days, you would probably not have any doubts what I meant. I really doubt anyone would think I meant six billion years! Why is it people have problems with the word day here? I do not know!
Anyway, some of you probably wonder how I know that any dinosaurs were created on day five. Well, remember that Hebrew word tan-neen? It is here, translated as whales. In the original, God meant all the great sea monsters including those marine dinosaurs that exist today and are found as fossils all around the world, and may even exist in the waters today (ever read about the Loch Ness Monster?). The King James translators translated it whales because that was the biggest marine animal they knew about. And certainly, whales were created that day, but they could have also translated it as sea dragons or marine dinosaurs!
LEVIATHAN: A SEA DINOSAUR
"Canst thou draw out leviathan with an hook? or his tongue with a cord which thou lettest down? Canst thou put an hook into his nose? or bore his jaw through with a thorn? Will he make many supplications unto thee? will he speak soft words unto thee? Will he make a covenant with thee? wilt thou take him for a servant for ever? Wilt thou play with him as with a bird? or wilt thou bind him for thy maidens? Shall the companions make a banquet of him? shall they part him among the merchants? Canst thou fill his skin with barbed irons? or his head with fish spears? Lay thine hand upon him, remember the battle, do no more. Behold, the hope of him is in vain: shall not one be cast down even at the sight of him? None is so fierce that dare stir him up: who then is able to stand before me? Who hath prevented me, that I should repay him? whatsoever is under the whole heaven is mine. I will not conceal his parts, nor his power, nor his comely proportion. Who can discover the face of his garment? or who can come to him with his double bridle? Who can open the doors of his face? his teeth are terrible round about. His scales are his pride, shut up together as with a close seal. One is so near to another, that no air can come between them. They are joined one to another, they stick together, that they cannot be sundered." (Job 41:1-17).
Now, up to this point in our reading, you might think of an alligator or a crocodile. And you would not be alone in your assumption. In fact, many old commentators have thought this to be the case. (Some have even thought it was a whale! This totally blows my mind, since leviathan obviously had scales...something that whales do not have!) The word leviathan is actually the Hebrew word. When the King James translators got to this word, they could not agree on what it was, so they simply transliterated it. What is it, though? Well, let us keep reading:
"By his neesings a light doth shine, and his eyes are like the eyelids of the morning. Out of his mouth go burning lamps, and sparks of fire leap out. Out of his nostrils goeth smoke, as out of a seething pot or caldron. His breath kindleth coals, and a flame goeth out of his mouth. In his neck remaineth strength, and sorrow is turned into joy before him. The flakes of his flesh are joined together: they are firm in themselves; they cannot be moved. His heart is as firm as a stone; yea, as hard as a piece of the nether millstone. When he raiseth up himself, the mighty are afraid: by reason of breakings they purify themselves. The sword of him that layeth at him cannot hold: the spear, the dart, nor the habergeon. He esteemeth iron as straw, and brass as rotten wood. The arrow cannot make him flee: slingstones are turned with him into stubble. Darts are counted as stubble: he laugheth at the shaking of a spear. Sharp stones are under him: he spreadeth sharp pointed things upon the mire. He maketh the deep to boil like a pot: he maketh the sea like a pot of ointment. He maketh a path to shine after him; one would think the deep to be hoary. Upon earth there is not his like, who is made without fear. He beholdeth all high things: he is a king over all the children of pride." (Job 41:18-34).
Let's do a recap of leviathan. He was a fire-breather (v 18-21, 31-32), could raise himself up (v 25), not very easy to kill (v 26-30), unlike anything else created (v 33), and apparently very large (v. 34). What kind of crocodile or whale fits that description! Ever hear those legends of fire breathing dragons that came out of England? Guess what, it looks like they were based on some facts! Our ancestors would have had no trouble telling us what the Bible describes here! And those legends are not just in England, but also in other parts of the world as well.
Now, I know, there are skeptics who say the Bible must have been influenced by legends. As Baptists we must either believe God really did create fire-breathing dragons or believe the Bible is false. I choose the Bible! Is it really far-fetched to believe that God created dinosaurs that could do this? Not really, when there is a "fire-breathing bug" that is alive today. Notice:
"O LORD, how manifold
are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy
riches. So is this
great and wide sea, wherein are
things creeping innumerable, both small and great
beasts. There go the
is that leviathan,
whom thou hast made to play
God made this creation in His wisdom, and so it is also with leviathan, who was one of those great innumerable sea creatures made to play in the waters.
"For God is my King of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth. Thou didst divide the sea by thy strength: thou brakest the heads of the dragons in the waters. Thou brakest the heads of leviathan in pieces, and gavest him to be meat to the people inhabiting the wilderness." (Psalm 74:12-14).
Here we find God's greatness expressed through the killing of leviathan. (On a side note, we find it was good for food!) When we find the fossils of these sea dragons we ought to remember God's power and greatness!
"Rejoice not thou, whole Palestina, because the rod of him that smote thee is broken: for out of the serpent’s root shall come forth a cockatrice, and his fruit shall be a fiery flying serpent." (Isaiah 14:29).
Serpent is another older word used for dragons and dinosaurs. To see the connection, let us look up the word for dragon in Webster's 1828 Dictionary:
A kind of winged serpent, much celebrated in the romances of the middle ages.
Now the passage we just read is not the only passage like it. Notice:
burden of the beasts of the south: into the land of trouble and anguish, from
whence come the young and old lion, the viper and fiery flying serpent, they
will carry their riches upon the shoulders of young asses, and their treasures
upon the bunches of camels, to a people that shall not profit
Although the Hebrew word is unlike the word we have looked at before, the translation is precise. It says a flying serpent, even in the original. God created flying dinosaurs (We know them today as pterodactyls) on the fifth day of creation, and the evidence is very clear they existed in the world as we study the fossil record!
"And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good." (Genesis 1:24-25).
day six of creation, God created all the land animals and mankind. How
can I know for sure that God created the land dinosaurs on that day?
Well, because God's Word says so! Notice:
"Behold now behemoth, which I made with thee; he eateth grass as an ox." (Job 40:15).
Behemoth is another one of
those transliterated words that come to us from the Hebrew. Again, the
translators were unsure how to translate this one so they left it alone.
If you have any notes at all in the center column or at the bottom of the page
here, it probably tells you that behemoth was either an ox, elephant or a
hippo. Whichever it says, it's wrong!
Let us look at the description of it:
"Behold now behemoth, which I made with thee; he eateth grass as an ox. Lo now, his strength is in his loins, and his force is in the navel of his belly. He moveth his tail like a cedar: the sinews of his stones are wrapped together. His bones are as strong pieces of brass; his bones are like bars of iron. He is the chief of the ways of God: he that made him can make his sword to approach unto him. Surely the mountains bring him forth food, where all the beasts of the field play. He lieth under the shady trees, in the covert of the reed, and fens. The shady trees cover him with their shadow; the willows of the brook compass him about. Behold, he drinketh up a river, and hasteth not: he trusteth that he can draw up Jordan into his mouth. He taketh it with his eyes: his nose pierceth through snares." (Job 40:15-24).
I believe this was the biggest land creature (or at least one of the biggest) God made. Notice the words: "chief of the ways of God" there in verse 19. Then in verse 23, we are told he can even drink up the Jordan River... Now that may not mean much to us, but this was the biggest river in Palestine...traveling 200 miles long and 90-100 feet wide and three to ten feet deep! What a mighty creature Job must have known! The description sounds much like what scientists know today as a Sauropod such as the famous Brachiosaurus. Notice this description of the Sauropods:
Brachiosaurid was one of the biggest dinosaurs. They considered the longest dinosaurs. The weight was about 80t and the length was 25m. In addition, using their long necks, they could eat leaves of treetops. However, unlike other herbivorous dinosaurs, Brachiosaurus bit leaves from trees and then chewed. Sometimes, they could stand up by their strong hind legs to reach to the leaves of treetops.
"And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness." (Malachi 1:3).
were dinosaurs that roamed the earth. Here the Bible tells us that
dragons were in the forests!
WHAT THEY ATE.
"And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so." (Genesis 1:30).
dinosaurs were vegetarians. None of them ate meat. Way back there
in the Garden of Eden, there was nothing fierce, not even the dinosaurs!
Obviously, later many of God's creation began eating meat (including
"And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die. But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons’ wives with thee. And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female. Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive. And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them. Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he." (Genesis 6:17-22).
God sent a great flood to the
earth that destroyed the majority of the dinosaurs. The evidence of that
is seen today in the sedimentary deposits of the world. Fossilized
dinosaur bones are found in all continents of the world, including places like
Antarctica. Two of each of the kinds of dinosaurs were saved on the ark,
so the population was not totally destroyed in the flood, but greatly reduced.
"And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so." (Genesis 1:6-7).
"In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened." (Genesis 7:11).
In the beginning, when God created this world, He gave it a water vapor canopy. There was no rain back in those days... However, when He sent the flood, the waters that were above the earth poured down on the earth...In other words, we lost our canopy. He also broke up the fountains of the deep...probably water underground.
Now, that canopy
would have been like being in a "global greenhouse," giving us a pleasant warm
temperature all over the earth. This is why fossils of tropical plants
and animals have been found in Antarctica. However, in the flood
the "windows of heaven were opened." I believe that firmament was done
away with at that point. Also, the Bible tells us that the "fountains of
the great deep" were "broken up." This may be reference to volcanic
activity. Looking at the evidence left behind, we know that volcanic
activity was greater in the past than it is now. Evolutionists say this
all happened in millions of years. I say it happened within a few
thousand years, and probably in the events during and shortly after the flood.
I say all this to point out that the world was vastly different after the flood. It would have been harsher on all living things. We know that even in our own lives. You won't live to be over 900 years old today! Fact is, we will probably not see 100 in our current environment.
"And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth. And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered. Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things." (Genesis 9:1-3).
flood brought about other changes too: the behavior of animals was vastly
different...God put a fear of man into them...and for good reason too...He
gave Noah's family permission to eat meat. Probably at this point
too, animals began to eat meat as well, so it was good for man that there be
this dread or fear.
So, I believe that because of the harshness of the new environment and because of Noah's descendants hunting and eating them, dinosaurs are either extinct today or very, very rare. There have been sightings of dinosaurs even in our own day. And it is possible that a few still exist in some of the remote parts of the world.
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