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Are Dinosaurs Mentioned in the Bible

Are Dinosaurs Mentioned in the Bible

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Published by Randy Neal

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Published by: Randy Neal on Nov 12, 2011
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Are Dinosaurs Mentioned in the Bible?By Randy Neal
If you were to pick up a Bible concordance and look up the word “dinosaur,” I amcertain you would not find the word under that particular heading. In fact, the firstdinosaur fossil was discovered (known as the Iguanodon) in 1822 by Dr. Gideon Mantell.At the start, Dr. Mantell and the scientists who examined the fossil did not realize whatthis strange creature was. They finally understood that they had uncovered a totally newkind of creature and that some were enormous in size. Then in 1841, the famous Britishanatomist and paleontologist, Sir Richard Owen, came up with the name “dinosaurs”(which means “terrible lizard”) to describe these creatures. When one considers that theTyrannosaurus Rex had a massive jaw six feet long and six inch long teeth, then nowonder they were called “terrible lizards.”At least in part, even if the Biblical writers referred to such animals in the Bible, weshould not expect to find them referred to as “dinosaurs” (especially since that Englishword has only been around some 150 years or so).There are four main Hebrew Old Testament words that some have argueddescribe dinosaurs. The first is the word Behemoth (Job 40:15, tomhb). The second isthe word tannin (nynt), found in Genesis 1:21 and other places. The third term isLeviathan (Job 41:1). The fourth term is Rahab (bhr, Job 9:13). We will look at each of these words individually and then make some final comments. Finally, we will examinewhat happened to those “terrible lizards.” Did they die in the flood, did Noah takedinosaurs onto the ark, and if so, did the dinosaurs gradually die following the flood dueto a change in temperature (going from a warmer, more tropical climate to a colder 
climate)?BehemothFirst of all, in Job 40:15-24, we read of a creature that is known as Behemoth.The word used in Job 40:15, behemoth, is the plural form of the word, behema (foundsome 190 times in scripture). The singular form of this word is variously translated:animal, livestock, cattle, or beast. Most English versions unfortunately transliterate theHebrew word as behemoth. Even the Latin Vulgate did so in the Latin translation of this passage. The LXX (Greek translation of the Old Testament the 2nd century B.C.)renders this word qusia, meaning “beast” or “wild beast.” Miles Coverdale, in histranslation of the Old Testament, rendered this word, “the cruell beaste.” Yet what typeof animal was is God describing here?To put this passage in context, we must remember that Job’s three friends(Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, chapters 4-5, 8, 11, 15, 18, 20, 22) told him that he issuffering due to sin (chapters 3, 6-7, 9-10, 12-14, 16-17, 19, 21, 23-24, 26-31). Job bemoans his plight and tries to justify himself before his three friends. Job questions whyhe is suffering at the hand of God? After Job and his three friends are all reproved by theyoung man, Elihu (chapters 32-37), God asks Job a series of questions (chapters 38-41).“Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? Declare, if thou hastunderstanding?” (38:4) If Job thought he had a handle on difficult questions, God had afew of His own for Job. When considering God’s greatness, have you considered Hismarvelous creatures (behemoth and leviathan)?What type of creature is God describing here in Job 40:15? Some have suggested
an elephant (or Mastodon), a hippopotamus (the so-called Egyptian “river-horse”), a bison/buffalo type creature, a rhinoceros, or some animal no longer in existence.Whatever the creature (and I do not believe anyone can argue definitively that Job isdescribing here some extinct dinosaur), God shows that His power is demonstratedthrough this powerful creature.TanninThe second “creature” we want to discuss is found fifteen times in the Bible. TheHebrew word, tannin, or in Ugaritic, tannanu, is variously translated: (1) sea monster (Genesis 1:21; Psalms 148:7), (2) sea dragon (Isaiah 27:1), and (3) serpent (Exodus 7:9,10, 12; Deuteronomy 32:33; Psalms 91:13). The Ugaritic word, tannanu, described theCanaanite (mythological) sea monster. The tannin was created by God on the fifth day,when God made all animals in the sea and air (Genesis 1:21-22). The KJV and RSVrenders this word as “whale,” while the Greek version of the Old Testmaent rendered theword as ta khth ta megala or the great sea monster (khtos, meaning “sea monster”; thisword in Classical Greek could refer to any of the great creatures of the sea, including thewhale).In Isaiah 51:9-10, the prophet speaks of God as the One Who “cut off Rahab” and“pierced the dragon” or Tannin. God created them and He controls them.The word “serpent” in Exodus 7:9-10 (when Moses’ rod turns into a serpent) isnot the normal word (nachash) for serpent, but in fact the word tannin. Some suggest thata small crocodile, an enormous lizard, or even a water-monitor is what Moses isdescribing in Exodus chapter seven. 

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