Dinosaurs, Dragons, and Sea Monsters, Oh My!

            Has anyone ever asked you why there is no mention of dinosaurs in the Bible? What about dragons? Anyone ever say to you, or have you heard someone ask, “Why are there dragon myths in England and in China and Japan, but the Bible does not speak of them?” What about the sea monsters sailor’s tales used to be filled with? This is the topic of today’s message: Dinosaurs, Sea Monsters, and Dragons, Oh My!

            The fact is, the Bible DOES speak of these things. Dinosaurs, sea monsters, and dragons – the things of myths – are all mentioned in the Bible. The terms may not all be there, but looking at the descriptions in the text will leave little room for doubt. With this in mind, let us first look at dinosaurs in the Bible. Job 40:15-24 speaks of the בְּהֵמֹות (bâhemowth). This has been transliterated behemoth. It has also been translated as hippopotamus. But let’s take a look at the description of a hippo: Hippos average 11 ft long, 5 ft tall at the shoulder, and weigh from 3,300 to 7,000 lb; they are thought to be the second largest land anima. They are found in lakes and rivers. They eat vegetation and the occasional animal. It’s tail is described as a paddle, short and muscular with flattened sides. Now let us look at Job 40:15-24 to see if it matches that of a hippopotamus:

            15 Behold now, Behemoth, which I made as well as you; He eats grass like an ox. 16 Behold now, his strength in his loins And his power in the muscles of his belly. 17 He bends his tail like a cedar; The sinews of his thighs are knit together. 18 His bones are tubes of bronze; His limbs are like bars of iron. 19 He is the first of the ways of God; Let his maker bring near his sword. 20 Surely the mountains bring him food, And all the beasts of the field play there. 21 Under the lotus plants he lies down, In the covert of the reeds and the marsh. 22 The lotus plants cover him with shade; The willows of the brook surround him. 23 If a river rages, he is not alarmed; He is confident, though the Jordan rushes to his mouth. 24 Can anyone capture him when he is on watch, With barbs can anyone pierce his nose? “Can anyone capture him when he is on watch?

            Notice that though the Behemoth eats vegetation and is large and strong, it does not match that of a hippopotamus – particularly the tail. A cedar is a tree, but the tail of a hippo is small, short, and flattened. The Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon indicates the behemoth is an extinct dinosaur, such as a Diplodocus or Brachiosaurus. The word dinosaur was not used in the older Biblical translations because the word had not been coined, although dragons were known.

            That being the case, let us look at what is known, or thought to be known, about dragons and what the Bible has to say about dragons. Merriam Webster defines a dragon as, “a mythical animal usually represented as a monstrous winged and scaly serpent or saurian with a crested head and enormous claws.” Often the dragon is shown as breathing fire. Stories of dragons are found in many parts of Europe and Asia. In Asia, “the dragon’s appearance is described as having a body of a snake” Sometimes it has wings and sometimes not. In Europe, the dragon is depicted as a huge fire-breathing, scaly and horned dinosaur-like creature, with leathery wings, with four legs and a long muscular tail. There are dragons in mythology or history of Greece, Rome, Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Persia, Poland, German, and Norway. Indeed, there are tales from Germany, Russia.  The Bible DOES have the word dragon in it, but only in the book of Revelation (chapters 12, 13, 16, 20). However, the Bible also mentions a Leviathan in Job 41. Lets us look at Job 41:12-29 now:            

1 Can you draw out Leviathan with a fishhook? Or press down his tongue with a cord? 2 Can you put a rope in his nose Or pierce his jaw with a hook? 3 Will he make many supplications to you, Or will he speak to you soft words? 4 Will he make a covenant with you? Will you take him for a servant forever? 5 Will you play with him as with a bird, Or will you bind him for your maidens? 6 Will the traders bargain over him? Will they divide him among the merchants? 7 Can you fill his skin with harpoons, Or his head with fishing spears? 8 Lay your hand on him; Remember the battle; you will not do it again! 9 Behold, your expectation is false; Will you be laid low even at the sight of him? 10“No one is so fierce that he dares to arouse him; Who then is he that can stand before Me? 11 Who has given to Me that I should repay him? Whatever is under the whole heaven is Mine. 12 I will not keep silence concerning his limbs, Or his mighty strength, or his orderly frame. 13 Who can strip off his outer armor? Who can come within his double mail? 14 Who can open the doors of his face? Around his teeth there is terror. 15 His strong scales are his pride, Shut up as with a tight seal. 16 One is so near to another That no air can come between them. 17 They are joined one to another; They clasp each other and cannot be separated. 18 His sneezes flash forth light, And his eyes are like the eyelids of the morning. 19 Out of his mouth go burning torches; Sparks of fire leap forth. 20 Out of his nostrils smoke goes forth As from a boiling pot and burning rushes. 21 His breath kindles coals, And a flame goes forth from his mouth. 22 In his neck lodges strength, And dismay leaps before him. 23 The folds of his flesh are joined together, Firm on him and immovable. 24 His heart is as hard as a stone, Even as hard as a lower millstone. 25 When he raises himself up, the mighty fear; Because of the crashing they are bewildered. 26 The sword that reaches him cannot avail, Nor the spear, the dart or the javelin. 27 He regards iron as straw, Bronze as rotten wood. 28 The arrow cannot make him flee; Slingstones are turned into stubble for him. 29 Clubs are regarded as stubble; He laughs at the rattling of the javelin. 30 His underparts are like sharp potsherds; He spreads out like a threshing sledge on the mire. 31 He makes the depths boil like a pot; He makes the sea like a jar of ointment. 32 Behind him he makes a wake to shine; One would think the deep to be gray-haired. 33 Nothing on earth is like him, One made without fear. 34 He looks on everything that is high; He is king over all the sons of pride.

This animal lives in the sea, like some dragons of Asia. This is backed up by Psalm 104:25-26, “There is the sea, great and broad, in which are swarms without number, animals both small and great. There the ships move along, and Leviathan, which You have formed to sport in it.” Also like the dragons of Asia, Isaiah 27:1 states the Leviathan is a serpent. The Bible describes the dragon as strong, armored, and scaled. Some have tried to say this animal is a crocodile, but the description falls short of a crocodile. But most interestingly, verses 18-21 speak of flames and smoke, much as the myth of dragons in Europe. Many would like to think no animal could breathe fire. But the Bombardier beetle expels the results of a chemical reaction that burns humans and kills other insects. And it may be the Leviathan’s ability to breathe fire is some chemical reaction of a similar nature. Regardless of what you think of whether an animal can breathe fire, the leviathan can be nothing OTHER than the dragon of lore.

            Now, we’ve looked at what the Bible has to say about dinosaurs and dragons. Let’s look at what the Bible has to say about sea monsters. Turn to Psalm 74:13-14 “You divided the sea by Your strength; You broke the heads of the sea monsters in the waters. You crushed the heads of Leviathan; You gave him as food for the creatures of the wilderness.”  It may be the leviathan was considered to be a sea monster. Or maybe it was just listed among scary things in the sea. Genesis 1:21 reads, “God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarmed after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind; and God saw that it was good.” There is no question God created the sea monsters, the dragons AND the dinosaurs. In fact, He called them good.

            So why compare mythology and the Bible? Mythology, or legend, is often based in reality. Research on dinosaurs to date has been based on investigation and educated guesses and interpretations of that data. However, the Bible is truth. When we are asked how we can believe the Bible when it does not speak of dinosaurs or dragons or even “sea monsters”, we can answer that it does.

            Did the dragon and the dinosaur and the sea monster exist? The Bible tells us they did. The thing to remember is not that mankind is finding things that contradict the Bible, but rather instead that the Bible can be trusted. In fact, men have been finding more and more evidence that actually substantiates the Bible.

            The question should not be did the dinosaur, dragon, and sea monster exist. Nor should the question be does the Bible speak of these things. But rather the question IS: can the Bible be trusted? To go into all the details as to why the Bible can be trusted would take too long, but at least you’ve seen how the Bible offers explanation for what mankind has known for years: there are things in this world we do not understand. You can trust the Bible. Do you trust the One to whom the Bible points us? Do you trust Christ? We can worry about monsters, but we really need to worry about our eternal destination. I invite you to accept Christ as Savior and ensure your destiny will be heaven.

Holy Bible : New Living Translation. 1997 (Job 40:14). Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House.

Unknown Wikipedia contributors, “Hippopotamus,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hippopotomus (accessed October 8, 2006).

Spook, Skelton, “Hippopotamus,”  Nature Wildlife, http://www.nature-wildlife.com/hipptxt.htm (accessed October 8, 2006).

Unless otherwise noted, all scripture is taken from New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

Strong, J. (1996). The exhaustive concordance of the Bible : Showing every word of the test of the common English version of the canonical books, and every occurence of each word in regular order. (electronic ed.) (H930). Ontario: Woodside Bible Fellowship.

Merriam-Webster Online (www.Merriam-Webster.com) copyright 2005 by Merriam-Webster, Incorporated [available October 8, 2006].

Unknown Wikipedia contributors, “Chinese Dragon,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_dragon (accessed October 8, 2006).

Unknown Wikipedia contributors, “European Dragon,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_dragon (accessed October 8, 2006).

Unknown Wikipedia contributors, ” Bombardier Beetle,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bombardier_Beetle (accessed October 8, 2006).


2 Responses

  1. Hi,

    You did a good job on proving that dinosaurs and humans were contemporary in Job’s day.

    Dinosaurs are still contemporary with man today.

    This website

    20th and 21st Century Dinosaurs
    Man and Dinosaurs Co-existence

    gives the proof that they are.

  2. Thanks – for the compliment and for the cool website.

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