Ask Pastor Alex, Episode. 43
This is the Ask Pastor Alex podcast with your host, Pastor Alex. All right, welcome back to the podcast, everyone. We are here with another episode, and I just want to say a few things here at the beginning. First and foremost, I am aware that we’ve had to move to every other week for an episode right now. I’m hoping that pretty soon we’ll be able to get back to every week, but I am a pastor and this is a very busy time in the life of our church. We have a lot going on, and I always prioritize the church and things that I have going on here before the podcast. Just bear with me, we will eventually get back to every week, but for now, it’s going to be every other week. Also, I just want to let everyone know that we do have an entire backlog of questions. If you have submitted a question and I haven’t gotten to it yet, please don’t feel like I’m ignoring your question or that I haven’t received it because I’ve received all the submissions, I’ve received all the emails. I do have an entire backlog of questions, and so we’re going to get to them as quickly as we can. So don’t feel like I’ve ignored you or anything. If you don’t hear your question right now or in the couple episodes coming up, just understand that we will get to your question eventually. With that said, we are here with another episode and another question, and we have a good one today. The question is, why doesn’t the Bible mention dinosaurs?
That’s a really good question because a lot of people on this topic get confused because they do see all the fossils that we have of dinosaurs and they hear about the times in which dinosaurs roamed the earth. People wonder, well, if that in fact was a very prominent time in history, then why doesn’t the Bible mention these creatures? I kind of respond in a cheeky way because I always typically respond to that question with, does it not? Does the Bible not mention dinosaurs? That response is usually met with more confusion, so allow me to explain. You see, one of the big problems we have today is we have a tendency to think that just because a word is not mentioned or used, the Bible is silent on that subject. But that’s not the case. The Bible frequently addresses subjects without using words that we would use today. For instance, the Bible never uses the word abortion, which is a modern word, but it by no means is silent on the topic of murdering babies. It explicitly condemns it. In a similar way, the Bible never once uses the word Trinity, which is a word we use to describe the being of God. But just because it doesn’t use that word doesn’t mean that the Bible doesn’t address the topic of the Trinity. It clearly teaches the doctrine of the Trinity without having to use that word.
Well, in the same way, you won’t find the word dinosaur in the Bible, and that’s mostly because it’s a fairly new word. In fact, the word dinosaur didn’t even exist until 1841. It was first used in 1841 by a British scientist named Sir Richard Owen. But just because the word is not used doesn’t mean that you won’t find mention of dinosaurs in the Bible. In fact, you can find a number of occurrences where the Bible seems to be mentioning a dinosaur without actually using the word. And so let’s dive into the Bible and see what it has to say on this topic.
The Bible says in Genesis 1 that on day 6, “God created all the living creatures.” On that day, He created the water animals, the flying animals, the livestock, the creeping things and the beasts of the earth. This means that God created dinosaurs on day 6. If we are to adhere to what the Bible says and what the Bible teaches and not allow modern science and modern scientific theories to influence our reading of Scripture, the Bible says that all animals were created on day 6 and that would include dinosaurs. People sometimes find this hard to imagine because modern scientists have led us to believe that when the dinosaurs roamed the earth, they ruled the earth. And they might have eventually, but they didn’t when God first created them. When God first created dinosaurs, they were not going around murdering everything that moved because there’s good reason to believe that death didn’t actually exist on earth before Adam and Eve sinned against God. In fact, the Bible says in Romans 5 that sin and death came into the world through one-man sin, meaning sin and death were absent before Adam and Eve’s rebellion. And this makes sense biblically because God says in Genesis 1 that “mankind was to have dominion over the earth and everything in it,” which would include the dinosaurs.
So in contrast to what many modern scientists would have us believe today, when God first created dinosaurs, they were under the dominion of man. Again, many modern scientists reject this idea that God would have created the animals on the same day that he created Adam and Eve because they don’t believe that dinosaurs and mankind ever roamed the earth at the same time. They tell us that dinosaurs lived millions, maybe even billions of years ago, even though carbon dating methods have been proven to be completely unreliable. What’s interesting though is that there actually is evidence to suggest that man and dinosaurs roamed the earth at the same time. For one thing, over 16,000 carved stones found in Peru alone show humans interacting with all sorts of animals, including dinosaurs. And these are ancient stones that were carved, we don’t exactly know how long ago, but a long time ago. In one of these images, a man is literally depicted as riding on the back of a Triceratops. In another, a man is seen walking near a T-Rex. Furthermore, fossils have been found of dinosaur bones with human bones in their midst, as if a human was eaten by a dinosaur, which would make sense after the fall that man became part of dinosaurs’ prey. This means that the evidence available to us today is finally catching up with the biblical testimony that dinosaurs and mankind did in fact live at the same time. And so what happened to the dinosaurs?
Well, no scientist knows for sure what killed the dinosaurs. There’s no consensus. A lot of people have a lot of different theories, but most scientists do tend to gravitate towards the theory that a comet of some kind most likely wiped them out. However, the Bible gives us a different suggestion about what happened to the dinosaurs. The Bible tells us of a global catastrophe that wiped out not only many humans, but many animals. And that’s the great flood at the time of Noah. It’s not hard to imagine that when God flooded the earth, the vast majority of dinosaurs were killed, along with many other types of animals. You see, we have to remember that Noah brought two of every kind of animal onto the ark. In Genesis chapter 7, the Bible emphasizes that “two of each animal, according to its kind,” that’s the key word there, boarded the ark. You see, there’s a difference between every single animal and every kind of animal. For instance, we have countless dog breeds today, but their kind is canine and their common ancestor is a wolf. Meaning if Noah boarded with two wolves, later adaptations within that species would result in the numerous dog breeds that we have today. So he wouldn’t have to bring every breed of dog onto the ark, just two wolves.
Similarly, if Noah had brought a few kinds of dinosaurs onto the ark, there would still be the possibility of later types of dinosaurs coming from those few kinds. And many scientists today will even admit that birds today are the closest living relatives of dinosaurs. In fact, many scientists go further. According to paleontologist Aki Watanabe of the American Museum of Natural History, quote, all birds are dinosaurs, end quote. So dinosaurs do technically still exist today, even according to scientists. And what’s interesting is we do see dinosaurs existing in the Bible. There are two important references in the book of Job to dinosaurs. The first reference to a dinosaur is the behemoth that’s mentioned in Job chapter 40. This is what we read. Job chapter 40 verses 15 through 17 says, “Behold behemoth, which I made as I made you. He eats grass like an ox. Behold his strength is in his loins and his power in the muscle of his belly. He makes his tail stiff like a cedar. The sinews of his thighs are knit together.” Now many of our modern Bible translations will add a footnote after the word behemoth and say that this is describing an elephant or a hippo. But there’s some problems with that. The Bible describes the behemoth as this incredibly powerful beast with powerful muscular thighs and legs and stomach who eats grass and he moves his tail about like a cedar tree.
Now here’s what I want you to do. As you’re listening to this episode, if you have the ability to do so, Google pictures of hippos and elephants. Just look up a picture of a hippo or an elephant. And here’s the question I’m going to ask you. Do their tails look anything like a cedar tree? If you were describing their tails, would a cedar tree even come to your mind? And the answer is no. They don’t have very impressive tails at all. But now as you have Google open, here’s what I also want you to do. I want you to Google a picture of a serapod dinosaur such as the brachiosaurus. You look at a picture of a brachiosaurus as you read Job 40 verses 15 through 17 and tell me the description doesn’t match the brachiosaurus to a T. It has powerful legs. It has a powerful stomach, powerful thighs. And you look at its tail and it could easily be described as a cedar tree. And actually what’s interesting is scientists, paleontologists in particular, when they have found fossils of brachiosauruses footprints, there’s almost never a fossil of a tail being dragged, which means they would have carried their tails up in the air and it most likely would have swayed as they were walking. If you had seen that tail swaying, it would look like a cedar tree swaying in the wind. What’s also interesting is that Job says that the behemoth eats grass and we know that the serapod brachiosaurus was a herbivore that ate grass. Not only that, but Job 40 describes behemoth as living among many plants, which serapods had to do because they had to eat about a half ton of plants a day to live. But not only that, here’s what’s really interesting. The chapter ends, Job chapter 40 ends by saying this, “can one take him in his sight or pierce his nose with a snare?” Well listen, that statement makes total sense if you’re describing a serapod like the brachiosaurus. Why? Because the brachiosaurus stood over 40 feet tall. So you would not be able to sneak up on him or quote, take him in his sight. Since he was so tall, he would see anyone coming from a long way away. Also, you wouldn’t be able to pierce his nose with a snare because his head is literally 40 feet in the air. Therefore, it is very likely that the behemoth of Job chapter 40 is some type of serapod dinosaur much like the brachiosaurus.
Now you might think, well that’s just a Christian’s perspective trying to read into the Bible something that’s not there. But actually, there is a paleontologist, Dr. Kurt Wise from Harvard University, no friend to the Christians, and this is what he says. He says, quote, there’s one possible place where the Bible describes a dinosaur and it would be the behemoth described by God to Job in the book of Job, end quote. Now I agree with his statement that the behemoth of Job chapter 40 is a reference to a dinosaur, but I do not agree that it is the one possible place because I do think that there is another place even in the book of Job as well as Psalms and Isaiah that describes another dinosaur. And that is the Leviathan. We read about the Leviathan, as I said, in Job and Psalms and in Isaiah. In fact, if you want a long description of the Leviathan, you just read Job chapter 41 and there’s a very, very long description of him. From Job 41, we learn of the Leviathan that he has this large tongue that cannot be pressed down. It’s mighty. We learned that the Leviathan is mighty in strength, that his back is made of rows of shields, meaning that he has plated skin, that the plates are so near to each other that no arrow or harpoon can pierce him, that he sneezes forth lightning and breathes fire. He has a strong neck. He can raise himself up high. He’s so strong that iron is as straw to him and bronze as rotten wood. His appearance shimmers and he makes it seem as though the water is white behind him and none can subdue him but God. In Isaiah 27.1, the Bible describes Leviathan as a twisting serpent and a sea dragon. Also, it’s thought that Leviathan was only semi-aquatic or at least amphibious in some ways because Isaiah describes it as a sea dragon and the word dragon throughout scripture was used to describe both sea animals and land animals.
In fact, another fun connection here to dinosaurs is before the word dinosaurs was invented in 1841, the main word that was used to describe large reptilian creatures was dragon. And so it is quite possible that what we’re reading about here as we read about Leviathan in the Bible is some type of dinosaur that was semi-aquatic. And many suggestions have been made for what type of extinct animal Leviathan could have been. Some people have suggested a number of different types of dinosaurs and not really any of them are a great fit, I think, personally for the description that we have of Leviathan. In fact, I’d go so far as to say I think that the exact identity is still unknown. I would say Leviathan was some sort of semi-aquatic dinosaur whose identity is still unknown us. And a common response when people read the description of Leviathan in scripture is they say, well, there’s no way such an animal could have ever existed. But there has been a relatively recent discovery that bears a striking resemblance to the Leviathan.
You see, on September 25th, 1808, a large carcass washed ashore on the island of Strance in the Orkney Islands, Scotland. The carcass measured 55 feet in length, but part of its tail was missing, so it was actually much longer than that. At the time, the Natural History Society of Edinburgh came out to try to identify the carcass and they were unable to, and so they decided that it was some sort of new species. When the carcass washed up on shore, it was found and measured by three different people. One was a carpenter and two were farmers. And they all came away with a length of 55 feet, four feet wide, and a circumference of 10 feet. According to the sketch that you can find even online, it had three pairs of wing-like fins. And if you look at the sketch that was made upon discovering it, it kind of looks like, in many ways, drawings that have been made of the Loch Ness Monster, except this particular carcass was much more serpentine. And what’s interesting about its skin, as they were examining the carcass, they found something really interesting about its skin. They found that when they rubbed the skin from head to tail, the skin was smooth. But interestingly, when they rubbed the skin from tail to head, it was rough and almost armored and plated underneath.
Another interesting thing about the Stransae beast is that it had a mane of bristles all down its back. So just imagine a long mane like that of a horse, and even longer because it’s running down its whole back. One of the coolest things about this mane that was made of bristles is they found that the bristles were bioluminescent, meaning they glowed in the dark when it was wet. Now here’s what I want you to think about for a second, okay? Indulge me for a minute. In Job 41-32, the Bible says this about Leviathan, behind him he leaves a shining wake. One would think the deep to be white-haired. Now that makes total sense if a creature has a bioluminescent mane, doesn’t it? If Leviathan had a bioluminescent mane like the Stransae beast, then when it swam, it would look like there was a shining wake behind him. And since it was the hair or bristles of his mane, it would look like the water had white glowing hair. And so the similarities between this carcass that washed ashore and what we read about in the Bible as it describes Leviathan are strikingly similar. Does this mean that the Stransae beast is Leviathan? Maybe. Maybe not. But it does mean that we shouldn’t discount Leviathan’s existence due to some of the more fantastical descriptions of it when we have clearly found similar animals with virtually identical features. It’s quite likely that the Stransae beast and Leviathan are related and come from some semi-aquatic dinosaur that we have yet to identify.
And you might be thinking, oh no, the pastor’s on one of his conspiracy theories now or something like that. But before you discount what I’m saying, please understand that at this point in 2023, less than 25% of the oceans have been explored. That means more than 75% of the oceans are completely unknown to us. So very clearly, there are probably many fossils and remains within that 75% that we have yet to discover. There are probably all sorts of creatures that we have not identified yet, that we have not discovered yet because there is so much still to explore. So we shouldn’t discount something just because we don’t have a name for it yet or just because the species is unknown to us. We must always remember that what the Bible says is true. And if God says it’s true, it doesn’t matter what man says. Let God be true and every man a liar.
So to conclude this discussion, let’s summarize. No, the Bible does not use the word dinosaur, but that’s because that word didn’t exist prior to 1841. But the Bible does describe dinosaurs. All dinosaurs were created on day six. They lived in harmony with the rest of creation prior to the fall. After that, many of them began to hunt other animals or even, and also even humans for food. Most, but not all dinosaurs died during the great flood. However, Noah did bring a few different kinds on the ark with him. Many other dinosaurs became extinct over time, just as so many species of animals go extinct every single day in our world now. The clearest description of dinosaurs in the Bible is the behemoth of Job 40. In a close second is the Leviathan that you can find in Job 41, as well as Psalms and Isaiah. And so just also keep in mind that older translations of the Bible like KJV will use the word dragon in many places, which was the word that people used to use to describe large reptilian creatures as we would call them dinosaurs today.So the Bible is not silent on dinosaurs. It just doesn’t use the word dinosaurs. So I hope this answer has helped and I hope that you understand this issue better now. Thanks for the question. I look forward to answering more in the future.