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FAQ: Then what about the dinosaurs? In
light of what we read in Genesis, what is the real sequence of events regarding these creatures? If God
created dinosaurs, why aren't they mentioned in the Bible? Was man on earth at the same time as the
Many people don't realize that paleontology (the study of past geological ages based primarily on the study
of fossils) is a relatively new science. In fact, the concept of "dinosaurs" only surfaced in its present
form less than 180 years ago. Prior to that, anyone who found a large fossilized bone assumed it came from
an elephant, dragon or giant. It wasn't until 1841 that English scientist Richard Owens suggested that the
group of "newly discovered" animals be called "dinosaurs" (meaning, "terrible lizards"). Therefore, we
shouldn't expect to see dinosaurs in the Bible, but we should expect to see descriptions of "dragons" and
other large creatures. In fact, we do!
A search for the word "dragon" in the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible produces 34 separate matches
across 10 different books written between approximately 2000 BC and 90 AD. The word "dragon" (
Hebrew: tannin) is used throughout the Old Testament, and most directly translates as "sea or land
monsters." Interestingly, Genesis 1:21 describes God's creation of sea dragons (tannin) on the 5th
day. Today's Bible translations use the following terms instead: "great whales" (KJV), "the great
creatures of the sea" (NIV), "the great sea monsters" (NASB), and "great sea creatures" (NLT, NKJV).
However, the original Hebrew is more descriptive of the sea-going dinosaurs we now see in numerous
museums throughout the world. Even more dramatic is the Book of Job, where the author describes the
great land creature, Behemoth (Job 40), and the great water creature, Leviathan (Job 41). Although the
latest Bible translations use the words elephant, hippo or crocodile instead of Behemoth and Leviathan,
the original Hebrew and the context of the descriptions do not allow for these interpretations.
Descriptions of dinosaur-like creatures are nearly universal throughout the world's ancient cultures.
Where did this global concept originate? How did societies throughout the world describe, record,
draw, etch, sew and carve such creatures in such uniformity, if they did not witness these creatures
during their lifetimes? Of course, these accounts are by no means limited to the Bible. Dragon accounts
from China, Europe, the Middle East, and Latin America share similar accounts of dinosaur-like beasts.
Records of Marco Polo in China show that the royal house kept dragons for ceremonies, and records of
the Greek historian Herodotus and the Jewish historian Josephus describe flying reptiles in ancient Egypt
and Arabia. In many cultures it was a great honor to kill these creatures. There are numerous records
of warriors killing great beasts in order to establish credibility in a village. Gilgamesh, Fafnir,
Beowulf and other famous legends, including the mythology of Egypt, Greece and Rome, provide specific
descriptions of dragons and other dinosaur-like creatures.
Dinosaurs are depicted on numerous objects of ancient art throughout the world. Dinosaur-like creatures
are featured on Babylonian landmarks, Roman mosaics, Asian pottery and royal robes, Egyptian burial
shrouds and government seals, Peruvian burial stones and tapestries, Mayan sculptures, Aboriginal and
Native American petroglyphs (carved rock drawings), and many other pieces of ceremonial art throughout
ancient cultures. If dinosaurs supposedly went extinct at least 50 million years ago, how did ancient
man of the last few thousand years precisely and uniformly depict them? The Bible is clear -- sea
creatures were created by God on Day 5 and land creatures were created by God on Day 6. These creatures
included dinosaurs, which co-existed with man until they died off for various reasons, including most
dramatically, the worldwide flood of Noah.
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