Do Christians Believe in Dinosaurs? Are Dinosaurs in the Bible?
The Question: Do Christians Believe in Dinosaurs? Are Dinosaurs in the Bible?
The Answer From Pastor Paul Holt:
The term dinosaur was not coined until 1841 by Sir Richard Owen to identify the fossils of extinct reptiles. Dinosaur is made up of two Greek words deinos, meaning “terrible” or “fearfully great,” and sauros, meaning “lizard.”
Because the word is so recent, you will not find it in the pages of scripture even in newer translations into English. The Hebrew of the old testament uses the word tanniyn 23 times to describe several types of creatures of both the land and the sea. From whales to dragons, serpents to leviathan the word tanniyn usually describes a large reptile.
You might find it interesting that this word tanniyn is used to describe the creature that Moses’ staff became when it was tossed down beside the rods of Pharaohs’ magicians.
There is a strong idea in the bible that dinosaurs or dragons roamed the earth both before and after the flood. The Bible describes a couple of creatures in such a way that some scholars believe the writers may have been describing dinosaurs.
Take the behemoth. It is said to be the mightiest of all God’s creatures, a giant whose tail is likened to a cedar tree (Job 40:15). In more recent translations into English, behemoth was re-translated into an elephant or a hippopotamus but the tail like a cedar tree just did not fit. See the photos, it just does not work.
Dinosaur fossils like the brachiosaurus and the diplodocus, on the other hand, had huge tails which could easily be compared to a cedar tree.
Dragons or dinosaurs have turned up often in human history. Marco Polo, according to his journal, reported seeing the appointment of a royal dragon feeder in China. Saint George the knight who slew a dragon is depicted on coins and reliefs.
Dinosaurs are not contrary to biblical thinking. In fact, it is believed that just as with predators like lions, tigers and bears (oh my) that dinosaurs were often hunted to make human settlements safe. This has led to the recent extinction of these large animals.
While a definitive description of dinosaurs in the bible remains elusive, the 23 mentions of tanniyn hint at the coexistence of humans and dinosaurs.