by Nate Wright
It’s possible that the majority of what you have learned about dinosaurs as an adult came from watching the movie Jurassic Park. For instance . . .
- T-Rex’s vision is based on movement; he can’t see you if you don’t move.
- Velociraptors hunt in packs.
- The outdoor toilet is a terrible hiding spot to not get eaten by a T-Rex.
You get the idea. We know that dinosaurs exist in print and film and we know they were around in real life when we take a trip to our local museum. But what does the Bible have to say about these creatures?
The word dinosaur never actually makes an appearance in the Bible. The Bible was completely written by the first century AD and the word “dinosaur” was not coined until 1842 by paleontologist Richard Owen. Dinosaurcomes from the Greek word deinoswhich means “terrible” or “fearfully great,” and sauroswhich means “lizard.” Despite the fact that it’s difficult to tell the temperament of an animal solely from its bones, from the start we have a preconceived notion of a dinosaur being some kind of terrible beast from our nightmares.
While the word dinosaur never makes an appearance in the Bible, there are descriptions of what certainly sound like dinosaurs. Many biblical scholars believe that the book of Job is the oldest book in the Bible—written somewhere between 1900 and 1700 BC. Read the following passage and let your imagination create a picture of the creature that’s described here.
“Take a look at Behemoth,
Which I made, just as I made you.
It eats grass like an ox.
See its powerful loins
And the muscles of its belly.
Its tail is as long as a cedar.
The sinews of its thighs are knit tightly together.
Its bones are tubes of bronze.
Its limbs are bars of iron.
It is a prime example of God’s handiwork,
and only its Creator can threaten it” (Job 40:15-19, NLT).
Or maybe you prefer your dinosaurs living in the water. The Bible has something for you too.
“Leviathan makes the water boil with its commotion.
It stirs the depths like a pot of ointment.
The water glistens in its wake,
making the sea look white.
Nothing on earth is its equal,
No other creature so fearless.
Of all the creatures, it is the proudest.
It is the king of beasts” (Job 41:31-34, NLT).
These descriptions come from God himself as he laid out for Job all that he had created with the detailed knowledge he has of his whole creation. No one can say with certainty that these are dinosaurs that God is speaking about with Job. To make that claim, one would have had to have been there for this conversation. So instead of speculating, let’s just proceed with what we do know.
On the sixth day of creation according to Genesis, the first book of the Bible, God created every sort of animal. God made many kinds of wild animals, livestock, and small animals and God saw that it was good (Genesis 1:24, 25). At the pinnacle of creation, God created man in his image. Mankind’s job is twofold: to be fruitful and multiply and to reign over the rest of the creatures God had created (Genesis 1:26-28).
But how could dinosaurs have existed in the Garden of Eden? Wouldn’t T-Rex just be eating everything? We find the answer at the end of Genesis chapter one.
“Then God said, ‘Look! I have given you every seed-bearing plant throughout the earth and all the fruit trees for your food. And I have given every green plant as food for all the wild animals, the birds in the sky, and all the small animals that scurry along the ground—everything that has life.’ And that is what happened” (Genesis 1:29, 30, NLT).
We live in a fallen world. Every day on the news we are constantly reminded of this. It was never supposed to be this way. When we think of co-existing with dinosaurs we picture horror scenes out of Jurassic Parkbecause death is something we deal with on a regular basis. What we forget for Adam and Eve, however, is that at this point in creation they lived in paradise on Earth. There was no death! We can’t picture T-Rex eating plants off a tree but the Bible tells us this is exactly what happened.
Without Jesus Christ, none of this is possible. In chapter 11 of his book, the prophet Isaiah prophesied of the Messiah’s coming; he spoke of a time coming when the wolf and lamb would live together, a baby would play safely near the hole of a cobra, and the lion would eat hay like a cow. The same God who created a world where all creatures lived together in unity has made a way to get back to that perfection. Thank you, Jesus, for the restoration you bring now and eternally! Will there be dinosaurs in Heaven? Only God knows.
Nate Wright is a certified financial planner whose beautiful wife has given him three sons to play dinosaurs with every day.