This is one of the most frequently asked questions by Christians who attempt to fit dinosaurs into biblical history. Many Christians are amazed to learn that dinosaurs, as well as dragons, are mentioned in God’s Word. In the book of Job, one of the oldest books of the bible, there is an excellent description of a very large animal that can easily be described as a large dinosaur.
These dinosaurs are classified as Sauropods and are noted for their large size, massive bodies, long necks and tails, small heads and thick pillar-like legs. One of the popular and most complete species is a Brachiosaur, which stood 43 feet tall, stretched 82 feet from nose to tail and had an estimated weight of 45 to 80 tons. They were herbivores, like most large animals that exist today, having a daily diet of massive amounts of vegetation.
Creationists believe that, prior to the world-wide flood conditions, things were different than they are today. We believe that there was an environment conducive for large creatures to live in and to continually grow. We know from the testimony in Genesis 5 that, before the flood, man lived much longer life spans of 900 years plus. For example, Adam lived 930 years, his son Seth lived 912 years, followed by Cainan who reached the age of 910 years. As we see today, there are numerous animals that continue to grow throughout their life, such as many of the reptiles and even large mammals like African elephants. If the pre-flood environment existed today, we would see giant animals everywhere.
As we read Job 40:15 -24, we see that God is speaking to Job and calls his attention to the “behemoth” or in Hebrew, “great beast,” which was made alongside Job. It is apparent as the description unfolds that this has to be a creature of immense size and magnificence, and also that this creature was initially created on the sixth day, the same day man was created. The behemoth “eats grass” (v.15), very much like large herbivores we see today such as giraffes, cows and horses. He also has “strength in his hips” and “power is in his stomach muscles,” giving us the impression that Job is looking up at animal with a huge muscular belly, possibly standing on its hind legs so that all he can see is the enormous abdomen. The tail of this creature is compared to a cedar tree, a tail attributed to large dinosaurs that would have been endowed with tails that could stretch ten to twenty feet. Certainly, there is no comparison here to elephant or rhinoceros tail as has been suggested in numerous commentaries on this passage in Job.
Another important point is in the description of the structure of this animal’s bones, “His bones are like beams of bronze, His ribs like bars of iron,” (v. 38). This brings to mind the image of an immense animal with a powerfully structured design. This is evidenced in the graceful way these large creatures would be able to move to and fro, in environment filled with an abundance of vegetation, as evidenced in the fossil record. Recent discoveries have indicated that these larger dinosaurs could actually move by employing specially designed dynamics. It is thought that they could rise up with the support of their hind legs, because the structure of the skeleton was much lighter than previously thought. Can you imagine God bringing forth a giant dinosaur that is 40 or more feet tall and making it stand on its hind legs? What awe Job must have felt as he witnessed the glory of God in this gigantic creature stretched upward into the heavens before him. It is here in the next verse (v. 19) that God makes it clear to Job the total magnificence of the creature as He states, “He is the first of the ways of God; Only He who made him can bring near His sword.”
In Job 41:19-21, another creature appears that has the ability to expel fire from its mouth. The Leviathan is a sea creature that can be described as fire breathing dragon. Is there a possibility of fire-breathing dragons having existed at one time, or is it a myth, a legend from the past? The verses above refer to creatures that have the biological capacity to make fire and blow it out from their mouths with smoke rising from their nostrils.
This may seem unbelievable, but we should not forget that there are many incredible biological phenomenons, as witnessed in the bio-luminance of fire flies, fish and many sea creatures from the deep oceans. We know from experimentation that an electric eel has the capacity to pass a 500 watt electrical shock that can be deadly to humans. The amazing bombardier beetle carries explosive chemicals in its gut. When they are combined, they release from their rear quarters an extremely hot, foul-smelling liquid, creating a loud popping sound. All of these processes involve sets of complicated chemical reactions that have been designed by a loving Creator. Although we do not see fire-breathing dragons today, we can easily fit this process into the categories mentioned previously with the same degree of complexity. Why not? We have an amazing God!
Lastly, let us remember that the word “dragon” is not a foreign word to the Bible. It was used 22 times in the older versions of King James Bible and 24 times in the Geneva Bible. In the original biblical Hebrew text, the word tannin is a land or sea monster. In the Greek texts, the word was translated as “drakon” which became dragon over time. The dragons of legend are strangely reminiscent of numerous worldwide accounts where man has witnessed these dragon-like creatures. It was only recently, since 1841, that the word dinosaur was first used. Certain dinosaurs could have easily been categorized collectively as dragons and it seems, in times past, that they were.