Welcome to the home of The Question Evolution Project. Presenting information demonstrating that there is no truth in minerals-to-man evolution, and presenting evidence for special creation. —Established by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

Friday, January 23, 2015

Behemoth and Leviathan — Bible Dinosaurs?

Many creationists go against evolutionary and uniformitarian dogmas by believing that not only did man and dinosaurs coexist, but they are described in the Bible. Anti-creationists ridicule this concept because their presuppositions depend on "deep time" (billions of years) and evolution (which requires long ages).

If they'd cognate on it for a spell, they'd realize that they're ignoring and suppressing evidence such as soft tissues found in dinosaur remains (not supposed to happen), carbon-14 results (shouldn't be any carbon-14 in them at all), and discard historical (and not so historical) accounts of dinosaurs with people. Remember, the word "dinosaur" didn't exist until Richard Owen came up with it in the 1840s. Before that, critters that were called "dragons" looked and acted quite a bit like we'd expect from dinosaurs (until fanciful tales made dragons into magical things).

Here are two candidates for dinosaurs in the Bible. There's a bit of confusion about them, since they are in what is probably the oldest book of the Bible, and the original language gets a mite tricky in spots. It doesn't help that some Bible translators have downright illegitimate material, comparing Behemoth to a hippopotamus, elephant or somesuch. But those don't have a "tail like a cedar" (fortunately for them).

Sometimes translators and commentaries even say that the creatures in Job were entirely allegorical. Two main reasons for that bad information are because the big monsters weren't around at the time of translation, and that many Christians had ceded science to false uniformitarian assumptions. One extremely important thing to remember is that context is key. In the book of Job, they are referred to as real creatures, and named in lists with other extant animals. However, the word "Leviathan" has been used both as figurative (such as in the Psalms), and as a literal creature (more later). This offends 21st century sensibilities, and we have to learn the historical, linguistic and other contexts.


Behemoth may have been a sauropod dinosaur. Openi.nlm.nih.gov

First, we have Behemoth. Job 40:15-24 quotes God as saying "...which I made along with you", which was the sixth day of creation. It also indicates his amazing size and strength, as well as an attitude that would make you forget about saddling him up and riding off into the sunset..
In Job 40, the Lord is infallibly describing a real historical creature, called ‘Behemoth’. No known living animal, such as the elephant or hippopotamus, fits the passage adequately. A detailed analysis of the key clause Job 40:17a suggests that the most natural interpretation is that the tail of Behemoth is compared to a cedar for its great size. Consequently, the most reasonable interpretation is that Behemoth was a large animal, now extinct, which had a large tail. Thus some type of extinct dinosaur should still be considered a perfectly reasonable possibility according to our present state of knowledge.
To finish reading about our first featured animal, click on "Could Behemoth have been a dinosaur?"


Sarcosuchus / Wikimedia Commons / ArthurWeasley

Next up, we have something that is both frustrating and amazing: Leviathan. The frustrating part is that he is referred to as an actual creature in Job 3:8 and Job 41:1-34, but in Isaiah and Psalms, it is allegorical (which we can tell from biblical, linguistic, and cultural contexts). The amazing part is how he's fierce and strong, "king over all the proud beasts". Two possible candidates for Leviathan's identity are the Sarcosuchus and the Parasaurolophus. But we read that he gives off fire. Huh? Christians shouldn't be quick to dismiss that part, since again, God is describing actual creatures that he made. Think of the bombardier beetle's boiling chemical defense system (or something similar) on a much larger scale.

How do we handle the confusing uses of the word "Leviathan"?
Job 41 describes a creature beyond compare, something which defies all human attempts to subdue or tame it. No weapons are effective against it, and the mere sight of it is enough to terrify even the bravest man. God’s creation and ownership of Leviathan is put forward as a prime example of God’s power:
“No one is fierce enough to rouse it. Who then is able to stand against me?” (v. 10).
If God is glorified because He created Leviathan, surely it’s reasonable to conclude that it was a real creature, which Job could have actually looked at and been expected to recognize.
To finish reading, click on "Leviathan—real or symbolic?"


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