Question: "What does the Bible say about dinosaurs? Are there dinosaurs in the Bible?"
Answer: The topic of dinosaurs in the Bible is part of a larger ongoing debate within the Christian community over the age of the earth, the proper interpretation of Genesis, and how to interpret the physical evidences we find all around us. Those who believe in an older age for the earth tend to agree that the Bible does not mention dinosaurs, because according to their paradigm, dinosaurs died out millions of years before the first man ever walked the earth. The men who wrote the Bible down couldn’t have seen dinosaurs alive.
Those who believe in a younger age for the earth tend to agree that the Bible does mention dinosaurs though it never actually uses the word “dinosaur.” Instead, it uses the Hebrew word tanniyn (pronounced tan-neen; Strong’s #08577). Tanniyn is translated a few different ways in our English Bibles; sometimes it’s “sea monster,” sometimes it’s “serpent.” It is most commonly translated “dragon.” The tanniyn appear to have been some sort of giant reptile. These creatures are mentioned nearly thirty times in the Old Testament and are found both on land and in the water.
In addition to mentioning these giant reptiles in general nearly thirty times throughout the Old Testament, the Bible describes a couple of creatures in such a way that some scholars believe the writers may have been describing dinosaurs. Behemoth is said to be the mightiest of all God’s creatures, a giant whose tail is likened to a cedar tree (Job 40:15ff). Some scholars have tried to identify Behemoth as either an elephant or a hippopotamus. Others point out that elephants and hippopotamuses have very thin tails, nothing comparable to a cedar tree. Dinosaurs like the Brachiosaurus and the Diplodocus on the other had huge tails which one could easily compare to a cedar tree.
Nearly every ancient civilization has some sort of art depicting giant reptilian creatures. Petroglyphs, artifacts and even little clay figurines found in North America resemble modern depictions of dinosaurs. Rock carvings in South America depict men riding Diplodocus-like creatures and, amazingly, bear the familiar images of Triceratops-, Pterodactyl- and Tyrannosaurus Rex-like creatures. Roman mosaics, Mayan pottery and Babylonian city walls all testify to man’s trans-cultural, geographically-unbounded fascination with these creatures. Sober accounts like those of Marco Polo’s Il Milione mingle with fantastic tales of treasure-hoarding beasts. Modern day reports of sightings persist though they are usually treated with overwhelming skepticism.
In addition to the substantial amount of anthropic and historical evidences for the coexistence of dinosaur and man, there are other physical evidences, like the fossilized footprints of humans and dinosaurs found together at places in North America and West-Central Asia.
So, are there dinosaurs in the Bible? The matter is far from settled. It depends on how you interpret the available evidences and how you view the world around you. Here at elhijodedios.com we believe in a young earth interpretation and accept that dinosaurs and man coexisted. We believe that dinosaurs died out sometime after the Flood due to a combination of dramatic environmental shifts and the fact that they were relentlessly hunted to extinction by man.