Why does the Bible not mention dinosaurs?

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I’ve heard the above question several times recently and would like to spend some time dealing with it, to see if we have any reason to doubt the Scriptures, due to the absence of dinosaurs being mentioned in the Bible.

The evidence for dinosaurs is fairly comprehensive and has come from many different continents, in the form of fossils along with stories and pictures depicting these large beasts.

Dinosaurs were said to exist between 65 and 240 million years ago. Given therefore the strength of the hard evidence, the question naturally arises as to why there is no apparent mention of these prehistoric creatures in the Bible.

I can relate to this scepticism and remember having a conversation with a fellow believer, stating that I didn’t believe in dinosaurs because they weren’t mentioned in the Bible (strange I know!!!). My views have evolved somewhat, and I would now side with the available evidence which is right in front of us today.

I have since looked back on my views wondering, why did I feel God needed to tell me about dinosaurs in order for them to have existed?

I will now seek to answer why dinosaurs are not mentioned in the Bible, to answer sceptics who feel their absence undermines the Word Of God and also to, prepare fellow believers who come up against this objection.

Here are three points which I feel need to be made to negate this supposed objection to the Bible’s reliability.

1) Claim based on mistaken belief

Many non-believers think that believers all ascribe to the theory of a young earth e.g. that our earth is only around 6,000 years old. Meaning that we will seek to either deny the existence of dinosaurs or will claim that the evidence is wrong when it states that dinosaurs existed around 65-240 million years ago, as our “young earth” hasn’t been around that long.

Without delving into the young vs old earth theories too much in this article, (will do this another time), will just say that I personally do not believe in a young earth and would say that, the vast majority of apologists do not ascribe to this theory either. Many modern Biblical scholars today would hold to the view that the term “days” in Genesis were not necessarily 24 hour days but were more metaphorical references to periods of time in which God created the world we live in.

So the first point to make is that the claim can often be based on a false assumption, namely that all Christians believe the earth is too young.

2) Why do dinosaurs need to be mentioned?

Having held to my previous view that if God didn’t mention them they didn’t exist, I can now see the error of this thinking. God didn’t mention many other things but I have no issues accepting them e.g. he did not mention bacteria, trilobytes, planets and many other animals.

Jews didn’t have a word in their language for dinosaurs so why would he mention creatures they knew nothing about. To mention them, knowing they would not exist at a point in the future to a people who had no vocabulary or experience of them, would have been potentially confusing and unnecessary.

You could say, in terms of God’s purpose, that dinosaurs were not relevant to God’s story of creation. Genesis is not a scientific document nor should it be read as such (science came later) but is a theological document intended to explain God to his people.

3) How do we know they weren’t mentioned?

Can we say that dinosaurs have not been mentioned? Certainly we can say they haven’t been mentioned by their current names given to them by man, but references within the Bible could indeed be referring to dinosaurs.

On day 6 of the creation story it says that God made creatures and all the wild animals:

And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so. God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.” (Genesis 1:24-25)
The specific creatures/animals described here were not named and there is no evidence to suggest that dinosaurs could not have been included here also.
There are also important references in what is known as the oldest book of the Bible chronologically, the book of Job. In chapter 40 the creature known as the Behemoth is described and in chapter 41 a creature known as a Leviathan is also described.
Both creatures have been described as beasts of either the land or sea and despite much study, no-one has adequately been able to discover what they were. Some have concluded that these are indeed references to dinosaurs, as following a process of elimination no other animal measured up to their description given in the Scriptures.
The most telling piece of information comes from the description of a Behemoth in Job 40:
“Look at Behemoth, which I made along with you and which feeds on grass like an ox. What strength it has in its loins, what power in the muscles of its belly! Its tail sways like a cedar; the sinews of its thighs are close-knit. 
Its bones are tubes of bronze, its limbs like rods of iron. It ranks first among the works of God, yet its Maker can approach it with his sword. The hills bring it their produce, and all the wild animals play nearby. Under the lotus plants it lies, hidden among the reeds in the marsh. The lotuses conceal it in their shadow; the poplars by the stream surround it. A raging river does not alarm it; it is secure, though the Jordan should surge against its mouth. Can anyone capture it by the eyes, or trap it and pierce its nose?”
(Job 40:15-24)
The tail is likened here to a cedar tree, with scholars ruling out animals such as elephants and hippos as their tails are thinner, as well as other details which would not fit with the description above. These scholars then have concluded that, dinosaurs fit best with the beast-like descriptions given in Job.
Whether you believe these are references to dinosaurs or not, it is unlikely that anyone should feel confident enough to say categorically, that dinosaurs are not mentioned in the Bible.
To summarise the answer to the objection, that the Bible is unreliable as it doesn’t mention dinosaurs. Consider the following:
1) Ensure the person is not making false assumptions
2) Ask, why would God need to mention dinosaurs? Considering the above points.
3) Ask again, how can you be confident that they haven’t been mentioned?
Thanks for reading, please like and comment and/or follow me here for future articles
Many thanks
Simon

2 thoughts on “Why does the Bible not mention dinosaurs?

    • Thanks for reading Jess. Yes this particularly interested me also. I do want to dig in some more but was glad to be a bit more personal in this article e.g. I was assuming wrongly for many years!

      Like

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