What Does The Bible Say About Dinosaurs?

"In the beginning," the Bible says, "God created the heavens and the Earth." Six days later, we got people, and things mostly got worse, with a whole lot of fratricide, executions, pre-antibiotic ointment adult circumcisions, and eventually, the electoral college. That pretty much brings us up to date.

But hold your prehistoric horse ancestors. What about dinosaurs? Where do they fit into the grand design? What does the Good Book say about the ancient behemoths that Jurassic Park scientists have so much trouble keeping in their dang kennels?

The Lost Word

Fat nothing, that's what.

The conspicuous absence of dinosaurs in the Bible has been a thorn in the side of biblical literalists for centuries. In the 1600s, philosopher Robert Hooke experienced theological backlash when he presented the idea of extinction: how could a loving God create an entire species, only to wipe them out later? How did creatures, in this case ocean-dwelling Ammonites unlike anything still kicking it on Earth, fit into the grand plan, and why weren't they mentioned in the history presented by the Bible?

Things only became more complicated with the rise of paleontology. Suddenly, the fossilized remains of massive creatures were being unearthed on a regular basis. Some enthusiasts have pointed to the possibility that they were "corrupted creatures" wiped out by the Great Flood described in Genesis. Another explanation that's been floated is that dinosaur fossils are fake, either created as a test of humanity's faith or as part of a grand conspiracy of scientists trying to push more Michael Crichton adaptations on the public. Or something.

A wrinkle in the land before time

There have been attempts to shoehorn dinosaurs into interpretations of Bible verses. A popular opinion is that the Behemoth described in Job 40:15-24 was actually some sort of sauropod. It falls apart a little with the translation of Job 40:16 that reads "Lo now, his strength is in his loins, and his force is in the navel of his belly," since navels aren't a standard feature on egg-laying creatures. The Leviathan is another candidate, but its propensity for breathing fire makes it problematic.

For a really confident explanation of dinosaurs in the Bible, you can always check out Ken Ham's Creation Museum, a high-budget theme park dedicated to explaining Earth's history through a literal interpretation of holy texts. You'll either find the whole thing deeply informative or rather quaint, like a grandmother's decor. Either way, you'll find some level of peace.