Answer by John Mackay

The word Dinosaur was invented in 1841 by the geologist Richard Owen (1804-1892) who was also the founding director of the British Natural History Museum, the world’s oldest and most prestigious museum. So the simple answer as to why you don’t find mention of dinosaurs in the book of Genesis is you can’t expect to find a word that didn’t exist till 1841, in a book written many thousands of years prior to that date. But are there any beasts mentioned in the bible that fit the description of Dinosaur? To find the answer to this we first need a little about the history of Dinosaur finds and what they are like. Owen may have invented the name, but he was not the first to discover dinosaurs, so who did?

Discovering Dinosaurs

In the early 1800’s, the Anglican Rev William Buckland lived in Corpus Christi College UK, and had obtained fossil bones found in 1815 at Stonesfield Quarry. After discussion with the French Palaeontologist Cuvier, Buckland concluded the bones belonged to a large lizard like creature and Buckland set out to obtain as much of the skeleton as he could. When he became president of the Geological Society of London in 1824, he announced the discovery of the fossil bones of a giant reptile which he named Megalosaurus (great lizard) and wrote the first full account of what would later be called a dinosaur.

An often forgotten player on the Dinosaur trail was Doctor Gideon Mantel, whose medical career was cut short by his obsession, not with the living but with the dead. Gideon’s wife found a fossil tooth in road material while she was waiting for her husband to visit a patient near Cookeville south of London in 1822. When Gideon was shown this, he was hooked. He sent the tooth to famed bone expert Cuvier in Paris France, who strangely must have been having a bad day, as he curtly dismissed the find as from a rhinoceros. Shortly after this Mantell found huge three-toed fossil footprints and more bones which Cuvier also dismissed as hippopotamus bones. Eventually Mantel’s medical experience came to the fore, and after comparing the teeth to modern Iguana teeth, he basically concluded his fossil was the tooth of a lizard, but a bigger lizard than had ever been seen which he labelled Iguanodon. This became the star of Mantell’s book “The Wonders of Geology” which was illustrated by Artist John Martin using a short legged Dragon possessing a massive tail to represent Iguanodon.

From thence forth Gideon Mantel became obsessed with his theory that there used to be monsters, to the point where he would far rather be out digging up dead bones than fixing living ones. As a result, he not only lost his medical practice, he went bankrupt and lost his wife as well. Thus, Richard Owen obtained Mantel’s fossil collection, and so along with several other giant reptilian looking creatures the scene was set for Richard Owen to come up with a name for these creatures. No he didn’t agree with Mantel, that this was some sort of giant lizard. His analysis of the bones indicated they were a reptile group, but separate from the then known lizards. More crocodile-like.

In 1839 Owen invented the word Dinosaur and first used it publically on August 2, 1841 in a speech in Plymouth, England, using the Greek word deinos meaning fearfully great, and sauros for creepy crawly lizards, to weld the combination “dino-saur” for the fossilized reptiles. Today they are commonly called “terrible lizards”, though most were harmless plant eaters, and none were actually lizards. When you peruse the still standing re-constructions Owen had built for the opening of the Crystal Palace south of London, you can see he viewed them as some kind of giant dragon-like or crocodile-like creatures that moved with sinuous reptilian movement. And all this many centuries after the Bible was first translated into old English that only had words for dragon and monster and leviathan.

So now you know why you don’t read the word dinosaur in the Bible. But do we find any big and fearful creeping reptile like creatures listed in the pages of the Bible, perhaps under different names? Here’s a clue: Before and after the official word dinosaur was invented, Owen and most others referred to these creatures as dragons . This author deliberately went to the Isle of Wright to see where the British man who had more dinosaurs named after him than any other Englishman – the Rev. William Fox, lived and collected his dinosaur bones. From the diary of one meeting on the Isle of Wight between Fox, Richard Owen and Alfred Lord Tennyson we read “They spread out their luncheon on Mr Fox’s lawn; they looked at the great dragon which is quite new to the world and quite answers expectations. He never saw one so sheathed in armour and thought of calling it Euacanthus Vectianus ”.(1) Later we find Fox stating himself that “I cannot leave this place while I have any money left to live on, I take such deep joy in hunting for old dragons.”

So some 24 years after inventing the word dinosaur as the scientific name for the fossil creatures, Owen and his friends still called them dragons. Nearly 60 years later, the first popular account of pterosaurs written in 1901 by Harry Govier Seeley was called “Dragons Of The Air”, which means there is a real basis for reaching the conclusion that DINOSAUR is provably the new word for the old word DRAGON. It also means the only reason people want to dismiss dragons as myths, and make dinosaurs science, is to remove consideration of all the evidence that dinosaur like creatures lived alongside man and definitely held the name dragon.

Biblical Dinosaur?

There definitely is one creature in the Bible that fits the description of a dinosaur, aka dragon. In the book of Job, who lived after the tower of Babel event but before Abraham, we read in chapter 41 that God asks Job can he catch tame or kill a very large creature. God describes this ‘leviathan’ with phrases such as: I will not conceal his limbs, His mighty power, or his graceful proportions. Who can remove his outer coat? Who can approach him with a double bridle? Who can open the doors of his face, With his terrible teeth all around? His rows of scales are his pride, Shut up tightly as with a seal; One is so near another That no air can come between them; They are joined one to another, They stick together and cannot be parted. Job 41:12-17

Did you notice the mention of fierce teeth, huge mouth, armour plated scales that don’t let air in (or spears) plus this monster’s immense size and strength? These are not religious terms. They are the type of descriptive terms a biologist uses to describe a reptilian monster. Added to this you also need to remember that since “creeping creatures” are mentioned twice in the first chapter of Genesis and creeping creatures is a term which includes all lizard or reptilian creatures who moved with a reptilian sinuous mode of walking, dinosaurs, aka dragon, definitely are in the list of creatures created by God.

What’s really interesting about the dragon described in Job 41 is that it is described as breathing fire. From verse 18 onwards God states: His sneezings flash forth light, And his eyes are like the eyelids of the morning. Out of his mouth go burning lights; Sparks of fire shoot out. Smoke goes out of his nostrils, As from a boiling pot and burning rushes. His breath kindles coals, And a flame goes out of his mouth. Job 41:18-21 Talk about bad breath! This also means that St George is not the first story about fire breathing dragons at all.

Our prediction : sooner or later a Dinosaur will be found with remnants of a mechanism that would make this fire breathing possible!

Why would God make such creatures?

As the final words from God to Job indicate: On earth there is nothing like him, Which is made without fear. He beholds every high thing; He is king over all the children of pride. Job 41:33-34 It is to give man awesome respect for God’s power and to humble even the greatest of prideful sinners.

Reference (1) from Lady Tennyson’s Journal 23 July 1865 Excerpt from: Alfred and Emily Tennyson: A Marriage of True Minds. A Centenary Celebration (Page 38) Author: Richard J. Hutchings, Published by: Isle of Wight County Press, 1991 – Newport, Isle of Wight, England.

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