“If you can’t beat them, join them”. I think that what's on the mind of these Bible apologists when they say that you can find some references about dinosaurs in the pages of their “holy book”.
First when paleontologists discover the existence of dinosaur fossils, Christians retorted by saying that these bones were placed by Satan to deceive us to believe that dinosaur exist. Well, so far so good. When people didn’t buy this cockeyed explanation, some Christian sect made stories that say God created the dinosaur together with human beings, and what best reference they can show other than what was written in their “Holy Bible”.
According to Christians, the Book of Job is the evidence that dinosaurs can be found in the Bible… Hmmm let us see.
Behold now behemoth, which I made with thee; he eateth grass as an ox. Lo now, his strength is in his loins, and his force is in the navel of his belly. He moveth his tail like a cedar: the sinews of his stones are wrapped together. His bones are as strong pieces of brass; his bones are like bars of iron. He is the chief of the ways of God: he that made him can make his sword to approach unto him . Surely the mountains bring him forth food, where all the beasts of the field play. He lieth under the shady trees, in the covert of the reed, and fens. The shady trees cover him with their shadow; the willows of the brook compass him about. Behold, he drinketh up a river, and hasteth not: he trusteth that he can draw up Jordan into his mouth. He taketh it with his eyes: his nose pierceth through snares. (Job 40:15-24 KJV)
Isn't that great or what. Lo and behold, Job is talking about a sauropod, a Brachiosaurus. Yeah, right…
|A sauropod fossil|
Most Christians believe that the Behemoth in the Book of Job is a dinosaur. Many Young Earth Creationists propose that the Behemoth is a sauropod. But why are these guys’ compares the Behemoth to a dinosaur? It can mean anything? Well, let us see. According to these Christians, Job 40:15-24 is definitely talking about a dinosaur.
1. he eateth grass as an ox. Lo now, his strength is in his loins, and his force is in the navel of his belly – So the Behemoth eats grass! Yep, and a dinosaur eat grass.
But so does a hippo and an elephant. Dinosaurs don’t eat grass like an ox. They were wholly incapable of chewing their food at all. Their jaws can only move up and down like the jaws of a crocodile, not in a circular pattern like the jaws of a cow. They ate vegetation by grasping the food with the teeth, and pulled away with the head, thereby "raking" the leaves in the mouth. In order to "chew" the food they swallowed, they had to swallow stones (called "gastroliths") that traveled through the necks and into the gizzard area. There, the stones help to grind their food by mashing plant matter into a digestible pulp with the help of special muscles found inside of the gizzards. Oh, and did I forgot to tell you that sauropods were tree-browsers.
2. Lo now, his strength is in his loins, and his force is in the navel of his belly. He moveth his tail like a cedar: the sinews of his stones are wrapped together. His bones are as strong pieces of brass; his bones are like bars of iron.
Well… since a behemoth “has a tail that is exactly like a cedar tree” it must be a dinosaur. Good grief! Guys, can you read this verse again. It doesn’t say that a behemoth’s tail is like a cedar tree, it says that its tail move like a cedar. That means that it does not necessarily pointing towards the size of the tail, it only speaks about the motion pattern. It’s just saying that the behemoth’s tail moved like the branches of a cedar tree in the wind.
In the New International Version (NIV), the verses in question are translated as the following:
"What strength he has in his loins; what power in the muscles of his belly! His tail sways like a cedar, the sinews of his thighs are close-knit..."
This version could indicate that the animal moved parts of the loin-region, such as the phallus, around aggressively, whether in heat or not. Following the symbolism of strong, well-functioning phalli being a metaphor for masculine courage, the verses continue to demonstrate the behavior and dependence on God of the creature, indicating the humility of a creature that would appear to have no need for humility.
3. He is the chief of the ways of God: he that made him can make his sword to approach unto him .
That means anyone, approaching the creature, must arm himself with raw firepower; any weapon needed to kill this vicious monstrosity, including a sword. We are not talking about a creature dated back between 70 and 65 million years ago. We’re talking about some modern African animal, like a hippopotamus, a highly dangerous animal that has been said to kill humans more than any other dangerous animal in Africa.
4. Surely the mountains bring him forth food, where all the beasts of the field play. He lieth under the shady trees, in the covert of the reed, and fens. The shady trees cover him with their shadow; the willows of the brook compass him about. Behold, he drinketh up a river, and hasteth not: he trusteth that he can draw up Jordan into his mouth. He taketh it with his eyes: his nose pierceth through snares.
The rest of the passage refers to Behemoth being a large amphibious mammal. Sauropods, on the other hand would not enjoy being stuck, bogged down, and up to their armpits in mud, mire, and water all the time and, in other cases, be drowned in their own tissue while standing in deep water.
The writer of Job is not talking about dinosaurs here. The New Living Translation says that it's a hippopotamus. In the original Hebrew, the word behemoth is of Egyptian origin. According to the Easton Bible Dictionary, "Some have supposed this to be an Egyptian word meaning a "water-ox." The Revised Version has here in the margin "hippopotamus," which is probably the correct rendering of the word. The hippopotamus is truly a wild animal that "eateth grass like an ox," can never be tamed, and makes his home in the swamps, lakes, and rivers of Africa. They were once common in the Middle East, especially in Egypt, but were not seen anymore in that area due to them being hunted down for their ivory teeth, meat, and hide by humans.
Another dinosaur “wannabee” in the Bible is the Leviathan.
The word "Leviathan" appears six times in the Bible:
1. Isaiah 27:1: "In that day the Lord with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent; and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea."
2. Psalms 74:14: "Thou didst crush the heads of the Leviathan, thou didst give him for food to the creatures of the desert." NIV
3. Psalms 104:25,26: "O Lord, how manifold thy works, in wisdom you have created them all. So is this great and wide sea... there go the ships and the Leviathan which you have created to play therein" (AV);
4. Book of Job 3:8 "May those who curse days curse that day, those who are ready to rouse Leviathan "; (NIV )
5. Book of Job 40: 24-32, 41:1-24: "Can you draw out a Leviathan with a hook or press down its tongue with a cord? Canst thou put a hook into his nose? or bore his jaw through with a bridle ring? Will he make many supplications to thee? Will he speak soft words to thee? Will he make a covenant with thee? To take him for thy servant forever? Will thou play with him as with a bird? Or wilt thou bind him for thy girls? Will the tradesmen heap up payment for him?... Lay thy hand upon him, thou will no more think of fighting. Behold the hope of him is in vain, shall not one be cast down even at the sight of him? None is so fierce that dare stir him up: who then is able to stand before me?...Who can open the doors of his face? His teeth are terrible round about. His scales are his pride, shut up together as with a close seal. One is near to the another, that no air can come between them. They are joined one to another, they stick together, that they cannot be sundered. By his [sneezing] a light doth shine, and his eyes are like the eyelids of morning. Out of his mouth go burning lamps, and sparks of fire leap out. Out of his nostrils goeth smoke, as out of a seething pot or caldron. His breath kindleth coals, and a flame goeth out of his mouth....His heart is as firm as a stone; yea, as hard as a piece of the nether millstone....He esteemeth iron as straw, and brass as rotten wood. The arrow cannot make him flee: slingstones are turned with him into stubble....He maketh the deep to boil like a pot....he is a king over all the children of pride."
According to Duane Gish, the Leviathan is a dinosaur, some sort of a Parasaurolophus or Corythosaurus, or a plesiosaur such as Koronosaurus. Yet how he forgotten that the Leviathan appears also in the Ugaritic texts, where it is described as a twisting serpent. In Canaanite mythology and literature, it is a monster called Lotan, 'the fleeing serpent, the coiling serpent with the seven heads'. It was eventually killed by Baal. The Leviathan is also the Ugaritic god of evil.
In Psalms 74:14 it also says that the Leviathan has many heads (14Thou brakest the heads of leviathan in pieces, and gavest him to be meat to the people inhabiting the wilderness.)
Also, let us not forget the following descriptions:
A.) Out of his mouth go burning lamps, and sparks of fire leap out.
B.) Out of his nostrils goeth smoke, as out of a seething pot or caldron.
C.) His breath kindleth coals, and a flame goeth out of his mouth
Gosh! These descriptions sound like more of one of those Kaiju from a Japanese 1960’s monster show… like those Godzilla movies. Dinosaurs don’t have such abilities. The gentle Parasaurolophus or Corythosaurus doesn’t shoot fire from their mouth. Also, there were no sailing ships of the time when sea reptiles known as pliosaurs ruled the seas.
Let me point out… the Bible is neither modern nor scientific. It was written in a poetical, ancient and mythological manner. So I hope Christian fundies should use their brain often and should try to distinguish facts from fables.
Until next time,
John the Atheist