Dragons in the Bible
For the Bible-believing creationist, of course, no time or evolutionary problems exist, and the facts of ancient literature and prehistoric art square very nicely with the Scriptural account. According to Genesis 1:21-23, water animals were created on the fifth day; according to Genesis 1:24-25, land animals, as well as man and woman, were created on the sixth day. Thus, according to the Bible all animals were created at approximately the same time. There were no long ages when man was not present and when dinosaurs ruled the earth. The Authorized Version utilizes the word "dragon" sixteen times, all in the Old Testament, rendering two Hebrew words which mean "sea or land monster."
But perhaps even more graphic are some Biblical references which use other names for the creatures but which clearly describe dinosaurs. In Job 40:15ff, for example, Behemoth is described: "Is strength is in his loins, and his force is in the navel of his belly" (Job 40:16). Behemoth was a huge creature, and reading of it, one schooled in early literature can scarcely help but think of Fafnir, the dragon of early Danish fame. Behemoth, we read, moved his tail like a cedar. A tail as huge and powerful as a cedar tree? What animal can that possibly describe but a dinosaur? "His bones are as strong pieces of brass; his bones are like bars of iron" we read (Job 40:18), perhaps recalling Sigurd, trembling because of the strength of the dragon Fafnir. When the author of Job writes "he that made him can make his sword to approach unto him," can the writer mean that only God is normally able to bring about the death of such a powerful creature? Again, I mentally envision Sigurd hiding in the pit, waiting for just the right moment to strike at one of the few places the dragon was vulnerable. Behemoth is a water creature, for "he lieth under the shady trees, in the covert of the reed, and fens...the willows of the brook compass him about" (Job 40:22). This creature has a huge thirst, for "he drinketh up a river" (Job 40:23). What animal other than a dinosaur can be described like this?
In the next chapter of Job, we read of another great creature, Leviathan. As with Behemoth, the record tells of God describing these creatures, and implies that Job was familiar with them. God is reminding Job of the great difficulty in catching a creature like Leviathan. God had created Leviathan, for He declares, "whatsoever is under the whole heaven is mine" (Job 41:11). Leviathan has terrible teeth and scales or a strong, protective covering, typical of many dinosaurs. Do you see Sigurd trembling before Fafnir when you read, "When he (Leviathan) raiseth himself up, the mighty are afraid" (Job 41:25)? Job is usually considered to be one of the oldest of the Bible books, possibly written when ice covered large parts of Europe and North America shortly after the Great Flood. Many Bible scholars feel that some dinosaurs may have survived the Flood, being water creatures, but that due to severe climactic changes, they died out within a few generations after the Flood. If these small-brained creatures were experiencing hardships to which they were unaccustomed and ill-adapted, one can easily understand why a tradition of monstrous, fearsome dragons is recorded in virtually all early western cultures, which would have developed during or shortly following the time of Job.
The Bible presents this time in history as a time of dispersion (Genesis 10-11). People groups were moving out away from Ararat, where their fathers had landed after the Flood, out away from Babel, where they had congregated. They were venturing into the new lands that were to become their homes. The whole earth was unknown to them. At the same time, great climatic changes may have caused the dinosaurs to have been uncharacteristically hostile.
It is true that eastern traditions have not viewed the dragon as fearsome and evil, as have western cultures. We can only speculate as to the reason, but it is possible that the eastward migrating people groups simply did not have the gruesome encounters that their western contemporaries must have experienced. If so, these eastern peoples may have told their children stories of dinosaurs as they were handed down from before the Flood, when life was ideally adapted to their existence, food was plentiful, and perhaps animals and humans did not kill one another for food (Genesis 9:3).
I propose that early humanity did encounter dragons, or dinosaurs. This means that humanity did not evolve millions of years after the dinosaurs became extinct, but that the two co-existed. Each piece of evidence by itself may perhaps be explained away, as those who accept evolutionary concepts are prone to do. But the evolutionary model of history which separates humanity and dinosaurs by millions of years leaves too many unanswered questions. How could a people draw pictures of dinosaurs on ancient cave walls, if none were around to serve as models? How is it that so many ancient cultures wrote about dinosaurs (dragons), if they were unknown to early humanity? How do the early literary accounts of dragons end up being so realistic, down to the smallest details?
The evidence for the co-existence of humanity with dinosaurs is overwhelming. I have often heard it said that if evidence can be adduced from a number of different disciplines, it is strong indication to the veracity of a hypothesis. I have shown evidence from archaeology, prehistoric art, ancient literature, legend and mythology, and the Bible. This evidence leads me to the conclusion that human beings shortly after the dispersal from Babel did indeed encounter dinosaurs in the early earth, and that they drew them, wrote of them and passed on tales of them to their children. The dragons of ancient art and literature, I conclude, were in fact dinosaurs.