Leviathan - Primeval Sea-Reptile in the Bible? . Does the Bible talk about dinosaurs, and what about dragon legends? Check out this MOC Model of the biblical Leviathan to find out! . Everybody loves a good monster story. Whether it has fangs, sharp teeth, burning breath, wings, scales, or is simply a blob of slime, we all love the thrill of hearing of creatures unknown and imaginative. But some of these monsters aren't just old stories made to scare young children, but ARE real creatures which one lived on our planet. The Encyclopedia Britannica defines one of these old monsters, the dragon, as a "...legendary monster usually conceived as a huge, bat-winged, fire-breathing, scaly lizard or snake with a barbed tail. The belief in these creatures apparently arose without the slightest knowledge on the part of the ancients of the gigantic, prehistoric, dragon-like reptiles."
But this begs the question, "Did these ancient cultures actually know about these "gigantic, prehistoric, dragon-like reptiles," a.ka. dinosaurs? The famous cosmologist Carl Sagan, once said that, “The pervasiveness of dragon myths in the folk legends of many cultures is probably no accident,” though he explained it as being a genetic memory of the dinosaur eras passed down through our mammal/reptile ancestors. Others have claimed, without evidence, that the ancients dug up and reconstructed dinosaur fossils as dragons. But what if these ancient cultures actually lived with dinosaurs? This idea would appear ridiculous to modern scientists due to the belief that dinosaurs and humans never coexisted, but early paleontologists, including the man who coined the word 'dinosaur' (Sir Richard Owen), called these incredible beasts "dragons."
Beyond all of this, the Bible, which claims to be the infallible Word of the Creator God, and is an extremely accurate and ancient record of history; describes "dragons" as being real creatures. In the MOC model below, you will see and read the longest description of any animal recorded in the Bible, Leviathan, an amazing sea-dragon used by God to call the patriarch Job to His knees in awe and wonder.
Job Chapter 41 records this description amongst the descriptions of other real animals, "Can you draw out Leviathan with a hook, or snare his tongue with a line which you lower? Can you put a reed through his nose, Or pierce his jaw with a hook? Will he make many supplications to you? Will he speak softly to you? Will he make a covenant with you? Will you take him as a servant forever? Will you play with him as with a bird, Or will you leash him for your maidens? Will your companions make a banquet of him? Will they apportion him among the merchants? Can you fill his skin with harpoons, Or his head with fishing spears? Lay your hand on him; Remember the battle—Never do it again! Indeed, any hope of overcoming him is false; Shall one not be overwhelmed at the sight of him? No one is so fierce that he would dare stir him up. Who then is able to stand against Me? Who has preceded Me, that I should pay him? Everything under heaven is Mine."
With such a description, it is clear that the Bible is not talking about an allegorical creature or is using symbolism for the devil. Job was obviously familiar with this monster and its abilities. This Leviathan is a real creature of flesh and blood with strength and notoriety unmatched by any other creature throughout the ancient world. In fact, this creature may have even been the inspiration for the Canaanite's fable of "Baal and Lotan." From this passage, we see that this monster was unable to be tamed or overcome because of its fierceness and strength. This would deem the common Bible footnote definition as a crocodile inappropriate, as many stores sell crocodile heads for gifts or crocodile-skin boots. Crocodile Hunter battled crocodiles over and over and over, which would thus refute God's challenge if Leviathan was indeed a crocodile. This better matches the description of various "prehistoric" sea creatures, such as the Kronosaurus, Mosasaurus, or other pliosaurs. Of course, if Job knew of these creatures, then they were not prehistoric.
“I will not conceal his limbs, his mighty power, or his graceful proportions." - The flippers of various marine reptiles were often up to several feet long and would have been a sight to behold as they would paddle these monsters slowly and graciously, like a sea turtle.
"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." - The fossil skull of one such marine reptile, named Predator X, is said to have a bite 4-times more powerful than T. Rex! This monster also has razor-sharp, serrated teeth almost a foot long! These would have kept even the bravest warriors from even daring to engage in combat with Leviathan. Also, the description of scales takes away the possibility of a shark or a whale.
"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." - This verse throws the "possible" definition of crocodile into the fire, if you pardon the pun. You might say that this verse renders this monster mythical or allegorical, but please consider the feats of many other animals. The bombardier beetle has two glands in its abdomen which secrete chemicals, which when mixed, create an explosion of liquid fire to eject from a small, rotatable cannon! Also consider, the skunk, the spitting cobra, the salt-sneezing marine iguanas, and the electric eel! If we were to find the fossils of any such creatures without knowing their features, most would laugh at such ideas. At this point, we cannot tell directly from the fossils what features the dinosaurs or marine reptiles had, so we cannot be 100% sure of what they had. Maybe the marine reptiles had glands like that of the bombardier beetle?
"Strength dwells in his neck, and sorrow dances before him. The folds of his flesh are joined together; They are firm on him and cannot be moved. His heart is as hard as stone, even as hard as the lower millstone. When he raises himself up, the mighty are afraid; because of his crashings they are beside themselves. Though the sword reaches him, it cannot avail; Nor does spear, dart, or javelin. He regards iron as straw, and bronze as rotten wood. The arrow cannot make him flee; slingstones become like stubble to him. Darts are regarded as straw; he laughs at the threat of javelins." - This description once again brings to mind the legends of sea-serpents and monsters which were encountered by the vikings and sailors of the middle ages. We know from fossils that many marine reptiles, namely the plesiosaur kind, had incredibly long necks which would have terrified the sea-goers of the time. It is also likely (though soft parts are not as commonly fossilized) that these marine reptiles had tough, scaly skin like armor, much like modern crocodiles.
"His undersides are like sharp potsherds; he spreads pointed marks in the mire. He makes the deep boil like a pot; he makes the sea like a pot of ointment." - Though Leviathan's flames would have been surely muffled by the water while swimming, he could have heated up the water with his mouth or with his sneezes. His tough underbelly would have left marks in the water as he dragged on the ground near the shore.
"He leaves a shining wake behind him; one would think the deep had white hair." - Though it can't be used as conclusive evidence, many of the recent reports of sea and lake monsters (which are often described like aquatic reptiles such as Plesiosaurus) involve rising humps followed by a mysterious wake.
"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.” - As Proverbs 16:18 says, "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall." Such was the demise of the dinosaurs and the other reptiles such as Leviathan, which are now extinct. Likely, the world after the Flood was very different and didn't support the dinosaurs very well or they were hunted by man (remember that every dragon legend ends in the dragon's death), and thus their population was diminished until they eventually went extinct like other animals do.
What lesson can we learn from this? Well, the first one is that the Bible can help us to make sense of the world around us, even in the areas of fossils and dinosaurs. It can be trusted even if the scientists say otherwise (remember that scientists were not there to observe, test, or repeat the "age of the dinosaurs") The second is that we are to humbly submit ourselves to our Creator, as Job did after seeing the Leviathan. Job declared, "I know that thou canst do everything, and that no thought can be withholden from thee...wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes." After this, God restored Job all that He had given Him, and gave him even more. We, likewise, in order to be saved from the punishment of our sin, which is death both physically and spiritually, we need to humbly come before God and confess that we have sinned, and repent, believing that God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the Cross to pay the penalty for our sin, and that God raised Him from the dead. Then you receive God's free gift of salvation and eternal life. (Romans 10:9, John 3:16)