|Gustave Dore's portrayal of|
Creationists like Ken Ham have duped a generation of evangelicals into believing dinosaurs are mentioned in the Bible. In fact, it seems most of the involved Christians I know in the Southern Baptist circles I have spent my life actually believe Leviathan and Behemoth in Job are ancient descriptions of a plesiosaur and sauropod. According to Ken Ham:
"[V]ery few animals are singled out in the Bible for such a detailed description. Contrary to what many may think, what we know now as dinosaurs get more mention in the Scriptures than most animals!"
The spectre of a mythological dragon looms heavy on the evangelical mind. But just because the Biblical authors use this type of imagery, does it mean that we must believe these creatures exists in the natural world?
Here is a question: In Psalm 74 God crushes and kills Leviathan as part of the act of creation (the Near Eastern idea of chaoskampf). But Isaiah has him being killed a second and final time at the eschaton (27.1). This is an exegetical dilemma which must be explained. Apparently the authors of scripture are doing more than just describing a mere natural animal. They are using the creatures Leviathan and Behemoth as a symbol for something. We are the ones who miss the meaning due to our refusal to contextualize the text.
|The trunk cavity of a mammoth|
skull would be easily mistaken
as an eye socket.
Regardless of your views on creation, let’s stop protecting ourselves from the Bible and stop demythologizing the text to fit into our modern agendas. We need to attempt to read the text in its Ancient Near Eastern context – the context God Himself chose to inspire it in.