On Creation Day 6, God made the land animals. This included one class of creature usually lost in translation: the dinosaur.
The dinosaur problem
Many creation advocates have a problem with dinosaurs—or so they think. They see no references to dinosaurs in the Bible. More than that, they cannot conceive that a creature that once grew to tremendous size was ever small enough, and lightweight enough, to ride in Noah’s Ark. And if dinosaurs did travel aboard the Ark, where are they today?
But the Bible does mention creatures that can only be dinosaurs. The poet Job knew of two of them. One, Leviathan, God made with the other creatures of the sea. The other, Behemoth, walked on land. From the detailed description that Job gives, Behemoth is not, as the Geneva and King James translators supposed, a hippopotamus. (Behemoth’s tail is as big around as a cedar trunk, and the hippo’s tail is much more slender.) Behemoth is either Diplodochus or Brachiosaurus.
Creation Day 6: What’s in a name?
But most scholars who have counted the number of times the Bible mentions dinosaurs, missed one. The name Behemoth is a plural form for Hebrew feminine nouns. The singular form is behemah. And this word appears in Genesis 1:24-25. In the New American Standard Bible, this reads:
Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth after their kind”; and it was so. God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind; and God saw that it was good.
But the Hebrew text uses the word behemah, which the New American Standard translators, like King James’ Royal Commission before them, rendered as cattle. But that word does not mean “cattle.” It means a very large animal, as opposed to the far smaller animals that “creep on the ground” (worms, insects, spiders, etc.).
And so the English text should read:
Now God commanded, “The earth [or The land] shall produce living creatures of all kinds: large animals, ground creepers, and other animals of the earth, of all kinds!” And so it came to be. God made all manner of animal kinds, large animals after their kinds, and ground creepers after their kinds. God deemed this good.
Meaning that God saw this as a finished work, the finish of a two-day process for creating all the animals that swam, flew, or walked on earth.
Now God was ready to make His most exacting and marvelous creature: man.
- Creation Day 5: Swimmers and flyers
- Creation Day 4: Age of the universe
- Creation Day 4: The Big Stretch
- Creation Day 3: The great planting
- Creation Day 3: Dry land
- Creation Day 2: Fire in water
- Creation Day 2: Firmament
- Creation Day 1: Light
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Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.
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