Why Did God Create Dinosaurs?
June 28, 2019
When God created the universe and everything in it, He created humans uniquely from everything else. Not only were humans not made directly by the declaration of God’s Word (we were formed from the dust of the ground), but we were made in the image of God. The scriptures teach that we were made in His likeness. The Bible doesn’t make this sort of remark about any other creature. Thus, the manner in which God created people is unique according to the unique purpose He has for us. God didn’t make us in His image so that we could live according to ourselves, but that we would live in the likeness of Him. However, since the beginning, people have been in rebellion against God as sinners. We were fashioned in the image of God, but live in a manner that is contrary to Him. God equipped us with all of the tools and resources required to submit to Him in worship like the Son does to the Father, but instead, we, like sheep, have all gone astray. God’s image is glorious, holy, righteous, and pure. The history of the human race shows that we are corrupt, wicked, unjust, and pitiful.
The scriptures show that there are other factors that contribute to the uniqueness of mankind. Not only were we made from the dust of the earth, but graciously in the image of God, we have also learned how to complain, gripe, and doubt God’s creation and purpose for us. This is in stark contrast to the manner in which God made other creatures that were not made in His image. God expounds on this truth in the testimony of Job 40:15-24. In this portion of scripture, God mentioned the creature “behemoth” to provide an example concerning the magnitude of His majesty, the quality of His provision, the perfection of His protection, and the sufficiency of His comfort. The original Hebrew word for “behemoth” is a word that is simply translated “beast” in the Bible. Its root form first used in the creation account in Genesis Chapter 1 to describe the work of God’s creation to make land creatures on the sixth day of creation. However, the beast that is described in Job 40:15-24 seems to have unusual characteristics. Historically, many have interpreted the mention of “behemoth” as an elephant. However, archeological discoveries of dinosaur fossils have caused some Bible commentators to believe that God’s mention of “behemoth” is actually a description of a Diplodocus or Brachiosaurus.
Whatever the creature was, God begins by making a compelling point about His formation of this creature. The behemoth was made alongside mankind. If this creature is in fact a dinosaur, this means that dinosaurs once walked the earth with mankind. The manner in which God refers to behemoth suggests that it was a creature that was alive at the time of Job so that Job could have observed the characteristics of the creature at the time God was speaking about it. God was using His creation to give contemporary teaching lessons. God was pointing to figures that were well-known and maybe immediately observable at the time, thereby thoroughly convicting Job of the truths God was teaching about.
In that behemoth was made alongside mankind, God sets the tone for the awful nature of mankind, even though we are created in His image and likeness. All of the four-footed, land-dwelling creatures of the world were created on the same day, perhaps just moments before Adam. It was not as if these beasts of the field and mountains had billions of years to learn their nature and learn to value God as the Provider. They had roughly the same experience as mankind. However, do we see any beast of the field complain against God and rebel against His purposes? While we don’t fully understand how dinosaurs lived, no scientist has suggested that they became extinct on account of God’s sweeping judgments to deal with their rebellion and unbelief. If God was simply referring to elephants, we don’t see elephants trying to build their own ways into heaven, questioning the validity of God’s wisdom, and denying their purpose in creation. Though the beasts of the earth were NOT made in the image of God, the creature that God describes is in perfect subjection to Him, valuing God as the Creator. This truth does not speak well for mankind, especially Job who demonstrated doubt, fear, self-entitlement, and pride throughout the testimony of the book named after him. Even though God considered him righteous and blameless, Job’s faith and attitude towards God was worse than the one called behemoth.
God described the appearance and characteristics of behemoth to remind Job about the extent of God’s sovereignty, providence, and perfection. God explained that behemoth eats grass like an ox. Though people often crave meat and kill for it, such a great beast was able to survive and thrive on the grass of the field. In other words, God’s provision of simple grass was sufficient for the animal, and thankfully so. What if such a great beast craved meat? What would that mean for the smaller creatures that lived in its midst? If behemoth lived near people, what would happen if behemoth was unsatisfied with grass. Thankfully, behemoth was satisfied with God’s provision without complaint or rebellion. Why? God’s provision was satisfactory and adequate, even for such a large beast. God’s provision for behemoth might seem boring and simple to us, like the children of Israel felt about manna in the wilderness, yet, behemoth did not complain or deny God. If the quality and manner of God’s provision is adequate for a creature as large and powerful as behemoth, how much more for people? It is not that God’s provision isn’t able to satisfy and meet our needs. Our issue is that we despise the quality and manner of God’s provision.
God described the extent of behemoth’s power and strength by describing his appearance. This creature was powerful from the hips and torso, having bones like beams of bronze, ribs like bars of iron, tendons that were able to support its muscle and bone structure, and a tail like a cedar tree! This description does resemble that of an elephant in some ways, but the findings of certain bones and reconstructions of fossils for certain dinosaurs do parallel these descriptions as well. Scientists believe that Diplodocus was about as tall as an elephant. Elephants in Asia can get up to 21 feet tall, weighing 12,000 lbs. Scientists believe that Diplodocus was about 80 feet long from head to tail. At that size, Diplodocus would have weighed somewhere around 27,000 pounds! Yet, God created this creature (and many of them) by the power of His Word. Though this creature had such size, strength, power, and confidence, it did not try to rebel against God. Behemoth didn’t complain against God saying, “Why have you made me this way?”
When God brought up these points to Job, He explained how He was able to ensure the survival and thriving of behemoth despite its great size and demands. How much food would a creature of this size need to eat? How much land would they need to rest? How much water would they need to drink? What kind of shelter would they require to dwell and nest in? What type of environment makes a creature of this magnitude comfortable and satisfied? These circumstances are hard to comprehend, yet God was able to meet the needs. Behemoth lived in the mountains and found adequate food there according to God’s provision. God explained that behemoth was able to “play in the filed” and “lay in the shade of the lotus trees.” This means that God was able to provide adequate space for behemoth to enjoy itself, live comfortably, and thrive in peace. God explained that the willow brooks surrounded behemoth, satisfying the creature’s thirst despite its size. There was no shortage for these creatures. There was no suffering for these creatures. Likewise, there were no complaints or doubts from these creatures.
God explained that behemoth was “the first of the ways of God.” In other words, behemoth was unique as an example of God’s greatness, power, wisdom, and sufficiency. The manner in which God shows His sovereignty and providential care through behemoth is unique and profound. God was able to create, nourish, satisfy, and increase behemoth; a creature that was not made in the image and likeness of God Himself. If God is able to perform so perfectly for such a large and demanding creature, how much more able is God able to perform for us who are much smaller and weaker? Yet, we are the ones that complain. Despite God’s provision, we question God. Despite God’s providential care, we criticize God. Despite God’s revelation, we rebel against God. Job was closely connected to God as His servant, and frequently received God’s revelation. Yet, Job didn’t trust God when his life got hard. He questioned God’s wisdom. He despised God’s provision and the manner of it. God was wise to create and care for behemoth, a much more difficult task. Did God suddenly develop amnesia in the case of Job? Did God suddenly grow weak when Job started suffering? Certainly not!
One of the chief arguments against God’s provision for behemoth if it is indeed a dinosaur, is the fact that they are now extinct, suggesting that ultimately, God’s provision and care was not sufficient. Well, God addressed that issue too, long before their extinction. God reminded Job about the extent of His creative control and authority. Though behemoth was so great, powerful, and strong, God was still in control of that beast. God explained that behemoth was still subject to His sword. In other words, God could take behemoth out of the world as easily as He brought him into the world, regardless of its size and strength. The size and strength of behemoth might seem awesome to us, but is nothing to God. God is the source from which all power and strength come. Thus, the extinction of dinosaurs doesn’t speak to God’s weakness and inadequacy, but the opposite! If God was referring to dinosaurs, then their extinction is proof that God can easily remove entire kinds of creatures in an instant if He wants to. ALL life is indeed in His hands. That said, did behemoth question God and fight against Him because of His supreme authority? Did behemoth try to create their own way of eternal life, inventing new deities that promote other ideas concerning life and death?
God’s creation and care for behemoth not only speaks to the power, wisdom, and sufficiency of God, but also His mercy and patience concerning mankind. God has dealt with A LOT since He created Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. The human race has already tempted Him unto severe judgment once during the days of Noah. God has assured people that He will not strive with our complaints, bitterness, self-righteousness, self-entitlement, and pride forever. He will deal with our attitudes when He deems the time is right. The excessive power and control that God showed to care for and remove behemoth is compelling proof that God is able and willing to fulfill His promise to judge. Therefore, we can learn a lot from God’s teaching about behemoth. God wanted to humble Job to protect the spiritual integrity of his soul. Job had deep-rooted issues in his heart about God. Though Job believed in God and cherished him, there were still things of his human nature that lingered, causing sinful, rebellious, and evil bitterness to spring out when the circumstances were just right.
This is true of all people. Thus, as God’s children, we are called to recognize this miserable weakness and confess our sin. This attitude is NOT according to the nature in which we were made. We were made in the image and likeness of God in order to be one with Him by faith according to His grace, thereby worshiping Him for His goodness and enduring mercy. When we submit to and stimulate the bitterness and self-righteousness that Job displayed – even as a believer – we are acting out of our nature; and this ought not to be so. We should not be content with our faith being outdone by dumb four-footed animals that might even be extinct.