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“Behemoth” and “Leviathan” #1

Their fossilized remains were so immense and grand that shortly after their discovery Sir Richard Owen articulated the term “dinosaur” for a new order of animals in 1840 (deino=terrible; sauros=lizard). The Bible speaks of several different kinds of creatures in its historical pages. Two of the most fascinating ones are the “Behemoth” and the “Leviathan” found in Job 40:15-24; 41:1-34.

The significance of such a passage is invaluable in understanding human history and the fallacy of the pseudo-sciences of the day. There are several today who believe it is absurd to think that mankind and dinosaurs were contemporary with one another. Many people believe that dinosaurs became extinct 65 million years before man’s arrival on the evolutionary ladder; however, the evidence screams something different. Even so, men who do not wish to throw God completely out of the picture, yet with a death-grip grasp on the belief of evolution and/or of long-age geology, scheme up compromising and scripture-distorting theories. To this end, human wisdom has paraded before us a barrage varying and fanciful theories that do nothing more than explaining away scripture.

David Matthews, in his article, “The Pronouncements Of Science” was at least honest in writing what long-age theories demand of those who hold them: “Christians should keep in mind that it is much easier to reinterpret the Bible than it is to compress billions of years of history into a six or ten thousand-year time frame.”

Of course, he can only assume billions of years of history yet is willing to “reinterpret the Bible” to satisfy his position. Christians who bow down to evolution and/or uniformitarianism must be willing to “reinterpret” and surrender the clear teaching of scripture for their earthly wisdom and scripture-twisting theories. They must be willing to replace God’s Word with human wisdom as their foundation for truth.

Unfortunately, it does not end here, for they, in fact, will have to reinterpret every kind of evidence so that they may hold ever so faithfully to their unscriptural beliefs. Shane Scott, a former Bible class teacher at Florida College affords us with an example of this mindset in his article entitled, “Dinosaurs and the Bible.” He writes against the young earth position saying, “Warning! If you take this view, avoid a few common young-earth creationist mistakes: a) The claim that human footprints have been found along with dinosaur prints. b) The claim that ‘Behemoth’ and ‘Leviathan’ are dinosaurs.”

Whether it is physical evidence, like human footprints next to dinosaur footprints, or whether it is scriptural evidence, it must be “reinterpreted.” Human footprints found next to dinosaur footprints in the Paluxy River Bed near Glen Rose, Texas, must be “interpreted” as a “hoax” or “mistake” because dinosaurs had to have existed 65 million years before man! For the same reason, they conclude that the “Behemoth” and “Leviathan” could never be dinosaurs since Scripture shows these creatures as contemporaries with a man. John C. Whitcomb and Henry Morris make this observation about these tracks: “The genuineness of neither would be questioned at all were it not for the geologically sacrosanct evolutionary time-scale.” Likewise, Don Patton rules out accidental resemblance:

One simply cannot believe that a sequence of clouds resembling 14 elephants holding each other’s tail could occur naturally, even if some of them are not perfect. If objective people see four old men in the mountain that resemble Presidents, they will not believe the scene was produced by natural erosion. These readily understood examples illustrate the strength of a sequence in terms of evidence. It eliminates the idea of accidental resemblance by natural, unintelligent processes from the sphere of rational discussion. Fourteen tracks in a consistent right-left pattern, consistent in length, including several detailed tracks with all five toes, instep and clearly defined heel, demonstrate conclusively that these tracks are not the product of natural erosion.

He further points out, “By following the trail back under the river bank, seven more very human-like tracks were exposed. The process involved removing tons of limestone overburden, effectively eliminating the possibility that the tracks were carved.” For some, it just does not matter what the evidence says, if it does not fit their presupposition, then it must be thrown out. Fourteen human footprints with dinosaur prints is hard evidence to simply dismiss, yet the revolutionized and uniformitarian mind cannot allow such a possibility.

We may also add that the controversy over the days of Genesis has occurred because of the same mindset. Would there be any controversy at all if it were not for the evolutionary time scale? It is hard to imagine such a controversy with the absence of evolutionary philosophy. Some may mistakenly think the controversy exists because the Bible is not clear. However, that is not the case. The controversy exists because the Bible is too clear! If the Bible were more vague and indeterminate regarding the days of creation or “Behemoth” and “Leviathan” for that matter, then there were be no rebuttal of long-age geology.

What Exactly Were the “Behemoth” and “Leviathan”?

Some say, as Scott suggests, that the Behemoth was a hippopotamus and that Leviathan was a crocodile. Like the days of Genesis 1 with ages, there is nothing in scripture to suggest an image of a hippopotamus or crocodile in Job 40 and 41. Are these creatures explained away because we have been “revolutionized” into thinking that dinosaur and man could never have been contemporaries? Unfortunately, that seems to be the reason for some.

Are “Behemoth” and “Leviathan” Literal or Figurative?

Some assert that Behemoth and Leviathan were figurative creatures. Whatever “Behemoth” was, it was something that was made along with man, “Look now at the behemoth, which I made along with you …” (Job 40:15). This should be enough evidence that this creature is literal. As Genesis 1:24-31 teaches, all beasts and creeping things were made along with man on day six. Furthermore, “Behemoth” eats grass like an ox (Job 40:15). What is it about “Behemoth” that would make one think he is figurative? “Behemoth” was not an ox, but he eats the same kind of diet that an ox does. “Behemoth” is confident though the Jordan gushes into his mouth (Job 40:23). Is the Jordan literal or figurative? If “Behemoth” were figurative, we would have a figurative creature made with man, eating grass like an ox and confident when the Jordan rages into his mouth! Let us accept the evidence, “Behemoth” was real; there is no indication given in Scripture that he is figurative. Since “Behemoth” is literal, why would “Leviathan” be any different as he is the next creature in God’s argument? “Can you draw out Leviathan with a hook or snare his tongue with a line which you lower? 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?” (Job 41:1, 8-10). If “Leviathan” were figurative, then God’s point of standing against him is absurd and without reason. False doctrine often does just that, it makes our reasonable God unreasonable.

In the next article, we will question whether “Behemoth” was a hippo and “Leviathan” was a crocodile.

Adapted from Steven J. Wallace

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