Question: Job 41 seems to be God describing fire breathing dragons as if they were real and Job was familiar with them. Is this just poetic or symbolic language?
Most people assume that life as we now know it is a reliable indicator for what life has always been like (the theory of uniformitarianism). The apostle Peter reminds us that this false assumption is in large part responsible for mankind’s tendency to “deliberately forget” the creation of the world from water and the destruction of that world’s environment by a global flood (2Pet. 3:3-6). That same false assumption blinds us to the possibility of creatures once existing that match the description in Job 41:1-34.
The creature described in Job is called “Leviathan” (Job 41:1). In this passage Job—who was clearly familiar with the creature—is reminded that even this massive animal is just another one of many created and owned by God (Job 41:11).
Leviathan was earth’s largest creature at the time (33-34), too huge to tie down or lead with a rope (1-2), with a hide too tough and folded over on itself to penetrate with spears, arrows or swords (7, 24, 26-29). His neck was powerful, his chest “hard as rock.” He was completely untamable (5, 9), terrifying the most fearless hunters when he “rose up” (25). His massive limbs were both incredibly strong and graceful (12), and his great jaws were “ringed about with…fearsome teeth” (14). He made a snorting sound accompanied by bursts of fire and smoke from his nostrils, and he could spout fire from his mouth (20-21). His back was covered with tightly layered scales (15-17), and his underbelly likewise covered with sharp protrusions that gouged out the ground he walked over (30). Leviathan was amphibious, stirring up the water where he submerged as if it were boiling (31-32). Isaiah the prophet describes Leviathan as a “gliding,…coiling serpent (i.e., dragon),…the monster of the sea” (Is. 27:1).
Obviously, no such creature exists today. But historical evidence and archeological evidence confirm that Leviathan and other dinosaurs did indeed co-inhabit the earth with mankind.[i] (See also: The World News Daily Report article from March 9, 2014, “Prehistoric Cave Art Depicting Humans Hunting Dinosaurs Discovered in Kuwait”)[ii]
Now that supporting evidence is piling up, those who once scoffed at the idea of humans and dinosaurs co-existing are suddenly changing gears and asking, ‘So what?’
That is a real good question. The ‘so what’ is that these discoveries challenges current evolutionary models that separate dinosaurs and humans by millions of years. Exodus 20:11 summarizes the Genesis creation account that “…in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them…” If the biblical account of creation is true there will be evidence of interaction between humans and dinosaurs and the theory of evolution will suffer a serious set-back.
The Bible and all it teaches is grounded in history. History leaves a record in the ground that eventually comes to light. And when such evidence is unearthed and brushed off for all to see, the creation once again points back to the Creator:
Rom. 1:20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.