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Leviathan, from the book of Job, was a dinosaur (Talk.Origins)

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Response Article
This article (Leviathan, from the book of Job, was a dinosaur (Talk.Origins)) is a response to a rebuttal of a creationist claim published by Talk.Origins Archive under the title Index to Creationist Claims.

Claim CH711.1:

Leviathan, described in Job 41 and mentioned in Psalms 104:26, describes a dinosaur like Parasaurolophus or Corythosaurus, plesiosaur such as Koronosaurus,or a crocodile Sarcosuchus.


CreationWiki response:

Admittedly the description of Leviathan is not as clear as that of Behemoth so pinning it down is harder.

(Talk.Origins quotes in blue)

1. Leviathan appears also in Ugaritic texts, where it is described as a twisting serpent (echoing language from Is. 27:1) with seven heads.

It is not uncommon in mythology to add usual traits to real animals. Such as the three headed dog in Greek mythology. Such a reference in Greek mythology does not make dogs mythological or three headed. The same could be true of Leviathan.

It personifies the waters of the primeval chaos. The rousing of Leviathan in Job 3:8 implies an undoing of the process of creation. [Day 1992]

This interpretation assumes a connection between the Ugaritic reference and the Biblical reference, a connection that probably does not exist. If the Biblical reference to Leviathan is taken as a real animal, Job 3:8 would seem to be referring to those who would try to catch a Leviathan.

It has also been suggested that Leviathan is a crocodile or whale, but its multiple heads (referred to also in Ps. 74:14) make it clear that it is a fantastic creature, such as appear in folklore from all times and places.

While the Hebrew word Rosh.gif (Strong's - 07218) can mean head, it can also mean chief, choicest, or best. So Ps. 74:14 is likely referring the largest and most powerful Leviathans and not multiple heads.

Also, it has historically been common usage in English and other languages to use the word "head" to represent a unit count of an animal. Asking a cattle rancher about the size of his herd of cattle, he might answer, "three hundred head", and we say we take a "head count" or "count of heads" to make sure an entire group of people is present for some given activity.

2. Leviathan is clearly described as a sea creature in the Bible. Parasaurolophus and Corythosaurus are terrestrial.

This just show that Talk Origins' source made a mistake. Kronosaurus is the most common candidate suggested.

3. The message of Job 41 is that part of nature is indomitable, that "no purpose of [God's] can be thwarted" [ Job 42:2 ]. That message would lose its meaning if Leviathan was an ordinary animal that humans would be able to kill. The larger message of Job is that God's ways cannot always be understood. That message is best served by leaving Leviathan mythical.

Actually the message is best served if Leviathan is a real and deadly animal that at least in Job's day could not be taken out by man. This would be the case because a real animal would be part of the human experience where a mythical one would not. If Leviathan was a real animal Job would have heard of encounters with them, or maybe as a young man had an encounter with one. In either case the comparison would have made a far better impression than a reference to some mythical animal.

See Also