Truth in the Text Part VII – Dragons and Dinosaurs

Adam Naming the Animals, a Byzantine fresco

In 1841 Sir Richard Owen coined the term ‘dinosaur,’ meaning ‘terrible lizard’. It was a new word that would eventually cover a whole slew of never-before-seen beasts. At least never before seen to the men of that day. Dinosaurs were extinct, and had been for a long, long, time.

Or had they?

By Sir Owen’s day, no one remembered seeing dinosaurs. There are images of them around the globe however, from centuries before their ‘discovery’.

Check out Genesis Park ( for great photos. Dinosaurs appear in pictographs and petroglyphs in Utah, Canada, Zimbabwe, and the Amazon rainforest. They are painted onto pots in South America, carved from jade in China, engraved in slate in Egypt, made into mosaics in Rome, and formed from terra cotta in Turkey. Winged dinosaurs even appear in the cover plate of John Calvin’s commentary on Genesis, from 1578.

Wait! Winged dinosaurs? As in…DRAGONS?

Yep. Dragon legends and images can be found all around the world, too. I believe the dragons themselves were real and that they were common at one time in some regions of the world, just like dinosaurs. In fact, I think they were dinosaurs. Maybe all dinosaurs were called dragons or perhaps the dragon was one type of  what we now call a dinosaur. They lived, they were hunted and their parts used for medicines and food, as we see in ancient Chinese literature.

Didn’t dinosaurs die out millions of years ago? See the Truth in the Text series for more explanation of this. In summary, God made the dinosaurs 6,000 years ago, and they lived with man until the flood of Noah wiped all but a few out, leaving us a vast fossil record. They lived after the flood, multiplied and spread out, until killed off by man, disease, the environment, or genetic mutation.

Ancient Dragon References:

In 1611 BC the Emperor of China appointed a Royal Dragon Feeder. The Ishtar Gate of the Babylonian palace built in 600 BC features lions, bulls and dragons. Viking ships sported dragon heads. Marco Polo reported seeing dragons on his journeys and St. George killed one to save the life of a princess. Dragons were painted onto ancient Peruvian pots, a culture that only depicted its visible world in its imagery. And what about the Chinese calendar?  Eleven real creatures and one made-up beast? Perhaps it is actually 12 real creatures, all known to the ancient Chinese.

Dragon imagery is plentiful. They are depicted in the real world, in the culture of the day.

Dragon legends are numerous. Many are infused with exaggeration. That doesn’t mean the basis of the legend, man killing beast, isn’t factual. Maybe the fire-breathing part, the tremendous size, and the keen intellect dragons are given is beyond the truth, but the actual dragon, hmmm…

Are all Dinosaurs Extinct?

Man conquered the dragon, and conquered the dinosaurs of nearly all kinds, in my opinion. Nearly all kinds. What about Nessie? Sightings of the Loch Ness Monster date back centuries. Could she and her offspring be Pleisaurs? There are unfathomable caves in Loch Ness, places man can’t access. She has a hiding place if she wants to stay clear of man. What dwells in the vast swampland of Africa? What about those huge 20 foot crocodiles they catch in the Philippines? Maybe not all dinosaurs are extinct after all….

 Did you look closely at the fresco above? Next time I’ll talk about what the Bible has to say about dragons and dinosaurs.

 Thanks for reading!

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