Dragons in the Bible?

Some bible skeptics critique the bible’s historicity because dinosaurs are not mentioned. The word Dinosaur is an English word invented in the 1800s so it wouldn’t be in the KJV which was written in 1611. In addition, it means terrible (deinos) lizard (sauros) in greek, and one ancient equivalent of this would be dragons. Dinosaur fossils have been referred to as ”dragon bones” by the ancient Chinese and various other cultures around the world. Likewise, Europeans linked them to being ancient creatures from the bible like the Behemoth (Job 40:15) or the Leviathan (Job 41:31). Critics have a problem with the idea that dragons are the dinosaurs of the bible and are there as dragons because they are so mythologized by various world cultures. In the west, dragons are usually depicted as having big bellies and wings, and they breathe fire, while they are more serpentine in East Asia (Shenlong) and Mesoamerica (Quetzalcoatl). On the topic of dinosaurs being related to dragons, I had a thought about the “fire breathing” aspect of dragons. I have three theories of what many myths and legends about dragons (particularly in the west) mean when they refer to “breathing fire” as a trait of dragons. I think the first one is the truth, but maybe the other two are possible.

1) Linguistic – Phenomenological language: What if fiery didn’t mean literal fire originally but over time got mythologized as literal. In Numbers 21:6, it says that fiery serpents bite the Israelites in the wilderness. Were these serpents literally on fire? No, it implied that people were dying from the venom of these bites. A nonvenomous snake bite is not likely going to kill a bunch of people but the venom will. Venomous is described as a burning sensation inside your blood. So in ancient literature, a writer using phenomenological language would likely describe a venomous bite as fiery, and the venom itself, as fire going through a person’s body. So these weren’t fire-breathing creatures, but rather creatures with “fiery” bites. Just like the Komodo Dragons in East Asia today, which have venomous bites, so yes “firebreathing” dragons did exist and still exist.

2) Literal Fire breath: What if dragons have anatomy that was like biological lighters. What if there were dinosaur-like creatures that had tusk in their mouth made of iron or some mineral that could spark when rubbed together. In addition, their mouths produced small amounts of methane in their breath allowing for combustion. Lastly, what if they had glands in their mouth that produced fire-resistant mucus or saliva. This tusk would rub together to spark, which then ignited their methane breath into a flamethrower, while the mucus protected their mouth from the fire. There are creatures like the Bombardier Beetle, that have a venomous chemical projectile defense. They mix two chemicals from different sides of their body at an orifice junction that causes combustion.

3) Situation Fire breath: What if there was a point in history where a large reptilian creature attacked a human town at night. So the humans lit torches to see, so they could defend the town. However, the creature got into some alcohol or something and it breathed on them and turned the torches into flame throwers, burning them. Then this rare unique event had many witnesses who recorded and shared the story all throughout the world.

Bombardier Beetle