Most of you have likely heard of Hank Hanegraaff, president of the Christian Research Institute (CRI) and host of the radio broadcast Bible Answer Man. In a recent issue of the Creation Research Journal, which is published by CRI, Hanegraaff made some very disturbing statements about Scripture’s account of dinosaurs and sea monsters—and the serpent in the Garden of Eden.
Hanegraaff wrote a book on the issue of creation titled The Creation Answer Book. I previously published a review on my blog.
Sadly, The Creation Answer Book made it evident that Hanegraaff does not hold to a literal Genesis (but buys into geological and astronomical evolution), as he was unwilling to understand Genesis in its most natural form—historical narrative.
In this more recent article, called “Leviathan, Dragons, and Dinosaurs, Oh My!” (CRJ, vol. 36, no. 2), Hanegraaff denies that the Bible’s accounts of the sea creature leviathan and the large behemoth (that we think is an apt description of what could be a sauropod dinosaur) are literal. Working through Job chapters 38–41, Hanegraaff claims that of all the things God lists to Job, these two creatures are meant to be understood as metaphors. He writes the following:
In sum, Leviathan and Behemoth are not dinosaurs but personifications that illustrate a metaphysical reality. As such, the mythology of the dragon underscores the reality of the Devil.
Well, he’s right on one count—leviathan was not a dinosaur, because only particular land animals (possibly behemoth) were dinosaurs. Leviathan was a sea creature, and thus was created on Day Five of Creation Week (Genesis 1:21). Hanegraaff, though, seems to think that some Christians believe leviathan was a dinosaur. At AiG, we understand the technical definition of dinosaur is for a group of land animals, and so we have never suggested leviathan was a dinosaur. Leviathan was a real animal that lived in the sea. The description could fit something like the great Kronosaurus, but we don’t know for sure.
What’s more, every other creature (living or nonliving) that God mentions in Job 38–41 (e.g., lion, raven, donkey, wild ox, ostrich, horse, locust, hawk, or eagle) are literal objects that Job saw. Why would God suddenly mention two “personifications” (which means to give living traits to an inanimate object or idea) in the midst of literal objects?
In fact, leviathan is mentioned repeatedly in Scripture (Job 3:8, 41:1; Psalm 74:14, 104:26; Isaiah 27:1). There’s no denying this was a real creature that people were familiar with. Hanegraaff’s conclusion doesn’t make sense in light of all this, but it does reveal his denial of the fact that man lived alongside these great beasts (dinosaurs), which were also made on Day Six of creation along with man. God even pointed out to Job that behemoth was made along with you (Job 40:15).
Hanegraaff, however, relies on a “literary” understanding of Scripture. He says that means he reads God’s Word “in the most obvious and natural sense,” but his views on dinosaurs above clearly contradict that. In other words, he doesn’t believe that dinosaurs, which are land animals, were made on the same day as Adam.
But it actually gets worse: Hanegraaff also denies there was a literal serpent in the Garden of Eden that audibly spoke to Eve. He claims the following:
Eve was not deceived by a talking snake. Rather, Moses used the symbol of a snake to communicate the wiles of the Evil One who deceived Eve through mind-to-mind communication . . .
Now, Hanegraaff’s claim clearly contradicts the plain reading of Genesis 3, which has already been shown beyond doubt to be historical narrative. So how is his reading the “most obvious and natural”? Really, it isn’t. His view on the serpent here causes problems for how we’re to read 2 Corinthians 11:3, where the Apostle Paul clearly considers the serpent to be literal. Furthermore, Paul warns that just as the serpent (a real serpent) beguiled Eve, so Satan will use the same method on us. And that method was to get people to doubt God’s Word, which would lead to unbelief. Sadly, Hanegraaff, by his compromise position in regard to the serpent, is really getting people to doubt God’s Word in Genesis.
Because Hanegraaff holds to an old earth (and hence, also denies a global Flood), that in order to support his views, he has to explain away literal references to man and dinosaurs living alongside each other in Genesis—and that carries over into how he reads much of the creation account in Genesis.
It’s sad that influential Christians like Hanegraaff wholeheartedly accept many secular humanistic ideas like long-age geology and the big bang. When they accept these competing (anti-biblical) claims and mix them with their Christianity, something always has to give. Most people give up what the Bible plainly says in light of the “secular religion” of long ages. I want to encourage you to stand strong on the authority of God’s Word and watch out for these secular ideas in the church. Don’t mix these two religions (Hebrews 10:23). To do so is really no different than the Israelites mixing with the Baal worship of their day. Man’s fallible word should never be used to reinterpret God’s clear Word. To do so is to attack and undermine the authority of the infallible Word.
Moreover, beyond the Bible’s many references to land-dwelling dinosaurs and great sea creatures, there are flood and dragon legends from around the world. It makes sense from these abundant accounts that many of the land “dragons” were actually dinosaurs and the sea dragons were sea creatures like the pliosaurs. Of course, Hanegraaff denies that there is any truth to these accounts, but at the Creation Museum, we actually have a new Dragon Legends exhibit opening soon that presents this compelling evidence. I doubt Hanegraaff will like this spectacular exhibit one bit, as it lays out—from historical records—many of the dragon legends.
Our high-quality Dragon Legends exhibit, opening later this month, contains amazing artifact models, artwork, and facts surrounding the dragon legends we have researched from around the world. And what’s our conclusion? The evidence that these legends provides actually confirms what the Bible says—man, dinosaurs, and sea monsters existed together since Creation Week.
Flood legends abound in cultures around the world because there was a real Flood—Noah’s Flood. For more information, see our book Dragons: Legends & Lore of Dinosaurs.
Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,
Steve Golden assisted in the writing of this blog post.
Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ.