What do dinosaurs have to tell us about the chronology of Genesis? I think that the early chapters of Genesis, the so-called “primeval history” leave a lot blank not because that history is not important, but because the Bible gives us the tools to reconstruct what happened based on patterns and cycles familiar to us from the rest of Scripture.
The Heavens declare the glory of God, and because of that, no man has an excuse to claim that he did not know that the is a Creator God. Why is that? Because God, speaking as a prophet, created a world of pictures and image, mirrors of the heavenly realm, that the physical world might teach us about God and the angelic realm. Man was created in the Image of God, that through our dominion we might learn about God. Birds were created based on the blueprint of the angels: even the color of birds are a symbol where white birds are clean angels and the black birds, those who eat the dust of the earth through corpses, are unclean angels. Solomon learned about God and man by studying the animals, just as Adam learned about the world when God brought the animals to him. Learning about the animals teaches humanity about God and the angelic realm.
So, the first part is figuring out why the serpent symbolizes Satan, something that we have taken for granted. Michael Heisler theorizes a bit based on the “nachash”. The word for serpent in Hebrew, nachash, has a few meanings. As a noun, it means serpent. As a verb, it means “shining”. He explains that what the couple saw in the Garden was a Shining-Serpentine creature. The couple might not have been surprised to see this talking serpent because it was a typical looking angel. Angels, being shining creatures, are in some sense serpentine. (The Serpent was not always to be a symbol of evil: Dan is a serpentine tribe and the disciples are called to be like serpents.) Saying that they are serpentine doesn’t mean we knew about snakes figure and applied that to angels: rather, we describe snakes based on the appearance of angels as serpentine-shining creatures. Scales are a symbol for whiteness: full purity. Remember, though, that full whiteness is also a bad thing: those completely struck with leprosy were fully white as a symbol that judgment on them was complete.
As man matured, he would move from a singular ‘Adam to family (‘ish and ‘ishah) to sacrificial head of the family (‘ishishah) to worldwide progeny. His ministry would expand from Garden (his relationship to God), Land (his relationship to his family), to the World (his relationship with all of humanity).
Garden: relationship to Yahweh (Adam and Yahweh)
Land: relationship to brother (Cain and Abel; Jesus the brother)
World: prophetic witness to the world (Sethites and Cainites; the Spirit)
Maturity is moving from singular to plural, from personal to corporate. Adam moves from a singular man to a plural man as his family grows under his name. This is the same in Christian life: we move from personal salvation to church-wide fellowship. We move from knowledge (singular) to wisdom (plural).
If this is the case, then we should see a collective example of the serpent. The serpent moved from serpent (singular) to dragon (plural) when angels came down from heaven with him and he deceives the nations to work with him and conquer God’s people together. So we add this with Mike Bull’s points about dragons. Satan appears in the Garden as a serpent, a singular being lying to the First Couple. When we see the Dragon in Revelation, it is a “matured” serpent because he is now tempting the entire world. Satan has become part of a Unholy Trinity: the Land Beast, the Sea Beast, and the Dragon, and has amassed a false Army-Bride-Church-Israel. His worldwide mission is to tempt the nations and try to lure them away from Christ.
If everything is made a symbol, what symbolizes the collective serpent? (Trick question) If snakes teach us about the original tempter, then dinosaurs are a symbol of the collective serpent. My friend Seraphim describes how dinosaurs are beastly symbols of the angelic host: they are feathered like birds (and feathers are “glory clothing”, and remember that birds are based on the design for angels), multi-colored, “robed with what looked like jewels”. These symbols are pictures of God’s majestic throne, surrounded by the jewels of the twelve tribes of Israel. Seeing a dinosaur would definitely remind you of both the serpent and the glory of a fully matured angelic host. Seraphim even notes that dinosaurs might have been “the most intelligent animals in the kingdom” (cf. Genesis 3:1). Putting all of this data together, identifying the biblical picture of dinosaurs with the dragon already looks positive as they stand for the angelic host at its most “clever”.
Now we seek to understand the multi-colored scales of the dinosaur. Ministry in the Garden is symbolized by the color white, as purity is necessary to do the work of the Garden. Naked Adam and scaly serpents are white, pure and untouched by evil. When Christ was transfigured, and when Joseph ruled the whole world, the white robes are transfigured into rainbow robes, the white robe of the king of kings refracted into all of the colors of the world. The dragon would have a “rainbow” ministry, his white scales refracted to the whole world: this explains the multi-colored dinosaurs.
So, we’ve established that dinosaurs symbolize the collective serpent. So what does this help with? It might help us understand Nimrod.
Man was promised dominion over the animals in the Garden if he was obedient to Christ. He would rule over the cattle, fish, birds, and creeping things. If man was faithful in combating the serpent, he would be able to eventually tame the sea creatures and the dragons of the earth. When Adam had subdued an animal, he would know he had dominion over the thing that it symbolized. If Adam were to try and tame a dinosaur before his time had come, he would have been killed. He had to be faithful in a little (combating the serpent) to be made lord over more (the dragons). When he finally would subdue a dinosaur, he would know that he could face and destroy the dragon. This is because Adam, by himself, could handle personal threats. But dragons symbolized something more: the collective threat of the serpent with an army. Only a collective man could destroy a collective enemy.
This is interesting, then, when we establish a link between Narmer and Nimrod. Most Ancient Days, a revisionist chronology site, links the two based on the Narmer plate. David Rohl makes the same comparison. Narmer also has no recorded genealogy, maybe because his parents were pre-Egyptian? Narmer was also heralded as the man who irrigated Egypt, just as Adam was to irrigate the world from the four rivers that flowed out of Eden. Though Egypt, son of Ham, was the origin of Egypt the nation, it is possible that Nimrod came and united them or conquered them and started a new dynasty.
If Narmer and Nimrod are the same person, then we see that Narmer claimed to be able to take down even dinosaurs. But he’s a single man, could he have done that? We’re not sure. But in Job, God claims that only God can take down and control behemoth. This is a clear example of Nimrod trying to perform a coup and call himself like God. In this, Nimrod repeats the sin of Adam. Nimrod, the gibbor-Hunter, tries to subdue the dragon before Adam has subdued the Serpent. Nimrod then follows the Garden-Land-World pattern:
Garden: Nimrod is a mighty hunter “before the Lord”, a phrase with liturgical connotations. His relationship before Yahweh is pride
Land: His family (Genesis 10)
World: His ministry to the world was the creation of Babylon, the city that stood against God. The city’s legacy is one of affronts before God and overzealous destruction of God’s people.
So what happened with Narmer? He took up the mantle as a false Adam, hunted before the face of the Lord, spread his seed as a prideful anti-king, and began a worldwide kingdom with Egypt and Babylon. How can we put this together? Because he hunted dinosaurs. How can we put this together? From the Narmer Plate and revisionist theology. These seem like a lot of tenuous threads, but I think if we consistently do good work in Biblical theology, revisionist history, and archaeology, the Bible will come together as a more coherent whole.
Doing this type of work seems like speculation at best. But taking the Christian worldview as paramount to understanding the world is the key. We understand the world through Christian eyes. We understand dinosaurs and history through prophetic Christian symbolism. We understand history as recorded by the Scriptures. We understand archaeology by the witness of the Scriptures. When we pull everything in under the Christian worldview, we begin to see the world as God does. We can show that consistently well done biblical theology can inform archaeology in such a way that we can discover new facts about the world and history. Is it speculative? For now, yes. But I think we can show consistent pictures and histories that are coherent within a biblical framework that, over time, can be pushed and prodded and made more precise in order to do better history.