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What creature(s) is/are not in the Bible?

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A case can be made that not one but three creatures -- the Cockatrice, Witch, and Dinosaur -- are not in the Bible. At least they are missing from the original Hebrew and Greek texts.

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The three animals are:

  • The Cockatrice, which appears in three places in the King James Version of the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) at:
    • Isaiah 11:8,
    • Isaiah 59:5, and
    • Jeremiah 8:17.

But it was not in the original Hebrew text. It was an invention of the translators. They didn't know what the original Hebrew word "tsepha" meant. Their knowledge of biology was also weak. So they translated the word as "Cockatrice." It is a mythical beast with two legs and wings. It resembles a serpent with a rooster-shaped head:

cockatrice 2

More modern translations use the more accurate words viper, adder, or poisonous snake. 1,3

  • "Witch" and "Witchcraft" also appear in English translations of the Bible. But they unrelated to the modern meaning of "Witch" and "Witchcraft." The most notable reference is Exodus 22:18 which the King James Version of the Bible renders as:

    "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live."

    This passage and a few others helped to inspired the European witch hunts, which lasted from

    • 1227 CE when Pope Gregory IX created a Church Inquisitorial Court to find heretics, and execute them; until

    • 1792 CE when the Roman Catholic Church in Poland executed the last person in Europe who had been tried and convicted of Witchcraft. However, the Church did execute a few Witches into the 1830's in South America.

In this passage, the original Hebrew word referred to evil sorceresses who issue negative spells and black magick to harm people or animals. In various passages in the New Testament, "Witchcraft" refers to evil people who use poison to murder others. Many modern translation use "sorcerer" but this is also an ambiguous term. Today, "sorcerer" sometimes refers to people who simply use positive, non-manipulating and non-controlling spells and magick; alternately it may refer to persons who use black magick to do harm.

However, in modern use age, the word "Witch" most often refers to a Wiccan. They are followers of an earth-based Neo pagan religion which is largely based on ancient Celtic Pagan themes. Their main ethical rule is the Wiccan Rede, one version of which is:

  • "An' it harm none, do what ye will."

which can be translated into English as:

  • "Do whatever you wish as long as it doesn't harm anyone, including yourself."

That is, it is one expression of the Golden Rule, a.k.a. the Ethic of Reciprocity. Wiccans are specifically prohibited from doing harm. Thus, the word "Witch" in the Bible and "Witch" in common use today are contronyms: one word with two conflicting meanings:

  • In the Bible they refer to people who use black magick to kill or injure people and animals.

  • In common experience today, "Witch" refers to a follower of a Neo pagan religion who is specifically prohibited from injuring or even manipulating others.

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  • The Dinosaur: Most students of the Bible believe that there is no biblical mentions of this animal. Most conservative Christians believe that God created the dinosaurs as one species when he created all the land animals on the fifth day of Creation. (Genesis 1:20 to 23), at some time after 8000 BCE -- perhaps on 4004 BCE. Some believe that a pair of dinosaurs did not make it into the ark. Thus, they drowned and did not survive the flood of Noah. Others believe that a pair of dinosaurs survived in the flood, but the species died out later before modern times.

    However, some followers of Abrahamic religions interpret Job 40:15 to 24 as referring to dinosaurs.
    • Job 40:15 in the King James Version (KJV) says:

      "15 "Behold now behemoth, which I made with thee; he eateth grass as an ox."

      A few translations like the Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC), Contemporary English Version (CEV), The Living Bible (TLB), New Life Version (NLV), and the Orthodox Jewish Bible (OJB) render use the word "hippopotamus" instead of "behemoth."

      When most people think of dinosaurs, they recall horrendous rows of teeth for tearing other animals apart. However, there were also dinosaurs that were herbivores and ate grasses and other plants. So, Verse 15 might refer to a dinosaur.

    • However, Job 40:17 says:

      "17: " He moveth his tail like a cedar ..."

      Dinosaur tails looked more like switches than the trunk of a cedar tree. So, it would be a stretch to say that Job 40 refers to dinosaurs.

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You might find the following topics in our web site of interest:



About the Bible and Wicca

The Golden Rule, a.k.a. the Ethic of Reciprocity

Bible passages considered immoral by many of today's theologians and secularists

Beliefs about origins of the universe, the Earth, and its life forms.


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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Posting by Brian Hickey on 2017-JUN-13 at:
  2. Downloaded from Wikipedia at: CC SA 1.0. Dated 2004-JUL-29. Original by Leonard G. It is a photograph of a door at Belvedere Castle, built in 1869, in New York City's Central Park.
  3. Matt Slick, "Why does the Bible mention the mythical cockatrice?," CARM, undated, at:

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Copyright Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Author: B.A. Robinson
Originally posted on: 2017-JUL-0

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