Consider the Ostrich: Job 39 and God’s Commentary on His Creation

The book of Job contains the most descriptive language about the natural world in all of Scripture.  In Job 39 alone, we find God (1) describing the natural history of animals including the mountain goat, deer, donkey, ostrich, horse, hawk and eagle in order to illustrate His omniscience and wisdom in creation.  Although the authorship and date of Job is unknown, most scholars agree that Job is an ancient text. Therefore, Job contains descriptions of the animals living in the Levant region thousands of years ago. Remarkably, these descriptions match those of species with which we are familiar today, many of which still live in the same region.  

In this multi-part series we will examine the natural history of species mentioned in Job with a special focus on the description of the ostrich. We are  interested in understanding what these historical descriptions of God’s creation tell us about the original condition of creation, how God may have made the animals, and what we can learn about how they have, or have not, changed over time.

By Rei at en.wikipedia – Own work, CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11831344

How is the Ostrich Described in the Bible?

Among the animals described in the Bible,  I am especially intrigued by the ostrich. While only found in Africa today, the ostrich were more widely distributed in the past.  Ostriches are mentioned multiple times in the Bible. Most translators recognize the ostrich in Leviticus (11:16) along with the owl, seagull and hawk, indicating it was recognized as a type of bird despite the fact that the ostrich cannot fly.  Job 30:29 finds the ostrich identified with the desert or wastelands. In Lamentations (4:3) the ostrich is used as an illustration for the lack of attention of parents toward their children. But the most complete description of the Ostrich in the Bible is found in Job 39 verses 13-19.  

The New Kings James Version translates Job 39:13-19 this way:

  1. The wings of the ostrich wave proudly, But are her wings and pinions [like the] kindly stork’s?
  2. For she leaves her eggs on the ground, and warms them in the dust;
  3. She forgets that a foot may crush them, or that a wild beast may break them.
  4. She treat her young harshly, as though [they were] not hers; her labor is in vain, without concern,
  5. Because God deprived her of wisdom, and did not endow her with understanding.
  6. When she lifts herself on high, she scorns the horse and its rider.

The context of Job 39 is God’s response to Job. His response begins in chapter 38 where He asks Job where he was when He laid the foundations of the earth and then proceeds to describe many parts of His creation and asks; what can man know?  In chapter 39 God turns His attention toward the animals He created.

Ostrich “wings.” Image source

What do we learn about the ostrich here?  First, they have wings and feathers, but not like those  of a stork which are beautiful and enable flight. Second, the female ostrich lays her eggs on the ground in the dust and is prone to forgetting or ignoring some of the eggs which result in their either being crushed or eaten by other beasts.   Third, the ostrich is observed to be rather callous toward her young and does not tend them, presumably in comparison to other birds that dote on their chicks. And what accounts for these aspects of the ostrich ? God himself proclaims that He did not endow the ostrich with understanding.   We could say that God didn’t endow the ostrich with the same parental characteristics as some other birds. Lastly, we see that, though not endowed with wisdom, when the ostrich lifts itself up to run it can put the horse and its rider to shame.

While many of these characteristics appear unflattering or sub-optimal to our sense of perfection, God says here in Job 39 that he made them this way. 

A Modern Natural History of the Ostrich.

Before exploring the implications of this text further, let us consider the contemporary ostrich and see how it compares to the descriptions of the ostrich in Job.   

The ostrich is the largest living bird weighing up to 300 pounds and standing more than six  feet high. Contemporary ostriches are native to Africa. All living ostriches are considered to be members of a single species, Struthio camelus, though there is considerable variation among populations and there are more than ten extinct species described from Africa and Asia.  They are a flightless bird and are morphologically (ie. physical features internal and external) and genetically most similar to other flightless birds such as the emu, kiwi, and extinct moa from New Zealand, some of which were much larger than the ostrich.  The ostrich has “wings” that are too small to allow flight yet they have one of the largest wingspans (over two meters) of all birds. The ostrich lacks a bone where some of the flight muscles would be attached and its large feathers lack the intricate lateral hooking system found in birds that can fly.   Though unable to fly, their large size and powerful legs enable them to run at over forty miles per hour for extended periods of time (the cheetah can only attain these speeds for a few seconds) to escape predators. They do use their wings to cover their featherless legs for warmth on cold nights and for courtship displays. They also have two claws at the tips of the wings, which may be for defensive purposes.  They live in desert regions where they are well adapted to hot and dry conditions.

An ostrich nest with eggs. here we see a group of eggs in the center of the nest which are the primary eggs that will be incubated in the evenings usually by the male. The eggs pushed off to the sides are the result of the dominant females pushing aside eggs laid by other females. These eggs will never hatch and will be scavenged.

An ostrich nest with eggs. here we see a group of eggs in the center of the nest which are the primary eggs that will be incubated in the evenings usually by the male. The eggs pushed off to the sides are the result of the dominant female pushing aside eggs laid by other females. These eggs will never hatch and will eventually be scavenged. Image source:   https://www.flickr.com/photos/davidbygott/4435592824

Female ostriches will lay eggs in a dirt nest that has been prepared by the male ostrich.  Multiple females will use the same nest but typically the last female to lay eggs is the dominant female and she will roll and kick many or all of the previously-laid eggs out of the nest (see picture).  This has the effect of insuring that only the dominant females genes will be passed down to the next generation. The female and male will periodically take turns incubating the primary eggs with no attention paid to the surrounding eggs. Among the eggs that are incubated, many are lost or broken in the dirt nest.  Even after hatching, it is the male ostrich that will take care of the young of which only 15% typically will survive to reproductive age with the others becoming prey to a number of predators. Despite these difficult survival odds , ostriches are long-lived birds allowing them 20-40 years to attempt to produce offspring.  Therefore even if only 15% of offspring reach maturity, dominant ostriches may have many offspring that survive to the next generation.

One last relevant behavioral trait we observe in ostriches today is that when ostriches with chicks encounter other ostriches with chicks there is often competition for the young with the loser giving up their chicks to the victor.

A Few Initial Observations.

If we compare the modern ostrich to the Biblical descriptions, we find that the Job contains a remarkably accurate description of modern-day ostriches.   The author of Job (who is reporting the dialogue of God to Job) correctly identifies the ostrich as a bird despite its flightless nature and accurately describes  the maternal behavior of the modern ostrich, with respect to not taking good care of both eggs and chicks.(2) The female is not invested in the parenting of offspring and considering the rates at which eggs and chicks are lost or given up. Given these observations, it is understandable why it might appear that ostrich parents don’t seem to care.

All together, many people, like Job, his friends and us today, might expect God to have created a bird that doesn’t display such seeming wasteful and even cruel behavior.  Thus, the ostrich’s behavior may, to man, represent a creation paradox. However, God does not suggest that there is anything in the least wrong with the ostrich. Quite the opposite, He draws our attention to these characteristics and says that He is the one that has withheld understanding from the ostrich. He is taking full responsibility for the observed behavior of these birds.  We will explore the implications of this in the context of the “good” creation of Genesis 1 in Part II of this series on the ostrich.

One final observation: the origin of the book of Job is unknown.  Many modern scholars believe it to be only as old as the 6th century BC but the dominant view in historical Christianity is that the events recorded in Job occurred at the time of the patriarchs or, possibly, as late as the time of the Solomon and thus included with the wisdom literature of his age.  Pertinent to our discussion in Part II, most literal six-day creationists, as exemplified by Ken Ham and his apologetics ministry Answers in Genesis, take the position that Job is an ancient text because they believe that it records life very soon after Noah’s catastrophic global Flood.  They believe there was a single Biblical Ice Age which coincided with the time when the nations were dispersing from Babel and may have lived in caves due to the harsh climate. Furthermore, young earth creationists believe this was a time when the animals that had been preserved on Noah’s Ark were rapidly speciating into thousands of diverse animal types from a “common ancestor” pair that had been on the Ark.  We will discuss the merit of these views in light of what God tells us about His creation in Job, beginning in Part II.

For now, marvel at the wondrous ostrich that God hath made.


  1. Authorship and genre of Job – In the post above I have assumed a common view of inspiration held by young earth creationists which take Job to have been written by a human author who recounts a series of historical events. These events and dialogue include those that a human author could not have witnessed but it is assumed that God provided the information for the actions that occurred “behind-the-scenes” either through a vision or some form of dictation. Within this construct of inspiration, the words of God in Job 39 are the recorded words of God spoken directly to us about the ostrich. A different view of Job’s authorship, that could still be considered an orthodox view of the doctrine of inspiration, says that the author of Job was a poet who, pondering the problem of suffering and God’s sovereignty, uses the life of Job, a historical person, though the words spoken by Job, his friends and God are not not necessarily the words spoken verbatim by the participants. Likewise, all of the scenes (e.g. Satan appearing before the angels and God) need not be considered literal accounts but poetic devices. In this case, the words of God are what the inspired author accurately understands what God’s response would be to the state of Job and his friends. Of course, there are more liberal approaches that would take the whole book as the imagination of a non-inspired poet who is trying to understand why God would allow suffering. In this case, there is no historical basis for Job and it merely represents a story with a moral lesson. Regardless of whether the text of Job 39 records for us the actual spoken words of God or the inspired imagination of man regarding what God would say “behind the scenes,” what we learn about the ostrich allows us some insight into what the biblical authors and the audience believed about creation thousands of years ago.
  2. Ecological and evolutionary theory provides a rationale for the discarded eggs. The dominant female is usually the last one to lay eggs in the communal nest. She pushes aside the eggs of the “less” ostriches assuring that her better fit genes will be represented in the next generation.

Editing provided by MC
This article is revised version of one first published in 2013

Comments

  1. I am shocked by your reference to “the events recorded in Job”. I always assumed it was intended from the beginning as a parable, to provide a framework on which to hang a discussion of the problem of evil and the nature of faith, no more a record of historical events than the parable of the talents.

    If we take it literally, we have Satan is a real person, God holding conferences with Satan at specific times, and God giving Satan power to intervene on Earth according to his (Satan’s) discretion, as long as Job’s life is spared; all of it in order to allow God to prove a point. Even Dawkins and Hitchens could hardly imagine a more reprehensible deity.

    And are we really meant to take seriously the Land of Uz, roaming bands of Chaldeans and Sabaeans, and the tribal provenances of Job’s three friends?

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    • Ah, see my footnote about authorship. I find myself attracted to the second perspective. The series will assume the perspective of the typical YEC because we will mostly be critiquing the YEC understanding of creation.

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      • I know what it is to see the Bible as divinely inspired, even if I have long since ceased to do so. And, reverting to that perspective, I just don’t see why anyone, even a YEC, should see the person of Job as historical, any more than the Good Samaritan is to be taken as historical.

        I’m Jewish. Could that account for our difference in perspective? We used to read Jonah on the Day of Atonement as a plea to have our own repentance accepted, and anyone who started anatomising the possibilities of survival inside a big fish would have been seen as missing the entire point.

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    • Paul, why are you “shocked” that someone might interpret the bible differently from you? Is there no room in your reasoning for different or opposing viewpoints. I can see you disagreeing, but shocked? A little inkling of the genetic fallacy in your statement?

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      • Genetic fallacy, Chuck? Quite literally, the reverse. I was not saying that the view of Job as historical is absurd because it comes from biblical literalists, but that I was shocked to discover (I had really been unaware of the fact) that there are biblical literalists so committed that even in so clear an instance of parable-making, they see historical truth. Exactly as if they thought the Good Samaritan parable was describing a historical incident.

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        • thehonestskepticatgmaildotcom says:

          Hi Paul. I was curious after reading your comments if you believe that God exists or not. If so, I was wondering why you believe so. Thanks, Mike

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          • At one time I did believe in God. Now I don’t. But there is nothing that I said in my remarks, that I would not have said (and thought worth saying) while a believer

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            • thehonestskepticatgmaildotcom says:

              Thanks for your openness. I think that it is a shame that you no longer believe. There are so many good reasons, apart from the scriptures, to do so now. If you don’t mind me asking (and it is okay if you don’t want to answer), what draws you to a site dedicated to the intersection between science and faith? I note that you are a regular participant in the dialog. Mike

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              • A very reasonable question. I am greatly interested in evolution education, and, more generally, in seeing people accept scientific reality. Creationists are opposed to this, and claim ownership of faith. This seems to me dishonest (I know ofc that mirror-image dishonesty comes all too often from the other direction as well). I therefore seek allies among believers in thwarting the creationist agenda from the inside.

                On reflection, I must also admit to a special feeling of annoyance with biblical literalists for reducing the multialyered material that I have studied and appreciated to a cardboard cutout.

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                • Again, the genetic fallacy. I’m always amazed at the second, third, fourth, etc. hand stories of what has led people to disbelieve. I suspect few if any are true. Someone else’s viewpoints are not going to discourage me from searching and appreciating things, or beliefs. I wish i could meet some of these “cardboard makers” so i could understand what you mean. Again Paul, caricatures are cheap tools in explanations. No one else’s viewpoints have ever stopped me from appreciating the “multi-layered” truths and beauty of scripture, nor have i ever met a creationist who is a simpleton or ignorant, Sure, there may be some, but may i suggest you hang out with better company. To simply state that creationist are against “scientific reality” is nothing more than another genetic fallacy, with no proof offered, except, we might assume, that they would disagree with your perspective. Hardly a basis for labeling others as ignorant or stupid, unless you presume your thought processes and conclusions are superior compared to those who disagree with you. I am a creationist who has always loved science, and continue to read widely in almost all fields, whether or not i agree with all the conclusions different scientists come to. I am not an anomaly. Give it a try Paul. Try to reference your “opponents” with accurate, real descriptions and not just vacuous, childish insults. You refusal to do so will only “cheapen” and weaken your veracity. Try paying some respect to someone other than yourself. You know, i get a feeling of annoyance with arrogant and close-minded people.

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            • Nonetheless, a full explanation of where one’s viewpoints come from is helpful. It can explain certain presumptions and assumptions held by you, which will explain somewhat the paradigm you operate from, in this instance, your interpretation of scripture. I do find it sad, a bit, when i read of people who used to believe in God, but now don’t. What does that change? If there is a God, it certainly doesn’t affect His existence, it only states your change of mind. It doesn’t explain how He operates, or why things happen the way they do, it only shows you have changed your way of thinking. I imagine there is some emotional reason for such a change. In every person i have encountered that has expressed what you have, there is always, always, an emotional component. Feelings about evil in the world, loss of a loved one, etc. My feelings don’t play a role in my belief in God. I have feelings, but i realize my understanding of the world, and life, is quite limited, and regardless of how i feel, my knowledge of what goes on “behind the scenes”, is at best very restricted, and at worst, non-existent. Either way, i am aware that my feelings can be quite fickle, changing with the wind. They are an unreliable method of determining the reality of things. Plus they are egocentric. Myopic. I chose to trust another, higher, source. Whether that source is real or not, it helps me have a more open perspective in my approach. If God is real, it increases my chances of garnering an understanding not totally reliant on my thoughts, feelings, and limited knowledge.

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        • Perhaps, Paul, they see historical truth because, as far as anyone actually knows, it could be historical, even with the use of poetic prose or whether or not it is a parable. And not only “literalists” see this possibility. Again, the genetic fallacy, quite correctly, whether you see it or not, surmised. Attack the character, intelligence, gullibility, etc. etc. of the proponent of a viewpoint you don’t agree with in the hopes of lessening the possibility of anyone taking said viewpoint seriously. If you don’t agree that any of it is historical,give valid reasons why, and not just that you are “shocked” by those who believe so.

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          • Chuck, life is short, so I will simply say this: I have stated my reasons for not thinking it historical. Vulnerability to Chaldaean and Sabaean marauders at the same time (when and where?). An unlikely concatenation of tribes. God allowing Satan to torment Job, just in order to make a point. An unidentified narrator. Indeed, I do not see what more the author (or, if you prefer, Author) could have done to show us that it is not historical. I would be committing the generic fallacy if I said I thought Job was parable because YECs think it history. What I said (and say now for the last time) is the very opposte. I think it so clear that Job is parable that I am shocked to learn that some think it history. Much as I assume you would be to learn of people who thought that the parable of the Good Samaritan was a report of an actual incident. Not just credulity, but missing the whole point. The letter killeth.

            One argument I used was not as good as I thought, and I retract it. I thought “Land of Uz” was a one-off; in fact, Jeremiah uses the term to refer to Edom.

            I’ll leave it there

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            • Thanks for your reply. As for your reasons, as strong as you think they are, i do not find them convincing. I hope i have made clear that i accept the possibility that not EVERY word of the book of Job is referring to an historical event. This does not, however, eliminate the possibility of some or even most of it being historical. Certainly the author would have been, in that socio-historical contest, better aware of the peoples and places he mentions than You, 2500-3000 years later, are now. And again, the genetic fallacy (you just can’t seem to avoid using this technique), except now applied to the Good Samaritan story. You don’t disprove an interpretation by simply being “shocked” by it. Maybe the GS story is all made up. Perhaps there is some history to it (most historians would allow for at least a kernel of truth even in mythology). For anyone to just blatantly say, thousands of years after an event supposedly took place, that they have a better grasp of whether a story has any historical basis to it isn’t scholarship, it is arrogance. You certainly have made clear, in your statements, that you and i don’t have the same perspective on the nature of scripture. So of course, we won’t agree on much, if anything. I’m not arguing the details, i’m arguing against pretend rebuttals and arrogant perspectives.

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              • thehonestskepticatgmaildotcom says:

                Chuck: Do you believe that Matthew 7 is historical? Lots of good material there… This discussion about ostriches, and whether or not they have changed over time, has devolved into an unpleasant, conversation, for no good reason. People are welcome to their opinions and they will vary. The hammer you are using is too big for the job. Soft hands and a kind word will make a better point.

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                • charles carter says:

                  As to Matthew 7, yes. I see the point you are making, but is doesn’t apply. I am not judging anyone but i am applying the biblical imperative to “judge all things” and “test every spirit”. Criticizing someone’s interpretive methods is NOT the same as judging THEM. In this age of victims, your argument is seen frequently, apparently as an attempt to stifle all criticism. This is expected in a relativistic world. Scripture is not of “private interpretation”. It was written in a certain time, with language, and in socio-historical context. All of these must be incorporated in accurate interpretation. Plus the worldview or paradigm of the interpreter must be considered. I’ve got no problem with people having views that contrast with mine, but if they are opposite, one or both of us is wrong. As i posted earlier, Job was not written about speciation or evolutionary trees. So to read any of this OUT of Job is most likely practicing eisegesis. Nonetheless, feel free. Just don’t expect me to buy into it.

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                  • thehonestskepticatgmaildotcom says:

                    Clearly you cannot see how you are acting, but maybe you could ask someone you trust to read your words and then ask them whether or not they think that you are being Christ-like. Arguing “pretend rebuttals”, “arrogant perspectives”, and calling others “arrogant and closed-minded” is completely unnecessary. I don’t know how you can say that you are not judging anyone… You could have the same conversation minus the name calling and attitude, and people might actually enjoy interacting with you. Speak the truth in love.

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                    • charles carter says:

                      again, you don’t understand. If someone has an arrogant attitude, i’m not sure identifying it as such is some form of condemnation. Yes, if you, I, or anyone thinks they have complete knowledge of something that happened 2500 years ago, while certainly misinformed, we are also arrogant thinking ourselves more knowledgeable than we possibly could be. I’m not sure why you don’t see the statement “I’m shocked that you believe such and such” is a form of bullying. While Christ could certainly be compassionate, He also could use such phrases as “sons of vipers” and “white-washed tombs”, hardly “kind” and gentle phrases, when needed. I haven’t remotely approached that level. I simple identify what i read.

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          • thehonestskepticatgmaildotcom says:

            Paul: Amen, life is short. I don’t share your conclusions but I like your style. Honestly, if the scriptures are not divinely inspired, I personally don’t see any reason to waste time defending a position or even having one. It would be like spending valuable minutes of life arguing over Roman or Greek mythology. Ugh… who cares what Zeus said or did? I wonder if there is not more of a spark or connection to these words than you either admit or are aware? Thanks again for sharing! Mike

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            • Briefly: I don’t think Hamlet is either historical or divinely inspired (indeed how could I?) but think it worth discussing the interpretation. Likewise for Plato’s dialogues, both for their content, and for their influence. Much the same for Job

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              • Unfortunately, your use of Hamlet weakens your point. YOU may view Job as similar to Hamlet, but no person believing in the inspiration of the bible would. Again, Job may not be completely historical, but i doubt many, if any, biblical scholars would identify it as similar to Hamlet. You’re comparing writings spaced by 2,000 plus years from two very different cultures, without consideration of their genres.

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            • Good points, and ones i have made many times as i read the back and forth arguments involving people with very different, even opposite, paradigms, here specifically, about scripture and it’s nature.

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  2. Even within the strongly inerrantist tradition, there are plenty who view Job as a parable, not a historical event. It would be much like any of Christ’s parables. Or the various ones told by the Prophets. Thus, the “words of God” are still an example of God speaking, but within the confines of a parable poem, not an historical event. Although I am no longer really in the inerrantist camp, belief that this is a parable seems plausible even within that tradition. It is the need to take everything as literally as possible (as do the YEC sorts) that necessitates Job being an historical figure.

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  3. Just a quick note to correct a viewpoint that i’m tempted to believe is offered facetiously. YEC (or others) who believe taking a literal approach as the best option do not believe this means taking “everything in the bible as literal as possibly”. I’m not saying there aren’t any who believe this (every camp has it’s fringe inhabitants), but this is NOT the normal average evangelical approach. Most evangelical scholars and believers take a more rational view. Words and passages in the bible should be taken literally when obviously literal (for example, a quote). Otherwise, the context, genre, and overall teaching of scripture must also be taken into account. This recognizes poetry, prose, parables, etc. as viable hermeneutical tools to be used in the interpretation of scripture. To posit a caricature instead of an actual accurate description is cheap reasoning used in debates.

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    • Chuck, I’ll grant that the normal evangelical approach is a more rational approach to each passage. But this would not describe the average YEC apologist and practitioner. Yes, they recognize that a wooden literal view of every word is wrong but they do take a literal approach in many places that most evangelicals would not. The context of my article is the book of Job. I don’t know any YEC leaders that don’t think that Job records a specific historical set of events. Am I wrong that most believe that Bohemoth refers to something like a dinosaur? Some think that Job describes a literal fire-breathing dragon. Wouldn’t you agree that most would say that the words of Job 39 are the words spoken by God to Job? Yes, YECs talk about needing to understand context, genre etc.. but they don’t seem to apply hermaneutic tools in a consistent manner. BTW, the point of this post and the next two parts is that the author, whether they are reporting God’s actual words or are representing what they think God would say to Job, is describing species that existed when the book was written. Those descriptions line up very well with modern species. The author provides no indication that these animals were changed due to man’s sin. Nor do we see any evidence from Job that species were rapidly changing as AiG and others are now claiming happened right after the Flood.

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      • As to the exact percentage of evangelicals, or even yec believers,that take a wooden literal approach i honestly can’t say. Might should take a poll. Though i am a creationist, i feel no need to defend other people’s approaches to interpretation. I can say with confidence that the typical evangelical hermeneutical is one that is well thought out, rational, and consistent. As i think you know, there are a vast number (when one considers small nuances) of approaches to interpretation if one considers every different perspective held by various christian schools of thought and their methods used. This doesn’t bother me. I don’t consider myself superior to others or the owner of THE truth concerning all matters. I know i am fallible, not all-knowing, and my mind is often darkened by sin.
        Yes, i do believe some YEC (and not just them) see Behemoth as “possibly” a referenced dinosaur. Although i am yec, this is not my perspective, and every yec i have known would be content to see that conclusion as just a possibility, and would be open to it being an identification of another known animal, even an extinct one.. As for “getting evidence from Job” to verify your viewpoint, Job was not written to confirm or deny your or my explanations of speciation, so you and i can search in vain if it suits us. It is not a scientific treatise, and the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. I understand your article, and while you may take on AIG concerning these matters, Job was not written to, and thus cannot verify, your thesis. It does not speak on matters of evolutionary trees, and is useless for said purpose. You may fill in what it does not speak to, though I think seeing this as support for your viewpoint is quite tenuous. Nonetheless, always enjoy your articles, and as you may have noticed, rarely debate details ( am i really going to change the mind of someone wholeheartedly committed to a certain paradigm with a few words ) but do take on attitudes.

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  4. Since fire-breathing dragons are mentioned (Job 41), I can hope to see if there is discussion of a better MAIN MESSAGE of Job. Not just: Everything Works Out, but better: You Don’t Answer Satan’s Dragon Breath On Your Own. Last verse, chapter 41: He is king of the proud. Pride in Eden was the first sin (putting one’s own judgment above God’s). Satan in Revelation is “accuser of the saints,” as Satan also comes to accuse Job before God. The words of his friends are a “torment” – as they are mouthpieces for Satan’s accusations. So Leviathan can start out as a Nile croc hauled out on the beach near Mt. Carmel – but then, with no signal given in the text, I see God reminding Job that he totally failed, trying to figure out what was happening to him, trying to answer the dragon breath.

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    • Gerhold, i get your references to Satan, though am a bit boggled by the dragon’s breath reference. You are right though in getting the main thrust of the book of Job, and the author does give us a “backdoor” peek at the goings on in the divine counsel. Yes, Satan (ha shattan) is the accuser, and the book is about his actions and their desired effects on the righteous. It pits the omniscience of God against the “ravings” of Job’s sincere yet ill-informed friends. They believed in retributive theology, do good and good will happen, do bad and evil will happen, without exception. Job shows us this is not always true. Job’s eventual descent into questioning the “fairness” of God is one most of humanity should relate to, believer or not. And God does not answer Job’s questions, but puts on a display of His sovereignty and the requirement of trust from those who proclaim a belief in Him. There is so much more of a theological nature in this book, but those who try to glean science from it are barking up the wrong tree, no matter their camp.

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  5. I had no idea that ostriches have wing claws!! I knew about those in screamers and young hoatzins, but I am absolutely delighted to learn that most (all?) flightless paleognaths have wing claws! So cool! Now I wonder if these are retained ancestral traits or atavisms. I didn’t notice anything about this when learning about the earliest flying paleognaths, but now I’m curious if those studying them knew to even look for osteological evidence of these. So cool!

    Also, really interesting to learn about the odd behaviors of the dominant females. Why on earth would they take another female’s chicks?

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  6. The anthropological data of Genesis confirms the historicity of the person Job. He was of the clan of Uz. Uz was a son of Dishan, a son of the Horite Hebrew ruler Seir (Genesis 36). In 1 Chronicles 1:38-43 we find additional information about the Horite Hebrew of Edom. This passage is explicit about the antiquity of the Edomite rulers: “Now these are the kings who reigned in the land of Edom before any king of the sons of Israel reigned.”

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    • charles carter says:

      well done

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    • I retracted my earlier claim that Uz is not a real placename. It was clearly a name for Edom.

      But that does not make Job real, nor does it give him a genealogy. We are told that Hamlet lived in Denmark; that does not mean that he was, or that Shakespeare wanted us to think he was, a historical character.

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      • you confuse me. you state Uz wasn’t real, then retract. I assume you are saying you are wrong. Then why is Job not a real person, when his name is surrounding in this passage with real place names and real persons? And what does Hamlet have to do with anything. Context, language, socio-historical situation, and genre unrelated? Not a good analogy.

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  7. An excellent article and I look forward to the series. I share this with my Facebook group.

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  1. […] via Consider the Ostrich: Job 39 and God’s Commentary on His Creation […]

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