The long-awaited Dragon post. Well, the beginning of 4 – I meant to write something short-ish, but had an extensive amount of resources, scripture, and words to say, so in the end it was 10 pages – not one blog post… this series will probably be finished with a fifth post, refuting final opposition… Please bring up any objections you have along the way!
Some parts of this aren’t as polished as I would like, and other parts too polished.
This first part is the simplest and shortest, just a presentation of facts, to get us all on the same page.
Disclaimer: I know this can be a controversial issue, and one that I have a different opinion on than most people. I ask that you read this with a mind to learn and be shaped by the sufficiency of scripture, rather than refute everything and be proven right for your own sake. I know that I may have made mistakes; I ask that if I have, you point them out graciously. If you wish to argue, please do so with humility, and support your argument with scripture. If my theology is right, and having searched scripture, I believe it is, then if something makes you uncomfortable, search scripture to make sure I am right, and then search your heart. There is nothing wrong with the Infallible Word of God, but there is much wrong in our hearts. I refer to a lot of scripture here, so have your Bible out. Most of it I quote in the ESV, but some of the shorter passages I mention and do not quote here.
I will not get into issues of ‘good magic’ in the following posts, as I think that is a much clearer issue, and Mr. Phillips has already done a brilliant job of examining that in his article, “Harry Potter and the Lavender Brigade.”
“…as the watchman went round the walls of Selene, he felt upon the air a most poisonous vapor that came from without the walls. And even as he wondered, the fumes of the poison became too much for him, and he fell over, and in a little time expired.
Now he had not long been lying there when a knight passed that way, and he had gone but a short distance beyond the spot where the body of the watchman lay, when he felt upon the air an odor most subtle and unpleasant. And it seemed to him that it came from without the city walls, where lay bogs and marshes and damp grounds. But even as the thought passed through his brain, the poisonous fumes became too much for him, and he, too, fell to the ground.
And in the morning another watchman, making his round, found his fellow dead beside the city wall, and, a little distance from him, the dead knight. And upon the air was a faint odor that was unpleasant to the nostrils.
Then the watchman scaled the wall, and, having glanced over, he perceived a huge beast which crawled away from the city and toward the marshes. As it crawled it flapped two great black wings, and from its nostrils belched out a black flame which contained those poisonous fumes of which the watchman felt the trace. Its body was covered with scales, so strong and smooth that they were like a knight’s armor; and in shape it was half crawling beast, half loathsome bird. As the watchman observed it, the dragon crawled into the farther part of the marshes, and lay still…”
Dragons in Cultures and the Bible
The above excerpt is taken from the famous tale, “St. George and the Dragon,” probably one of the most famous stories about dragons. However, unlike some would say, dragons are not simply misinterpretations of dinosaurs. O’Brien writes, “Some modern mythologists… attempt to explain dragons as an inheritance from the age of dinosaurs, a kind of fossil-memory lingering on in the subconscious. But this theory does not explain why the image of the dragon is so universal when, say, that of the mastodon is not.” Dragons appear in many cultures, which I find highly interesting – how did all of these cultures come up with fire-breathing, scaly monsters? (I think it’s because dragons aren’t made up but were real beasts before the flood, and, like dinosaurs, died out afterwards. They may have died out before, however, I don’t know. I think it may also be because Satan is sometimes described as a dragon – more on that later – and he propagates his lies all over). Whatever the cause, Dragons appear in many cultures.
“In Egyptian religion, Apophis was the great serpent
of the realm of darkness, vanquished by the sun god
Ra. In Chaldea the goddess Tiamat, symbol of primeval
chaos, took the form of a dragon. A close relation exists
especially between dragon myths and the mother goddess
cults, which explains in part the persistence of human
sacrifice in such religions. The dragon god devours human
blood and is placated, which is the diabolical reverse image
of Christ’s sacrifice… In some Asian cultures, dragons
are considered good luck…”
To the Medievals and earlier civilizations, dragons were bad, but in other cultures, they are good luck. Why the difference? In earlier cultures, they may have even seen dragons, living and breathing. They may have died out before the flood, I don’t know. But I don’t think anyone who saw a dragon would call it good and associate it with good luck. To be honest, I don’t know really know why there was a difference, only that there was.
These cultures differed on many aspects of ‘dragon,’ but the place that I find the best description of our modern idea of ‘dragon’ comes from Job 41:12ff, when God tells Job of the Leviathan:
“I will not keep silence concerning his limbs,
or his mighty strength, or his goodly frame.
Who can strip off his outer garment?
Who would come near him with a bridle?
Who can open the doors of his face?
Around his teeth is terror.
His back is made of rows of shields,
shut up closely as with a seal.
One is so near to another
that no air can come between them.
They are joined one to another;
they clasp each other and cannot be separated.
His sneezings flash forth light,
and his eyes are like the eyelids of the dawn.
Out of his mouth go flaming torches;
sparks of fire leap forth.
Out of his nostrils comes forth smoke,
as from a boiling pot and burning rushes.
His breath kindles coals,
and a flame comes forth from his mouth.
In his neck abides strength,
and terror dances before him.
The folds of his flesh stick together,
firmly cast on him and immovable.
His heart is hard as a stone,
hard as the lower millstone.
When he raises himself up the mighty are afraid;
at the crashing they are beside themselves.
Though the sword reaches him, it does not avail,
nor the spear, the dart, or the javelin.
He counts iron as straw,
and bronze as rotten wood.
The arrow cannot make him flee;
for him sling stones are turned to stubble.
Clubs are counted as stubble;
he laughs at the rattle of javelins.
His underparts are like sharp potsherds;
he spreads himself like a threshing sledge on the mire.
He makes the deep boil like a pot;
he makes the sea like a pot of ointment.
Behind him he leaves a shining wake;
one would think the deep to be white-haired.
On earth there is not his like,
a creature without fear.
He sees everything that is high;
he is king over all the sons of pride.”
That sounds like a dragon to me. Closer to a dinosaur would be the Behemoth (Job 40:15-18). Of course, we won’t know for sure until we get to heaven, but I read about the Leviathan and see our modern-day image of a dragon, and read about Behemoth and think of how we portray, say, the Loch Ness Monster. It’s possible they’re both dinosaurs. We don’t know if dinosaurs breathed fire or what their skin was like and exactly what they ate and so on and so forth. We can’t really know, and it’s not really important. But we do know that there is a difference between Leviathan and Behemoth, and in our modern descriptions of dragons and dinosaurs, they seem to be those, respectively.
While either conclusion is possible, I would argue that although the dragon could be a dinosaur, I don’t believe that it was simply a dinosaur, in our modern usage of the word.
 St. George and the Dragon, http://www.kellscraft.com/stgeorge.html
 Michael D. O’Brien, A Landscape with Dragons. Ignatius, 1998. Page 31
 Ibid. Page 30-31
Up next: Biblical Dragons – Good or Bad?