Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Praise the Lord, ye Dragons!

Psalm 148:7: "Praise the Lord from the earth, ye dragons, and all ye deeps"

National Geographic had an article about sea monsters. There is a fossil record to show that they did exist, as National Geographic rightly says, but then they pervert the issue by using a vastly inaccurate time line (i.e. millions of years, of which there is no such thing) and invoking evolution, which is also false. They also point out that many of the ancient drawings of sea monsters almost exactly fit the fossil record.  What about dragons, which are also contained in the writings of antiquity from all the ends of the earth?

Dragons in the Bible?

The prophets, who spoke by the Holy Ghost, have many times mentioned dragons.

Isaias, whose prophecies strikingly foreshadowed Christ's crucifixion about 700 years before the fact, mentions dragons four times.  Jeremias mentions them seven times; Micheas and Malachias once each.  The books of Deuteronomy, Esther and Psalms all mention dragons.  Daniel killed a dragon.

God specifically describes a creature that breathes fire.

The Bible leaves very little room for a hyperbole or metaphor interpretation. A creature called Leviathan (which must be the name given to this creature by Adam - see Genesis 2:20), is described by God to the holy Job.  The following is part of this description in the book of Job, wherein God describes the magnificence of His Creation:

Job 41:10-12: "His sneezing is like the shining of fire... Out of his mouth go forth lamps, like torches of lighted fire.  Out of his nostrils goeth smoke, like that of a pot heated and boiling. His breath kindleth coals, and a flame cometh forth out of his mouth."

While it is true that not every book of Scripture is intended as a literal descriptive account, there is nothing in the book of Job to suggest that it is anything but this.  The book is an empirical recounting of the creation.  Thus we should conclude that there are (or at least were) indeed creatures created by God which were capable of breathing fire.

Is this so hard to believe?  We know that biological organisms can produce various flammable substances, whether gasses such as hydrogen and methane, or liquids (oils, alcohol) or solids (fats).  That's not too much of a problem in terms of possibility. We also know, thanks to the bombadier beetle, that it's possible to have an organic ignition system.

Bombardier Beetle
 It's not beyond the realm of possibility that a creature known as a dinosaur, (a term invented by nineteenth century English biologist Richard Owen, and which means "terrible lizard" in Latin) or some other unknown creature had glands that produced a volatile liquid and other glands that would produce chemicals to ignite it at will. It would require a lot of energy to produce these substances, but it's certainly possible.

If dragons were real then they could have just been another kind of dinosaur.  There is  paleontological evidence that a skull arrangement could have accommodated fire breathing.  For example, the hadrosaurs’ nasal cavities could easily have connected to chemical reserves in the hollow, horny crest.  Many other dinosaurs had similar cavities in their skulls which could accommodate such chemical reserves.

Hadrosaur Skull

Parasaurolophus Skull
Such reserves did not necessarily need to be in the skull either.  Considering the size of some of these animals, it is indeed quite possible that such glands may have been elsewhere within the creatures' bodies.

Stories about Catholic Saints mention dragons and similar creatures

Most are aware of the story of St. George and his slaying of a dragon.  But fewer, perhaps, are aware of other encounters between saints and creatures believed by the secular world to be either impossible or extinct.

Wikipedia, on St. Columba (7 December 521 – 9 June 597 AD): "The vita of Columba contains a story that has been interpreted as the first reference to the Loch Ness Monster. According to Adomnán, Columba came across a group of Picts who were burying a "wretched fellow" who had been killed by the monster, and saved a swimmer with the sign of the Cross and the imprecation "You will go no further," at which the beast fled terrified, to the amazement of the assembled Picts who glorified Columba's God. Whether or not this incident is true, Adomnan's text specifically states that the monster was swimming in the River Ness - the river flowing from the loch - rather than in Loch Ness itself."

Scripture uses real animals to figure the devil

Genesis 3:13: "And the Lord God said to the woman: Why hast thou done this? And she answered: The serpent deceived me, and I did eat."

1st St. Peter 5:8: "Be sober and watch: because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, goeth about seeking whom he may devour."

Nobody disputes the existence of either serpents or lions.

Apocalypse 20:2: "And he laid hold on the dragon the old serpent, which is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years."

Why then, should we assume that God has broken from His consistent manner of speaking, whereby He uses the creatures of this world as figures of spiritual things?

Scripture mentions other "impossible" creatures alongside real animals

Psalm 90:13: "Thou shalt walk upon the asp and the basilisk: and thou shalt trample under foot the lion and the dragon."

Do we accuse God Himself of inconsistency, intermixing mythological creatures and real creatures in the same inspired saying of the Prophet?

Psalm 91:11: "But my horn shall be exalted like that of the unicorn: and my old age in plentiful mercy."

What should we believe?

Dragons were used as a figure in many prophecies and visions in the Scriptures.  We should believe what the evidence proposes as being true and in the light of evidence from the modern disciplines of biology and paleontology, denying the (at least previous) existence of dragons, as they have been described in the Bible and in the "legends" of every nation would be on the same level as denying the existence of magic and wizards, which are also specifically mentioned (and condemned) in the Bible, and which also are a recognized reality in Catholic tradition and are mentioned by Catholics saints.  Although it has never been considered heresy (to my knowledge) to not believe in the existence of dragons, I, for one, am not about to make such a denial.

As to the question: "Where are they now?"

1) It is commonly accepted scientific theory that the farther back in history we go, the greater oxygen concentration and atmospheric pressure we find in earth's atmosphere.  It is also commonly accepted that reptiles do not cease growing during their lifetimes and that the conditions just mentioned would be conducive to increased life spans (and sizes) of reptiles, not to mention that most creatures would have been longer lived under such conditions.  It is plausible that after the severe climate change that occurred as a result of God's chastisement of man through the worldwide flood, the constitution of the atmosphere would have changed dramatically, thus decreasing the favourability of the environment, and precipitating a harsher climate unfavourable to such large animals.  This would account for much of the evidence we see in the fossil record.  For more information on this, please listen to the audio in this article: Evolution vs Creation Science Audios

2) In addition, dragons probably experienced the same fate now threatening the apex predators of the seas and oceans.  Shark species are now facing a real threat of extinction on account of the greed of man and his overfishing, often slaughtering the animals to obtain nothing other than their fins for shark fin soup.  If there is one lesson that history teaches us again and again it is that the generality of men easily succumb to the evils of fallen human nature.

Please also read:
Dinosaurs, Humans and a Young Earth

What Must You Do To Get to Heaven?

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