#743 – Biblical Monsters

godzilla-large-poster

A trailer for the new Godzilla movie debuted yesterday, which you can see below.

Godzilla is one of the world’s most enduring monsters. He made his debut in the 1954 Japanese film Godzilla, as a cautionary tale about the consequences of nuclear weapons. Since then he has battled giant robots, other monsters, and aliens. He has stood the test of time, even surviving 1998’s terrible American Godzilla.

Godzilla will attempt to destroy his way into the hearts of American audiences again next May. Until then, though, here are some biblical monsters that might be able to go toe-to-toe with the King of The Monsters.

Leviathan

In that day,
the Lord will punish with his sword—
his fierce, great and powerful sword—
Leviathan the gliding serpent,
Leviathan the coiling serpent;
he will slay the monster of the sea. – Isaiah 27:1

Leviathan is the Bible’s most well-known sea monster. People have suggested that Leviathan is a distant relative of the Loch Ness Monster or a holdover from the Triassic Period. Others also like to use references to large reptilian monsters as evidence for the Young Earth Theory. I believe in an old earth and don’t think references to Leviathan or any other monsters are proof that biblical humans walked with dinosaurs. Still, I do wonder to what Isaiah was referring. Perhaps Israel had stories about great sea monsters as well, fearing the unknown depths of the oceans. As Sequest DSV taught us, the ocean really is the final frontier. Take that, Kirk!

Behemoth

Look at Behemoth,
which I made along with you
and which feeds on grass like an ox. – Job 40:15

I actually used this passage in one of the first sermons I preached at my church. In my research I found that most scholars believe Behemoth is a reference to a hippopotamus. Hippos are big and they are mean, but I don’t think they’d be able to take on Godzilla. If the guy on the Jungle Cruise at Disneyland can scare away some hippos with a rifle, I don’t think Godzilla would have a problem with his massive size and radiation breath.

Revelation Beasts

The dragon stood on the shore of the sea. And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. It had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on its horns, and on each head a blasphemous name. – Revelation 13:1

Then I saw a second beast, coming out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb, but it spoke like a dragon. – Revelation 13:11

I’m not really a fan of the book of Revelation. I like the letters to the churches in the early chapters and the hope of the final chapters. However, everything in the middle can be a little frustrating. Revelation is apocalyptic literature at its best. Apocalyptic literature is a genre that is often full of strange and grotesque imagery. I’m very wary of drawing direct connections between the images in Revelation and current or future events. I don’t know if any of the beasts in Revelation really do symbolize a future antichrist. All I know is that Jesus will win and any beasts, regardless of how many heads they have, will eventually fall before our conquering Messiah. Maybe in his vision John didn’t see an actual beast, but just images from Pacific Rim and multiple Godzilla movies.

I’ll probably see Godzilla next year; I’m a sucker for giant fighting monsters. I like that throughout his history Godzilla has been both destroyer and protector. Even something that has caused so much death and destruction has a chance at redemption.

What are some of your favorite biblical monsters?

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One Response to “#743 – Biblical Monsters”

  1. Goliath maybe counts as a “monster,” if he really was some freakishly gigantic warrior; although I guess 1 Samuel 17 stresses Goliath’s armor and military tech more than his stature.

    Rahab the sea monster in Isaiah (50-something) is my “favorite” biblical monster. She represents the primordial chaos that God whipped into shape at Creation, and continues to keep under lock and key, so to speak. My understanding is that ancient near eastern myths of Rahab lurk behind the back of a lot of Old Testament texts about watery chaos.

    I preached a sermon on the dragon in Revelation 12 a few years back on New Year’s Day – http://thescifichristian.com/2013/01/episode-105-the-dragon-sermon/. Confusing images, yes… but if you let Revelation’s imagery work on you, rather than trying to work it all out, I think some intriguing glimpses of the Word emerge.

    Another great post, Scott. You continue to be a model blogger. Thanks for this!

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