See, in today’s culture dragons have had a resurgence. I mean, they were never really extinct culturally, if you know what I mean, but they were very typecast, so to speak. Dragons were always the bad guys. They pillaged and looted, stole gold and fair maidens, and the hero always had to go and slay the mighty beast. A new kind of dragon has emerged, however, a tamer more heroic type of dragon, which has caused the controversy of which I speak within the more conservative circles.Dragons have captured the minds of Fantasy writers as far back as Fantasy writing goes, as we will see in part 3 of this series. In fact, dragons are now the number one Fantasy creature of today’s culture, thanks to movies like How to Train your Dragon, Eragon, Dragon Wars, and the likes, as well as tv shows like Merlin which doesn’t feature a dragon very predominantly, and yet still generates much dragon talking.
Most everyone now loves dragons, but when did we come to believe that dragons were simply inventions of our fantasies? When did reality fade away?
It may, or may not, surprise you that a large group of people view dragons as nothing more than a literary masterpiece crafted to either entertain, or frighten, children. My goal in this series is to show you dragons, and subsequently dinosaurs, did in fact exist. In fact, I would posit to you that a dragon is actually a type of dinosaur the Lord created in all of his imaginative splendor.Now, before we can continue with this series, there is something that I’d like to establish which we will be able to build off of later. I am sure many of you have heard the argument that dragons are evil, right? Now, to a dragon lover such as myself, this is a shocking thing to hear! Your most beloved scaled creature is evil?! For shame! Who would say such a thing?
Many people, specifically in conservative circles, are concerned that depicting dragons favorably is the same as depicting demonic aberrations favorably. The reason they feel this way is very simple. Was not the father of lies, Satan himself, depicted in scripture as a dragon (speaking specifically about the revelation portrayals of Satan)?
Here is where the controversy begins.
I have a number of issues with this line of thinking. I think we have to be careful that we don’t link creatures likened unto Satan as being Satanic. The Bible likens Christ to a Lion and a Lamb, but that does not make these animals sacred or holy, right? In fact, the lion sorta turns things topsy turvy on their head because, after all, weren’t both Christ and Satan depicted as a lion in the scriptures?Now you know me, so it is no shock to you that I’m about to give you the scripture verses of which I speak:
- 1 Peter 5:8 “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”
- 2 Timothy 4:17 “But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth.”
- Revelation 5: 5 “Then one of the elders said to me ‘Do not weep! See, the LION of the tribe of Judah, the root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals’”
So, if the animal is tainted by association, due to being compared to Satan, why would the Lord use an evil symbol to portray his son? Does it not seem more likely that the Lord is simply using something tangible in order to portray a concept which we can grasp?
In fact, that’s exactly why Lewis uses a lion to depict a Christ-like character in his books. Now, whether you like the stories or not, if you are going to hold to the viewpoint that dragons are a representation of evil, then you must extend it across all species and literary works. Satan is portrayed as a lion several times. So the question must be raised, if you come from this viewpoint, should Lewis have portrayed Aslan as a lion because of this association? What about snakes? You have the fall of man which includes a serpent. Do you feel it is wrong to portray snakes, then, in stories, because Satan used the serpent as his mouthpiece? But wait! Wasn’t the image of a serpent used by Moses in Numbers (21:4-9) to heal the Israelites from their snake bites?A similar symbol, Nehushtan, is mentioned in the Bible in Numbers 21:4–9. Attacked by a plague of snakes in the wilderness, Moses holds up a serpent coiled around a staff, both made from bronze, so that the Israelites might recover from the bites.
Historically, dragons were never seen as icons of evil. They were viewed as creatures of life, strength, and vitality by many cultures. Furthermore, in part 2 of this series we will look at the biblical evidence for whether or not dragons were real creatures created by God. If they are, and I think the biblical evidence is pretty strong, then that would mean that dragons were made during one of the 6 days of creation week, in which time the Lord said that they were very good.
If the dragon is not an unholy symbol, then why did God use it as a depiction for Satan during the end times? I can’t really tell you. Is it because of the awe and magnificence the creature inspires in us humans, as Satan will do in the end times? Is it because of the strength and power we find in the loins of the beast? Or is it because of the seemingly ugly scaled hide hidden beneath the veil of magnificence, symbolic of Satan’s true nature? I don’t think we will know here on earth, but what I do think we can know is that the dragon is not chosen because it is an unholy beast demonically spawned by Satan.
So, to wrap up, I want to address what you can expect through the rest of this series, if I’ve piqued your interest enough to continue reading what I have to say. Part two will be Dragons of the Bible: What does the Bible have to say about dragons, if anything? Part three will be Dragons of the Past: A look at historical evidence both literary, and archeologically. And part four will be Dragons of the Present: Are dragons still in existence today?
My goal for this series is to bring to light certain facts often overlooked by people when they view dragons. But, I think it is up to you to be the ultimate judge. My job is simply to help inform you. My prayer is that this series will be a jumping point to help you as you decide the answers to so many questions about dragons.