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No. 241 "Vital Articles on Science/Creation" July 1993
DRAGONS IN PARADISE
by Henry M. Morris, Ph.D.*
Copyright (c) 1993 by I.C.R.
All Rights Reserved
* Henry M. Morris is President of the Institute for Creation Research.
"And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red
dragon. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the
Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world. . . . And they
worshiped the dragon" (Revelation 12:3,9;13:4).
The dinosaur mania of this generation is reaching a crescendo with the
release in June of the much-publicized movie "Jurassic Park." Not only
are record-breaking throngs seeing the movie (which features a modern
theme park stocked with real dinosaurs, cloned from ancient dinosaur DNA
extracted from bloodsucking insects preserved in amber ever since the
so-called Jurassic Period), but stores are selling great numbers of
dinosaur toys and books and paraphernalia of all sorts. Most of this
propaganda for evolution (for that's what it amounts to!) is aimed at
children, who seem to become easily fascinated by the ugly monsters of
this supposedly ancient era.
This almost worshipful fascination is nothing new, though its extent is
growing explosively. One wonders how many leading modern evolutionists
were drawn into evolutionism through their childhood study of dinosaurs.
Stephen Jay Gould, for example, testifies that he got his start that
way, and he is probably today's leading spokesman for evolution.
What's going on here? Is this just another fad, or is it in some way an
important sign of the times? Actually, all the nations of antiquity seem
to have had a similar obsession with dinosaur-like animals they called
"dragons." The Biblical writers, inspired by God, also wrote about
dragons. The first reference to created animals, in Genesis 1:21, says
that "God created great whales," but the Hebrew word for "whales"
("tanniyn") is translated "dragons" in over 20 other passages. Note
especially Isaiah 27:1: "In that day the LORD . . . shall punish
leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent; and
He shall slay the dragon that is in the sea."
This type of sea dragon was called a "leviathan" (see also Psalm
74:14;104:26). It was described by God Himself in Job 41:1-34 as a
fearsome, fire-breathing (v.21) monster whose scaly hide (vs.15-17)
could not be pierced with sword or spear (vs.7,26-29). God also
described a huge land dragon called a "behemoth" (Job 40:15-24) that
"moveth his tail like a cedar" and is "the chief of the ways of God,"
impossible to capture (v.17,19,24). Various other dragons are depicted
as dwelling in different types of habitats and as being of various sizes
(e.g., Isaiah 34:13; Micah 1:8; Malachi 1:3). In some of these cases,
modern translations have rendered "tanniyn" as "jackal," but the Hebrew
word means "dragon," or "monster," not jackal.
Dragons were even described in reputable zoological treatises published
during the Middle Ages. Even though dragons sometimes were said to have
supernatural abilities, all these ancient nations regarded them as real
animals, frequently encountered by humans.
The article on dragons in the Encyclopaedia Britannica (1949 edition)
noted also that dinosaurs were "astonishingly dragonlike," even though
its author assumed that those ancients who believed in dragons did so
"without the slightest knowledge" of dinosaurs. All dinosaurs are
assumed by evolutionary geologists to have been extinct since the end of
the Mesozoic Era, about 65 million years ago, whereas the first dinosaur
fossils were not discovered until early in the 19th century.
In any case, dinosaurs--like dragons--are said to have existed at one
time in great numbers and varieties all over the world. Great
dinosaur-bone beds have been found on every continent, as far north as
Spitzbergen in the Arctic Ocean and as far south as Antarctica, about
400 miles from the South Pole.
Even more astonishing have been the vast numbers of dinosaur tracks and
trails. The symposium _Dinosaur_Tracks_and_Traces_ (Ed. by D. D.
Gillette and M. G. Lockley, Cambridge University Press, 1989, 454 pp.)
documents hundreds of dinosaur-track sites all over the world. They are
found in alluvial-fan deposits, flood-plain sediments, lake sediments,
dune-like formations, deltas, and shoreline systems.
Many geologists have decided recently that the age of the dinosaurs did
come to a sudden end as the result of a global catastrophe of some kind,
although there is much disagreement as to what type of catastrophe this
may have been. A great flood, accompanied by tremendous volcanic
eruptions, with the implied resulting worldwide climatic change from
subtropical to the present latitudinal variations, could well account
for the vast dinosaur graveyards and trackways all over the world.
The Bible, of course, describes just such a flood that occurred several
thousand years ago. There are now thousands of scientists who have
become creationists and are convinced that the Biblical flood provides a
much better explanation than the geological-age system for the phenomena
of earth history, including the dinosaurs and their extinction.
In that connection, suppose the dinosaurs continued to survive for a
time in the post-flood world. This would account perfectly for all the
dragon stories, many embellished over the centuries with legendary
accretions, but at the same time based on a substantial residuum of
fact. Bill Cooper, a British student of antiquities, has published a
most impressive compilation of dragon/dinosaur encounters with ancient
people ("Living Dinosaurs from Anglo-Saxon and other Early Records,"
_Creation_Ex_Nihilo_Technical_Journal_, volume 6, no. 1, 1992, pp.
It may even be that some dinosaurs still survive in isolated regions and
especially in the oceans and deep lakes of the world. The famous
plesiosaur-like creature dredged up near New Zealand in 1977 (see
_Oceans_ magazine, November 1977 pp. 56-59) and the numerous native
accounts of a brontosaur-like animal in the swampy interior of the
Congolese rain forests (see _Science_ magazine, November 1980, pp. 6, 7)
should be neither dismissed nor ignored.
Most creationists believe that dinosaurs have coexisted with man from
the beginning, only becoming extinct in the Middle Ages. That being so,
one must envision a pre-flood world with vast herds of dinosaurs
occupying many areas in every region. The antediluvian population would
certainly be familiar with their existence.
There were, therefore, many reminders to antediluvian people everywhere
on the earth of "the great dragon . . . that old serpent, called the
Devil, and Satan" (Revelation 12:9). These beasts should have reminded
pre-flood men and women of the serpent whom their first ancestors had
encountered in the Garden of Eden, bringing sin and death into God's
Even after the flood, dinosaurs could still be seen occasionally, though
not in the great herds common in former times. At the climax of the
Satan-caused sufferings of the prophet Job, for example, God told him to
observe two of these great animals, the land-dwelling behemoth and the
ocean-dwelling leviathan, and to realize that--even though no man alone
could ever vanquish such awesome reptiles--God was well able to defeat
them, for it was He who had made them. Just so, God had also created the
fallen angel, Satan, who had taken over the body of the serpent back in
Paradise, and God could vanquish him, as well.
That old Dragon had invaded Paradise, and God had cast him out into the
earth, where he continues to this day leading men and women to rebel
against God and His Word. It is he "which deceiveth the whole world"
(Revelation 12:9) with the monstrous lie that there never was a Creator
whom men should worship. He wants to reign himself, and to persuade the
world to worship him instead of its real Maker and Sustainer.
And amazingly enough, the time is coming soon when the ungodly world
will do just that! In the Bible's great prophecy concerning the
humanistic dictator who will reign over the whole world for a brief time
at the end of the age, a man appropriately called the Beast, who will
not "regard any god," but will only "honor the god of forces" (Daniel
11:37,38), we read that "all the world wondered after the beast. And
they worshiped the dragon which gave power unto the beast" (Revelation
They--all the world--will "worship the Dragon!" And if we look
carefully, we can already see the shadows being cast before by these
coming events, when we observe the youth of the world so enamored of
dinosaurs. People should be thinking instead about "whatsoever things
are lovely" and "whatsoever things are of good report" (Philippians
4:8), and not obsessed with creatures which are ugly and fierce and
symbolic of "that old serpent."
The New Testament word "paradise" is transliterated directly from the
Greek, which in turn was taken over from the Hebrew "pardec" (pronounced
"par-dace"). Its basic meaning is "park." It may, therefore, be no
coincidence that Hollywood's leading "New Age" producer has chosen to
fill his "Jurassic Park" with a bestiary of revived dinosaurs. The great
dragon once again symbolically is living in Paradise.
Satan is, indeed, still alive and well on Planet Earth! Overt Satanism
is increasingly influential, especially among young people, and so are
witchcraft, astrology, spiritism, theosophy, and all the other occult
"sciences," all of them based squarely on the age-old deception of
evolutionary pantheism. Furthermore, there are many New Age cults and
even secret fraternities and lodges that, at least in their advanced
degrees, actually honor Lucifer (Isaiah 14:12) as their highest object
of worship, in effect uniting with him in his determination to "exalt my
throne above the stars of God" and to "be like the most High" (Isaiah
14:13,14). All are seeking to bring in a "new world order," with a world
government, a global economic system, and especially a world religion of
evolutionary humanistic pantheism, with monotheistic religions,
especially Biblical Christianity, banished from the earth.
The world is heading rapidly in that direction, and the modern dinosaur
mania may well become an effective contributing factor to reach that
evolutionary goal, especially among the youngest generation--the
generation that may well be leading the world in the coming new age.
But God is still in control. Although the behemoth was the strongest of
all created land animals, "He that made him can make His sword to
approach unto him" (Job 40:19). And though the leviathan "is a king over
all the children of pride," yet God says that not even leviathan can
"stand before me" (Job 41:34,10). God one day "shall punish leviathan
. . . and He shall slay the dragon that is in the sea" (Isaiah 27:1).
Finally "the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire
. . . and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever," along
with all the rebellious angels and all the rebellious men and women
whose names are not "written in the book of life" (Revelation 20:10,15).
There will be no more dragons in Paradise in that day. For "there shall
in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever
worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the
Lamb's book of life" (Revelation 21:27).
This "Impact" was converted to ASCII, for BBS use,
from the original formatted desktop article.
Comments regarding typographical errors
in the above material are appreciated.
Don Barber, ICR Systems Administrator
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