Chaoskampf and Leviathan/Rahab

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Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Has anyone done any reading into ancient tales of God killing the sea monster Leviathan/Rahab? I don't think it was a dinosaur. It was a large sea creature that twists and in other ancient myths had 7 heads. And many other cultures (mostly Indo-European) have similar tales of the hero killing a hydra or dragon. God at the beginning overthrows this immense monster. And the battle of Jesus versus the dragon in Revelation seems to echo this primordial struggle.
 

Tom Hart

Puritan Board Senior
There is the well-known Babylonian myth of Marduk slaying Tiamat, and there is also the Phoenician sea god Yam. There are more examples, I'm sure, and not only from the ANE.

I would, however, be careful of reading pagan mythology into the biblical narrative. Sometimes, there may at first appear to be overlap, but once you get further than the surface those similarities fade. The Bible does not give a great deal of detail on Satan's overthrow, and it would not be wise to fill in any perceived blanks with pagan sources.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
There is the well-known Babylonian myth of Marduk slaying Tiamat, and there is also the Phoenician sea god Yam. There are more examples, I'm sure, and not only from the ANE.

I would, however, be careful of reading pagan mythology into the biblical narrative. Sometimes, there may at first appear to be overlap, but once you get further than the surface those similarities fade. The Bible does not give a great deal of detail on Satan's overthrow, and it would not be wise to fill in any perceived blanks with pagan sources.

The Bible narratives mentions these things. If we have the Word of God we should expect Satan to counterfeit it and produce pagan subversive alternate versions of history. Or we should expect the Word of God to dip into their myths to show God's superiority. Example, by saying that Christianity caused druidism and their haunts and Leprechauns to vanish out of Ireland, etc. There are several ways to interpret it when the bible speaks of several demons and monsters.
 

ZackF

Puritan Board Graduate
Example, by saying that Christianity caused druidism and their haunts and Leprechauns to vanish out of Ireland, etc. There are several ways to interpret it when the bible speaks of several demons and monsters.
That's a new one.

Coincidently my only memory of having a lucid dream was talking to a Leprechaun when I was a child.

:worms: On a more serious note I find the worldwide references to 'monsters' created centuries before the recreations of modern paleontology fascinating. The dinosaur soft-tissues of recent years are a related interest of mine.
 
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Tom Hart

Puritan Board Senior
If we have the Word of God we should expect Satan to counterfeit it and produce pagan subversive alternate versions of history. Or we should expect the Word of God to dip into their myths to show God's superiority.
"We should expect," you say. On what grounds?
Example, by saying that Christianity caused druidism and their haunts and Leprechauns to vanish out of Ireland, etc. There are several ways to interpret it when the bible speaks of several demons and monsters.
I'm afraid you'll have to explain how precisely this example relates to the matter at hand. You were speaking earlier of primordial sea monsters in ancient mythologies. Ireland in the fifth century seems rather removed from that subject.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
"We should expect," you say. On what grounds?

I'm afraid you'll have to explain how precisely this example relates to the matter at hand. You were speaking earlier of primordial sea monsters in ancient mythologies. Ireland in the fifth century seems rather removed from that subject.

Satan counterfeits true worship. And pagan mythology mirrors the Bible. Thus God speaks of ancient history, and early Canaanite cosmology closely follows many of the same patterns. There is a Flood, for example, but as a work of the gods. There are virgin births and resurrections and babies left in the waters for God to take care of. There are gardens and even forbidden trees with serpents in them and curses afterwards. Sometimes the myths are diametrically opposed to Biblical truth. For example instead of the tower of Babel being observed by God and being built by the first sons and grandsons of Noah the Akkadian Enuma Elish speaks of Marduk observing and the Anunnaki building tis tower. And sometimes the myths agree, for example, the Sumerian Enmerkar Epic also claims that there was originally one language, which was later confused.

And in the Bible God kills Leviathan, and in the Enuma Elish the supreme God Marduk kills the crocodile/dragon sea creature named Tiamet.
 

Kinghezy

Puritan Board Sophomore
The perspective I find most compelling is that scripture is the true story and the others are garbled version. Instead of saying scripture borrowed from myths, myths borrowed from scripture.

Both Matthew Henry and Keil and Delitzsch took the position that the tower of Babel took place ~100 years after the flood (Noah is still alive!). If you hold to a universal flood, everyone has descended from Noah's family and therefore would have a fairy recent shared history from "world that was" up through the flood. Going forward, it would make sense that things get garbled from there.
 

Tom Hart

Puritan Board Senior
Satan counterfeits true worship
Sure.
And pagan mythology mirrors the Bible.
Sometimes, yes.
Thus God speaks of ancient history, and early Canaanite cosmology closely follows many of the same patterns. There is a Flood, for example, but as a work of the gods. There are virgin births and resurrections and babies left in the waters for God to take care of. There are gardens and even forbidden trees with serpents in them and curses afterwards. Sometimes the myths are diametrically opposed to Biblical truth. For example instead of the tower of Babel being observed by God and being built by the first sons and grandsons of Noah the Akkadian Enuma Elish speaks of Marduk observing and the Anunnaki building tis tower. And sometimes the myths agree, for example, the Sumerian Enmerkar Epic also claims that there was originally one language, which was later confused.

And in the Bible God kills Leviathan, and in the Enuma Elish the supreme God Marduk kills the crocodile/dragon sea creature named Tiamet.
All this goes no further than saying what I pointed out in Post #2. Sometimes there's overlap, yes. But, returning to the OP, why should we rely on extra-biblical, pagan narratives to seek to understand events told of in Scripture?

Perhaps I'm sensitive to methods used by godless textual scholars. To them, all the ANE mythologies are connected, and to them, that includes the Bible (or chunks of it). While I do not deny that many myths have their origins in true events (Tolkien, I believe, spoke of the "true myth"), what I object to is attempting to explain the Bible using pagan mythologies.

You mentioned the Flood. It's great example of a story that has parallels in numerous cultures. But should we try to fill in the biblical narrative of the Flood by turning to other sources? Of course not! There is only one book that God has kept pure in all ages.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
So did God actually create and then kill a sea monster? Or did he just speak of the overthrow of Satan in poetic terms? Or did God use existing myths to make the point that he is greater ("You're stronger than a sasquatch..and almost as hairy" as someone once told me, for example).

And we did the sea always seem to symbolize evil and chaos? The Jews seemed afraid of the ocean or something.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
So did God actually create and then kill a sea monster?

I think the "monster" had more cthonic properties than physical ones (though, strictly speaking, cthonic means earth-bound). I would even posit that Lotan/Leviathan function as a weapon of the beney ha-elohim.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
I think the "monster" had more cthonic properties than physical ones (though, strictly speaking, cthonic means earth-bound). I would even posit that Lotan/Leviathan function as a weapon of the beney ha-elohim.

Can you dumb that down some more and resend...the first time through I thought I read Cthulhu and I got distracted....but then you lost me again. What is cthonic? And how would a monster be a weapon of the fallen angels? The defeat of Lotan/Leviathan appears to happen at the very beginning of the world? Did it occur at a first battle when the angels first rebelled and were cast down?
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Can you dumb that down some more and resend...the first time through I thought I read Cthulhu and I got distracted....but then you lost me again.

Cthulu is close to the mark. Basically, Leviathan doesn't have the physical make up of a whale. In other words, you can't kill it by nuking it.
What is cthonic?

A demonic-based entity. I don't like "demonic" language because people think demons are fallen angels.
The defeat of Lotan/Leviathan appears to happen at the very beginning of the world? Did it occur at a first battle when the angels first rebelled and were cast down?

The Bible never says when the angels fell. Revelation 12 is about events that took place at Christ's birth.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Cthulu is close to the mark. Basically, Leviathan doesn't have the physical make up of a whale. In other words, you can't kill it by nuking it.


A demonic-based entity. I don't like "demonic" language because people think demons are fallen angels.


The Bible never says when the angels fell. Revelation 12 is about events that took place at Christ's birth.

The other ancient Middle Eastern cultures all trace the battle between the Supreme God and the Sea Creature to the beginning, and their God then uses the corpse of Lotan or the dragon to create the universe and world.

If Satan rebelled in the Garden, it would seem that there would also be upheavals/battles in heaven as 1/3 of these stars fall. "His [Satan’s] tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth” (Rev. 12:4). Revelation 12 is a summary of world history.

Since the Bible uses the same themes over and over, we have the defeat of the rebel angels in the beginning mirror the beast from the sea and the Great Red Dragon in Revelation. There is a warfare between God and a Dragon at both ends, the beginning and end. But the problem with that is that it does not say Leviathan is the Devil, but merely a cosmic monster.

I read a Jewish source that said since Leviathan was a creature, then God created 2 of them but destroyed 1 since they were very powerful and would haunt man and the other would appear at the end of time and, once killed, his flesh would provide food for the people left at the appearance of Messiah. That was a cool story.

Or, do we merely say that God did not literally fight any monsters, but this is just a way to say that God is greater than the boogeyman? Like when I tell my tribe that the Holy Spirit is stronger than the witches they fear. But God said he killed a many-headed sea-monster (several times in Scripture this theme occurs), so just maybe He really killed a many-headed sea-monster at some point near the beginning of time (maybe when the rebel angels first began to fight against God and they got their first beat-down). Hence my OP.

"And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,

8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.

9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him."
 
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BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
"His [Satan’s] tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth” (Rev. 12:4). Revelation 12 is a summary of world history.

My only problem with that is the Bible specifically links that particular happening with the Incarnation. There are other "falls" alluded to with attendant judgment events: Genesis 6 with the beney ha-elohim mating with the sons of men, and Genesis 11.
But the problem with that is that it does not say Leviathan is the Devil, but merely a cosmic monster.

Very true.
Or, do we merely say that God did not literally fight any monsters, but this is just a way to say that God is greater than the boogeyman?

While God doesn't put Leviathan in an arm bar, I don't want to go that far, since it implies that Leviathan no real.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
My only problem with that is the Bible specifically links that particular happening with the Incarnation. There are other "falls" alluded to with attendant judgment events: Genesis 6 with the beney ha-elohim mating with the sons of men, and Genesis 11.


Very true.


While God doesn't put Leviathan in an arm bar, I don't want to go that far, since it implies that Leviathan no real.

So is Leviathan a creature like the animals made during the week of creation, or one of the Fallen Angels?

We have Satan as a leader of the fallen angels, but there seems to be other key players among the Fallen Angels, such as those which controlled the nations in the Table of Nations that God did not keep to himself but gave over to be controlled by the fallen angels (Dt 32:8). So maybe Leviathan is one of these other Angelic Beings which warred against God?

I have always thought Revelation 12 was a general summary of the history of Satan's war against God's people (from beginning to end). Thus the war in heaven occurred prior in the past to the Dragon waging war on Christ and his seed.

"And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child." Then they fled. This all literally happened with Mary and Jesus and the flight into Egypt.

Later, we read, "And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed..." The Devil having failed to kill the child now goes to make war against the rest of the church.

Maybe I need to back up and ask for an explanation of Revelation 12 as you see it.
 
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BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
So is Leviathan a creature like the animals made during the week of creation, or one of the Fallen Angels?

He is not a fallen angel, but I would posit him as one of those primordial creatures.
We have Satan as a leader of the fallen angels, but there seems to be other key players among the Fallen Angels, such as those which controlled the nations in the Table of Nations that God did not keep to himself but gave over to be controlled by the fallen angels (Dt 32:8). So maybe Leviathan is one of these other Angelic Beings which warred against God?

Quite possibly. I think that is the right track. An angel, though, is a messenger, and the principalities over those nations aren't running errands. That's why Heiser and others call them the beney ha-elohim
"And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child." Then they fled. This all literally happened with Mary and Jesus and the flight into Egypt.

Later, we read, "And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed..." The Devil having failed to kill the child now goes to make war against the rest of the church.

Maybe I need to back up and ask for an explanation of Revelation 12 as you see it.

Correct. And those actions mean it isn't happening at the dawn of time.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
He is not a fallen angel, but I would posit him as one of those primordial creatures.


Quite possibly. I think that is the right track. An angel, though, is a messenger, and the principalities over those nations aren't running errands. That's why Heiser and others call them the beney ha-elohim


Correct. And those actions mean it isn't happening at the dawn of time.

If Lotan/Leviathsn is a primordial creature, then isn't there at least 2 of them, since God made all animals with a pair? How else did Adam see that he was alone and there was something lacking there? So even Leviathan had a mate, right? Ken Ham is always trying to make these things into dinosaurs, but this seems a genuine monster. And what of Revelation with the beast arising out the sea? Why the common theme, if not literal?

Also, why did the Jews hate the sea? Too hard to swim with those big shaggy beards?
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
If Lotan/Leviathsn is a primordial creature, then isn't there at least 2 of them, since God made all animals with a pair?

That's only if he is within the planet-bound creation narrative. God didn't make angels in pairs, for example.
Ken Ham is always trying to make these things into dinosaurs, but this seems a genuine monster.

I basically avoid Ham.
Also, why did the Jews hate the sea?

Sea represents chaos. It's not permanent. Always moving.
 
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