We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum. A.W. Tozer
Therefore let God-inspired Scripture decide between us; and on whichever side be found doctrines in harmony with the word of God, in favor of that side will be cast the vote of truth. --Basil of Caesarea
Once you learn to discern, there's no going back. You will begin to spot the lie everywhere it appears.

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service. 1 Timothy 1:12

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Leviathan and Behemoth — What Were They?

Job 3:8 has a passing reference to Leviathan, but we see more about this creature in Job 41, following God’s discussion of behemoth.  

The question is whether behemoth and leviathan are actual creatures or if God is referring to pagan mythological creatures.  

Too many “scholars” today, even those who are not liberal, want to save face with the so-called scientific world and rather than admit that dinosaur-like creatures lived among men (they would have been represented on Noah’s ark), usually claim one of two things about these passages:

1.  The creatures are mythological creatures that Job would have been familiar with

2.  They are actually a hippopotamus and a crocodile, even though the descriptions given do not fit.

The description of these creatures matches that of what we now call dinosaurs, leviathan being something like a pliosaur and behemoth like a large sauropod.   

The claim is that the source of the story of Leviathan is in pre-biblical Mesopotamian mythologies; so what about these near-east cosmologies and mythologies - what role do they play in Job?  Absolutely none.

Just because pagans had mythologies, that doesn’t mean people in Scripture patterned their thoughts after them.  The pagan myths were corruptions of the truth.  The Gilgamesh Epic tells of a world-wide flood, so should we then say that the Biblical story of Noah was just God using a pagan myth to explain things?

It has been demonstrated that many of the Greek and Roman gods and their biographies were most likely copied from older biblical prophecies of the coming Messiah, including the virgin birth of a god.  Do we then discount the truth about Christ?

Warren Wiersbe says that beginning in Chapter 38 God asks Job three questions:
1.  Can you explain my creation?
2.  Can you oversee my creation?
3.  Can you subdue my creation?

The entire context is God’s creation - not pagan cosmology.  In Job 40:15 God says He made behemoth and describes the creature.  In chapter 41 God continues His conversation by describing leviathan in great detail.  The context is God describing His creation and the description of real, literal creatures -  or else God is lying when he said he made them.

Another reference to Leviathan is Ps. 104:26 where the Psalmist says God made the creature; was the psalmist lying?  Isaiah 27:1 talks about God destroying Leviathan - does God destroy a mythical beast?

Can we trust scripture or not?  Is Job referring to a literal creature in Chapter 3, the same literal creature as God discusses in chapter 41, or are they both just referring to some mythological creature?  

I submit the book of Job, as well as Psalms and Isaiah, are discussing a true creation of God, and the near-eastern cosmologies are nothing more than corruptions that Job probably wasn’t even familiar with.

Behemoth and Leviathan were literal creatures who lived contemporarily with mankind. 

(See also the Answers in Genesis article, “Sea Monsters … More than a Legend?”)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"The description of these creatures matches that of what we now call dinosaurs, leviathan being something like a pliosaur and behemoth like a large sauropod."

Yes. As always, the simple, straightforward, Spirit-led reading of the text brings one to the truth!