05 January, 2019

17. Sea Monsters and the Chaos Myth

17. Sea Monsters and the Chaos Myth

God created the great sea monsters...
—Genesis 1:21 

On day five, the writer of the toledoth (or Moses) specifies that God created the sea monsters. Why is this important...because it is specifically named. In others words, God says, Let there be lamps and there were lamps...let there be birds and there were birds...let there be creeping crawly animals and there were creeping crawly animals. But when God says let there be swarms of sea creatures, there were swarms of sea creatures and sea monsters. 
And God said, “Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky.” So God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, of every kind, with which the waters swarm, and every winged bird of every kind. 
 Why is this so relevant?

Because in ancient times, the sea monster was the personification of chaos, a co-eternal primordial force of wrath and destruction, which the storm god barely managed to tame and defeat.

But in the Genesis account, it is merely a created creature. It is placed on day five to distinctly separate it from the deep of Gen 1:2 before day one (we'll see why in a later post),  and God did not tame it or defeat it...it was not co-eternal with him...he merely spoke it into existence. The end.

To the ancient reader, this was like an ultimate Chuck Norris joke.

When Chuck Norris does a push up, he isn't lifting himself up, he's pushing the Earth down.

There is no theory of evolution. Just a list of creatures Chuck Norris has allowed to live.
The Hebrew word translated "sea monster" is tanniyn. (It is NOT the Hebrew or the Greek word for whale). In Greek, it is drak┼Źn yes, where we get dragon from. Tanniyn has been linked to Leviathan, Lotan, and Yam, the sea monsters / chaos gods in the ancient world.

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Photo Credit: Sea Monster Adobe Stock / Chuck Norris Fair Use