And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. Revelation 21:1 KJV
The ocean is one of the most mysterious places on earth, and every culture seems to think there's something magical beneath the waves. From Leviathan to Atlantis to Mermaids...let's talk about what everyone seems to know about life in the deep blue sea.
I started out thinking this episode was going to be on sea monsters like the Leviathan, so let’s talk about those first.
The primary source for the leviathan is found in Job 41, though it is also mentioned in Job 3:8, Psalms 74:13; 104:26, and Isaiah 27:1. Using Blue Letter Bible to determine the meaning of the original Hebrew לִוְיָתָן which is translated to leviathan, I found a few interesting things. This definition acknowledges similarities to plesiosaurus and essentially defines leviathan as a serpentine sea monster, as we would expect. However, it also ties the word to the constellation of the dragon (Draco) and Babylon—which is often cited as a city that is in opposition to the Kingdom of YHWH. In short, leviathan is described a fearsome sea serpent, with parallels to the dragon (Isaiah 27:1).
Jewish tradition holds more beliefs about leviathan that are not found in the Bible.
Nessie (The Loch Ness Monster)
The Loch Ness Monster, often called Nessie, is also portrayed as a plesiosaurus, drawing parallels to the leviathan. Legends of Nessie are found in Scotland. While most scientist argue against a large sea creature in the Loch Ness and at least one photo has been declared a hoax, many people still flock to Ireland in hopes of catching a glimpse of the creature.
The plesiosaur or plesiosaurus is a dinosaur-era marine creature. Many people think the legends about sea monsters stem from this creature. These massive reptiles, at one point, could grow up to 40 feet long!
A Lost Kingdom?
So as I was trying to figure out how to make this episode more interesting and what this episode should really look like, my mind drifted from leviathan to Atlantis (mainly because Disney's Atlantis: the Lost Empire has a creature they call leviathan guarding the city of Atlantis). Of course from there, my mind drifted to Atlantica, the home of Disney's The Little Mermaid—yes, I watched way too much Disney in my lifetime. Nonetheless, this got the wheels grinding in my mind.
Many people know about the legend of Atlantis, but what many have never heard are Christians preaching against "the marine kingdom," a demonic kingdom of water spirits. I don't know enough about the topic to make a clear statement about it, but in the research I have done on it in the past plus what everyone seems to know about water spirits, it does make you think. Plus Revelation 21:1 says that after the judgment, there will be no more sea...
In the US we grew up with mermaids, and mostly mermaids like Ariel from The Little Mermaid, but around the world, the legends of mermaids or other water spirit are not so bubbly and cute.
- Atargtis (Mesopotamia)
- Jengu (Iara)
- Mami Wata (Africa--and the African Diaspora)
- Melusine (French)
- Merrow (Ireland)
- Ningyo (Japan)
- Njuzu (Zimbabwe)
- Rusalka (Slavic)
- Sirens (Greek)
- Selkie (Celtic/Norse)
I believe that all religions and cultures trace their origin back to Adam and Eve. While I believe the Bible to be the true and preserved Word of God, I believe that we can find bits of truth in other religions and cultures. The purpose of this series is to examine the themes that remained universal to highlight universal knowledge--in this case, the pattern of there being something dangerous in (or about) the sea.
References and Footnotes
- "Strong's H3882. לִוְיָתָן". Blue Letter Bible; visited September 5, 2021
- Loch Ness Monster, Legendary Creature". Encyclopedia Britannica; visited September 2021
- Plesiosaur". Encyclopedia Britannica; visited September 2021
- "Plesiosaurs Pictures and Faces". The Dinosaur Database; visited September 2021
- "Leviathan". Mythical Realm. 2012
- "Mermaid". Wikipedia; visited September 2021
- Emily Madriga. "12 Facts About The Ningen, The Creepiest ‘Animal’ You’ve Never Heard Of". Thought Catalog. March 2018
- Regina Hansen. "Why We Keep Telling Legends of Sea Monsters". The Wall Street Journal. June 24, 2021
- "Marakihau". The Journal of the Polynesian Society: Vol 66, No 1. 1957
- Gillian Finklea. "9 Mermaid Legends From Around the World". Mental Floss. February 29, 2016
- "Mermaid". Encyclopedia Britannica; visited September 2021