Mythic Creatures in Holy Scriptures

The key to any institutional faith system’s functional success rests in the manufactured illusion that it is the lone faith system which represents an out-of-this-world power. To accomplish this impression there has to be put in place some worldly illustration of authority which they may point to as their certificate for representing that power. An imposed sense of wonderment can be inspiring, but spiritual inspiration is not being well served when rationality is crucified upon a rickety cross of myth. A case in point is the inclusion of grotesque monsters in the “holy” texts which are held up as divine truth. In the main, the Old Testament inclusion of mythic creatures essentially meant only to symbolize the violent primordial elements with which the imagined Creator had to contend. Once it is understood that those imagined monstrous creatures served as metaphors for primal creative energies, the references then carry surprising scientific insight. We will briefly examine here the better known fictional beasts which have long inhabited “holy” scripture.

The word Leviathan (from Hebrew libhyathan) is a compound word taken from two words, and is interpreted in the Septuagint (a Greek translation of the Old Testament) to mean “drakon” (dragon), and “ketos” (a whale). However, it is most commonly said to be derived from words meaning “a great fish” and “fastened” (as together), and thus imagined to be a huge fish-like animal that was covered with armor-like scales and possessed monstrous tusks. In other words, Leviathan was a mythological monster. By the descriptions given in the book of Job, it is widely accepted that the beast was modeled on the crocodile which is found only in tropical regions and so not known by experience to the priest-authors in 8th century BCE Jerusalem. Some of the monster’s features do suggest a crocodile, but other elements, such as breathing fire, are clearly mythological. For this reason Leviathan was sometimes linked with another mythic monster known as Behemoth (explained below). Leviathan can be traced back to Ugarit texts in which the monster was known as Lothan, and describe as “…a crooked serpent, the mighty one with seven heads.” We should remember that many-headed beasts were a feature throughout many ancient cultures such as Egypt, Greece, Roman, etc. For example, this imagery was a feature of the Greek myth in which the many-headed dog Cerberus guarded the portal of the infernal region. And this many-headed imagery was drawn upon in the New Testament book of Revelation 13:1 and 17:7-8. etc.

In the book of Job 3:8, Leviathan is identified with the sea, which is allegorical reference to the primordial sea, which is to say the primordial energies of Creation. Thus in Psalms, passed off as the work of David, it is said in priest-style lingo, “…thou breakest the (7) heads of Leviathan in pieces, and gavest him to be meat to the people inhabiting the wilderness.” The allusion of seven heads metaphorically refers to those seven primal energy conditions which involve and evolve into matter form as once taught in ancient cosmological lessons. The “wilderness”, as always, refers to those same primal energy conditions through which units of primal energy must pass to manifest in matter form. Thus the “people” being given “meat” refers to those energy units which are energized to manifest as matter forms. Keep in mind the Genesis account of Creation, the book of beginnings: the word “wilderness” always signified the pre-physical energy planes out of which matter is made manifest. This is openly confirmed in Psalms 74:14, which alludes to God defeating Leviathan as a prelude to Creation.

This is rich story material, and thus Leviathan was presented by various priest-authors as destined to be involved with the final battle–or the End Times of apocalyptic literature. This, however, completely reverses Leviathan’s representation which Pagan cultures understood to characterize the violent primal energies out of which Creation occurred. As an example, in Isaiah 27:1 it says that Leviathan is to be defeated once and for all in the End Times, and that “prophecy” was enthusiastically latched onto in the New Testament book of Revelation 12:3, 17:1-4, 19:20, and 21:1. In that version the Leviathan image is cast as the Great Dragon with seven heads. This was a deliberate misinterpretation of more scientific lessons once given in antiquity which were given with the northern circumpolar constellation Draco as illustration. Elsewhere, in the book of Job, however, Leviathan was intentionally misrepresented and said to be fully under God’s control and something of a pet! The “end” which is alluded to in Isaiah is NOT in regard to this material world; the pre-Bible reference was in regard to reaching the end of the pre-physical conditions out of which the material world evolved. So it meant to signify the end of what may be termed the Edenic world, the prototypal world of Adam and Eve, not a prophecy that our immediate world is about to be phased out. It is an allusion which should be understood as referring only to the end of a creative eon.

Another mythic creature, known as Behemoth, is often interactive with and confused with Leviathan. According to the book of Job 40:15-24, the first of God’s creations was an animal of enormous strength which lived in the river valleys. We should be aware that the book of Job was plagiarized from a Babylonian source. The creature that is referred to as Behemoth is a metaphor for primordial chaos, and mythologized as a primeval monster out of which Creation evolved. The priests of Yahweh writing in 8th century BCE Jerusalem possibly modeled the physical description of their monster on verbal accounts of the African hippopotamus, and their fictional details of the creature’s physiology have no likeness to any known animal species.

Behemoth, like Leviathan, had its origin in the Babylonian myths of Creation. In the original version the roaring waters (primal energies) of the Deep (quantum Source) was presided over by their queen Tehom. By the queen’s command the primordial waters arose to threatened God’s handiwork of Creation. The Babylonian Tehom in the plural is Tehomot. This may get confusing, but an ally of Tehom was named Bohu, a land monster, and the plural of Bohu is Behomot, which was altered by the Yahweh priests and cast in the book of Job as a male monster known as Behemoth. From this same Babylonian creation myth the priests of Yahweh writing in the book of Genesis 1:2 misinterpreted Tobu and Bohu as meaning “without form and void.” Thus in the Hebrew version of Creation Tobu and Bohu were interpreted as the energy-substance of Earth. And the darkness which was said to have prevailed and blanketed the primordial conditions was the Hebrew version of the Babylonian darkness which covered the surface of the Tehom. In the Babylonian version, God responded to that darkness with fury, hurling hail, lightning and universe-shaking thunder, which caused Tehom to tremble and withdraw her forces.

Another but lesser known Babylonian creature was Rahab, meaning “haughtiness”, a sea monster who was characterized as contributing to the chaos of Creation in Babylonian, Ugarit and Canaanite cosmogonies in which the Creator was known as El, Marduk, Baal, or Jehovah. In each of those holy presentations the Creator had to struggle against the boundless quantum energies to initiate some control and order. The Babylonian sea monster, Rahab, slithered its way into Hebrew pre-scriptural accounts and was designated as Prince of the Sea–we might say the administrator over the primal sea (energies). In the timelessness before Creation, as told in one of the early Hebrew pre-scriptural tales, when Yahweh wanted to drown all life on Earth he commanded Rahab, “Open your mouth, Prince of the Sea, and swallow all the world’s waters.” Rahab was not enthusiastic and grumbled, “Lord of the Universe, leave me in peace.” Apparently in that hectic pre-space/time the Almighty had not yet personally perfected any emotions of compassion or love, for he responded by kicking Rahab to death and sinking the carcass beneath the sea. In the 8th century BCE priest-revised version, this violence and insensitivity within the raw power at the Source was smoothed over. However, the God of the opening verse of Genesis is still depicted metaphorically as tearing apart the waters of Creation into opposing energy poles—an inference of sexual action with the upper waters hovering male-like over the submissive feminine lower waters.

Curiously, in later priest composed “history” the name Rahab, once linked with Creation activity in Babylonian myth, was craftily borrowed for the coded story of Joshua in 1 Kings. In that tale the name Rahab was borrowed and characterized as a harlot who lived in the defensive walls surrounding Jericho, and portrayed as having aided the attacking Israelites. (Remember, the Israelite themselves represent the primordial elements of Creation.) Cast as a “harlot” the character thus openly suggests the free availability of primal elements. In Joshua’s alleged capture of Jericho, the “city” symbolizes the pass over of energy into matter, thus the “walls” fall down. With this we should not be surprised that according to archaeology digs it has been revealed that in the 14th century BCE calculated for Joshua’s alleged destruction of Jericho, that location had had no defensive walls and any settlement there was already in ruins–possibly from planetary disturbances.

related post, Unicorns and Satyrs in Scripture? August 2009


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