Archive for Beasts of scripture

Mythic Beasts and Hobgobblins in Scripture

Posted in agnoticism, Atheist, belief, Bible, Christianity, culture, faith, Hebrew scripture, history, random, religion, thoughts with tags , , , , , , on September 23, 2011 by chouck017894

The key to any institutional religion’s functional success rests in the manufactured illusion that it is the lone faith that represents an out-of-this-world power.  To accomplish this impression there has to be put in place some worldly illustration of authority that the clerics may point to as their certificate for representing that imagined isolated power.  The sense of wonderment can be inspiring, but spiritual inspiration is not being well served when rationality is crucified upon a cross of myth.  A case in point is the inclusion of grotesque creatures in biblical texts that are featured as divine truth.  In the main, the Old Testament accounts that include such mythic beasts as Leviathan (Job 41:1, Psalms 104, and Isaiah 27:1), and Behemoth (book of Enoch 60:7-9, Job 40:15-24, and Esdras* 6:49-52) use beast imagery to symbolize the violent primordial elements out of which matter manifestation occurs.  Once a person understands that the monstrous creatures serve as metaphors for primal creative energies, the references then carry surprising scientific insight.  We will briefly examine here these better known fictional beasts that still inhabit scriptures.  (*Esdras: either of the first two books of the Apocrypha corresponding to the books of Ezra and Nehemiah in the King James version.)

Leviathan:  The word leviathan is a compound word that was interpreted in the Septuagint (a third century BCE Greek translation of the Old Testament) to mean drakon (dragon), and ketos (a whale).  However, it is most often said to be derived from words meaning a great fish and fastened (as bound together), and thus projected as a huge fish-like animal that was covered with armor-like scales and possessed monstrous tusks.  In other words, Leviathan is a mythological beast.  The origin of this mythic creature can be traced back to 15th-14th century BCE Ugaritic texts in which the monster was known as Lothan, and was described as “…a crooked serpent, the mighty one with seven heads…”  This image was resurrected in the New Testament book of Revelation 13:1 and 17:7-8, composed 135-138 CE.

By the description given in the book of Job, it is widely accepted that the beast in that version was modeled upon a crocodile found in tropical regions which was not known by experience to the priest-authors in 7th 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 haphazardly with another monster known as Behemoth (more later).  In the book of Job (3:8), the mythic Leviathan is identified with the sea, which as aways is allegorical reference to the primordial energies of Creation, commonly symbolized as waters.  And in Psalms 74, supposedly the poetic work of David, it is said in priest-lingo style, “…thou breakest the heads of Leviathan in pieces, and gavest him to be meat to the people inhabiting the wilderness.

The allusion of seven heads was metaphorical reference to the seven transformational dimensions that primal energies pass through to manifest into matter form.  The “wilderness” always refers to those primal conditions through which units of energy must “wander”—pass through, or pass over—to manifest as matter forms.  Thus the “people” of the verse that are being given “meat” refers to the energy units that are to manifest with matter identity.  This meaning simply echoes the Genesis account, the book of beginnings, in which the word wilderness also signified the pre-physical energy dimensions out of which matter is made manifest.  This is confirmed in Psalms 74:14, which alludes to God defeating Leviathan as a prelude to Creation.

This is rich story material, so the mythic Leviathan was presented by various Bible authors as destined to be involved with the final battle—or the End Times of apocalyptic literature.  This purposely reverses the representation which Pagan cultures had understood as characterizing the violent primal energies out of which Creation occurred.  As an example, in the book of Isaiah 27:1 it says that Leviathan is to be defeated once and for all in the End Time, and that line was latched onto enthusiastically in the New Testament book of Revelation 12:3; 17:1-14; 19:20; and 21:1.  In that butchered version the Leviathan image is cast as the Great Dragon with seven heads, but the image was obviously modeled on the northern circumpolar constellation Draco.

Elsewhere in the book of Job 41, however, Leviathan is said to be fully under God’s control and is something like a pet.  The “end” that is alluded to by Isaiah, therefore, is not of this material world; the pre-Bible reference was in regard to the end of the pre-physical conditions out of which the material world evolved.  It was not a prophecy that our immediate world is about to be phased out.  It originally signified the end of what may be termed the Edenic world, the pre-physical (prototypal) world shaped from the energy-making polar interaction (which was more personally symbolized in Genesis with Adam and Eve).

Behemoth:  Like the beast Leviathan, Behemoth had its origin in the Babylonian myths of Creation.  In that original, the roaring waters of the Deep (quantum Source) was presided over by their queen Tehom.  Queen Tehom represented energy-substance out of which matter will congeal.  By the queen’s command the primordial waters arose to threaten God’s handiwork of Creation.  The Babylonian Tehom is actually the plural of Tehomot.  An ally of Tehom was named Bohu, a land monster, and the plural of Bohu is Behomot, which was slyly altered by the Yahweh priests and cast as the male monster called Behemoth in the book of Job.  From this same Babylonian myth the priests of Yahweh, when writing the book of Genesis, misinterpreted Tobu and Bohu to mean “without form and void.

In the Hebrew version of Creation, therefore, the Babylonian tobu and bohu were interpreted as the mingled energy-substance that composed the material Earth.  And the darkness that was said to have prevailed and blanketed the primordial conditions was the Hebrew version of the Babylonian darkness with which queen Tehom covered herself from God’s anger.  In the Babylonian version, God responded to that darkness with fury, hurling hail, lightning and universe-shaking thunder, which caused Tehom to withdraw her watery forces in trembling fear.

Rahab:  Another, but lesser known Babylonian monster was named Rahab, meaning “hautiness,” who contributed to the chaos in Babylonian, Ugaritic and Canaanite cosmogonies in which the Creator was known as El, Marduk, Baal, or Jehovah.  In each of these holy presentations, the Creator had to struggle against the boundless quantum energies to initiate a semblance of order over them.  This sea-monster, Rahab, was also known in Hebrew pre-Bible accounts and was designated as Prince of the Sea— the “sea” referring to primordial energies.  In the days before Creation, in one of the early Hebrew pre-biblical myths, when Yahweh wanted to drown all life on Earth, he commanded Rahab, “Open your mouth, Prince of the Sea, and swallow the world’s waters.”  Rahab was not enthusiastic and grumbled, “Lord of the Universe, leave me in peace.”  Apparently in that turmoil of pre-time, God had not yet perfected any emotions of compassion or love, for he responded by kicking Rahab to death and sinking the carcass beneath the sea.  In the 7th century BCE priest-revised version, this amoral violence and insensitivity within Creation’s energies was smoothed over.  However, the God of Genesis is still depicted metaphorically as tearing the upper waters—personified as male—from its embrace with the lower waters—personified as female.

Curiously, in later Hebrew writings the name Rahab was still being linked with creation activity and was cunningly inserted into the coded story of Joshua 11:18.  There the name is used for a prostitute who is portrayed as aiding the Israelites in the capture of Jericho.  For story purposes Rahab had undergone a sex change operation, and we should remember that the Israelites always symbolize the undeveloped particles which are in movement toward matter manifestation.  In the book of Joshua the city of Jericho is used to symbolize the energy dimension at which energy is in the process of manifesting into dense-matter form, so metaphorically the walls of energy come tumbling down so the energy units may pass over into their matter identity.

Tracking these mythic scriptural creatures to their origin gives new meaning to what the faithful refer to as “revealed wisdom.”