Is the Bible full of fantastic creatures? Part 8: The Dragon and The Beast

On May 9, 2012 a Russian-made Sukhoi Superjet 100 on a demonstration flight with 45 souls aboard slammed into Mount Salak south of Jakarta, Indonesia killing all aboard. What has that got to do with the dragon  – the red seven headed dragon – you wonder? Bear with me a bit and I’ll make the connection. But before going into that, for this final installment of the series, let me remind you of a couple of points made in the opening article of the series. 

First, the list of items (reproduced verbatim) that this atheist finds objectionable and unbelievable that this series has addressed:

“He follows a holy book with a jealous & genocidal god, ghosts, zombies, seers, devils, demons, witches, satyrs, unicorns, talking animals, a man who lived in a fish and a 7 headed dragon.”[1]
(Not listed but also covered: The Cockatrice; and thrown in with this article: The Beast of Rev 13.)

As I said in the initial article, it doesn’t concern me that an atheist has a problem with these things. It does, however, concern me that believers in God and those seeking the truth might be challenged by charges like this leveled by unbelieving atheists.  So I wanted to demonstrate there is a clear, rational answer for each item in the list.  In this series, the biblical intent behind each item – if it exists – is explained; and those that don’t exist are identified. Continue Reading

Is the Bible full of fantastic creatures? Part 7: Zombies

Of all the items in the list below, this one is not only foolishly laughable, but also very offensive to me as a Christian. Zombies are, of course the antithesis of what the Bible teaches about the fullness and beauty of the life to come that’s offered to all in Christ. Before we get into it, let me remind you of the list of fantastic creatures we’ve been reviewing:

“He follows a holy book with a jealous & genocidal god, ghosts, zombies, seers, devils, demons, witches, satyrs, unicorns, talking animals, a man who lived in a fish and a 7 headed dragon.”[1]
(Not listed but also covered already: The Cockatrice)

Are there zombies in the Bible?

A good practice when dealing with questions such as these is to define your terms.  That is certainly necessary in this case. So what kind of “zombie” are we talking about?  My expectation is that the zombie referenced in the above tweet is the typical movie zombie.  And immediately we run into a bit of a difficulty, because there are a number of types of zombies seen in the movies. There are: Continue Reading

Is the Bible full of fantastic creatures? Part 6: Talking Animals and Jonah

These two topics – talking animals and “a man who lived in a fish” more than the others really highlight how your worldview and a priori assumptions influence how you understand any text as we’ll see.  Of course I had to shorten the title up a bit for this one. “A man who lived in a fish” following the series name makes for a long title. But we all know who he’s referring to: the prophet Jonah.  As a reminder, here is the list of fantastic creatures this particular atheist takes issue with, with links to the ones we’ve already covered:

“He follows a holy book with a jealous & genocidal god, ghosts, zombies, seers, devils, demons, witches, satyrs, unicorns, talking animals, a man who lived in a fish and a 7 headed dragon.”[1]
(Not listed but also covered already: The Cockatrice)

Are there talking animals in the Bible?

The answer to this question invokes your worldview presuppositions.  Does God exist? Does Satan exist? Are they active in the world?  How you answer these questions determines whether or not you believe the following explanation. Since that is the case, though it should already be clear, let me be explicit about the worldview from which I address these questions:
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Star of Bethlehem – Divine Preparation for the Incarnation

A Christmas Meditation

The naiveté  of those who doubt that Jesus is the messiah because they suppose that he arranged to fulfill the requirements and prophecies of the messiah himself always amuses me – particularly at this time of  year when the preparations of God for the arrival of the messiah are so apparent.

It reminds me of the naiveté of the comic character Calvin, of Calvin and Hobbes – an active and curious child who with his stuffed tiger (who is alive to Calvin) always gets into amusing situations.  In one instance Calvin asks his father: Continue Reading

Is the Bible full of fantastic creatures? Part 4: Witches and Ghosts

Some people disbelieve the Bible because they find what I’m calling fantastic creatures – creatures which they believe don’t exist, and thus they conclude the Bible is full of fairy stories and make believe. But nothing could be further from the truth. So in this series we’re looking at the reality behind the creatures which the atheist who tweeted the below finds objectionable:

“He follows a holy book with a jealous & genocidal god, ghosts, zombies, seers, devils, demons, witches, satyrs, unicorns, talking animals, a man who lived in a fish and a 7 headed dragon.”[1]
(Not listed but also covered: The Cockatrice)

And though this is not the season for Halloween, next up we’re looking at witches and ghosts.

Are there Witches in the Bible? 

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Creation, Craig and the myth of a “mytho-historical” Genesis

My seminary apologetics teacher Dr. William Lane Craig has a quite serious problem on his hands.  He’s painted himself into a corner.  Dr. Craig has built a career and made and name for himself in apologetics and is well respected in the field. He now faces a problem that could undo all the good work he has done in defending the faith. What problem could possibly be so severe you wonder? Like the man cutting off the branch he’s sitting on, Craig is heading in the direction of undermining most if not all the work he has done in defending the existence of God and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He appears ready to embrace the creation account as “mytho-historical.” Continue Reading

Is the Bible full of fantastic creatures? Part 3: Cockatrice

The creature sculpted into the fountain above is the mythical cockatrice. It was not included in the below list from one atheist in his attempt to mock the Bible and the Christian faith for including what he considers unbelievable creatures:

“He follows a holy book with a jealous & genocidal god, ghosts, zombies, seers, devils, demons, witches, satyrs, unicorns, talking animals, a man who lived in a fish and a 7 headed dragon.”[1]

Like many atheists he’s grossly wrong in many of his presumptions. And since I’m sure someone with an anti-Bible axe to grind will point to the cockatrice as an unbelievable creature in the Bible I’ve included it. Though not mentioned in this atheist’s  list, this is a good place to handle it – following an article on the satyr – because a lot of similar dynamics are involved. Of particular note is the use of Hebrew rhyme – the repetition of a single idea. In Is 34.14   we looked at the use of rhyme when a satyr – an idol for a pagan demonic god represented by a goat – was used in the context of judgment. In contrast here we see Hebrew rhyme used with the word the KJV translates as “cockatrice”  in the context of the glorious reign of Christ on earth, in a passage about the effects of the curse being removed. 

So what’s going on here? Is the Bible really referring to the mythical beast, a winged serpent with a rooster’s head and deadly gaze, hatched from a cock’s egg? Or is something else going on? With a little history and some good dictionaries, it’s easy to see both the intent of the word (a poisonous viper such as an asp or Egyptian cobra), and a likely reason why those more common words weren’t used. Continue Reading

Is the Bible full of fantastic creatures? Part 2: Satyrs, devils and demons

We continue now into our investigation of a claim made by an atheist who charges that the Bible is full of what he considers unbelievable natural and supernatural characters and creatures:

“He follows a holy book with a jealous & genocidal god, ghosts, zombies, seers, devils, demons, witches, satyrs, unicorns, talking animals, a man who lived in a fish and a 7 headed dragon.”[1]

In my previous article I dealt with unicorns and his misunderstanding of God as a “jealous & genocidal god.”  Now we move onto satyrs – and as it turns out devils and demons fit in here too, so we’ll cover them instead of Jonah as I indicated in the previous article. Continue Reading

Is the Shroud of Turin Authentic? The Unconsidered Evidence

The Shroud of Turin

Summary

In their article “Is the Shroud of Turin Authentic – or Is it a Forgery” Creation Ministries International (CMI) supports the theory that the Shroud of Turin is not the authentic burial shroud of Christ – it is a medieval forgery. This article refutes that theory, along with the main reasons CMI gives for rejecting authenticity.

This article relies primarily on the testimony of Shroud of Turin Research Project (STRP) members and other expert testimony to demonstrate there is a wealth of evidence CMI apparently did not consider before drawing their conclusions. This article is intended to inform the reader of those evidences and make available the testimony of the STRP members and other expert witnesses so that readers may judge for themselves whether CMI has reached the correct conclusion. It is the position of this article that they did not. The reader is encouraged to click on the links to view the referenced testimonies.

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Are Unicorns In The Bible?

Sidebar to: Is the Bible full of fantastic creatures? Part 1: Jealous God and Unicorns? 

First of all, let’s dispense with the idea that the Bible speaks of the mythical magical type of unicorns pictured above – the type that most people think about when they hear the word “unicorn”.  In fact the word “unicorn”-  as it is understood today, is so far removed from the meaning of the original Hebrew word ראם (reh-ahm) that modern translations have chosen to not even use the word, preferring instead “wild ox.” Some translations using “wild ox”: NIV, ESV, NKJV, NASB, NRSV among others. That’s appropriate since 1. “wild ox” is the primary meaning given in the standard reference – BDB[1]  and 2. Its a word that could refer to what many commentators conclude the Hebrew word points to – the aurochs – a wild ox now extinct. The problem with that understanding is that all the wild oxen we’re familiar with have two horns. Which gets back to the main question I want to examine:

Does the Bible Really Refer to a Unicorn?

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