Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Did Dragons Walk Among Us? (Do They Still?) Part 2

Virtually every culture on earth has an oral tradition of encounters with large, strange beasts—creatures different from those we know. Were they dragons? Why don’t we still have dragons among us? Or do we? Will we ever know for sure?

Part 2

What the Bible says about monsters, and why it’s probably true

The Bible makes reference to several types of animals that are known to be departed, but that co-existed with humans in antediluvian (before the Flood) times. Job mentions Behemoth, who some say is our modern hippo or elephant. But a closer look reveals it’s not a good match—Behemoth “moves its tail like a cedar” (Job 40:17). (Does that sound like a hippo or elephant tail?) Also, v.20 says, “the mountains yield food for him.” Present-day hippos and elephants do not live in mountainous habitats. Leviathan, dragons, and sea monsters are named as water-dwelling creatures.

People living thousands of years ago described what they saw with their own eyes.

Many of the world’s cultures have an oral history of dragons. It would be hard to believe that these stories are mere fabrications, as preliterate societies used storytelling as a means of passing down information from one generation to the next. On more than one continent, cave drawings have been found depicting dinosaur-like animals, and human footprints have been found alongside and overlapping dinosaur footprints.

Many large extinct animals have been determined to have died in a flood. Hundreds of thousands of drowned mammoths have been discovered on high ground in Siberia, northern Alaska and Canada, and other far northern places. So have saber-toothed tigers, giant elk, cave bears, and musk ox. They were buried alive—they did not starve—and the food found in their stomachs was tree matter. Trees no longer grow at these latitudes, and a mammoth could not survive on the stunted flora that does—and for a very short growing period at that. (In fact, evidence of an “ice age,” which supposedly occurred about 10,000 years ago, can be explained more easily by a sudden, one-time freezing at the time of the Great Flood, or as the flood waters receded, when the earth underwent enormous physical changes.)

What this tells us is that many huge mammals that co-existed with our ancestors were unable to survive the Flood. Any swimming creature, however, might have been spared.

How Nessie et al. might have arrived in their respective bodies of fresh water

If the earth was at one time covered with water, swimming creatures would have had the freedom to travel anywhere. According to the book of Genesis, an aquatic environment prevailed for over a year; this is more than enough time for a whale to complete its annual migration cycle. (Migrating whales can cover 2,000 nautical miles at an average speed of nine knots.) As the waters receded, some of these swimmers could have become stranded in relatively small bodies of water far from where they began.

Millions of salmon migrate from the North Sea to Loch Ness, apparently notwithstanding that the North Sea is saltwater and the loch is fresh. People have even claimed to see dolphins in Loch Ness! It is noteworthy that all of the allegedly monster-inhabited lakes are relatively close to major saltwater bodies. Of course, after thousands of years, it would not be Flood survivors who now dwell in these lakes, but their descendants.

What happened to the land-based dinosaurs?

Supposing a Noah’s ark-type scenario, where the huge, roaming dinosaurs all drowned in the Flood, only aquatic dinosaurs would have survived—hence, Nessie and her international cousins.

Yet, some species not strictly aquatic may have had opportunity to survive the Great Flood. Amphibious creatures, perhaps, and smaller mammals and reptiles, as well as flying species, may have been able to rest on floating debris until the flood waters receded. Babies and eggs of larger species may have made it by this means as well. Often, the dragons of stories inhabit places near water—not surprising, given the adaptive advantage of swimming skills.

Perhaps some terrestrial species survived the Flood but were wiped out by hunting when the flood waters receded and everyone struggled to survive on a planet devoid of vegetation. Another possibility is that…they did not entirely disappear.

To be continued….

About The Author

Lisa J. Lehr is a freelance writer with a specialty in business and marketing communications. She holds a biology degree and has worked in a variety of fields, including the pharmaceutical industry and teaching, and has a particular interest in Christian tradition. She is also a graduate of American Writers and Artists Institute (AWAI), America’s leading course on copyrighting. Contact Lisa J. Lehr Copy writing www.ljlcopywriting.com, Lisa@ljlcopywriting.com for help with your business writing needs.

No comments: