A Hungry Interest In Dragons
One of the leaders in homeschool curriculum is Ken Ham and the Answers In Genesis organization. I was very doubtful of their ideas the first time I sat in one of their classes at our annual homeschool convention. I respected their input, because it seemed to be without problem, but I was still sold on what I learned in school: the earth is millions of years old. The problem is that Answers In Genesis (AIG) gives you so much evidence that it's hard to believe what you were taught in a government school!
Even more curious, the more I look into their stuff, the more excited I become about the potential for what they teach. The little boy within me has risen up, the one that wants to know more about dinosaurs and discoveries. You see, AIG likes to teach from a historical perspective along with the scientific perspective. What I mean is they teach the history of creation and also the history of how science views it.
For example, Carbon dating and fossil records tell us that Dinosaurs lived millions of years ago. But do you know that news articles as recent as 1890 report men capturing and killing what could have been a pterodactyl? (Read this previous blog.) There are more recent sightings too. A google news search for "Papua New Guinea dinosaur sightings" comes up with a report about the Ropen or "demon flyer" that seems to haunt the outer lying islands of that region. Here's a link: Dinosaur Found Alive: Two Species Recorded in Papua New Guinea.
My point is, I'm doubting a lot of what I was taught as a young boy. Historical evidences, like the dragon lore stories that seem to come from all over the world, have captured my imagination. Did you know there are a lot of stories about dragons? Did you know that these stories don't just come from one place, but they are reported from all over the world?
One eyewitness account is from John Of Damascus. He wrote an essay titled "On Dragons And Ghosts". John wrote about the difference between a real dragon, that was named by Adam, and the fantasy dragons from fiction that could change their form or were smarter than man. There's an amazing difference. On one hand you have Smaug the dragon from the Hobbit movies. Smaug is powerful, smart and conniving. On the other hand you have a T-Rex from Jurassic Park. One is a work of fiction, the other is the real deal! Okay, both of these "characters" are works of fiction, but you get my point.
Another historical account comes from Alexander the Great. While conquering India he came across a tribe that worshiped a serpent because they considered it to be holy. The Indians were so concerned about their serpent that they begged Alexander the Great not to attack it, so the king didn't attack it, but his army did go by it's cave. The serpent was disturbed by the army's noise and stuck out it's head. It greatly terrified the army. Can you imagine what it would take to terrify one of the greatest armies in the world? Alexander's army estimated the length of the serpents neck to be 70 cubits long, and that was just what they saw! They also reported the beast's eyes were about the size of a large round Macedonian shield.
Then you can look into stories from the Dragon slayers. You probably know about Beowolf or St. George. Have you ever heard of the Tarasque that was soothed by St. Martha? It was a six-legged beast with the head of a lion. It's body was ox-like but covered in turtle shell and it's tail was scaly, ending with a scorpion stinger. The beast was said to be the offspring of the Leviathan and the Onachus. Legend says St. Martha calmed it with prayer and by singing hymns. The townspeople then killed it, though they later regretted destroying it.
You could also consider the dragon that is sculpted into the original Babylon Ishtar gate, pictured in the heading of this article. This multi-entrance to the city of Babylon was one of the seven wonders of the world! Did you know that the Catholic Bible contains an extra 2 chapters at the end of the Book of Daniel. Daniel chapter 14 records how the saint killed the dragon Bel of Babylon. Perhaps this dragon on the Ishtar gate is a likeness of Bel. Bel was an idol of Babylon. That means he was worshiped. I can imagine Bel was also a means of corporal punishment. I imagine the worst criminals of the city were condemned to be eaten by Bel.
There's an awesome book compiled by Bodie Hodge and Laura Welch, it's titled Dragons Legends, Lore Of Dinosaurs. My wife got me this book on my 39th birthday. I had been eyeing it for several years, I just never pulled the trigger on it. This book is a quick introductory guide to all of these historical accounts. It may not tell the complete stories, but it gets you started so you know about them. If your interested, click the book above! It takes you to a package deal from Answers In Genesis: you can get the book and a 2-part DVD with more stories!
Keep looking into it! You may wonder, like me, if all these stories were written for a reason. Maybe dragons and dinosaurs were real and they really did live at the same time as man, not millions of years ago.
Ben Russell is author of "Noah Drake And The Dragon Killer". He writes Juvenile/Middle Grade Fiction Adventures. He's not a scientist or a doctor of history; he's just a guy that's interested in those subjects. He's very interested in creation. His inner child gets excited about dinosaurs and the idea that they're not millions of years old. He despises the theory of evolution, believing it's a stumbling block to the Christian faith. Ben is a family man. He and his lovely wife have four happy kids and they make their home among the roaming hills of the Missouri Ozarks.