Does the Bible Address Mythological Creatures?

by Christian Townson

C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien are two of the most prominent Christian fiction authors. They wrote stories such as The Chronicles of Narnia, The Space Trilogy, and The Lord of the Rings. These books tell fantastical tales of hobbits, unicorns, dragons, and talking animal-like characters. As we read these stories, we wonder whether these magical creatures ever existed in reality. The Bible mentions talking animals, giants, unicorns, and dragons. Does the Bible suggest some of the supposed-mythical characters in these Christian fiction books were indeed real creatures at some point in time?


Talking Animals
The transition from Genesis 2 to Genesis 3 shocks the reader. The talking serpent comes out of nowhere, “more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made.” He begins speaking to the woman, and she does not seem surprised by it. Does this mean that animals could talk in the Garden of Eden? Even though Satan possessed the serpent, was this an isolated event? Either way, the Bible treats this as a true historical event.

In Numbers 22:28-30, we see another talking animal - a donkey. Balaam, a messenger of the Lord, plans to curse Israel on orders from the king of Moab. Herides on his donkey to fulfill this task. As they progress on in their journey, the donkey sees the angel of the LORD with a sword, ready to kill Balaam for his actions. The donkey tries to stop Balaam. But Balaam continues until “the LORD opened the mouth of the donkey.” She declares, “Am I not your donkey on which you have ridden all your life long to this day? Is it my habit to treat you this way?” Balaam responds with “No,” seemingly unfazed by the talking animal right in front of him. The donkey speaks for herself, not as a voice of God but from her own personal perspective.

These are narrative events, not parables, poetry, or apocalyptic writings. The Bible presents this as fact amid stories with real animals speaking to real people.

Myths reserve giants for beanstalks. The Bible not only speaks about giants; it also personifies them. Goliath, a Philistine, is a giant many may know. He is described as standing "six cubits and a span" tall with a coat of armor weighing "five thousand shekels of bronze" (1 Samuel 17:5). He was 9 feet, 9 inches tall, and wore a coat weighing 125 pounds for battle! This is not an exaggeration. This is a historical detail written in a historical book. Goliath taunts Israel and ultimately faces David, the king of Israel.

Later on in 2 Samuel 21:18-22, the Bible records David’s mighty men defeating giants, including one that has six fingers and six toes on it. The Amorites have the “height of cedars and as strong as oaks” (Amos 2:9-10). The Emim, Zuzim, and Anakin appear as giants. Og, king of Bashan, was from the “remnant of the giants” (Deut. 3:11). According to Scripture, giants were real.

Nine times throughout the Old Testament, the word “re’em” appears. The King James Version of the Bible translated this as “unicorn.” However, most other versions translate the word “wild ox” for the same passages, which refers to the great aurochs or wild bulls that are now extinct (Numbers 23:22, 24:3, Deuteronomy 33:17, Job 39:9-10, Psalm 22:21, 29:6, 92:10, and Isaiah 34:7). For some readers, this indicates that the mythical one-horned horse was real. This occurrence centers on translation differences, not necessarily a confirmation of the magical creatures. Although there is one verse in Daniel 8:5 that speaks of a goat that had a “notable”, “conspicuous”, or “prominent” horn between his eyes. here is no overwhelming biblical evidence for the presence of unicorns.

Dragons and Leviathans
Dragons appear in the Old and New Testaments using various words including serpent, sea monster, and dragon of the sea. Isaiah  27:1 uses the word Leviathan, which means serpent or monster. “In that day the Lord with his hard and great and strong sword will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent, Leviathan the twisting serpent, and he will slay the dragon that is in the sea” (Isaiah 27:1) This appears to prophesy the final battle between Satan, depicted as a dragon, and Michael and his angels at the end of time (Rev. 12:7-9).

Was this comparison made based on a real dragon who could breathe fire out of its mouth, or was it based on a serpent or other reptile?

Suddenly in Job 40:15-34, as the LORD is challenging Job, He speaks in detail about the Behemoth - a creature never mentioned in any other place in the Bible. God describes it as a large and very strong creature not afraid of deep and dangerous waters. We do not know what kind of creature it would be called today. Most scholars believe it could be a dinosaur, such as a sauropod or a diplodocus. However, there is no definitive answer.

Most instances of the creatures we may think of as mythical appear in apocalyptic scripture. Dragons, Leviathan, and Behemoth are described in vivid detail primarily in the prophetic books of the Bible, but there are some instances in the history and poetry books where they are mentioned.   They often represent the attributes of certain rulers and countries or show the power and might of God.

God Made Everything, So No Existing Creature Is Truly “Mythological”
“In the beginning, God made the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). In summary, God made everything. Water. Sun. Moon. Stars. Animals. Humans. He made it all. God made everything according to His intentional design. No creature disrupts God’s design. A human and a bull cannot procreate to make a centaur. God made each thing according to its own kind. If it exists or has existed, it is not mythological. It is from God, made with His sovereign intention. Nothing occurs outside His will and knowledge.

God, as the Creator of All Things, Can Transcend Nature as the Sovereign
God, the Creator of all things, transcends nature as He desires. After Philip’s encounter with the Ethiopian eunuch, He supernaturally transported Philip to a completely different region (Acts 8:39-40). God wrestled with Jacob before there was an incarnate Christ (Genesis 32:22-32). God is not beholden to nature. “He himself gives to all mankind life, breath, and everything” (Acts 17:25). He is the Sovereign Ruler. He is transcendent beyond all measures, incomprehensible to the human mind. If God made a dragon in the creation narrative, He certainly had the power and ability to do it. If He made creatures that appear mythological to us, then we can trust that God made them for His good pleasure.

The next time you read about the talking animals in Narnia or the giant men in The Lord of the Rings, remember some of these creatures find their origins in the Bible. Not all mythical creatures are fictional. God’s word is truth, not fiction.

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. 
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Christian serves as the Director of Mobilization/Missions
as he leads the For the Nations ministry for The Journey Church in Lebanon, TN. He is married to Danyel. 


  • The Bible (or “Scripture”)