Latter-day Saint Life

Sea Monsters, Giants, and Angels: Why You Should Study the Bible's Surprising Monsters


Though some sections of the Bible can be difficult for us to make sense of in our modern age, there's still much they can teach us.

Still searching for a spooky Halloween costume? Try reading the Bible for inspiration.

Old and New Testament stories describe sea monsters, giants and avenging spirits that are just as scary as the vampires or zombies we see on TV, according to religion scholars. People of faith just don't retell these tales very often, preferring more comforting religious messages.

"A lot of people don't have a way of knowing that there are monsters throughout the Bible because so many of them have been tamed or domesticated," said Esther J. Hamori, an associate professor of the Hebrew Bible at Union Theological Seminary in New York City.

Take cherubim, for example. Today, we think of them as "happy, fat angel babies," but in the Bible they're winged guardians who sometimes have the body of a lion, Hamori noted.

"That's always a slight shock to my students," she said.

By redesigning or ignoring biblical monsters, we miss out on more than great costume ideas, Hamori and others explained. We miss a chance to have deeper conversations about why bad things happen and how God wants us to respond.

Lead image by William Blake, Wikimedia Commons
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