I have a question about a store in the Creation Museum named “Dragon Hall Bookstore and Legacy Store.” When I first saw that I was totally turned off from going (and I want to go to the Ark and the Museum) and I will tell you why - I love the Holy Bible, God’s word and it states - Satan is called the dragon. And the great dragon was cast down, the old serpent, he that is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world; he was cast down to the earth, and his angels were cast down with him (Revelation 12:9). The term dragon is associated with those who oppose God. Can you help me understand what the thinking is behind the name of the store? We are planning a trip in the 4th quarter but this is disturbing to me.
Thank you for your time and your sister in Christ Jesus,
Hello J. C., thank you for contacting Answers in Genesis. You ask a good question, especially in light of Satan being called a “dragon” in Revelation 12:7–9 (and actually throughout chapters 12 and 13). But we must remember that dragons themselves are not intrinsically more evil than any other animal or part of our sin-cursed world (Genesis 3). In fact, the word dragon is used in the Bible multiple times, especially in the older versions like the Geneva and KJV. The Greek word used in Revelation 12:9 is δράκων (drakon), and it is clear that the English word “dragon” here derives from the Greek and the Latin (Draco), where it appears numerous times in the late 4th Century Vulgate.
Note that the word dinosaur was not invented until 1841. Before then, people would have called dinosaurs dragons. In Nehemiah 2:13 (see below), we see that the Israelites had possibly named one of the city’s springs (or fountains or wells) after the dragon, so our Dragon Hall bookstore name is not without biblical precedent.
And I went out by night by the gate of the valley, even before the dragon well, and to the dung port, and viewed the walls of Jerusalem, which were broken down, and the gates thereof were consumed with fire. (Nehemiah 2:13 (KJV))
Some translations, such as the NKJV and HCSB use “serpent” here, which is a viable translation as well. But even the more modern ESV retains the dragon translation in Nehemiah. Unfortunately, some of the newer English translations have replaced “dragon” throughout the Old Testament with anything from crocodile to hippo to jackal because they have either mistakenly confused tannin/tanninim (dragon, sea serpent/serpent) with tan/tannim (jackal) or have accepted the evolutionary story that “dinosaurs did not coexist with man.” But many of the print and online Hebrew Lexicons list dragon as the first or second meaning. For instance, the online Bible Hebrew/English Lexicon lists the definition of tannin/tanninim as (1a) dragon or dinosaur, (1b) sea or river monster, or (1c) serpent, venomous snake, and the Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew Lexicon lists tannin/tanninim as meaning a serpent, dragon, or sea monster.1
But to specifically address your question, recall that Satan is also called a lion in Scripture, and to be consistent, we would also need to avoid using depictions or mentions of lions. Obviously we wouldn’t do this, at least in part because Jesus is also called a lion in the Bible.
But to specifically address your question, recall that Satan is also called a lion in Scripture, and to be consistent, we would also need to avoid using depictions or mentions of lions.
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. (1 Peter 5:8)
But one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.” (Revelation 5:5)
The first verse emphasizes Satan’s hunger to deceive and harm people, but the second emphasizes Christ’s regal power. And while Satan is several times called a serpent, recall that Jesus tells his disciples to be “wise as serpents and harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16).
In conclusion, we hope it is clear that there is no issue with the word dragon or its use to describe real animals that coexisted with man until very recently. For the purposes of our ministry, recent evidence and accounts of dragons and dinosaurs (or marine reptiles, like Leviathan, or flying reptiles, like pterosaurs) are used to show people that such creatures didn’t die out 66 million years ago and that evolutionary ideas of deep time are false.
And Scripture (KJV version below) also records for us that dragons can praise God.
Praise the LORD from the earth, ye dragons, and all deeps. (Psalms 148:7 (KJV))
We have several articles on this topic as well that will provide further answers the reader may have in regards to dragon “legends” and dinosaurs.