God is the creator of all living things. He even created “Godzilla” if there ever was such a thing. Genesis 1:21 tells us “So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.” Genesis 1:21 contains an astonishing phrase: ‘great sea creatures.’ The New American Standard Bible renders it “great sea monsters.” According to MacArthur, “The Hebrew word is tannin, which can refer to any large creature, or it can mean ‘dragon’ or ‘sea–serpent.’ The reference to one specific kind of creature seems significant. Why are the tannin singled out? Perhaps the answer is found in the fact that ancient Egyptian and Mesopotamian mythology was filled with fantastic tales about sea monsters. These were supposed to be gods, and the ancient pagans feared these sea–creature deities, as if they were the embodiment of evil. Such myths were common at the time Moses wrote this account. So here the biblical text simply states that God created even the largest, most monstrous creatures of the deep. They are not gods to be feared; they are created beings like every other form of life God created. And the biblical text underscores that fact, debunking all the pagan myths about them.”[1]

Most people see “great sea creatures” as being some kind of hostile force that goes against God such as the serpent in Genesis 3 and in Revelation. Is that always the case? Copan has an answer. He says, “The answer takes us back to the ANE (Ancient Near East) context, in which sea monsters figured as primeval forces that hindered a well-ordered cosmos. Genesis 1 implies that this is a false theological view. The not-insignificant verb bārāʾ emphasizes that God created the sea creatures; they are not hostile forces to be reckoned with.”[2]

It was a “great sea creature” that rescued Jonah from drowning. God appoints a large sea creature to swallow a human. On first hearing, this looks like part of Jonah’s punishment, but the narrator’s comment that the prophet is in the animal’s belly for three days hints at something exceptional happening to him; what that is we learn from the conclusion.”[3] God actually speaks to the sea creature who promptly obeys God and vomits Jonah up on a beach! Great sea creatures, and Godzilla, are not creatures to be feared. They are God’s creation, whatever you believe them to be, and under his direct control. The Psalmist also talks to the sea creature. In Psalm 148:7-12 the writer speaks to all in the “depths” and says, “Praise the Lord from the earth, You great sea creatures and all the depths.”

[1] MacArthur, John. 2001. The Battle for the Beginning: The Bible on Creation and the Fall of Adam. Nashville, TN: W Pub. Group.

[2] Copan, Paul, and William Lane Craig. 2004. Creation out of Nothing: A Biblical, Philosophical, and Scientific Exploration. Grand Rapids, MI; England: Baker Academic; Apollos.

[3] Mangum, Douglas, ed. 2020. Lexham Context Commentary: Old Testament. Lexham Context Commentary. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.