“And sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and sea is no more.” Revelation 20:13 – 21:1. [“There is no more sea” is a bad translation.]
Taken literally, neither death nor hell can be “cast” anywhere ! But John takes on board the personalisation of attributes used so frequently in Mythology. Sea (Thalassa, Oceanus), Death (Thanatos) and Hell (Hades) were depicted as beings, as part of the pantheon. Thanatos was the god of death, the twin brother of Hypnos, sleep. This is why departed saints are said to be “asleep”. Hades (Pluto) was the god of the Underworld, the brother of Zeus (Jupiter). Oceanus was the offspring of Ouranos (Heaven) and Gaea (Earth).
The symbolism must not be pressed too literally, but a stern and a glorious reality exists behind it all. And so we learn that the three agencies for collecting the dead are to be found no more. Hades and Thanatos are consigned to the lake of fire, and Oceanus “is no more”. In each case the Greek text uses the definite article to describe these three, showing that symbolic “beings” are referred to. The fact that Oceanus “is no more” has nothing to do with the composition of the “New Earth”, where no doubt Land and Ocean will occupy their respective places, as now. This clears up a perplexity that has troubled many.
Turning now to another topic, found in the Wisdom of Solomon, an Apocryphal Book, is the following (11:15-19.)
But for the foolish devices of their wickedness, wherewith being deceived they worshipped serpents void of reason, and vile beasts, You sent a multitude of unreasonable beasts upon them for vengeance; that they might know, that wherewithal a man sins, by the same also shall he be punished. For your Almighty hand, that made the world of matter without form, wanted not means to send among them a multitude of bears or fierce lions, or unknown wild beasts, full of rage, newly created, breathing out either a fiery vapour, or filthy scents of scattered smoke, or shooting horrible sparkles out of their eyes: whereof not only the harm might dispatch them at once, but also the terrible sight utterly destroy them.
“Unknown wild beasts, newly created.” Solomon obviously had knowledge of such beasts, collected from earlier writings. He places them in the Wilderness years under Moses, but we suggest he used information relating to what was roaming the earth before the Flood. This will account for the fossil record of hundreds of varieties of savage looking beasts wholly unknown to us today.
But Solomon said that these were “newly created” by the Almighty. But Scripture declares that God takes ultimate responsibility for everything. A very clear example of this is found in the two accounts of David numbering the tribes. “The anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah.” 2 Sam.24:1. “And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.” 1 Chron.21:1. Satan instigated the temptation, but the Lord took responsibility for the action.
These beasts were made by fallen angels using genetic engineering, and cross-breeding. In part 8 we shall investigate this in more detail.