Are Dragons Evil?

And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. (Revelation 12:9)

Without a doubt, the Bible uses a dragon to describe Satan in the book of Revelation. Since that prophetic book often uses symbolic language, it’s not clear if this dragon is merely a symbol or if Satan really exists in dragon form. In either case, some Christians have become convinced that this manifestation of Satan means that all dragons are evil and must be portrayed as evil.

Let’s examine this biblically and logically. If dragons are real, that is, if they ever really existed in our world, then God must have created them, as the Bible says:

All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. (John 1:3)

If God created dragons, then He must have created them “good.”

God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. (Genesis 1:31)

Therefore, any dragon that ever existed must have started out as good. That includes Satan, a glorious angel in heaven who fell as a result of his own actions. In the same way, if a dragon started out as good, it could become evil only through self corruption. Personal evil cannot come from God.

Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. (James 1:13-14)

Since one angel, Satan, corrupted himself and became evil, does that mean all angels are evil and should be portrayed as evil? Of course not. Only a third of the angels fell to evil. The other two thirds, a clear majority, remained loyal to God.

In the same way, it would be wrong to assert that the existence of one evil dragon must mean that all dragons are evil. Such a leap is not warranted.

Let’s look at other examples. The Bible also refers to Satan as a lion.

Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8)

Does this mean that all lions are evil and should be portrayed that way? No. In fact, Jesus is also called a lion.

Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals.” (Revelation 5:5)

Animal symbols are not the only example. Humans, themselves, can reflect every evil attribute of Satan, and, in fact, the anti-Christ is called the “man” of sin. Still, we don’t consider all men to be unredeemably evil, and we have no problem using them as good characters in stories.

My books assume that some dragons are evil and some are good. I used the common misconception that all dragons are evil to create a crisis for the few good dragons. Since many people considered all dragons to be evil, the good ones were hunted along with the evil ones, forcing the good ones to seek rescue from those who are trying to destroy the species. This allowed me a vehicle to symbolize redemption, to create a parallel with a remnant of mankind in this sin-sick world, a remnant that hopes for salvation.

Yes, a dragon is used to represent Satan, but God creates nothing that is inherently evil, and a symbol is not evil in and of itself and can be used to symbolize a wide range of ideas, both good and evil. It is wrong, both biblically and logically, to assume that all dragons are evil. They can be used in stories in a good and positive way, as can lions and angels.

Let us proclaim the truth, both in real life and in stories, that God is good, and nothing that comes from Him is inherently evil, including dragons.

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4 replies

  1. I’ve always just sort of seen dragons as animals, and whether or not they were good or evil depended on how the author wrote them. Interestingly enough, my parents were against reading books with lots of magic in them, and banned things involving certain ‘evil’ creatures like werewolves and vampires, but never banned a book solely because it had dragons in it. Sometimes they were suspicious of things involving dragons since they knew a lot of dragon fantasy had magic in it, but they didn’t take that very far.

    Is it still a huge trend for people to object to dragons/has it been cropping up a lot for you lately?

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  2. Your logic seems sound and the theology behind it seems to come from a right understanding of God’s goodness and, more importantly, our necessary response to it.

    Thinking of other popular dragons, Tolkien’s Smaug comes to mind as the evil example, a dragon whose only desire was for his hoard. However, Lewis (Tolkein’s contemporary and friend who must have discussed dragons together) painted Eustace as a repentant dragon; one could say that becoming a dragon was the best thing that happened to Eustace, because it provoked his repentance.

    Seems to me that the major take-away here is the attitude of the heart. Whether we be human or dragon, how do we respond to temptation? To the needs of others? To the truth about ourselves?

    Your dragons aren’t perfect and often make mistakes, just like people. This gives your novels the ring of truth. (Not to be confused with magical rings of power.)

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