Mermaids feature in many cultures around the world. They often feature in myths, legends, superstitions, and other kinds of folklore.
Some people say they are seductive creatures that lure people to their death, while other cultures regard them as benevolent beings. There are also those who say they cause tragedies like floods and shipwrecks.
What about the Bible? Does it mention mermaids and are they good or evil? I discuss all that in this post, including some other sea creatures mentioned in the Bible.
What You'll Learn Today
Are Mermaids Mentioned In The Bible?
No translation or version of the Bible mentions mermaids anywhere. There’s also no description of a being or animal that resembles a mermaid.
You may come across some sources saying there’s actually a mermaid in the Bible in the form of the Philistine god, Dagan or Dagon. But this is probably not true. Let me explain.
Who Is Dagan In The Bible?
Dagan is a pagan god mentioned several times in the Old Testament. He was worshiped in ancient Syria and was the primary god for the Philistines.
Judges 16:23 Now the lords of the Philistines gathered to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god and to rejoice, and they said, “Our god has given Samson our enemy into our hand.”
In 1 Samuel 5, the Philistines capture the Ark of the Covenant and take it into the ‘house of Dagon’, which likely refers to their god’s temple. They set the Ark down beside Dagon only to find their god fallen face down the next morning.
No one has an accurate picture of what Dagan looked like. But in some contexts, he is portrayed as a mermaid – or rather a merman – with his lower body being that of a fish and his upper body being that of a man.
A lot of depictions of Dagan today still portray him as a merman.
However, there’s a chance this depiction is not accurate. The image of Dagon as a mermaid comes from the claim that his name means ‘fish’. In fact, some scholars refer to him as a fish god.
But this has largely been disproven. A majority of scholars today believe that Dagon was not associated with fish or fishing. He was a creator god associated with grain and prosperity.
It’s highly likely that Dagon did not look like a mermaid at all. He probably had the form of a man. This brings us back to the beginning — there’s no mention at all of mermaids in the Bible.
Are Mermaids Evil?
Several cultures regard mermaids as malevolent beings. You may have heard the myth that they seduce sailors with their bodies and voice, only to lure them to their death.
In some cultures, they are also associated with tragedies like drownings, floods and shipwrecks.
There are also Christians who believe that mermaids are evil or that they are the physical manifestation of evil spirits.
This is despite the fact that mermaids are not mentioned anywhere in the Bible nor are they associated with the devil or any of his demons.
There’s also no scientific proof that mermaids exist, so something can’t really be evil if it doesn’t exist.
But even if you believe mermaids to be evil, the Bible is clear that we have no reason to be afraid as long as we are right with God.
Luke 10:19 Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you.
2 Thessalonians 3:3 But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.
According to the Bible, we should be more concerned about the strength of our faith. Constant fear and trembling at real or mythical evil beings is ungodly.
If we are righteous, strong and faithful, then the devil doesn’t stand a chance against us.
James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
In Ephesians 6, we are told to put on the whole armor of God so that we may prevail against the dark spiritual forces.
So it doesn’t matter whether mermaids are evil or not. If they exist and are evil, you have nothing to worry about as long as you are steadfast in your faith.
Other Sea Creatures Mentioned In The Bible
While the Bible doesn’t mention mermaids, it contains references to other sea creatures, both real and mythical.
Fish are the most mentioned sea creatures. In most instances, fish in the Bible refer to humans. When Jesus calls his first disciples while they are fishing, he tells them that he’ll make them fishers of men.
Here’s another reference in Matthew 13:47: Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind.
The reason mermaids are not in the Bible is not because they are not real. The Bible mentioned several creatures and beasts that are certainly not real. These often appear in visions and prophecies.
One of these creatures is a leviathan, a large sea serpent mentioned several times in the Old Testament. It often stands for a great enemy.
But despite its might, God repeatedly defeats the serpent to illustrate his strength.
In Job 41, God describes a fearsome sea creature to show how weak man is in contrast to God’s awesome power.
Job 41:1 Can you draw out Leviathan with a fishhook or press down his tongue with a cord?
The Leviathan is again mentioned in Isaiah.
Isaiah 27:1 In that day the Lord with his hard and great and strong sword will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent, Leviathan the twisting serpent, and he will slay the dragon that is in the sea.
And again in Psalms.
Psalm 74:13-14 You divided the sea by your might; you broke the heads of the sea monsters[a] on the waters. You crushed the heads of Leviathan; you gave him as food for the creatures of the wilderness.
In a number of visions, the Bible describes beasts rising out of the sea. Daniel experiences such a vision.
Daniel 7:3 And four great beasts came up out of the sea, different from one another. The first was like a lion and had eagles’ wings.
There’s also another almost similar vision in the book of Revelation.
Revelation 13:1 The dragon stood on the shore of the sea. And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. It had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on its horns, and on each head a blasphemous name.
In both visions, the creatures described are obviously not real. I’d be terrified if they were and existed somewhere deep in the Pacific Ocean.
One of them looks like a leopard but with wings. The one in Revelation has 10 horns and 7 heads. They have all these bizarre features that represent Kings, Kingdoms and other things.
You may have noticed there’s one well known sea creature I’ve not mentioned – the fish that swallowed Jonah.
Many people assume it’s a whale. But the Bible only says it’s a ‘great fish’ that swallowed Jonah. Even the New Testament in comparing the death and resurrection of Jesus to Jonah’s time in a fish says that ‘Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish’ (Matthew 12:40).
It could be a whale, a shark or some other big fish.