What does the Bible say about a snake?

Answered by Cody Janus

The Bible mentions snakes in several different contexts throughout its pages. While snakes are not explicitly discussed as a symbol of evil or Satan in all instances, there are a few key passages that associate snakes with negative or deceptive characteristics.

One of the most well-known passages regarding snakes in the Bible is found in the book of Genesis, specifically Genesis 3:1-15. In this account, the serpent is depicted as a cunning and deceptive creature who tempts Eve to eat the forbidden fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. It is important to note that the serpent is not explicitly identified as Satan in this passage, but later interpretations have made this connection.

After Adam and Eve succumb to the serpent’s temptation, God curses the serpent in Genesis 3:14-15: “And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: and I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” This verse is often referred to as the protoevangelium, as it foreshadows the victory of Jesus Christ over sin and Satan.

In the New Testament, there are a few instances where Jesus uses the imagery of snakes to convey a spiritual lesson. In Matthew 23:33, Jesus refers to the religious leaders of his time as a “brood of vipers,” highlighting their hypocrisy and deceit. This metaphor emphasizes the destructive nature of their behavior and warns against following their example.

Additionally, in John 3:14-15, Jesus draws a parallel between the serpent lifted up in the wilderness and his own crucifixion: “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.” Here, Jesus alludes to the story in Numbers 21:4-9, where the Israelites were plagued by venomous snakes and were saved by looking at a bronze snake raised on a pole. Jesus uses this imagery to illustrate that believing in him leads to eternal life and salvation.

It is worth mentioning that while snakes are associated with deception and evil in some biblical contexts, they are not universally condemned or portrayed negatively. In Numbers 21:4-9, for example, God instructs Moses to create a bronze snake to bring healing to the Israelites. This indicates that snakes can also be a symbol of healing or redemption in certain circumstances.

The Bible presents a complex view of snakes, with some passages associating them with deception and evil, particularly in the context of the serpent in Genesis 3. However, it is important to interpret these passages in light of their broader context and the overall message of redemption and salvation found throughout Scripture.