Serpent, Symbols, and Salvation
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Deities, Satanic symbolism, Christian symbolism, Book of Mormon, Heaven, Snakes, Images, Sumer, Wilderness
The image of the serpent was tremendously significant in the ancient world. Societies and scriptures of the Near East simultaneously attributed two highly symbolic roles to serpents. One role connected serpents to the heavens by having them represent deity, creative powers, and healing. The other linked them with the underworld and associated them with evil, harm, and destructive influences. We who live in modern times have no difficulty appreciating this double symbol because, in fact, this duality persists in our own day. The symbol of the healing serpent appears on the physician’s caduceus, while a person of disreputable actions—especially treachery— is sometimes referred to as “a snake.”
Original Publication Citation
“Serpent Symbols and Salvation in the Ancient Near East and the Book of Mormon,” in Journal of Book of Mormon Studies. Vol. 10. No. 2 (June 2002). pp. 42-55.
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Skinner, Andrew C., "Serpent, Symbols, and Salvation" (2001). Faculty Publications. 3473.
Copyright 2001 by the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois