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Does the Bible Say Snakes Are Evil?

Many people don’t like snakes. Some people fear them, and others even believe that the Bible says snakes are evil. But what does the Bible truly say about this infamous reptile?

Everyone knows the story of the devil using a snake to lead Adam and Eve astray in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3). And Revelation mentions “that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world” (12:9 ESV). From these two passages, it’s easy to see why some people think snakes are evil.

The Bible has more unflattering things to say about snakes elsewhere. Sinning is like drinking a cobra’s venom (Job 20:16). Evil people “make their tongue sharp as a serpent’s” (Psalm 140:3). Jesus called the bad religious leaders of His day a “brood of vipers” (Matthew 23:33).

The Bible, however, never actually says that snakes are evil, and it contains several stories that show God using snakes just as He has used many other animals.

In Exodus 7, God turned Aaron’s staff into a serpent as a sign for Pharaoh to let the Israelites leave Egypt (verse 10). When the Egyptian sorcerers used a trick to turn their own staffs into serpents, Aaron’s snake ate their snakes (7:12).

Later, after the Israelites rebelled against God, He sent a plague of venomous snakes among them until the people repented. Then God had Moses make a bronze serpent, and any who looked to the snake of bronze did not die (Numbers 21:4-9).

Jesus compared Himself to the bronze serpent, saying, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him may have eternal life” (John 3:14-15). Jesus also said that we should “be wise as serpents” (Matthew 10:16).

Since God gave a hero of the faith two miraculous snakes, compared Himself to a special bronze serpent, and commanded us to have an attribute of a snake, it’s clear the Bible doesn’t teach that snakes are evil. Isaiah 11:8 even prophesies that tame snakes will still be here after God brings peace to the earth.

While snakes might never be everyone’s favorite kind of animal, they should not be considered evil. God has used them for good things, and they will forever be a part of His creation.

Jonathan Garner’s writings have been published in more than a dozen magazines, including Havok and the Bible Advocate, and in the anthology Strange Summer Fun. In addition to reading and writing in a variety of genres, he enjoys listening to innovative music and exploring the many wonders of nature.