If I asked you to tell me about the serpent in the bible and who it represents, what would you say? What was the first thing that came to your mind? I imagine its the serpent from the Garden of Eden who tempted Eve. I think there a lot of people who don’t read the bible, that know the basics of this story.

But if I said no, the other serpent. Do you know which one I’m referring to? I imagine you do. If not, I’m referring to the brass serpent that Moses made in the wilderness for the Israelites who had been bitten by the fiery serpents to look upon to be healed (Num 21:8-9, also 1Ne. 17:41 & Alma 33:18-22).

I’ve always found this so interesting; that the serpent represents both the Savior and Satan. Recently, I was thinking about the duality of things, how something can heal us or hurt us; destroy or give life. You can find it in just about everything. Fire warms us and cooks our food, yet it could burn down our house. Water is vital for life, but it can also take life. But I was thinking of it in terms of addiction. Can I use addiction to help me instead of hurt me?

I think this duality in things is part of the law of opposition spoken about by Lehi (2 Ne. chapter 2) I mean Lehi was using it more in the context of light vs dark, day vs night, sun vs moon, life vs death, etc. But it still works here. What is the opposite of Christ? Satan. The object, the serpent is the same. Take the example of water I used. Water is the object; life and death, hydration and dehydration, these are the opposites.

I see it in the commandments too. If there is a penalty for violation of that commandment (or law), then there has to be an equally compelling blessing/reward for obedience to it.

I was also thinking about the correlation between habit and addiction. Lets say I have a habit of drinking a glass of warm milk before bed. Now change that to I’m addicted to drinking a glass of warm milk before bed. Notice how it changes the context and feeling behind it? Imagine how that would work if we changed habits to addictions. Instead of having the habit of reading the Book of Mormon everyday, I was addicted to reading it every day.

Lets get back to the serpent. The serpent is an interesting choice. Metaphysically the serpent represents creation and rebirth. When a snake sheds its skin, it is metaphorically being re-birthed, or born again.

Also, the brass serpent that Moses made in the wilderness. I saw a artist’s rendition of this and the serpent was in the shape of an “S”. I don’t think so. Personally, I think it was in the shape of the ouroboros, the snake eating its own tail in the shape of a circle. This is an archetypical symbol that represents the eternal cycle of destruction and rebirth. Being raised in Egypt in Pharaohs’ house, I’m sure Moses was familiar with it, and I believe that is the design he would have used.

Just some of my thoughts…