Animal Symbolism in Christianity I

 Whether it is to show strength or symbolize a holy event, animals and other creatures have appeared throughout the Bible. In this article, you will learn about the symbolism that the eagle, butterfly, and peacock represents.


With the ability to soar up in the air, the eagle is a symbol of the resurrection or ascension of Christ. Some view the eagle as a symbol of Christians that have been baptized with a connection to the symbolic death and rise of Christ. Sometimes, the eagle is depicted with a halo over its head. This imagery is associated with John the Evangelist because of what people consider a “lofty and soaring” gospel.

In the Bible, the eagle appears in the following passages:

”¢    “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)

”¢    “Their faces looked like this: Each of the four had the face of a man, and on the right side each had the face of a lion, and on the left the face of an ox; each also had the face of an eagle. “(Ezek. 1:10)

”¢    “like an eagle that stirs up its nest
   and hovers over its young,
that spreads its wings to catch them
   and carries them aloft.” (Deuteronomy 32:11)


Another bird associated with the Christian faith that serves as a symbol is the peacock, which the ancients believed had flesh that did not decay after it died. Because of this, the peacock was seen as a symbol of immortality. The symbolism of the bird was adopted into Christianity, and can be seen in numerous early Christian mosaics and paintings. On the other hand, the strutting and showy display of feathers is sometimes used to refer to the vanity of humans. During the Easter season, it is not uncommon to see the peacock appear in church decorations.


The butterfly has served as a Christian symbol of resurrection for many ages. Disappearing into a cocoon (under the guise of being dead), the creature emerges at a later time in a form that was much more beautiful and powerful than before. The butterfly is a prominent symbol that appears around Eastertime , representing Christ’s resurrection after three days in the grave. Christians look to the butterfly as a representation of the hope of resurrection from the dead.

In the Bible, the butterfly is mentioned in the following passages:

”¢    “So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.” (1 Corinthians 15:42-44)

”¢    “For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.” (1 Corinthians 15:52b)