Posted by: Brad Beaman | November 5, 2012

Why is Mary standing on a snake?

We were visiting a church when my daughter asked me, “Daddy, why is Mary standing on a snake?” She was referring to a stature of Mary the mother of Jesus. We have always thought our daughter had a very keen power of observation. No one else noticed this but her and yes Mary was standing on a snake.

There is an interesting explanation so I thought I would put my answer to this question down here and pictures of the statue that prompted her questions.  

                

This statue has Mary standing on a snake based on what is written in Genesis 3:15. 

And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”

The context of this verse in Genesis 3 is the fall of man, the original sin in the Garden of Eden.

The Devil in the form of a serpent tempted Eve and both Adam and Eve disobeyed God ate the forbidden fruit and sin contaminated the human race.

Genesis 3:15 is considered the first Messianic promise. Immediately upon the fall of Man God announced His plan to redeem man.  The seed of the woman would be the Messiah, Jesus Christ.

But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, (Galatians 4:4)

Mary gave birth to Jesus and when Jesus died on the cross this prophecy was fulfilled. Satan would bruise the heel of Jesus (the seed of the woman) when he died on the cross. But it was only a bruise to the heel because Jesus rose again and is alive forevermore.

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:5.

But at the cross Satan was dealt a death blow. That ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan (Revelation 20:2)

This statue is portraying the crushing and defeat of Satan when Jesus died on the cross as the first prophecy in Genesis 3:15 foretold.

55 “Where, O death, is your victory?
    Where, O death, is your sting?”

56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:55-57)

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Responses

  1. I commend you for this interpretation. I read an interpretation of the text where mary is said to be the one to crush the serpent’s head. They claimed that the correct words in use is in the Latin, and coptic. To the them, the text read ”she shall crush your head….” But by interpretation, I am ok.

  2. It is clearly written in Genesis 3:15….HE will crush your head and you will strike HIS heel. So why He? Because that He is Jesus! So it is not Mary who should stepped on the snake’s head, but Jesus

    • The oldest Codex that is in existence says “she” rather than he. However, most authorities believe it to be a mistranslation of the original Hebrew. Both interpretations have beautiful meaning as Mary is the new Eve.


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