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)



  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.

      • I can clarify the issue between the HE and SHE. HE is an interpretation of whom ‘is believed’ to be crushing the serpent’s head, based on who’s heel the serpent is bruising as they are the same person, therefore the HE, a male. However it should be SHE crushing the serpent’s head while still HIS heel being bruised by the snake and they are still the same person. Here’s why: I can understand this because I speak French too and in French you speak attributing whether any name, thing which is mentioned is male or female pronoun (nothing to do with human gender). So the SHE in Genesis 3:15 context is not referring to the woman as it is not her heel which is said to be bruised by the serpent, but ‘her seed’ or ‘her offspring’ whose heel gets bruised by the serpent. Seed and Offspring (posterity in French) they’re all female pronoun which therefore results with SHE. The woman’s offspring. Some translation to clarify uses the word IT which is also correct for Seed or Offspring. I was born a faithful Catholic until I started to study the bible back in 1983. About the Marian beliefs, if one be honest with himself and uses the bible as the Only Rule of the Christian Faith, there is no support that Mary is alive, in heaven and would understand that the apparitions at Lourdes and other places has nothing to do with Mary, Satan having the possibility to fool people appearing as an ‘angel of light to deceive even the elects of God’. The last thing in this day and age I want is to believe a lie that’s been going on for Millenniums, even before Jesus days. You can read in the bible that the belief about a Queen of Heaven as she is called, was an old pagan belief that existed in the days of the prophet Jeremiah and a practice which displeased God. They even made a cake to the Queen of Heaven, and simulacres in her shape just like the Catholics practice today. Read it in Jeremiah 7:18: “The children gather wood, the fathers light the fire, and the women knead the dough and make cakes of bread for the Queen of Heaven. They pour out drink offerings to other gods to provoke me to anger.” (God speaking by the way). See Jeremiah 44:19 also “The women added, “When we burned incense to the Queen of Heaven and poured out drink offerings to her, did not our husbands know that we were making cakes impressed with her image and pouring out drink offerings to her?” (impressed with her image = making of simulacre). Also the bible is clear that Mary didn’t go to heaven. See John 3:13 “No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven–the Son of Man.” If you look honestly into the bible, say you were born on an Island with no one there with a religious belief to influence you and you have only the bible to base your belief on, you would never believe the lies about Mary that’s gone around the world. I could say more, but I guess that’s enough said. God bless in your research. There’s lot’s more in the bible that even Christianity believes the complete opposite.

  3. Sir can you tell me this statue where I can see.pls tell me

  4. Sir can you tell me where I can see like this statue pls call throw 9578087074

  5. Jesus is supposed to step on the serpent’s head and not Mary. That’s How I understood Gen 3.

  6. Do you have a photo of a statue of Mary standing on a snake that is wrapped around the Arctic? Or what could you tell me about that statue?

  7. Thanks Brad for helping us appreciate the powerful realities behind religious symbols.

  8. I guess sometimes snakes wear dentures. More seriously, “When God was a Woman” by Merlin Stone is a great book for insight concerning what is symbolized by the snake.

  9. Mary as a Goddess of Mercy stands triumphant over the tendency of the human mind to fragment the world into dualities ( this tendency symbolized by the snake) . Dualities such as good and evil, satisfactory and unsatisfactory, right and wrong etc., etc. After all, did not God create everything in this world and that includes aspects we consider desirable and those we reject as undesirable.

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