Why is that in many Eastern religions, the serpent (snake) is a symbol of divinity? ( see below)
But in Christianity, it's, a symbol of evil (the devil)?
It depends on the relevant cultural tradition. For example in many ancient and indigenous cultures certain qualities of snakes were symbols of renewal. However not all snakes were necessarily seen this way.
The Middle Eastern Hebrew traditions did not always hold such views and later as huge religions branched off this one sect some anti snake symbols stuck with much larger later religions such as Christianity.
Generally speaking however the snake has a higher form of symbolism in most other traditions for both good and bad.
Snakes have a strong archetypal place in our psychology as symbols of fear but also of fascination, renewal and power.
Hippocratic oath and the Medical Doctor symbol are very interesting.
Eric, if you look closely, the Caduceus resembles a DNA strand. Interesting symbolism, don't you think? Wikipedia says it's in error, but I think it goes back to ancient beliefs, perhaps Babylonia.
Things such as circles, spirals etc had spiritual significance.
The notable prophetic exception in the old Testament is how Moses held up a serpent on a stick (probably a vaguely cross shaped Taurus shaped stick) as a healing force.
This is very interesting, glad to discuss with friends.
Aesculapius the Greco-Roman God of healing, with his staff and serpent coiled around it.
The snake shedding its skin was seen as an indication of regeneration and immortality.
The god of Christianity, Jew and Islam, is name Yahweh, which himself is an ancient pagan god. In pagan faith, in ancient pagan faith, Yahweh is a warrior god and a direct servant of Elyon, the king of god (later become known as Zues in greek mythology), Yahweh have a bad blood with the goddess of fertility and mother of life giver Ishtar, because Ishtar refuse to marry Yahweh, who is rude and abusive and marry the kind Tammauz god of agriculture. It is said Ishtar was the most beautiful woman of the land, but she got the snake tail, rather then legs. As revenge Yahweh send a giant flood to kill Ishtar's children, so, Ishtar block the flood and as revenge, killed Yahweh's son, which in Christianity will become known as Adam and Eve. In later Israel, for some reason, worshiping of gods other then Yahweh became outlaw and eventually Yahweh became the only god and Yahweh got credit for work and powers of all other gods, this became Jewish faith, Christianity and Islam. Its important to note, all religion origin from Africa, when the first human left Africa, they took their mythological believe with them to Asia, Middle East, Europe and America and in different places the mythology evolve independently, but all pagan faith got a common root. For example, Ishtar became Newa in China, in Europe she became the greek goddess of love aphrodite. In Christianity, she became the demon lilith who refuse to obey Yahweh.
Interesting is, despite Christianity preach love, Yahweh isn't a loving god, but a tyrant that demand people to worship, subject and serve his will, which is why the bible teach many evil things, even in the new testimate, the old testimate is even worse. Ishtar is the goddess who is truly loving and tolerating. It is said Yahweh would rule for 1000 years and hold tyrant rule over the world, till Ishtar return and drive Yahweh away and send her 2 sons as preachers to help heal the land. This story become the story of apocalypse of Christianity, in the bible it say the world is evil because it doesn't follow Yahweh's will, so Yahweh want to rule the world and force the world to follow Yahweh's will or be punish, Satan (Satan is the combination of all other gods that is not subject to Yahweh, including Lucifer, in this instant, the Satan here is Ishatar)) refuse to allow Yahweh to hold such power over menkind battled Yahweh, till Yahweh seal Satan (Ishtar) away and rule for 1000 years, then the world turn good because it now follow Yahweh's will, but then Satan (Ishtar) broke the seal and drove Yahweh away and send the 1st and 2nd beast of anti christ to preach teaching independent from Yahweh's will, so the world don't follow Yahweh's will anymore, thus the world is evil again.
This picture with this answer is a painting from China portraying Ishtar using a giant stone to stop the flood send by Yahweh, see she got the body if an extremely beautiful woman and the tail of a snake rather then legs
Oh the beauty of such rich thought to be shared by others and the serpent. One time with my kids - 3-9 playing out front of our family cabin a diamond back rattler came boldly upon us. I did the stupid thing and whacked it's head off with a close by hoe. I am sorry to nature and my siblings who were miffed. But none of them had little children playing in that meadow. I should had and have with previous snakes of such danger and did thereafter, grab them just in back of their head, contained them and moved them over a mile away. They are extremely deadly but deserve our humility to their natural state.
And so we see this serpent in dealings with Christ most notably in his 30 day desert epic and in that Godsend of a garden called Gethsemane.
Under foot or tempting? What beast is this that is credited with Adam and Eve taking a soul dive. And what about that cool staff that kicked the Egyptians ass?
We conclude that the snake is just a snake. As temptation is just temptation. It is just a thing and we should neither adore nor fear it.
I do not have all of the answers, but my guess would be that it has something to do with snakes shedding their skin. An acquaintance who I used to hike with informed me that many of the citizens of one ancient civilization used to believe that snakes were immortal. I think that many cultures have suspected that the snakes' shedding of their skin is a kind of re-birth or re-generation.
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