Symbolisms are vehicles for conveying powerful and hidden messages in the Scriptures. The Bible uses several symbols like animals, colors, numbers, and other elements. These symbols are either explicitly specified or implied. Either way, it is a good idea to understand these symbols as they can help you interpret as well as apply Biblical truths. One of the symbolisms we can derive from the Bible is the butterfly. Even though the scriptures do not refer to the butterfly explicitly, its symbolism can be seen in several portions of scripture.
The butterfly is a symbol of transformation, rebirth, and spiritual metamorphosis. There are several scriptures that illustrate this symbol but the most notable is 2 Cor. 5:17 which talks about how we are reborn into new creatures.
Wherefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature: the old things are passed away; behold, they are become new. 2 Cor. 5:17
The Significance of Butterflies in the Bible
To understand the significance of the Butterfly in the Bible, let’s first take a look at how the butterfly metamorphosizes in its life cycle. There are four important stages in the Butterfly’s life cycle i.e.: egg, larva, pupa, and adult.
- Egg – this is where the female lays her eggs (typically on a leaf).
- Larvae – The eggs that were laid by the mother butterfly hatch forming the larvae. The larvae of butterflies are also known as caterpillars.
- Pupa – At this stage, the larvae transform into a beautiful butterfly. The transformation happens in a hard case (pupa) until the larvae completely transform into a butterfly. T
- Adult – once the larvae emerge from the pupa, it is an adult butterfly that can be seen in all its glory. Apart from flying and spellbinding onlookers with its attractive colors and patterns, the adult butterfly can also reproduce.
We can use the same four states to derive the symbolism of the Butterfly in the scriptures. Metamorphosis (the process of an animal changing from one form to another as it grows) is not only a physical but a spiritual concept. Here are some examples of how spiritual metamorphosis takes place in the scriptures.
Here are some examples of how spiritual metamorphosis takes place in the Holy Bible:
From light to darkness
The theme of spiritual transformation is made clear in the scriptures from as early as Genesis. When man sins and has to face to face the consequences, God still helps by making better clothing (out of animal sin) in the place of the garment of leaves they had made. This symbolized the blood of Jesus that would be shed to take away the sin of the world. When Jesus eventually came in the new testament, he paid the ultimate price and gave man an opportunity to transform from sin into righteousness. Here is one of the scriptures that explains this transformation:
For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 1 Pet 1:18-19
From cursed to blessed
According to the Genesis account of creation, God blessed man as soon as he created him (Genesis 1:28). Sadly, man lost his place when he disobeyed God. However, all was not lost as God put into gear his plan of transformation – to restore man to a blessed position. A few chapters after the fall of man, God calls Abram. Abram came from a pagan community that didn’t know God nor understand the blessing. But God chose him to be an example and a seed of his transforming grace. In Genesis 12, God promises Abram that he would not only bless him but also bless all the nations of the earth through him. As a sign of this transformation, God changed Abram’s name into Abraham and Sarai’s (Abraham’s wife) into Sarah (Genesis 17:5 -15). This marked the transformative journey from the curse into a blessing for all of God’s Children.
From wayward to Godly
The Epistle of Paul to the Romans arguably has one of the most poignant illustrations of transformation. Check it out:
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing, and perfect will. Romans 12:2
Paul is reminding the church that since they have received Christ, they should allow God’s transformative power to renew their mind. He was implying that the church should have a different mindset from the world. That those who accept Christ must be distinctively different from the non-believers in speech, conduct, and character. It is only through such a metamorphosis that the church can discern and understand God’s will for their life.
Butterfly color symbolisms
As we have already established, colors are also powerful symbols in the scriptures. Combined with the symbol of the butterfly, the different colored butterflies can also be used to convey certain messages. Here are some examples:
Yellow Butterfly Meaning in the Bible:
The color yellow is associated with happiness, joy, and light. As such, a yellow butterfly would represent positivity and hope. The Psalmist explains how weeping may last for an entire night but joy comes in the morning (Psalms 30:5). That’s because mornings/light represents hope – a hope for joy and happiness and a hope that things will work out.
Black Butterfly Meaning in the Bible:
The color black is associated with darkness and affliction in the scriptures. When writing to the Ephesians, Paul refers to the kingdom of the devil as powers of darkness (Ephesians 6:12). As such, a black butterfly would signify the powers of darkness. It could also be a symbol of a season of challenges or trials.
Monarch Butterfly Meaning in the Bible:
Monarch butterflies have a dominant orange coloration with some black patterns. The combination of orange and black can be seen as a symbol of transformation. These butterflies can therefore signify the transformative journey that one takes from a season of struggle and pain into a season of renewal, strength, and joy.
Blue Butterfly Meaning in the Bible:
In the Bible, the color Blue is associated with divinity and royalty. A blue butterfly could therefore be used as a symbol of spirituality or divine truth. It could be a reminder of the relationship between man and God and the fact that God is omnipresent. Believers can therefore take comfort in the fact that God is an ever-present help in the time of need (Psalms 46:1).
Brown Butterfly Meaning in the Bible:
Brown is an earth color. It is therefore used to denote the natural world. A brown butterfly may therefore signify man’s sinful nature. It can be used as a reminder that man cannot be saved without the atoning work of the cross. In the words of scripture, there is no one righteous – not even one (Acts 3:10).
In summary, the Bible doesn’t mention the word butterfly. However, just like other commonly used Christian symbols, butterflies can also be used to convey some important truths in the scriptures. From their graceful flight to their transformative life cycle, butterflies should always evoke thoughts of God’s love and grace. So, the next time you spot these magnificent creatures, pause for a moment and consider the transformative power of God’s grace.