The Bible Is a Parable: A Middle Ground Between Science and Religion
It seems that EL, although buffeted by circumstances serious enough to cause a name
change, came through it to become one of the premier belief systems of the Common Era.
Was it because His followers worshiped the Creator and not just a part of His creation, as
Akhenaten had done? I guess when you get it right you don‘t have to drop out of sight.
So, what does all this have to do with the snake on a pole?
Egyptians during ceremonial p rocessions often carried the representations of their
various gods on tall standards (poles). There would have been many replicas of a sun disk
with a serpent coiled around it in every procession.
The people that made up the Exodus would have had a clear understanding that the
serpent was the major symbol of the principle god of the Egyptian pantheon.
Why then was there magic in the -serpent-on-a-pole | that Moses constructed? If this
story is a parable, what are the elements of it that would direct us to something larger?
The people complained about God and Moses having brought them out of the wet and
moist Egyptian delta into a dry and arid desert land.
The -Lord | afflicted them with snakes for their ingratitude when they complained. A
simple lesson that might be taken directly out of this story could be that they were
reminded that the moist and abundant delta also had snakes that had worried them every
day of their lives, especially the brick makers.
The moral? Don‘t look back at what was, because memory, in the face of difficulty,
is usually biased toward clinging onto that part of the past good, at the expense of
forgetting the bad. The serpent-on-a-pole could have been a reminder of what, in their
present misery, they had forgotten about their past situation.
Good interpretation, but we‘re supposed to be looking for a larger meaning, right?
In Egypt the serpent-on-a-pole wrapped around a solar disk was the emblem of the
tyrant god Amun- Re, and his physical representation, pharaoh. Had that serpent-of-the-
garden, wrapped as it was around the source of light, kept the Hebrews in the dark as it
fed them falsehoods about who they were? And, only as they could remember what they
had found intolerable about their past in Egypt could they survive the rigors of their
In the ancient past of the Hebrews was also knowledge that the serpent in their
Genesis story was the source of all evil. Their God had removed their ancestors
(Abraham) from it by taking them on an exodus similar to what they were even now on.
The end result had been that their predecessors had become a nation because, as the Bible
tells us, they had believed and obeyed.
Therefore, complaining in a crisis, only adds extra danger to an already difficult
situation, and when there is no going back, it is of little use to look back. (Remember the
pillar of salt?) OK, that would have helped them, but might that larger lesson be aimed
toward succeeding generations all the way down to us? What of that might apply to us
The whole human race is on a journey of unknowable length through unfamiliar
territory. Our ancient GPS positioning system (the Bible) can help us locate where we are
and can be trusted to lead us on the best route to get us where we want to go. All we have
to do is trust its guidance and follow where it leads us, right?
All well and good. But taking any easier- looking detours, we find only after the point
of decision, becomes rougher than they had, in anticipation, appeared to be. The evil one