Question: Does an association of Quetzalcoatl with Jesus Christ constitute "snake worship"?

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Question: Does an association of Quetzalcoatl with Jesus Christ constitute "snake worship"?

The biblical story of Moses and the brass serpent foreshadowed the sacrifice of Jesus Christ

It is claimed that since Quetzalcoatl is associated with a "feathered serpent," that this constitutes "snake worship," and could in no way refer to Jesus Christ. In order to examine this claim, one has to look no further than the Bible:

Numbers 21:6-9

6 And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.

7 Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord, and against thee; pray unto the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people.

8 And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.

9 And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.

This incident foreshadowed the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and how one had to look to Him in order to be saved. Note that the people were not commanded to worship the serpent, but rather to simply look at it. Amazingly enough, many did not even have the faith to look upon the serpent and live.

There is no doubt that Mesoamericans worshipped the feathered serpent god Quetzalcoatl, and one could certainly agree that "snake worship" has nothing to do with Jesus Christ. What must be kept in mind is that this represents traditions of a people that apostatized from the teachings of Jesus Christ over a period of many hundreds of years. The real question is where and how the legend of Quetzalcoatl originated.

Nephi refers to "fiery flying serpents." This brings the Book of Mormon account of this event more in line with the concept of Quetzalcoatl being a feathered serpent

There is an additional intriguing element which indicates a possible relationship between the Book of Mormon and the "feathered serpent" Quetzalcoatl. When Nephi relates the story of Moses and the brazen serpent, he adds a detail that is not present in the Biblical account. In Nephi's account, he refers to

41 And he did straiten them in the wilderness with his rod; for they hardened their hearts, even as ye have; and the Lord straitened them because of their iniquity. He sent fiery flying serpents among them; and after they were bitten he prepared a way that they might be healed; and the labor which they had to perform was to look; and because of the simpleness of the way, or the easiness of it, there were many who perished. 1 Nephi 17:41 (emphasis added)

Nephi refers to "fiery flying serpents." This brings the Book of Mormon account of this event more in line with the concept of Quetzalcoatl being a feathered serpent.[1] It is also interesting to note that Joseph Smith would not have gleaned this detail from a reading of the same story from the Bible.

Notes

  1. ↑ Wallace E. Hunt Jr., "Moses' Brazen Serpent as It Relates to Serpent Worship in Mesoamerica," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 2/2 (1993): 121–131. wiki