Seven Deadly Sins Symbolism

Are you interested in the Meaning of Seven Deadly Sins Symbolism? Then this guide is for you!

The seven deadly sins are used to illustrate human beings’ most basic forms of moral and ethical corruption.

The concept of seven deadly sins has been around for some time now, and many people are aware of them.

Each of the sins has a meaning and significance attached to it. These sins are greed, pride, wrath, lust, envy, gluttony, and sloth.

What’s not known to many people is that these sins did not come from the Bible.

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History of the Seven Deadly Sins

The seven deadly sins are attributed to the Greek monk Evagrius Ponticus. He created this concept hundreds of years ago.

The concept of seven deadly sins got traction when one of Evagrius’ students introduced it to Christian gatherings.

This, in turn, spread this concept to the entire Christian church. It was believed that committing one of these sins would lead to the damnation of the soul.

This notion of seven deadly sins is not mentioned in the Bible. It is noteworthy that the list that was first created by the Greek monk Evagrius Ponticus is not what we have today.

His list was made up of pride, boasting, dejection, wrath, sadness, avarice, prostitution, and gluttony. Pope Gregory took up this list at around 590 AD and revised it to the list we know today.

Pope Gregory referred to the seven deadly sins as the ‘capital sins.’ He contended that these sins were the source of all other sins.

This means that if one guards oneself against the seven deadly sins, one is unlikely to commit any other sin.

Also, the Pope believed that the seven deadly sins are in contravention of the desire to live a virtuous life.

These sins are well known in all corners of the globe. Indeed, one doesn’t have to be a Christian to appreciate the symbolic significance of this concept.

The seven deadly sins have been widely covered in the world of entertainment, films, and other works of literature.

Here’s a closer look at the seven deadly sins:

Symbolic Meaning of the Seven Deadly Sins

#1 – The Sin of Greed

Greed symbolizes the unbridled desire. It indicates selfishness and the desire to accumulate more than you need.

It is an intense desire that one is unable or does not want to control. People who suffer from this sin are overpowered by the desire to accumulate food, power, and money.

greed-deadly-sin

Greed is a close cousin of envy. The only difference between the two is that the greedy person can get anything they want.

Their only problem is that they don’t want to share what they have with others. They’d rather have more and more to themselves.

A greedy person is controlled by selfishness and an insatiable desire to have more possessions.

Some animals associated with greed include the African hyena, the wolf, and the fox. The dollar sign is also taken to mean greed in the West.

In Sanskrit texts, greed ranks alongside aversion and delusion as the world’s deadliest poisons.

This sin of greed is represented by the toad/frog and the color yellow. It is also linked to the demon Mammon.

The Bible indicates that the devil, Mammon, corrupts people to fall under the soiled influence of material wealth.

#2 – The Sin of Pride

The sin of pride is indicated by untethered arrogance and love of self. People who fall into this sin have little regard for others.

They think that the world starts and ends with them. Their huge egos cannot allow them to consider anyone else in their plans.

As such, they tend to act thoughtlessly when dealing with other people.

There’s a difference between self-love and love of self. Self-love is a good thing; it shows that one has a high level of self-esteem.

Self-love indicates that you know your worth and you believe in your capabilities.

On the other hand, love of self means that you think of yourself as being on a pedestal. You imagine that you are better than everyone else and that you can do without the help of others.

Proud people believe that they can’t go wrong and that they don’t need to be guided by anyone.

Some symbols of pride include a horse or a knight atop a horse. The peacock and the color purple also symbolize the sin of pride.

The devil, Lucifer, is the king of pride and arrogance. He was once a favored angel, but he fell out of the graces of God due to pride.

Christian mythology has it that Lucifer refused to bow to Adam and Eve on the premise that they were mere mortals.

Despite the other angels meekly bowing their heads in reverence for God’s creation, Lucifer adamantly refused.

#3 – The Sin of Wrath

The sin of wrath is manifested through unbridled anger, rage, fury, and hatred. Wrath is way higher in severity than anger.

The sin of wrath gives birth to feelings of rage, retribution, anger, and vengeance. It eats into the soul and makes one harbor nothing but dark thoughts.

This sin makes the sinner behave uncontrollably towards other people.

The sinner tend to overreact to small issues, and they spend all their time and energy thinking of ways to hurt their perceived and real enemies.

Bears and dragons symbolize this sin. According to Celtic mythology, the goddess Artio took the shape of a bear,

She was always angry and vengeful. Although bears are good nurturers, they can be unreasonably aggressive and violent to strangers.

Bears and dragons embody the untamed nature of violent animals.

A lion and the color red also symbolize the sin of wrath. Satan, the king of hell, is closely associated with the sin of wrath.

He rules over hell’s fire, which is closely linked to demons’ wrath.

#4 – The Sin of Lust

The sin of lust is best seen in uncontrolled longing, craving, and unrestrained desire.

Lustful people suffer from an overpowering desire to possess something – usually something that they don’t really need.

One can lust for power, money, sex, or material things.

Anyone who commits this sin loses control over his thinking faculties. They get so immersed in this sin that they can barely think of anything else.

Their minds become locked by their irrational desire to possess something.

The sin of lust is closely associated with the serpent and the cow. The serpent used Adam and Eve’s lust to bring about the destruction of the good life in the Garden of Eden.

According to Christian texts, the serpent used tempted Eve to have a bite of fruit from the Tree of Knowledge.

In Abrahamic tradition, the snake stands for uncontrolled sexual desire.

According to Egyptian mythology, the goddess Hathor, a cow goddess, was closely linked to lust.

Both the colors red and blue are associated with this sin.

Lust is linked to the devil, Asmodeus, the king of the demons. According to Christian texts (the book of Tobit), Asmodeus was lustful for Sarah, the daughter of Raguel.

He killed 7 of her successive husbands on their wedding nights in a bid to get her.

#5 – The Sin of Envy

The sin of envy is manifested through rivalry, jealousy, and malice. People who commit this sin are not satisfied with what they have.

They desire to possess what others have and can go to great lengths to get it.

An envious person will want to be like another person. They want to be as intelligent, beautiful, or successful as the other person.

The bad thing is that they are ready to lie, steal, and blackmail to get what the other person has. They will do anything to get the other person’s money, fame, or celebrity status.

In astrology, snakes and dogs are used to indicate envy. If you dream that you are behaving like a dog or snake, it means that you are envious of someone in your life.

Some mythologies in the world also show that bats are envious.

Myth has it that bats don’t want to see and appreciate what other people have achieved. That’s why they fly under the cover of darkness.

The color green represents the sin of envy. It is closely associated with the devil Revu-iatan, the demon of envy.

#6 – The Sin of Gluttony

The sin of gluttony is indicated through debauchery, unrestraint, and self-indulgence. Those guilty of gluttony think of nothing else but eating.

They are fond of eating to extreme excess with little regard for the needs of others. Metaphorically, gluttony can also mean doing something excessively.

Pigs, sharks, and vultures represent this sin. These animals eat excessively. Vultures are known to fight each other to death for food.

Tiger sharks eat just about anything they can get into their mouths. Actually, they have been known to eat other tiger sharks!

The Greek God Adephagia is associated with unbridled pleasures and delights, earning him the title ‘god of gluttony.’

The color orange indicates this sin. It is represented by the devil Beelzebub, one of the 7 princes of hell.

#7 – The Sin of Sloth

The sin of sloth is manifested through indifference, procrastination, laziness, and apathy. Slothful people don’t want to put any effort into making their lives better.

People who commit this sin add no value to their lives and their communities. They are quite unproductive regardless of how easy a task is.

The snail and the sloth represent the sin of the sloth. In astrology, these two animals stand for apathy and avoidance.

Goats can also be taken to signify this sin.

This is where we get the notion of using someone as a scapegoat. It means that one is too lazy to admit responsibility for their failures.

They find an easy way out by casting blame on someone else.

The sin of sloth is represented by the color black, which means inertia. The devil Belphegor corresponds to the sin of sloth.

Belphegor is one of the 7 princes of hell.

Final Thoughts on Seven Deadly Sins

The seven deadly sins are gateway sins. This means that if left unchecked, the sinner is likely to graduate to other sins.

It is interesting to note what these sins stand for and the various symbols used to represent them.

The 7 sins should be interpreted both literally and metaphorically. This means that they have a deeper meaning than meets the eye.

For example, the Sin of Gluttony is not only about food. It indicates that one can be guilty of over-indulgence in other practices other than eating.

The seven deadly sins have been featured widely in works of modern literature. They have been written into books and showcased in theatre and film.

Seven Deadly Sins and Their Origin

The concept of the Seven Deadly Sins has been a part of Christian teachings for centuries, though you might be surprised to find out that they don’t directly originate from the Bible.

In fact, their roots can be traced back to a Greek monk named Evagrius Ponticus, who lived in the fourth century.

Evagrius initially came up with a list of “eight evil thoughts,” which later became the foundation for the Seven Deadly Sins.

These eight thoughts were gluttony, lust, avarice (greed), anger, sloth, sadness, vainglory, and pride.

Eventually, this list was condensed to seven by Pope Gregory I in the 6th century, who combined vainglory with pride and replaced sadness with envy. St. Thomas Aquinas further elaborated on these sins in his theological works.

Now that you know the origins, let’s dive into what these sins represent. The Seven Deadly Sins are pride, greed, wrath, envy, lust, gluttony, and sloth.

Each of these sins is considered a cardinal sin because they’re the root cause of other immoral behavior and actions. They’re considered contrary to the seven capital virtues, which are the positive counterparts of these sins.

It’s important to note that Christian theology views these sins as excessive versions of natural human passions and behaviors.

For example, gluttony isn’t just about indulging in food but rather an excessive and unhealthy focus on one’s desire to eat.

Each of the Seven Deadly Sins can be overcome by practicing the corresponding virtues—such as humility for pride and generosity for greed.

Though the concept of the Seven Deadly Sins isn’t explicitly mentioned in the Bible, their influence on Christian teachings about sin and morality can’t be denied.

Many theologians and philosophers have pondered the nature of sin and the role it plays in human life, often drawing on biblical stories like Adam and Eve’s expulsion from the Garden of Eden as examples of humanity’s moral struggles.

In your journey through life, it’s essential to recognize and understand the Seven Deadly Sins, not just as abstract ideas but as tangible behaviors and patterns that can be addressed and changed.

By embracing the seven cardinal virtues and actively working to better oneself, you can strive to overcome these sins and live a more virtuous, fulfilling life.

The symbolism of Seven Deadly Sins in Art and Literature

As you explore the world of art and literature, you’ll notice that the Seven Deadly Sins often serve as a recurring theme.

This rich symbolism provides a lens to examine human desires and behaviors. Let’s take a closer look at the symbols and colors most commonly associated with each sin.

A cow or a horse commonly represents lust. These animals signify unbridled desires and passions. In art, red is often used to represent lust, as it’s a bold and passionate color.

A peacock or a lion frequently symbolizes pride. Both animals are admired for their beauty and grace, but their majestic appearance can lead to arrogance and vanity.

The color purple represents pride, as it’s historically been associated with wealth and nobility.

Wrath has a “bear” or a “serpent” as its symbol. The bear represents aggression and uncontrolled anger, while the serpent embodies deceit and revenge.

In both art and literature, the color red signifies wrath, symbolizing aggression and fiery emotions.

Greed, also known as avarice, is often symbolized by a snake or a fox. The snake is associated with cunning tricks to acquire more possessions, while the fox represents clever strategies for amassing wealth and power.

Greed finds a fitting color in yellow, as it evokes the gold sought by those consumed by this sin.

Envy, sometimes referred to as jealousy, is represented by a dog or a knight. The dog symbolizes the sense of entitlement and possessiveness, while the knight represents the envy of others’ social or material advantages.

To represent envy, the color green is used, as it’s often linked to feelings of jealousy.

A goat or a pig symbolizes a Sloth. The goat represents laziness and apathy, while the pig signifies indulgence in comfort and idleness.

The color blue is often used in art to represent sloth, reflecting the cold, slow nature of this sin.

Gluttony is commonly depicted as a dragon. This mythical creature represents excessive consumption and indulgence in food or material things.

The color orange is associated with gluttony, as it evokes warmth and energy—the more consumed, the more the fire grows.

As you encounter various artistic and literary works, pay close attention to these symbols and colors.

You’ll be amazed to see how artists and authors have skillfully integrated the Seven Deadly Sins throughout history, providing commentary on human temptation and struggle.

Detailed Analysis of Each Deadly Sin

Pride and Its Symbolism

Pride, often considered the most serious of the seven deadly sins, represents excessive self-love and arrogance.

The peacock is a fitting symbol of pride, as it is known for its beauty and extravagant display of feathers.

Just like the peacock strutting around to show off its elegance, pride encourages you to focus excessively on your accomplishments, appearance, and abilities.

This sin can lead you to believe that you are superior and belittle others, creating a sense of rivalry and boasting.

Greed and Its Symbolism

Greed is the sin of excessive desire for wealth, status, or material possessions. The animal symbols associated with greed are the frog and the wolf.

The frog symbolizes greed because of its double existence, living on land and in water—it seemingly wants more than necessary. Meanwhile, the wolf is believed to be ravenous, further representing insatiable cravings.

Greed encourages you to be selfish, greedy, and excessively consumed by your wealth or craving for more.

Wrath and Its Symbolism

The sin of wrath represents intense feelings of rage, fury, and uncontrollable anger.

The lion, known for its ferocity and strength, is the animal that symbolizes wrath. When you give in to wrath, it can lead to irrational, violent behavior and a desire for vengeance, often causing harm to others or even yourself.

It is important to control such emotions and find a healthy outlet to release your anger, as uncontrolled wrath can have disastrous consequences.

Lust and Its Symbolism

Lust represents excessive sexual desire and evil, which can lead to unrestrained self-indulgence and harmful relationships.

The goat is the animal symbolizing lust, as this animal has long been connected with sexual excess and debauchery.

While sexual desire is a natural part of life, letting lust take control of your decision-making and relationships can lead to overconsumption, unhealthy practices, and unfulfilling experiences.

Sloth and Its Symbolism

Sloth, the sin of laziness and procrastination, is symbolized by the snail – an animal known for its slow and seemingly lackadaisical movement.

When you allow sloth to overcome you, it can lead to a lack of ambition, unproductivity, and eventual sadness or apathy.

Sloth encourages you to avoid responsibilities, embrace inactivity, and take the easy way out, potentially leaving many unfulfilled desires and goals.

Envy and Its Symbolism

Envy, the sin of jealousy and rivalry, is represented by the snake. This sin stirs up feelings of discontent and resentment toward others, often due to their possessions, achievements, or even personal relationships.

Envy can lead you to be consumed by jealousy, feel inadequate, and create tension in your relationships with others. It is crucial to recognize your strengths and accomplishments rather than dwelling on the successes of others.

Gluttony and Its Symbolism

The sin of gluttony refers to excessive consumption of food or drink but can also include overconsumption in other areas of life.

The pig is the animal representing gluttony, as it is often perceived as indulging in overeating and lacking restraint. Gluttony can lead to a loss of control, indulging in self-destructive habits, and an inability to manage consumption.

It is important to recognize your limits and practice self-control in all aspects of life to maintain balance and avoid excess.

Seven Deadly Sins and Virtuous Life

When living a virtuous life, it’s essential to be aware of the Seven Deadly Sins. These capital vices, deeply rooted in theology, can lead one astray from their path to righteousness and closeness to God.

As you walk through life, try to avoid the pitfalls of these sins:

  1. Pride – excessive self-love and vainglory lead to delusion and rivalry
  2. Greed – an insatiable desire for material possessions and power
  3. Lust – engaging in illicit sexual desires, such as adultery
  4. Envy – resenting others for their success or possessions
  5. Gluttony – overindulgence in food and drink, leading to selfishness
  6. Wrath – uncontrollable anger and malice towards others
  7. Sloth – laziness and neglect of responsibilities

To counteract these sins and achieve a virtuous life, embrace the Seven Heavenly Virtues:

  • Humility combats pride
  • Generosity opposes greed
  • Chastity resists lust
  • Kindness counters envy
  • Temperance tackles gluttony
  • Patience suppresses wrath
  • Diligence defeats sloth

By adopting these virtues in your daily life, you’re not only fostering personal growth but also creating harmony within your relationships and community.

Remember, the devil thrives on temptation and benefits from your weaknesses. Pursuing a life grounded in virtues will ultimately bring you closer to God and protect you from the grips of sin and spiritual death.

Stay vigilant and mindful of your actions to lead a truly virtuous life, ensuring peace, fulfillment, and a stronger connection to the divine.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do the symbols of each sin represent?

Animals represent the symbols of the seven deadly sins:

  • Toad for avarice (greed)
  • Snake for envy
  • Lion for wrath (anger)
  • Snail for sloth
  • Pig for gluttony
  • Goat for lust
  • Peacock for pride

Each animal symbolizes characteristics related to a specific sin, such as a peacock displaying its feathers, which represents pride.

How are the sins portrayed in the anime?

In the anime “Seven Deadly Sins,” the sins are portrayed as a group of powerful and notorious knights, each labeled with a specific sin.

They are represented by corresponding animals from the symbolism, which emphasizes their unique characteristics and abilities that align with their respective sins.

Which colors are associated with the sins?

The colors associated with the seven deadly sins are:

  • Yellow for avarice
  • Green for envy
  • Red for wrath
  • Light blue for sloth
  • Orange for gluttony
  • Blue for lust
  • Violet for pride

These colors are used to represent the sins visually and symbolically in art and other forms of expression.

What biblical connections do the sins have?

The seven deadly sins originated from Christian theology and belief. They are believed to be the roots of all evil and are associated with a person’s separation from God.

These sins come from a medieval list called “Prudentius’ Psychomachia,” which was later adopted by the Catholic Church.

The list represents vices that can lead to spiritual death if not recognized and repented.

Do specific flowers represent the sins?

Although not as widely known, there are flowers associated with the seven deadly sins:

  • Avarice: Yellow Rose
  • Envy: Hawthorn
  • Wrath: Nasturtium
  • Sloth: Bindweed
  • Gluttony: Buttercup
  • Lust: Iris
  • Pride: Purple Carnation

These flowers are thought to symbolize the essence of each sin, and their colors often correlate with the color representation of the sin.

How are the sins forgiven in religious contexts?

In Christianity, forgiveness of sins involves recognizing one’s sins, genuinely repenting, and asking for forgiveness from God.

This process typically includes confession, either privately through prayer or in a communal context, such as a confession to a priest.

Regular participation in prayer, worship, and sacraments, as well as practicing the seven virtues (chastity, temperance, charity, diligence, patience, kindness, and humility), can help prevent or overcome the seven deadly sins in one’s life.

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