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 a 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.


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. This list was taken up by Pope Gregory at around 590 AD, who revised it to the list we know today.

Pope Gregory referred to the seven deadly sins as the ‘capital sins’. His contention was 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 is a close cousin of envy, so to speak. 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 sin of pride is also symbolized by the peacock and the color purple.

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

This sin is symbolized by bears and dragons. 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.

The sin of wrath is also symbolized by a lion and the color red. 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 at 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 color 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 sin of envy is represented by the color green. 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 to the needs of others. Metaphorically, gluttony can also mean doing something excessively.

This sin is represented by pigs, sharks, and vultures. 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’.

This sin is indicated by the color orange. 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 to make 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 sin of sloth is represented by the snail and 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 in 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.

In Conclusion…

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.

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