What Does an Octopus Symbolize in the Bible?

The octopus is a fascinating sea creature that has captured people’s imaginations for ages. With their bulbous heads, large eyes, and eight flexible arms, octopuses look almost alien in appearance. They can instantaneously change their skin color and texture to blend into their surroundings as camouflage from predators. Octopuses are also capable of squeezing their boneless bodies into incredibly small spaces.

While octopuses are real animals, they have taken on symbolic meaning in stories, films, art, and popular culture. But what might an octopus symbolize from a biblical perspective?

Key Takeaways:

  • Octopuses are not directly mentioned in the Bible, but their traits can shed light on biblical themes and passages.
  • An octopus’ ability to change color and texture symbolizes deception and cunning. This connects to biblical warnings about deception.
  • An octopus’ flexibility and adaptability can represent openness to the Spirit’s leading. But it can also symbolize compromise.
  • The octopus’ lack of an inner skeleton and soft boneless body symbolizes moral weakness and lack of spiritual backbone.
  • The octopus’ eight arms suggest fullness and completeness in biblical numerology. But they also suggest earthly wisdom versus godly wisdom.
What Does an Octopus Symbolize in the Bible?

Octopuses Are Deceptive Creature That Symbolize Cunning and Trickery

One of the most striking things about octopuses is their ability to change color, pattern, and texture on their skin instantly to match their surroundings. They can fool prey into coming nearer by mimicking other animals and plants. They can also camouflage themselves seamlessly to avoid predators.

This chameleon-like color changing ability has made the octopus a symbol of deception, cunning, and trickery. Their skill at hiding their true nature connects with biblical warnings about deception. For example:

“And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.” (2 Corinthians 11:14 NKJV)

Satan is the master deceiver, hiding his true evil motives behind an appealing disguise of light. Just as the octopus can transform its appearance to trick prey, Satan disguises himself as good to deceive people and lure them to sin.

Jesus also warned about deception from false prophets who appear harmless on the outside but inwardly are “ravenous wolves” (Matthew 7:15 NKJV). They disguise their wickedness just like an octopus using camouflage.

Throughout the Bible, believers are warned to be on guard against trickery and deception from the Enemy who “walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8 NKJV). The octopus’s ability to adapt its exterior to conceal its true intents serves as a reminder of the deceptive tactics the forces of evil use against Christians.

An Octopus’ Flexibility Can Symbolize Openness to the Spirit or Compromise

In addition to deception, the octopus’ amazing flexibility and adaptability carries symbolic meaning. An octopus can squeeze its boneless, squishy body through incredibly tiny cracks and crevices to hide or hunt prey. Their bodies appear to have no fixed shape or structure but can bend and mold to their surroundings.

On the positive side, this can represent openness and yieldedness to the leading of the Holy Spirit. As believers, we are called to be flexible and willing to be molded into whatever shape or purpose God wants to use us for. As Romans 12:2 says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (NKJV). An octopus-like flexibility and adaptability to the Spirit’s leading allows us to be used by God in diverse ways and situations.

However, an octopus’s unlimited flexibility can also symbolize compromise and lack of moral convictions. Their ability to just blend in with their environment mirrors how people sometimes compromise biblical truths to better fit in with the culture around them. This goes against many Scriptures that call believers to stand firm in faith despite external pressure (1 Corinthians 15:58, Ephesians 6:13-14). The octopus represents both positive openness to the Spirit’s guidance as well as negative compromise with the world’s standards.

An Octopus’ Lack of Skeleton Represents Moral Weakness

In addition to their color-changing skin and flexible body, one of the most unique things about octopuses is that they completely lack any kind of internal skeleton or bones. Their bodies are entirely soft, squishy, and boneless. This physical makeup contributes to their flexibility but also represents moral weakness and lack of an internal spiritual “backbone” from a symbolic perspective.

Several Bible verses use the metaphor of “backbone” or “stiffening the spine” to represent moral courage, spiritual strength, and resolve:

“Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes…Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” (Ephesians 6:10-13 NKJV)

Without a firm spiritual backbone motivating us to stand unwavering in faith, we become like a boneless octopus, able to be bent in any compromising direction.

Proverbs 12:4 says, “An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who brings shame is like rottenness in his bones” (NKJV). Lack of moral fibre leads to weakness of character and rottenness in the spiritual bones.

As Christians, we are called to have backbones strengthened by spiritual disciplines and moral courage to stand firm for truth. The octopus represents the opposite – a boneless creature lacking firm convictional stances, easily squeezed into compromising positions.

An Octopus’ Eight Arms Symbolize Earthly Versus Heavenly Wisdom

Finally, an octopus’ eight long, winding arms have symbolic meaning when looked at from a biblical numerology perspective. The number eight in Scripture often represents completeness, fullness, and new beginnings:

  • God’s mercy was shown complete in Noah saving eight people on the ark (2 Peter 2:5)
  • Jewish boys were circumcised on the eighth day as a sign of covenant completeness (Genesis 17:12)
  • The eighth day was the first day of the new week for the Israelites (Leviticus 23:39)
  • Jesus rose on the first day of the new week after resting on the 7th day (John 20:1)
  • Eight people were those saved on the ark (1 Peter 3:20), representing complete salvation

The octopus’ eight complete arms suggest fullness, completeness, and renewal. However, the meaning changes when we contrast 8 with the biblical number 7:

  • Seven represents perfection, spirituality, and completion from God’s perspective
  • It is used over 700 times in the Bible relating to spiritual perfection
  • The 7th day was holy and set apart, the Sabbath (Genesis 2:2-3)

When contrasted with 7, the number eight symbolizes earthly completeness versus the heavenly perfection of seven. So while eight arms could suggest fullness, it is an earthly fullness achieved in human strength rather than God’s. This gives the octopus symbolic meaning of human wisdom versus godly wisdom:

“That is sheer human wisdom and not wisdom that comes from above. But the wisdom that comes from above leads to truth, humility, and righteousness.” (James 3:15)

The octopus’ eight arms suggest human striving versus submitting to God. Just as an octopus reaches out in its own strength, we can rely on our own reasoning versus seeking God’s perfect mind.

Conclusion: An Octopus Symbolizes Deception, Compromise, and Earthly Wisdom

While the octopus is never directly mentioned in Scripture, its unique physical characteristics give it symbolic meaning relevant to biblical truth. An octopus’ ability to deceive through camouflage aligns with warnings about deception and cunning. Its flexibility represents both openness to the Spirit but also potential compromise. An octopus’ lack of internal skeleton illustrates moral weakness and lack of spiritual resolve. Finally, its eight arms suggest human wisdom versus relying on God’s truth.

The octopus serves as a memorable symbol encapsulating several biblical themes. As Christians, we must avoid deception and compromise while strengthening our resolve in the Lord. We rely not on human wisdom but on discerning God’s perfect will through prayerful study of the Scriptures. Just as an octopus can adapt its exterior colors, we must allow God to change us on the inside, developing an upright spiritual backbone.

While fascinating as a marine animal, the octopus’ symbolic connotations with biblical themes make it a relevant icon to help us remember crucial scriptural truths.

About The Author

Scroll to Top