Snake's Head Fritillary

This is snake's head fritillary, a rather attractive garden plant which is known to grow wild in Wiltshire and Suffolk. It’s flower, especially as it bobs in the wind, is not unlike the movement of a serpent’s head. Snakes are not attractive creatures in my estimation, perhaps coloured by my reading and believing of the Genesis account of our species’ fall. Yet when Eve was first tempted by that serpent, it either lay hid among the foliage or it was an altogether more comely creature than its relatives I visited in Queensland’s Australia Zoo. I rejoiced that between them and me was a thick barrier of reinforced glass.

God speaks to the king of Tyre in Ezekiel 28:13, which seems to refer to Satan himself:

You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering: the sardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold. The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes was prepared for you on the day you were created. (NKJV)

Whatever these strange descriptions mean, it is clear that Satan was once immensely beautiful. Might this alluring figure have approached Eve, his simpering looks combining with his fair words to beguile the poor matron? Scripture makes no such claim, although we know the serpent’s legs were removed after the event, suggesting a downgrading of his abilities and appearance. One day, we shall know. As Christ is the source of all the cosmos’ beauty, they who would oppose His rule will inevitably choke their own beauty. The bedazzling, gem-encrusted mountebank of Eden is now a gnarled and twisted dust-dweller. Sadly, the race he deceived is become as ugly and snake-like as he. Interestingly, the fritillary’s other name is Lazarus bell, a reminder of Christ’s power to resurrect and transform even the most benighted victims of the serpent’s sting.