In Christianity, the butterfly has long been a symbol of the resurrection of Christ as well as the resurrection of believers. The caterpillar disappears into a cocoon, which is like the tomb Christ lay in after the crucifixion, appearing dead. Later, it emerges from "death," having transformed into something more beautiful and powerful than it was.
The butterfly symbol is seen especially around Easter, the Christian holiday that celebrates the resurrection of Christ. But the butterfly is also a symbol of every Christian's hope of resurrection from the dead, so it is sometimes displayed at the memorials and funerals of believers as well.
"So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body." ~ 1 Corinthians 15:42-44
"For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed." ~ 1 Corinthians 15:52b
- Color illustration by Walter E. Gast.
- Patricia S. Klein, Worship without Words: The Signs and Symbols of Our Faith (2000).
- Carolle E. Whittenmore, ed., Symbols of the Church.
- George Wells Ferguson, Signs & Symbols in Christian Art.
- Frederick Rest, Our Christian Symbols.