William Golding’s Lord of the Flies is an allegorical novel from numerous perspectives. It draws societal parallels to a post-war world, political parallels to different methods of government, and even psychoanalytical parallels to the psychological models of Freud. One of the most prominent allegories contained in the story is its parallel to the Bible. William Golding creates these parallels in many different ways, through both settings, and the actions of characters. Interestingly, every religious allegory in Lord of the Flies is incomplete; they are similar to events in the Bible, but none of them are completely synonymous.
Golding’s creates a unique stance on Christianity by his flawed allegories to the Garden of Eden and Jesus’ teachings and death; he shows that he favors some Christian values and some of the Bible’s messages, but is opposed to others. The first connection between Lord of the Flies and the Bible is located at the very beginning of both books: the setting of the island reminds one of the Garden of Eden. Golding describes the island: “Beyond the platform there was more enchantment. Some act of God […] had banked sand inside the lagoon so that there was a long, deep pool in the beach with a high ledge of pink granite at the further end” (10).
He also notes that the “shore was fledged with palm trees. These stood or leaned or reclined against the light […]” (9). This is eerily similar to the Garden of Eden, which “the Lord God planted […] and he placed there the man whom he had formed. Out of the ground the Lord God made various trees grow that were delightful to look at and good for food, with the tree of life in the middle of the garden […]” (The New American Bible, Gen. 2:8-9). If “the man” in the Bible is taken to be Ralph and the other boys, then another comparison can be drawn.
When Ralph strips down and swims in the lagoon, it reminds one of Adam naked in the garden. The water could be seen as a connection to baptism, which is the recognition of a new birth or creation. This is one of the few connections in the novel which is entirely parallel with that of Bible, suggesting that Golding probably supported the creation theory. Yet another connection the Garden of Eden appears in the “beastie” that the boys are afraid of; it is often connected to the serpent in the garden that tempts Eve and causes original sin.
These connections, however, are far from ideal. The island is indeed close to utopian, but there is the “long scar” (7) from the airplane crash. Golding probably rejected the idea that anything, even if created by God, could be perfect. Also, the serpent in the bible is always thought of as an external force, such as the devil, whereas Simon will eventually learn that the beast is not an external but an internal fear. This could be interpreted to mean the Golding did not believe that original sin came from an outside force; rather, it is an inherent part of human nature.
Golding’s characterization of Simon creates a strong link between his actions on the island and the life of Jesus in the gospels. The first major example of this is when Simon is walking through the woods and is followed by the littluns: [The littluns] talked, cried out unintelligibly […]. Then, amid the roar of bees in the afternoon sunlight, Simon found for them the fruit they could not reach, pulled off the choicest from up in the foliage, passed them back down to the endless, outstretched hands. When he had satisfied them he paused and looked round. ” (56)