--Isaiah 40:31 “Their faces looked like this: Each of the four had the face of a man, and on the right side each had the face of a lion, and on the left the face of an ox; each also had the face of an eagle.”
Because it soars upward, the eagle is a symbol of the resurrection or ascension of Christ. By extension, the eagle symbolizes baptized Christians, who have symbolically died and risen with Christ.
Another meaning of the eagle symbol, especially when it has a halo, is John the Evangelist, author of the fourth gospel. The eagle represents John because of his lofty and "soaring" gospel (it is much more theological in nature than the other three.
- Williamson, Beth, Christian Art: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004).
- Whittemore, Carroll E., Symbols of the Church (Abingdon Press, 1987).
- Klein, Patricia S., Worship Without Words: The Signs and Symbols of Our Faith (Paraclete Press, 2006).
- Ferguson, George, Signs and Symbols in Christian Art: With Illustrations from Paintings from the Renaissance (Oxford University Press, USA, 1965).
- Taylor, Richard, How to Read a Church: A Guide to Symbols and Images in Churches and Cathedrals (HiddenSpring, 2005).
- “eagle.” Chevalier, Jean; John Buchanan-Brown (trans.), Penguin Dictionary of Symbols (Penguin Reference). "King of the birds... the eagle is so important a symbol that there is no written or pictorial image, historic or mythic... when it is not the representative of the highest gods and the greatest heroes."
- Christian Symbols CD-ROM and Book (Dover Publications, 2004).