The talking snake in the garden of Eden has puzzled many people. Genesis 3:1 reads, Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” What are we to make of it? Accept ridicule, or investigate Scripture?
There are reasons to believe that it was not a snake (serpent) that spoke, but an intelligent personality that spoke through the serpent:
- Revelation 12:9 identifies the serpent. The great dragon was hurled down – that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. If the serpent of Genesis 3 deceives the whole world, it was not an ordinary snake, but the devil himself.
- Why would a physical serpent enquire about God’s words, as the snake did in the garden of Eden? The ‘serpent’ told Eve that God lied.1 When Eve believed the serpent and obeyed him, it lead to catastrophic results.
- The words of the ‘serpent’ are the standard ploy to make people doubt God’s Word. The devil (in disguise) still asks, Did God really say? For example, did God really say He created the universe and all life in 6 days? No physical snake would be interested in that.
- We read that God spoke through a donkey,2 (see Balaam and the talking donkey https://6days6thousand.wordpress.com/2014/03/24/balaam-and-the-talking-donkey/)
Scripture teaches an important principle: God and the devil speak to people through a physical being. In these cases it was a serpent and a donkey. Usually it is through people. At the time when the devil came into the garden, there were no other humans through whom he could speak. He chose to do it through the snake. The reason we know it is not a myth is that questioning God’s Word has been a standard ploy through the ages.
Today it is not necessary for God or the devil to speak through animals. God speaks through His people, and the devil through his. God’s people root for heaven, the devil’s for hell. The devil will eventually be ‘jailed’ in the lake of burning sulphur, where he will be tortured day and night.3 He does not relish the thought. So, bent on revenge, he wants to trap as many people as he can to join him in hell. The Apostle Paul entreats that [people] will come to their senses and escape the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.4 Bold ours.
The drama that took place early in history, still reverberates as people deny the Book of Truth and pledge allegiance to the serpent (the devil).
- Genesis 3:4
- Numbers 22:28-31
- Revelation 20:10
- 2 Timothy 2:26