There is a narrative in the Bible that people love to scoff at: ‘Whoever heard of a talking snake? That stuff is fairy tales!’ They talk like that because they don’t understand what it is really about. The example of the talking snake has been repeated through the ages up to the present. We hear the question the serpent asked, ‘Did God really say?’1 almost every day.
# How could an ordinary serpent talk to a woman?
- Genesis 3:1-5 describes a very curious situation. How did that specific serpent know that God gave Adam a command? Why did the serpent concentrate only on the one tree and God’s command not to eat of it? He could have talked about the lovely weather, the fantastic range of nutritious fruit, the privilege of being a couple, et cetera.
- But, no, it questioned Eve as if it had a mind, almost as if it had a goal with the question. Was it an ordinary serpent? God did not create animals with minds, with a curiosity about the trees God gave man to enjoy, or about one specific tree that they were not allowed to eat of. Fortunately other references in the Bible explain who the real serpent was (and is).
# The book of Revelation identifies the serpent.
- ‘And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down – that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.’ 2
- We also read about an angel who seized the devil and bound him for a thousand years in the Abyss, ‘He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years.’ 3
# We learn from the above verses that:
- Both the devil and his followers (demons) are angels.
- There are two groups of angels, those who fight on the side of Michael, God’s archangel, and those who fight on the side of the devil, or Satan, God’s adversary.
- They are at war with each other.
- The devil, the ancient serpent, is the one who leads the whole world astray. He is a deceiver, and he showed his colours in the garden of Eden episode.
# Further Biblical revelations about Satan
- We can assume that the serpent was a real snake, but somebody else with intellect and intention spoke through him.
- Revelation identifies that ancient serpent with a very specific person, the devil, or Satan, the accuser of men.
- It was he who was in the garden of Eden. Scripture reveals, ‘You were in Eden, the garden of God.’ 4 It also tells us that he was originally appointed as a guardian cherub. ‘You [originally appointed as a guardian cherub 5] were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you.’ 6
- We can gauge his character from what the passage says about him, ‘Your heart became proud on account of your wisdom, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendour.’ 7
- So we have the picture of a wise holy angel who became wicked and sinned because of his pride and arrogance. He rebelled and for that was sentenced to be eternally punished in the lake of burning sulphur at the end of this age. 8
- He hates God and he hates humans who can escape his judgment (eternal hell) through the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross. His heart’s desire is to to deceive and lead people astray from the truth of the Gospel.
# What was special about the tree of knowledge of good and evil?
God as Creator and Lord of the universe, has the prerogative to decide what is good and evil. For men to decide it, is to intrude in God’s privilege. That is what the devil wanted: ‘…you will be like God.’ 9 It is an intoxicating idea that a created mortal can be like God knowing and deciding for him- or herself what is good and what is evil.
# We often hear that ‘sly serpent’ talk today.
He still questions, ’Did God really say?’ For example,
- Did God really create a male to be a male, and a female to be a female? (Nonsense, choose your own gender.)
- Is marriage only between a man and a woman? (You must be joking, same sex marriage is glorious and better than heterosexual marriage.)
- Did God give man free will? (Please understand, when it comes to choosing God or the Bible, there is no free will. There it is an illusion. For other things, like the choice of the food you eat, the work you do, or the products you buy, it is logical: there you have a free will.)
- Is the Bible really the Word of God? ( Where do you live, in the Dark Ages? It is just a product of man, not of God.)
- Was there really a universal flood in Noah’s time? (Hey, swimmer boy, the fossils were laid down over millions of years.)
- Did God create in six ordinary days? (Never heard of Darwin, or Dawkins?) Nature ‘created’ all through evolution over billions of years.
- Is creation by God scientific? (Unbelievable, it is just a metaphor.)
And on and on the list goes.
Many unbelievers scoff and ask the same question the serpent did. Could it be that the devil uses them in the same way he used the serpent? As Jesus said, ‘You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire.’ 10 What better proof that Scripture is the powerful true Word of God?
- Genesis 3:1
- Revelation 12:7-9
- Revelation 20:2
- Ezekiel 28:13
- Ezekiel 28:14,16
- Ezekiel 28:15
- Ezekiel 28:17
- Matthew 25:41
- Genesis 3:5
- John 8:44