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Old 09-04-2001, 06:38 PM   #1
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Post Is the talking snake *really* the devil?

Genesis 3:1,13-15
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'?"
Then the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?" The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."
So the LORD God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, "Cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life.
And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel."
Though in the New Testament, it seems that this serpent was actually the devil, it seems to me that looking at the Genesis passage alone, it looks like this snake is just a snake - that can talk.
It says that this snake is more crafty than all the other animals - that would explain its ability to talk. It doesn't say that snakes are usually dumb and Satan possessed the snake.
When it is talking about the punishment, God punishes the snake and its descendents. If Satan just possessed the snake, why was God punishing the snake and not the devil?
It seems God at least is convinced that the snake is responsible, and not some supernatural being who may have possessed it.
What do Jewish scholars say about this? They wouldn't believe in the New Testament which says that the devil is a serpent. Would they agree that Genesis is saying that a lone snake did this (who was not possessed by Satan)?
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Old 09-04-2001, 06:56 PM   #2
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interesting topic... this site is a good place to start:
Devil's Biography

what you'll find is that the xian take on god(s)/satan is nothing like what the hebrews believed. not only was the snake not 'satan', but there were other gods in the o/t that had supernatural powers as well(albeit inferior to those of yahweh/elohim).
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Old 09-04-2001, 07:51 PM   #3
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Yeah that site agrees that it is just about some old talking snake - not a demon. I wonder if all Jews agree with this - or at least most Jews.
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Old 09-04-2001, 08:37 PM   #4
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John clay wrote

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'?"

Matt:7:10 "If you ask your father for a fish he will not send you a serpent". Thus we are left with a decision. Shall we trust Jesus who obviously understands the power within, or should we trust the fudies who obviously do not.

The bible symbolically portrays negative and harmful thoughts which are damaging to us and our fellow man. The fudie is afraid of these serpents and scorpions. These thoughts which they refer to as devils and demons. But what did Jesus say?

Luke 10:19 "Behold i give you power to tread on serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy and nothing shall by any means hurt you". This is quite clear. the power of the enemy, who is the enemy? You are, you are your own worst enemy, why?

We are told in romans 8:7 who the enemy is, the carnal mind, which is not subject to gods law, neither can it be.

When you enter into yourself through meditation, which the fundies who do not agree with the teachings of jesus christ, frighten people away from this secret, which is only attainable through meditation.

Like 11:52 you, talking to the scribes and pharisees, (your ego), you have taken away the key of knowledge, you ENTERED not in yourselves and them that were entering in, you hindered.

God dwells on the inside, the kingdom if god is within you, says the bible, it's an inward journey, taken through meditation. As you read the bible said it, I didnt.

Now we no that snakes do not talk, so what does it mean, the adam/eve story is not really about some first man/woman.

It's about eve (negative thought) lower carnal nature, telling adam, devine mind, to indulge in life, and become like one of us.

So it's simply an allegory showing that mans downfall is when he is pulled down and away from the fathers house, the higher mind, found in meditation. Beacause he must experience and live in the physical world, just not be ruled by it. the tree in the garden is taken from the Kabbala, its the tree of life, where the soul descends down from the head, into the physical body, to experience the life. Serpents, scorpions, and all other beasts in the bible signify the lower carnal nature.

Its the allegorical story of the prodigal son, the same story told. It is in the back of most bibles.

not edited by danny
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Old 09-04-2001, 08:56 PM   #5
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The 'talking snake' isn't the devil. It's not even a snake after all.

The real question for theologians is- since only acute animals are capable of boredom.... and man is the most acute of all on earth is the possibility God grew bored with his creation. A great theme for a poet is what took place on the 7th day of Creation, when God rested- perhaps he slithered in the garden as a crafty snake to test his subjects?


[ September 04, 2001: Message edited by: Ender ]
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Old 09-04-2001, 10:58 PM   #6
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This particular part of the Genesis story is really a cool piece of ancient literature. It ties together several themes very nicely, offering an explanation for the conditions under which men lived. It is of a very early Semetic origin, possibly Canaanite or common Semetic ancestors. This is indicated by the use of the words "Elohim" and "El" in reference to the god. Coincidentally, "El" was also (or shortly to become) the chief god of the Canaanite pantheon.
But I'm wandering, let get to the snake theme. This is probably the result of early observation. Of all the animals [esp in that locale] , only the snake lacks legs for locomotion and a voice. An explanation for phenomena becomes incorporated into the story.(the god punishes the snake by muting him and sentencing him to "crawl on the ground" and "eat dust").

Notice also that in the verses you have quoted, the god walks through the garden, calls for them (not knowing exactly where hey are), and asks, "What have you done". Notice he does not have any knowledge of the event. He does not yet posess the all-knowing, all-seeing properties that a later culture would develop and assign to him.

So no, the idea of the serpent as a cosmic evil entity was clearly not the intent of the author. It was/is a later allegorical interpretation( I believe in the second temple period ). Also later more grandious properties and attributes will be assigned to the god figure would also develop.

As an added note, the Hebrew Torah version of this scripture is slightly different interpretation where it says, "I will put emnity...between her sons and yours...They will crush your head, you will bruise their heel".

Hope this helps.

Refs ;
The Semetic Genesis Thesis - Torah Studies, 1992

Adam, Eve and the Serpent - Elaine Pagels

[ September 06, 2001: Message edited by: Papaver ]
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Old 09-05-2001, 01:00 PM   #7
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The serpent is smart and clever which are desirable qualities. The serpent knew that the tree of knowledge was good and that it would open eyes towards good and bad from which the woman could gain wisdom. This indicates that wisdom is gained from our knowledge between good and bad and so wisdom is not learned but retained from our knowledge between good and evil. Knowledge and wisdom are good and so I do not see why it is wrong to befriend the serpent. In fact, she should be our best friend. Better yet, we should raise the serpent as did Moses to cross the great divide between heaven and earth so we may be led into the promised land (this means that we should drag the serpent into heaven someday).

In my interpretation of Gen.3 the serpent was made by Lord God to provide woman with food for thought because woman was naked to wit at the end of Gen. 2. Since woman was taken from man woman could not have been created and has therefore no essence to precede existence and can therefore not die to return to dust (only man returns to dust in Gen.3). Yet woman was formed and without essence she is the womb of man and therefore subject to man as the tree of life. Since woman cannot die (has no existence of being to die) woman is eternally ours and must be incarnate upon us to provide continuity in our lineage through the wisdom gained as selected from knowldge of good and bad provided by the serpent of previous generations. This makes the woman eternal and the serpent temporal with the temporal needed to provide continuity in eternity.

In Catholicism the serpent is cunning but much more cunning and clever is the woman that strikes at her head to motivate the serpents offspring called Adam ("She will strike at your head while you strike at his heel"). If your bible says "He" will strike at your head it is because of the subjugation of woman to man until such time as woman is crowned with glory and honor in heaven (Coronation).

Old 09-05-2001, 03:24 PM   #8
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I think if God had possessed the snake he should have said so in the Bible. But I guess that would ruin his all-loving/all-good reputation. It explains why the snake could talk though... I thought Adam & Eve would have noticed how strange that was.
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Old 09-07-2001, 02:07 PM   #9
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It may be important to note that Genesis isn't the only book which preserves talking animal myths. See Balam's ass in Numbers, chapter 22.
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Old 09-08-2001, 01:47 AM   #10
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Originally posted by Ender:
<STRONG>The 'talking snake' isn't the devil. It's not even a snake after all</STRONG>
Oh you are so right. It was a lizard, and it was talking. What does that prove to you? I cannot explain further, as I am apt to make a fool of myself.

David Icke
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