About the snake

Adam and Eve were real. But there was a third player in the garden – the snake. Was the snake real? For as long as I can remember I had always pictured the snake as Satan. But because this is a step up from the plain reading of the text, I wanted to examine the reasons for this. I found far more than I expected.


Created: 2009/06/18. Updated: 2011/01/09.

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Introduction

First I will describe some things that have been well known to me and probably to you, but then I also found a new level of details that I had never seen before. I found a real animal, but I also found that the plain text demands that we see the snake as Satan. I even suggest why Adam may have made it to heaven.

The implications are dramatic. I start by developing a series of observations. Perhaps just browse the titles (A) to (K) and then look at the conclusions. You can come back at the detailed observations later when you see where this is going.


A) The snake has never been a mystery.

B) Eve was not afraid of the snake.

C) Eve was not surprised that the snake talked.

D) The snake’s knowledge was beyond what an animal could know.

E) Satan can disguise himself as well as talk through creatures.

F) “The snake” is a just a name.

G) Authority was transferred to Satan, not a snake.

H) Cursed more than the animals points to Satan’s ultimate fate.

I) The curse on the snake only makes sense when it is seen as Satan.

J) Implications of the specific animal types that God used.

K) Moses recorded a simplification.


God provided context

God provided context to discern that it was Satan. The words spoken by the snake conveyed knowledge that no animal would have. God spoke to the snake – why would He speak to an animal? The judgement only makes sense when understood as applying to Satan because snakes don’t eat dust but...

It’s God’s call

We know that God looks at the heart and searches the spirit. If God sees that it is Satan and not some animal then God calls it as He sees it. And God has chosen to use the image of the snake or serpent to depict Satan. God surely dictated the initial chapters of Genesis, since He refers to Himself as “us”. So when God refers to whatever manifestation Satan used to deceive Eve, He simply says “the snake”. This is what God chose. It is more than the plain reading, but do we lose anything from the plain reading? No! It’s just more insight.

There are hardly any references to Satan in the Old Testament, so God has chosen to leave him as a background player until Jesus took authority back from Satan. The Bible is about God and man. That’s probably why God wanted to give Satan a low profile. (Hard to get a lower profile than a snake!)

Eve’s reaction to the talking snake

Eve was not afraid of the snake, nor surprised to hear it talk. Now, you can make various conjectures in response to this observation, but I am going to suggest a possible scenario...

I have proposed that God created ordinary men, devoid of a spirit, on day 6. They were to be servants for Adam and Eve. As such, Eve would not be surprised to see or talk with such men. They were devoid of a spirit and seen in the same ranking as the animals that Adam named. Satan could have imitated or spoken through one of these day-6 men without triggering any concern or surprise by Eve. Also, God was right to refer to it as an intelligent animal.

A confession

Years ago I had decided that the snake was Satan. I had decided that there was no intelligent articulate animal involved. I had ignored the plain reading and simply asserted that the snake was real but purely symbolic of Satan. I had seen God’s higher purposes but I had not fully appreciated God’s word.

As I wrote and developed these articles I became increasingly in awe of the precision of the plain reading of His word. So I then felt that there must have been an animal involved through whom Satan spoke. But I still did not accept that this was an intelligent articulate animal – those attributes applied to Satan.

I started this article after most everything else in Game Start seemed complete, but with great respect for those who I had defended the plain meaning of scripture, I wanted to explain my view of the snake. What you read is how it unfolded. I acknowledged that “it was God’s call”, and then I considered Eve’s reaction to the talking snake. Only then did I recognise that I myself had earlier proposed day-6 man as the most intelligent articulate animal. And so the plain reading of scripture was precise.

I still assume that Satan entered into a day-6 man to deceive Eve. Even today, we might refer to someone who acts deceptively as a “snake in the grass” and so too did God. I was humbled to see, yet again, how God has provided insight while also holding to the plain reading.

Do you recall how Jesus said that those who believe when they hear the gospel, without seeing the resurrected Jesus, will be blessed (John 20:29). I have come to the opinion that God sees those who have believed based on the plain reading, without need for extra insights, as blessed. Though I offer such insights, those who see them are not regarded more favourably by God nor should they perceive that they have any greater insight than those who have grasped Jesus just from the plain reading.

I have also come to see that these insights will only be grasped with humility and reverence for God’s word. My own experience is that until the Holy Spirit opens your eyes to see, you won’t see. So if you do see, be sure to give Him the glory and not to look down on anyone else who does not yet see it.

The fate of Judas

I recalled how Satan entered into Judas. The fate of Judas was described in two ways:

There is a well known link between Adam’s side being opened to create his bride, and how Jesus’ side was pieced on the Cross to redeem his bride. But also see these links from Genesis to Jesus:

What do you think? How awesome is our God that He points to the events of the Cross, even in the Garden of Eden!


Two dramatic challenges

With all the above completed I think I have seen a higher purpose for this article. See what you think.

Will Adam get to heaven?

Immediately before God judged Adam and Eve, He said this to the snake in Genesis 3:15:

I have already shown how this enmity is between demons and man so that man will never again listen to demons and hence why Satan must always act in the background. The next line is often recognised as a prophetic pointer to the Cross. Jesus feet were nailed to the Cross – this was Satan striking at Jesus. But when Jesus rose from death he defeat Satan, so crushing Satan’s head.

Well, I think Adam and Eve knew exactly what God meant. I think they knew that God was promising one of their descendants would crush Satan’s power; power that they had given to him by obeying him and not God. I’m sure they did not understand how that would happen and how much it would cost God. I suspect that they did not have a good personal revelation that it was their sin, since Eve blamed the snake and Adam blamed the woman and then God for giving him the woman. But the promise was clearly there; that a descendant would overcome the power of the snake. Wow, before God judged Adam and Eve He promised a saviour!

At the start of each millennia since Adam, the key player received the promise – each in a form the befitting their role. I think Adam received it too. The format in which salvation and redemption and rest and rule of the Messiah were never well understood. But the promise was there. In Matthew 27:52-53 we see the fulfilment of this promise for those who had died before Jesus on the Cross. Even the criminal crucified next to Jesus was able to tap into the promise in Luke 23:40-43.

Can I prove that Adam saw this promise? No, but Lamech’s statement is a pretty strong indicator. Many will not accept that it could be so simple – that just trusting God to raise up a man to redeem us, even when you did not know about Jesus, is faith enough to be forgiven and get to heaven. This makes a mockery of all of our rules about having to speak in tongues or be baptised or do the right things. Well, we need to make a mockery of such rules because God has done it!

The New Testament demands insight, not just plain reading

If we don’t recognise that the snake was Satan (personified or possessed), then major aspects of Christian theology go missing. We don’t grasp how Adam handed authority to Satan and why Jesus as the Son of God had authority over demons that man did not have and why his victory on the Cross restored all authority in heaven and earth to Jesus (Matthew 28:18).

The plain reading of the snake had several anomalies:

These anomalies were not mistakes in the plain reading. It was the plain reading waiting for a New Testament revelation of God and Jesus to see its intended meaning. Satan’s role is not so much insight that adds another layer of understanding on top of the plain reading, but Satan’s role is necessary to understand the plain reading. It seems like God left these anomalies in the plain reading to cause us to seek the insight.

Well, are there any other anomalies in these early chapters of Genesis that demand or invite insight? The following sections discuss some of these anomalies.

The day you eat is the day you die

In Genesis 2:16 God said to Adam, “the day you eat is the day you die”. It is quite clear that God sees judgement as death (Revelation 2:11). The death of the mortal body was never a problem for God. Jesus was able to raise people from the dead. On the final day everyone will be raised from the dead. It all comes down to whether you will be judged or not. Those who are judged suffer eternal separation from God and that is the death that God perceives. God judged Adam the same day that Adam ate the fruit.

However the plain reading seemed wrong for thousands of years because Adam lived on nearly 1,000 years after he ate. He did not die the same day that he ate as the plain reading suggested. Well, now that we have a proper understanding of how God sees death, why don’t we embrace that and see that the literal “day you eat is the day you die”, was fulfilled because God judged Adam that very same day? Fundamental Christian theology says it is all about being forgiven and so avoiding judgement. Though our mortal bodies die we are assured eternal life with God because we are forgiven and not judged. And here in Genesis we see that God was forced to judge, but we also see God is slow to anger (Numbers 14:18, Psalms 86:15, 103:8, 145:8, Joel 2:13, Jonah 4:2), and takes no delight in the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 18:23), and still loved His children and provided an alternate place for them even though they had done wrong (The Post Fall Picture).

Well, actually I think we the Church, have misunderstood several issues involved here. I address this in several other articles, particularly in Rules of Paradise. But in regard to the interpretation of Genesis 2:16, I will hazard a guess at why traditional theology seems to reject the literal fulfilment by regarding death as judgement.

It seems that we have interpreted that phrase as an idiom meaning that the act of eating brought on the certainty of death. In fact this seems quite reasonable and the idiom may have even grown out of this very scripture. But I find that even though a literal understanding can be seen at work, certain experts deny its applicability. I confess a little frustration but there are reasons to be at least cautious...

But surely we can see that Adam was judged that same day and that is how it was literally fulfilled. Well, even that is hard for some to accept. You see, this means that an understanding of the meaning of words that has been upheld for long ages and was supposedly understood even when Moses set down the book of Genesis is being re-interpreted according how God sees things. Usually there is also an implied “how we think God see things”, because who are we that we should know the mind of God. Next thing you know all manner of perceptions of what God might think will be used to change the plain meaning of the words that has been, like a legal document, agreed and defined.

Well, I do that sort of stuff in several places. I find that experts mistake my suggestions as a perversion of the Bible because they seem similar to other attempts to pervert the Bible. But actually, rather than to defend my suggestions I want to say that my suggestions are just like the Satan/snake revelation – they are waiting in the plain text to be seen. They actually reinforce the image of God and fundamental Christian understandings, but they do challenge the approved understandings.

Other anomalies

Here is a list of other intriguing issues. Sometimes the word anomalies sounds too much like mistakes. The Bible has no mistakes!

These are discussed in other Game Start articles. If you see my explanations as giving a better image of God, the Father of Jesus Christ, here in Genesis then why not adopt them. Rather than ask me to defend them, why not ask the experts to disprove them. Your response will usually come in some form that says that the existing Classic view has no problems. You won’t find that I profane God or deny the need for Jesus or alter the plain story. But you will see that many existing understandings actually do. They suggest that after the creation week He suddenly changed (Malachi 3:6) and no longer acts like that. They suggest that He suddenly changed from the author of Life to the author of death by cursing Adam with mortality. And that is just a short list of misunderstandings.

I read the plain text and I see an anomaly and I accept that that is what it is. Not a mistake that I have to defend but an opportunity to see a mystery. I have noted that the Classic view has been very well defended and explanations for many anomalies exist. Some are quite good. But these tend to defend using only a critical interpretation of the plain text. I tend to look at God’s image elsewhere and use that as a guide.

I understand the difficulty of accepting something new, especially when it challenges a view you have defended all your life, so I present it as an option. I understand the knee-jerk reaction that rejects something seemingly so different without considering it. I don’t mind that much if you stay with the Classic view.

Do you want to know the really sad part? ...It’s when I point out several places where existing understandings have defamed God’s image, but people cannot see it. Then they defend that defamation, probably by pointing to various actions of God between Genesis 9 and Jesus, but they have not realised what profound changes in mankind had happened to trigger those actions; and the nature of the covenants with Noah and Moses. Failure to recognise those changes is a failure to recognise the fullness of what Jesus achieved. You really need to read the “Absence of good” and “Life for life” chapters at Page-1-God.

The three major sections of Page-1-God, and other articles in Game Start provide explanations of anomalies that give glory to God. I think that some are like Satan and the snake, just waiting to be seen. If you want a good question to ask, then ask why they were not seen ages ago.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB®

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