Literal snake in the Garden of Eden?

Discussions about the Bible, and any issues raised by Scripture.

Literal snake in the Garden of Eden?

Postby Gman » Thu Jul 03, 2008 10:00 pm

Folks,

Was the snake in the Garden of Eden a literal walking talking snake or was it something else? Some say yes, others may say no... I'm opening up a very detailed study on the Hebrew word "nachash" translated in English as the word "snake" in Genesis 3 to find a possible answer. This is a bit of a break off another topic in another section of the forum here.

This word study comes from the Hebrew scholar Michael S. Heiser. If you would like, please join in the discussion ....

Michael S. Heiser wrote:
Appearances Can Be Deceiving

It's probably not much of a risk on my part to assume that you've heard of or read the
story of the serpent and Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. But have you ever
wondered why Eve wasn't scared witless when the “serpent” spoke to her? If you go
back and read the account in Genesis 3, there's simply no indication that she did anything
but suppress a yawn—but why would that be the case? And, more to the point, what
does that have to do with the unfolding drama the Bible began with the creation of
humankind? And why did I put “serpent” in quotation marks? So glad you asked.

Did You Notice the Problem?

Now, you might be thinking, “Well, maybe animals back then could talk.” I've read this
sort of thing before. I hope you'll pardon me when I say that's absurd. This isn't
interpretation of the text; it's evasion of the issue. The only other instance where we
have an animal speaking to a human being in the Bible is that of Balaam's donkey in
Numbers 22:22-41. In that case the speech was prompted by an appearance of the divine
vice regent, the Angel of the Lord, and the text plainly tells us that it was God who
enabled the donkey to speak (v. 28). That certainly isn't the case in Genesis 3 with the
serpent.

I know calling something absurd might not sound kind, but it's actually nicer than saying,
“If you want to take that view, then I hope you can live with contradictions between
passages in the Bible,” since that's where this view ultimately leads.

There are two other passages in the Old Testament that most scholars would say have
something to do with what happened in Eden in Genesis 3: Ezekiel 28:1-19 and Isaiah
14:1-22.1 In those passages God taunts and pronounces judgment on the kings of Tyre
and Babylon, respectively. To drive the point home that these kings deserve judgment,
the inspired prophet compares them to the supernatural being (a spectacular “cherub” in
Ezekiel 28, and “Lucifer, son of the dawn” in Isaiah 14) whose contemptuous pride
resulted in a failed coup against God.

Notice that these passages refer to a divine being, not a “serpent.” And that gets to the
heart of the issue. In both these passages, the primeval enemy of God, the being who
causes the fall of humankind into sin, is not a snake but some sort of supernatural being.
And it is absolutely certain the event referred to in Ezekiel 28 is that of Genesis 3, since
Ezekiel 28:13 mentions Eden and the garden.

Those who wish to argue that Lucifer appeared as a snake must cope with the fact that
there isn't a single biblical text that says Lucifer (or any other divine being) can change
into an animal. At best, this “solution” is simply a convenient escape hatch. And even if
there was such biblical evidence, it still doesn't answer why Lucifer would need or
choose to speak to Eve as a snake, or why Eve wasn't surprised. Having Lucifer appear
or possess a snake actually complicates matters, since this view still means that prior to
this assumed appearance or possession snakes didn't talk. Put another way, if Lucifer's
presence in the snake is the explanation for its speaking ability, then snakes didn't talk
before this happened. Eve still should have been shocked when the alleged snake started
the conversation. So the question remains: Who or what spoke to Eve—a literal snake, a
member of the animal kingdom, or a supernatural being?

Animal, Vegetable, Mineral”¦Or Something Else?

Fortunately, there's a simple answer for all this, but you might want to sit down first.
The reason why Eve wasn't shocked that a snake was talking to her is because she wasn't
talking to a snake. She was talking to a luminous divine being and not an animal of any
kind. That being may have had some sort of serpentine appearance, but he was not a
snake from the animal kingdom. To make my case to you we'll need to do two things:
(1) recall the ancient backdrop for the descriptions of the garden of Eden that I noted in
the last chapter; and (2) look at Genesis 3, Ezekiel 28, and Isaiah 14 very closely. We'll
start with the ancient backdrop.

In the last chapter I briefly sketched how the descriptions of the Garden of Eden in the
book of Genesis match descriptions of the location where, in both the Bible and other
ancient Near Eastern texts, the divine council “lived” or met for business.2 Council
gatherings took place on a “cosmic mountain,” the place where heaven and earth
intersected, where divine decrees were given, and kingship was exercised. The cosmic
mountain was not only described as a mountain, but was also a well-watered place, a
beautiful garden.3 I pointed out that Eden is described as both a well-watered garden and
a mountain—and the place where Yahweh announced his decision to create humanity to
his divine council. The description of Eden as a divine mountain comes from Ezekiel
28:13-14. The same chapter refers to Eden as the “seat of the gods” (moshab elohim).
The word “seat” of course refers to the place of administration, even in our own language
(“county seat”). The imagery is quite consistent. The only significant difference is that
in Ezekiel the enemy of God is a shining divine being, whereas it is a serpent in Genesis.
I'm arguing, of course, that this difference is only apparent.

But what about the plain wording of Genesis 3? Isn't the chapter crystal clear that the
thing talking to Eve was a snake? Actually, the vocabulary is clear, but the meaning that
traditional interpretation has given it is not, and has in fact produced the “snake” problem
noted above. The Hebrew word translated “serpent” or “snake” in Genesis 3 is nachash
(pronounced, nakash). More specifically, the word is ha-nachash. The prefixed “ha” is
the way Hebrew denotes a definite article (the word for “the”). So ha-nachash may be
said to mean “the nachash.”

The word nachash is a very elastic term in Hebrew. It can function as a noun, a verb, or
even as an adjective. When nachash functions as a noun it means “snake,” and so the
traditional translation is possible—but it yields the contradiction with Ezekiel 28 and
Isaiah 14 noted above.4 When nachash serves as a verb it means “to practice
divination.”5 That meaning could also be possible in Genesis 3 due to the deception or
going on—Lucifer claiming to have the “real” word from God. When a verb receives an
article attached to it, the action of the verb is then transformed into a person doing the
action. Hence the word ha-nachash would then best be translated “the diviner.”
The third option—the adjectival meaning of nachash—is the solution to the contradiction
problem. When nachash serves as an adjective, it's meaning is “shining bronze” or
“polished” (as in “shiny”). By adding the definite article to the word, ha-nachash would
then quite easily mean “the shining one.” Angelic or divine beings are elsewhere
described in the Bible as “shining” or luminous, at times with this very word, nachash.6
We often don't think about how common this vocabulary of “shining brilliance” is for
angels and other divine beings. The Bible abounds with descriptions of such beings as
“flashing” or “as lightning,” or uses the brilliance of jewels to describe the blazing
appearance of such beings. This has important ramifications for solving the “snake”
problem.

What's so significant about translating ha-nachash as “shining one” and not “snake” in
Genesis 3? Very simply, “shining one” is the literal meaning of “Lucifer.” The name
“Lucifer” is actually Latin and comes from the Latin Vulgate translation of the Hebrew
Old Testament. In Isaiah 14:12, the Hebrew name of primeval conspirator against God is
“Helel ben-Shachar”—“Shining One, son of the Dawn.” Translating ha-nachash as
“Shining One” removes the contradiction of seeing a snake vs. a supernatural being in
Eden since it provides an explicit parallel between the two passages.

We have words like this in English if you think about it. The very same noun / verb /
adjective interplay is evident here:

(Noun): “The cleanup is going to take a long time.”
(Verb): “We must clean up this oil spill.”
(Adjective): “The cleanup procedures need to be followed.”

What results from this approach is that Eve was confronted by a member of the divine
council “on the way to work,” so to speak. She wasn't surprised, because she saw these
beings come and go with regularity. We get the flavor of this context in Genesis 3:22.
Following Adam and Eve's sin God laments that now the two “have become as one of
us”—the same plural language as in Genesis 1:26. Eden was the place where council was
held. It just happened that on this day, one of them had a score to settle.

Personally, I think it quite possible that the choice of the word nachash in Genesis 3 was
designed as a double entendre. The enemy of God was a shining divine being that also
had a serpentine appearance. No, I'm not contradicting what I said above. Saying that
Eve was speaking to a divine being of serpentine appearance is different than saying she
was dealing with a snake from the animal kingdom. Ezekiel 28 supports this notion.

A Closer Look at Ezekiel and Isaiah

Neither the name “Helel” nor the word nachash appear in Ezekiel 28, but we do have a
corresponding description of Eden's villain. Note the underlined portions of Ezekiel
28:13-14:

13 You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your
covering, sardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, emerald,
and carbuncle; and crafted in gold were your settings and your engravings. On the
day that you were created they were prepared. 14 You were a shining7 guardian
cherub. I placed you; you were on the holy mountain of God; in the midst of the
stones of fire8 you walked.

The point of the description is the same as Isaiah 14 and Genesis 3. The appearance of
the supernatural rebel in the garden of Eden is described with brilliant, shining jewels.
The description of this shining being as “shining, guardian cherub” points to a serpentine
appearance for this divine being, and therefore another parallel to Genesis 3. It is
common among Bible scholars to suppose that the cherubim were sphinx-like creatures,
based primarily on some carved depictions of thrones from Egypt and Phoenicia. Certain
carvings portray thrones that are, as in Ezekiel 1, supported by creatures with wings and
four faces. This perspective, while possible, isn't terribly coherent in Ezekiel 28. It
cannot account for why the being in Eden—and so parallel to the entity in Genesis 3—
isn't described as sphinx-like, or leonine, or having four faces. The reality is that the
meaning and derivation of the Hebrew word for “cherub” is uncertain.9 The most likely
possibility is that the term refers to a spirit being who guards or blesses (praises), or
which serves as the gatekeeper to the divine throne room, without respect to physical
appearance.

Curiously—and perhaps tellingly—those beings whose station is in God's throne room
and who are portrayed in the Old Testament as praising God in the throne room do have a
serpentine appearance (Isaiah 6). These beings are known to us as seraphim. Decades
ago scholars believed that the word saraph (the plural is seraphim) meant “burning one”
or “fiery one” since there was a Hebrew verb of that spelling with that meaning.
However, the common Hebrew noun saraph means “serpent.” Numbers 21:8 is but one
of the more obvious examples of this word and that meaning. For our purposes,
seraphim were not mere snakes from the animal kingdom—they had hands, feet, and
wings, and could speak (Isa 6:2, 6). They were apparently something both human-like
and serpentine.10 If “cherub” is merely a generic term for a being whose appointment
was in the throne room of God, this would account for why the adversary of Eve in Eden
is described with that term and yet as nachash in Genesis 3.

But what about the curses of Genesis 3? Surely those rule out a translation of “Shining
One” and help us salvage the traditional view, despite its problems. This approach is a
bit misguided, since the curses describe the nachash in terms of what he would be after
he was punished, not before. In fact, the curses make far more sense if they are directed
at a fallen divine being than a mere snake. Why? Let me point out a couple of the most
apparent reasons.

First, consider the cursing of the nachash with respect to Eve. God tells the nachash that
there will be “enmity” or some sort of adversarial relationship between the offspring of
Eve (human beings, not necessarily female) and the offspring of the nachash. What are
we to make of this if the nachash is only a snake from the animal kingdom?

Commentators have danced around that issue for millennia. The fact is that all humans
do not hate or fear snakes, and snakes do not by nature exist to attack or harass humans.
In Gen. 3:14 we read that God curses the nachash to eat dust all the days of his life.
Snakes do not eat dirt as a means of sustenance, and so the curse is not meant to be taken
literally. This of course has given rise to the notion that before the Fall snakes were
upright animals—an idea for which I have even seen some Christian commentators
appeal to evolutionary biology! If this kind of literalism is brought to the passage, then
one is pressed to answer questions like: “How do we know which parts of the curse are
figurative and which are literal?”; “In what way is it the worst curse to crawl on the
ground? (“cursed are you above all livestock”). Other creatures crawl on their belly, and
so their “fate” is at least as bad. And there are worse fates in the animal kingdom. Some
creatures live only to be eaten by others. I would suggest that snakes were created by God
the way we know them today and that their method of propulsion has nothing to do with
what happened in Genesis 3.

Lastly, in case you're still stuck on the first verse of Genesis 3, I need to let you in on a
secret. Check a variety of English translations on Genesis 3:1. Many will have something
like, “Now the serpent was craftier than any of the other beasts of the field . . .” Surely
the fact that Genesis 3:1 says “the other beasts” means that the serpent was an animal,
right? I could agree with that, but the secret is that the word “other” isn't in the Hebrew
text! It's supplied by translators interpretively. The text literally says, “Now the serpent
was craftier than any beasts of the field,” to which I say, no kidding—he was a divine
being, so he ought to be smarter! Rather than argue in favor of the nachash being a
snake, a member of the animal kingdom, Genesis 3:1 implies that the nachash was a
superior being.

Frankly, I think a more serious question in all this should be put to those who want a
snake in the garden: “How can this curse in Genesis 3:14 be reconciled with the
punishment of Eden's divine rebel described in Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28?” A look at the
passages below will tell you immediately that there is nothing like what is traditionally
imagined in Genesis 3 in these other Eden passages. In Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 the rebel
is punished by banishment to “Sheol” (the Hebrew place of the dead and punishment, see
below) or being “cast to the earth.” These descriptions are hopelessly irreconcilable with
Genesis 3 if one has an animal, a snake, in view. Note the specific underlined
punishments:


More here....

Source: http://www.michaelsheiser.com/MHeiserCh ... achash.pdf
The heart cannot rejoice in what the mind rejects as false - Galileo

We learn from history that we do not learn from history - Georg Friedrich Wilhelm Hegel

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things. -Philippians 4:8
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Re: Literal snake in the Garden of Eden?

Postby Daniel » Fri Jul 04, 2008 2:50 am

One reason that I may be open for it being less literal is the fact that scientifically, snakes did not have legs before humans existed. However, I do not feel comfortable taking biblical passages figuratively unless I have a good reason for doing so, including Hebrew/Greek/Aramaic language rules. It appears that a case has been made here. Very interesting post.
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Re: Literal snake in the Garden of Eden?

Postby Kurieuo » Fri Jul 04, 2008 6:12 am

Nice find Gman. Certainly much food for thought there I had never been aware to.
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Re: Literal snake in the Garden of Eden?

Postby Cross.eyed » Fri Jul 04, 2008 2:09 pm

This talking snake has given me pause a time or two but, I shrugged it off with the literal interpretation because of no biblical support with the exception of satan being called a serpent in Revelations 20.

Thanks to Mr. Heiser and Gman, I can take a more honest look with the biblical support I needed.
I am the wretch the song refers to.
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Re: Literal snake in the Garden of Eden?

Postby Jac3510 » Sat Jul 05, 2008 11:30 am

I read through it, Gman. He's saying exactly the same thing I've been saying he said. He's contradicting you, not me, assuming you are still asserting that the word nachash is being used as a figure of speech (the only figure of speech he's mentioned here is the double entendre, which is fine, but it doesn't affect the previous discussion you and I were having).
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Re: Literal snake in the Garden of Eden?

Postby Gman » Sat Jul 05, 2008 12:51 pm

Jac3510 wrote:I read through it, Gman. He's saying exactly the same thing I've been saying he said. He's contradicting you, not me, assuming you are still asserting that the word nachash is being used as a figure of speech (the only figure of speech he's mentioned here is the double entendre, which is fine, but it doesn't affect the previous discussion you and I were having).


It doesn't matter to me... The point I was making with "nachash" is that it doesn't always have to be interpreted as a literal snake or animal. I will admit however that I was leaning with Bullinger's view from the beginning as a figure of speech. No doubt there.... However, given Heiser's recent work on this, I might drop my argument on that. To be honest with you, I'm learning a great deal more about this as well than I ever have in the past. I guess we can thank the internet (or God) for that... ;)
The heart cannot rejoice in what the mind rejects as false - Galileo

We learn from history that we do not learn from history - Georg Friedrich Wilhelm Hegel

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things. -Philippians 4:8
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Re: Literal snake in the Garden of Eden?

Postby Jac3510 » Sat Jul 05, 2008 6:03 pm

*shrug* It doesn't really bother me if you want to take nachash as an adjective and translate it substantively. While I don't agree, I don't think it makes a difference from a hermeneutical perspective. What I was objecting to so strongly in our previous discussion was your taking a word with absolutely no linguistic markers pointing towards a figure of speech and using it as such within the confines of a historical narrative. So the way I see it, you're now saying that within the confines of a historical narrative you have a word that, by all markers, should be taken in its normal usage, then I don't think we have anything really worth disagreeing on.

God bless :)
"Infants are not, as it were, people. Nor are children. Nor are Teenagers. . . . Infant, children and teenagers cannot vote. Cannot hold a great many licensees etc. Are considered the effective 'property' of their parents and all for good reasons. " ~ A quote from one of our resident atheists. Cf. Ps. 14:1.

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Re: Literal snake in the Garden of Eden?

Postby Gman » Sun Jul 06, 2008 10:12 am

Jac3510 wrote:What I was objecting to so strongly in our previous discussion was your taking a word with absolutely no linguistic markers pointing towards a figure of speech and using it as such within the confines of a historical narrative.


Yes, obviously we have a huge disagreement there...

God bless to you too Jac. ;)
The heart cannot rejoice in what the mind rejects as false - Galileo

We learn from history that we do not learn from history - Georg Friedrich Wilhelm Hegel

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things. -Philippians 4:8
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Re: Literal snake in the Garden of Eden?

Postby Essene » Wed Feb 04, 2009 8:09 pm

re: "The word nachash is a very elastic term in Hebrew. ..... The third option—the adjectival meaning of nachash—is the solution to the contradiction
problem. When nachash serves as an adjective, it's meaning is “shining bronze” or“polished” (as in “shiny”). By adding the definite article to the word, ha-nachash would then quite easily mean “the shining one.” Angelic or divine beings are elsewhere described in the Bible as “shining” or luminous, at times with this very word, nachash."

This is very interesting. Given that when God returns to the Garden he repeats almost the exact phrase as the serpent. Who is the serpent ?

Serpent: For God knows that when you eat of it "your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." 3:5
God: "The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever." 3:22

I am starting to wonder if the serpent is actually a mnemonic device of some other person ? Some other Son of Light.

The creation of a bronze snake (the Nehustan) is attributed to Moses in the Book of Numbers.
... The people came to Moses and said, "We have sinned by speaking against the LORD and against you; pray to the LORD to take away the serpents from us." So Moses prayed for the people. And the LORD said to Moses, "Make a poisonous serpent, and set it on a pole; and everyone who is bitten shall look at it and live." So Moses made a serpent of bronze, and put it upon a pole; and whenever a serpent bit someone, that person would look at the serpent of bronze and live.

and again in Genesis 3:14 "So the LORD God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this,
"Cursed are you above all the livestock

In the Gospel of John Jesus compared himself to Nehushtan.
"As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.

Was Christ not crushed for our sins ? Hung on a pole ?

Who reveals to us that the Light of God, "the Kingdom of God is within" Does Jesus not teach us of the knowledge of Good and Evil, how to pray, how to be like God ?

Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your Law, 'I have said you are gods'[a]? 35If he called them 'gods,' to whom the word of God came—and the Scripture cannot be broken— what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world ? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, 'I am God's Son'? John 10:34

The more I read Genesis I start to see that the serpent is similar to the Raven of Native American lore that steals the light from the Creator to bring to mankind, so that we may live in the Light and not in darkness. It is also similar to the story of Prometheus who steals light from Zeus to bring to mankind, and who then suffers, is hung on a rock to die.

Who is the "Shining One" ? Is it possible that we have got it wrong ? Is Christ not both the Tree of Knowledge and the Tree of Life. And the Shining One ?

"While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take and eat; this is my body." Matt 26:26

Does Jesus sacrifice himself over and over again for our sake ? To bring us the truth and the light ?

"For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light" Ephesians 5:8

"Put your trust in the light while you have it, so that you may become sons of light." When he had finished speaking, Jesus left and hid himself from them." John 12:36

"You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness." Thessalonians 5:5

In Eastern cultures the serpent represents the Kundalini: Kundalini (kuṇḍalinī कुण्डलिनी) Sanskrit, literally "coiled". In Indian yoga, a "corporeal energy"[1] - an unconscious, instinctive or libidinal force or Shakti, envisioned either as a goddess or else as a sleeping serpent coiled at the base of the spine.
Yoga and Tantra propose that this energy may be "awakened" by such means as austerities, breath and other physical exercises, visualization and chanting. It may then rise up a subtle channel at the spine (called Sushumna) to the head, bringing psychological illumination. When Kundalini Shakti is conceived as a goddess, then, when it rises to the head, it unites itself with the Supreme Being (Lord Shiva). The aspirant becomes engrossed in deep meditation and infinite bliss.

Is this the serpent, the shining one that reveals "the kingdom of God is within you" Luke 17:21
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Re: Literal snake in the Garden of Eden?

Postby Byblos » Thu Feb 05, 2009 8:02 am

Essene wrote:Who is the "Shining One" ? Is it possible that we have got it wrong ? Is Christ not both the Tree of Knowledge and the Tree of Life. And the Shining One ?


Essene,

Are you saying Christ was the snake in Genesis? That he caused the fall to later come back and rescue us from its effects? Sort of like a sadistic god who creates evil, not merely allow it to happen for a greater purpose? Is that what you're saying or did I misinterpret your post? In any case, who is Christ to you?
Let us proclaim the mystery of our faith: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.
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Re: Literal snake in the Garden of Eden?

Postby dayage » Sat Feb 07, 2009 11:58 pm

Satan had of course already fallen from heaven. He tried to exalt himself to be like God (Is. 14:12-15), because of pride (Ezek. 28:12-19). These verses actually have dual applications; one is prophesy about an earthly ruler, the other tells the story of Satan's fall from heaven.

Now in Genesis 3 we read how Satan (the serpent) had come to destroy God's greatest creation, man. After he tempts mankind, and they sin, God pronounces a curse on him:
14. And the LORD God said to the serpent, 'Because you have done this, cursed are you more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; on your belly shall you go, and dust shall you eat All the days of your life; 15. and I will put enmity between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel. '

Over the years, snakes have taken the rap as the serpent. But, was a snake really the serpent in the garden? Even if Satan did take the form of an actual snake, the curse was against Satan. All snakes can not be included in the curse just because Satan decided to look like one. That would be like cursing the angels of light, because Satan disguised himself as one (II Cor. 11:14).

First, let's examine verse 14 above. This part of the curse (“on your belly you shall go, and dust shall you eat all the days of your life”) shows that it was against one individual. This is also demonstrated by the fact that the definite article ha (the) always precedes the term serpent. So, this cannot be a story of how snakes lost their legs.

Isaiah 65:25 would seem to contradict this conclusion, but the definite article ha (the) is not found here. So a better translation would be “And dust shall be a serpent's food.” This may be symbolic of the curse put on Satan.

Eating dust and crawling on ones belly were symbolic of being humbled, humiliated and/or unclean (Lev. 11:42; Ps. 72:9; Is. 49:23, 65:25; Lam. 3:29; Mic. 7:17). This was in contrast to the high position Satan had once held as the anointed cherub (Eze. 28:13-17).

Now, in verse 15 there is a lot of content. In the first part of the verse, "and I will put enmity between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed," we see that there would be a struggle between the righteous and the unrighteous. Biblical passages supporting this conclusion as well as the fact that the serpent was Satan (possibly disguised as a snake) and not a natural snake are: We are told this (Rev. 12:9, 13-17, 20:2 ); He's a liar (Gen. 3:1, 4, 13; John 8:44; II Cor. 11:3; Rev. 12:9); His seed are unbelievers (Gen. 4 & 5; Matt. 13:37-39; Acts 13:10; I John 3:8-12; Rev. 12:13, 17); He will be crushed by God (Gen. 3:15; Romans 16:20; Rev. 12:12).

There is also a hint of the virgin birth when it says "her seed." The man is left out. The second half makes it clearer that ultimately the struggle between Jesus and Satan is in view: "He shall bruise you on the (or crush your) head, And you shall bruise him on the (or crush his) heel." The text uses the singular he and you, showing that the struggle is between two individuals. We also have a picture of what took place on the cross. Jesus delivered a fatal blow to the works and person of Satan, where as Satan could only deliver a temporary injury to Jesus.
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Re: Literal snake in the Garden of Eden?

Postby Byblos » Mon Feb 09, 2009 7:35 am

dayage wrote:There is also a hint of the virgin birth when it says "her seed." The man is left out. The second half makes it clearer that ultimately the struggle between Jesus and Satan is in view: "He shall bruise you on the (or crush your) head, And you shall bruise him on the (or crush his) heel." The text uses the singular he and you, showing that the struggle is between two individuals. We also have a picture of what took place on the cross. Jesus delivered a fatal blow to the works and person of Satan, where as Satan could only deliver a temporary injury to Jesus.


That's how I've always understood it. Nice post dayage.
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Re: Literal snake in the Garden of Eden?

Postby Gman » Mon Feb 09, 2009 8:56 pm

Byblos wrote:That's how I've always understood it. Nice post dayage.


I'll second that.... Nice guns there dayage.... :clap:
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Re: Literal snake in the Garden of Eden?

Postby Essene » Sat Mar 07, 2009 2:04 pm

Christ is God. And "the Kingdom of God is within us." Luke 17:21

In the beginning The Word was with God.

I believe that the story of Genesis happens every time a child is born. It is a symbollic retelling of how our soul (Atom) descends or "Falls" from The Kingdom of heaven and is enclosed within our body at conception/creation/Genesis/Beginning. What are the "skins" that God clothes Atum in (if not our human bodies at birth)?

The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.

Genesis is the story of every man's creation. Where is the Garden of Eden if it is here on Earth ?
Adam and Eve are spiritual bodies until they acquire the desire for Knowledge.

I believe that the symbol of the serpent is our soul's desire to gain knowledge of Good and evil here in creation. The "Fall" is the result of our Spirit wanting to leave the "Garden of Eden" and come to earth and experience Good and Evil. We have forgotten the path and God comes as Christ to teach us the Way back to Him.

If anything the Serpent is a symbol of the Eastern Kundalini. Which causes us to desire re-Union with the divine Godhead. The Shekinah. (ha-nachash in reverse)

The Nachash is like the Nagas of Buddhism and Hinduism. It is a symbol of rebirth and renewal. These creation myths are earlier than the Genesis tradition.

Who taught us that the Nachash is Satan ? Pharisees ? Saducees ? High Priests who burnt dead animal offerings in the Temple ? What does Jesus call these teachers ?

I find in Isaiah 53 and Psalms 22 a very good description of what God describes in Gen 3:14-15

Jesus is my savior and my Lord. But I am learning Hebrew and Aramaic and discovering many things.
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Re: Literal snake in the Garden of Eden?

Postby dayage » Sat Mar 07, 2009 3:13 pm

Essene,

What denomination do you belong to? You sound like a Unitarian Universalist.

Luke 17:21 Jesus is speaking to the non-believing Pharisees. The translation "within you" is only correct if the "you" has a general meaning, i.e. the kingdom is spiritual. The Pharisees did not have it within them. A more likely translation is "among you," i.e. the King was standing before them.

Your idea about the skins and our having a pre-existance as spirit beings sounds a little New Age and a little Mormon. Unless you think Adam and Eve first took on plants for their bodies (Genesis 3:7), your explanation will not work. God simply gave them more permanent clothes (Gen. 3:21).

As I clearly pointed out above, the serpent was Satan. You must address the texts above.
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