Genesis 3:1 - 24
ESV - 1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God actually say, 'You shall not eat of any tree in the garden'? 2 And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden.
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Interestingly, the serpent/snake speaking to Adam and Eve is not the only instance in the Bible where an animal speaks. The prophet Balaam was rebuked by his donkey (see Numbers 22:21-35). We have ...
First off we need to understand that the imagery of a talking snake was no more likely in Adam's day than it is today. Even after the serpent was cursed the Bible says nothing about God impairing it's ability to talk if it ever could. The seeming major physical change that possibly occurred was the removal legs that it might possibly have had when God said it would crawl upon the ground and eat dust all it's days. But it is somewhat spurious to think even this even though scripture gives it more evidence and creedance that the talking snake bit. What we see hear is Moses using creative license in a literary sense rather than a theological one which he had no authority to use whatsoever. In literary terms Moses is making the reader no one very important thing in this passage "What satan is like" and not what he physically is like. Satan is like a snake; especially in regards to his dealings with man who is all to easily fooled by him. Satan still plays his tricks today and they have not changed. He talks to us everyday much the way he first talked to our first parents by appealing to our nature apart from God. He twist things up making a lie appear as true and many other tricky tactics to tempt us to go against God. And he strikes when we least expect and most vulnerable. In this state we are no match for him the same as when we encounter a snake. Tradition holds that Moses wrote the first 5 books of the Bible during the snake infestation while the Israelites were wandering in the desert after divine judgement was enacted upon them. This was not a nice or happy time for them. What better way to impress upon them the importance of the fall off humanity by making one of it's prime players something that they hated and caused them much grief - the snake and that is what satan does. he is a snake although we might see him that way if we could see him in a physical state. The Bible says he is quite beautiful and not anything like what we have come to envision him as physically. Nature wise he is something much different and uglier a SNAKE! We must always remember, to take note to whom the writers of the scriptures were writing to. It is not us. The Bible was not written TO us but it was written FOR us. One must always take in account the audience to whom the writer was address at the time he was writing; very little of the bible was ADDRESSED to us but every word was written for us and all humanity who follows us.
Although the promoter of the disobedience of Adam and Eve is identified as a serpent, no immediate clue is given as to who was the real power and intelligence behind the voice emitted by the serpent. Nevertheless, Adam had a long time to reflect on the events in Eden that led to his expulsion from the paradise park.—Genesis 3:17, 18, 23; 5:5. 3 Obviously, Adam knew that animals do not speak with human intelligence. He also knew that God had not spoken to him through any animal prior to Eve’s temptation. So who had told his wife to disobey God? Paul says that even though the woman was thoroughly deceived, Adam was not deceived. (Genesis 3:11-13, 17; 1 Timothy 2:14) Perhaps Adam realized that some invisible creature was offering an alternative to obedience to God. Yet, although he himself was not approached by the serpent, he chose to go along with his wife in disobedience. Adam’s deliberate and willful act of disobedience broke the mold of perfection, introduced the defect of sin, and led to the foretold condemnation of death. And thus, using the agency of the serpent, Satan became the original manslayer.—John 8:44; Romans 5:12, 14. Although speech was used to misguide Eve in the garden of Eden, there is nothing to suggest that the literal serpent had vocal cords. It actually did not need them. When God’s angel spoke to Balaam through a she-ass, the animal did not need a complex voice box similar to that of a human. (Numbers 22:26-31) Obviously, when this ‘voiceless beast of burden made utterance with the voice of a man,’ the power for the action came from the spirit realm.—2 Peter 2:16. The spirit creature behind the serpent that spoke to Eve is identified in the Bible as “the original serpent, the one called Devil and Satan.” (Revelation 12:9) The audible words that Eve heard and responded to came at the instigation of Satan, who “keeps transforming himself into an angel of light.”—2 Corinthians 11:14.
The serpent may not have looked like a serpent at all when he spoke to Eve. Genesis 3:14 states, 'So the Lord God said to the serpent."Because you have done this, "Cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life."' 'You _will crawl' is a 'from now on' statement so Satan may not have appeared serpent-like to Eve (and Adam) until after he deceived them and as Michael said above, it may not have been uncommon for animals to speak in the Garden. Note also that Adam was right there with Eve and the serpent, Genesis 3:6, so he had no reason to tell God it was Eve's fault he ate of the fruit, Gen 3:12. In fact, he was more guilty than Eve because he could have reminded her what God said and he could have chosen not to eat even if she did.
Why didn't Adam and Eve find it strange that a serpent was talking to them? Because the Bible is somewhat silent on this subject, we can only make reasonable guesses. First, Adam was probably not originally present to hear the Serpent speak. Had he been present from the start, he would have known, first hand, that the Serpent was lying and therefore not to be trusted. As Eve’s husband and protector, in my opinion, he would have immediately confronted the Devil or have fled the scene to consult with God about the matter. Since the Scriptures say Adam was not deceived, simple self-preservation would have caused him to defend himself. (1 Timothy 2:14) Remember, Adam knowingly ate the Forbidden Fruit (FF), believing that he would die that day. What would have motivated him to commit suicide in that way? He had absolutely nothing to gain and everything to lose. One guess could be that he loved Eve more than his own life. Commentators on Romans 5:14 have stated that Adam’s relationship to Eve (his bride) was a pattern of Jesus’ relationship to the Church (his Bride). The account in Genesis Chapter 3 particularly labels the Serpent as being the most “subtle” of all the beasts. (Genesis 3:1) This defining nature may have been the reason why the Devil chose the Serpent as his representative. This implies that he would have the good sense not to approach Adam directly, but get at him through his wife. So if Eve was alone initially and was, for some reason, innocently close to the Forbidden Tree, that would be the perfect time to strike. The Serpent’s first words involving God would have no doubt alarmed Eve but at the same time made her curious. This would be something she needed to explore further. In her answer to the Serpent’s question, she included the word to “touch” the FF as also being a capital offense. (Genesis 3:3) Is it possible that the Serpent was in the Forbidden Tree and was even touching the FF at that time but didn’t die? Taking the matter a step further, the Serpent told her the first lie by contradicting God. (Genesis 3:4) He then said that by eating of the FF, her intelligence would be greatly increased. In her mind, what might have made that statement believable? Of course, she may have thought, the Serpent must have eaten some of the FF and that was why he could speak. This may be implied by the next statement telling us that “when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise” she ate it. (Genesis 3:6) This assertion suggests that she was inspecting the fruit, and it must have appeared even more edible then most of the other fruit with which she was familiar. Then if she actually saw the Serpent take a bite, she could rationally conclude that the FF was “good for food.” What about Adam? According to this line of thinking, he personally had never heard the Serpent speak. He apparently arrived on the scene shortly after Eve had already eaten the FF. By that time, the Serpent could have hastily fled the scene. Now the question is, what should Adam do? He could abandon Eve and let her face the consequence of her actions alone. That would have been the smart but selfish thing to do. However, being selfish is a sin that Adam, in his perfect state, could never even think of doing. The “subtle” Serpent knew that if he could get Eve to eat of the FF, Adam would naturally follow.
According to 2 Corinthians 11:14 which Chris already mentioned, and Gen. 3:1 a, Satan disguised himself, i.e. disguised his true character. When Satan entered the Garden of Eden, he used the snake’s body, one of God’s creatures which God had pronounced “good” (Genesis 1:31). Eve didn’t find it strange that the snake was there or even its speech, so we can make a calculated guess that she saw nothing disturbing about the encounter. Maybe Eve had not been introduced to this species and just assumed that it could talk.
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