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The Serpent In The Garden

QUESTION: Who was the serpent in the Garden?


The serpent in the garden originally was merely a created being: intelligent, attractive, and perhaps vertically erect. The operative word is created. As created, the serpent was lesser than Adam and Eve and named by Adam. Adam would have given it instructions, not accepted instruction from it. As created, any suggestion from the serpent should have been instantly suspicious for two reasons. Firstly, Adam had informed Eve of his God-given command over the creatures. And secondly, God had always spoken directly to Adam and Eve.

The serpent in the garden became a willing conspirator with Satan in deceiving Eve. No other animal served his purpose so well. From thoughtful and discreet, it became conceited and duplicitous. The original Genesis context stresses the duplicity of the serpent. The Devil’s use of the serpent portrays the serpent’s consent and cooperation. God cursed the serpent for its part in Eve’s deception.

The serpent in the garden proved Satan’s perfect instrument in deceiving Eve by:

  • Firstly, appearing to her as a lesser being and not in an intimidating manner.

  • Secondly, Satan merely raised doubts in Eve’s mind about God’s person.

  • Thirdly, Satan used the serpent’s indirect, suggestive nature to cast doubt on God’s command.
Satan insinuated that God was not protecting Adam and Eve, but merely protecting Himself from competition from mortals. He enticed Eve to deny God’s word and slander God’s motives. Instead of safely replying with what God had stated to the serpent, her mistake was trying to reason Satan’s subtlety into a positive result.

The serpent in the garden ultimately became so thoroughly identified in Scripture with Satan that John referred to him as that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan. He wars against God. But he cannot succeed, because creation itself aligns with God and Christ. He will suffer eternal punishment as a result of his rebellious deception of humanity.

“He seized the dragon--that old serpent, the Devil, Satan--and bound him in chains for a thousand years” (Revelation 20:2).

“Then the Devil, who betrayed them, was thrown into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur, joining the beast and the false prophet. There they will be tormented day and night forever and ever” (Revelation 2:10).

“Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, 'Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the Devil and his demons!’” (Matthew 25:41).

Learn More About Original Sin.

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