Eve and the Serpent – Bible fact or fabel?

Posted: January 16, 2012 in Christian Living
Tags: , , , , , ,

I assume that you’ve already heard 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 shocked or even surprised when the serpent spoke to her? When we read the account in Genesis 3 there doesn’t seem to be any indication that her conversation was out of the ordinary – but why would that be?

Some in the Church have explained this by teaching that back then the serpent could talk and walk upright on legs. You’ll excuse me when I say that that’s the most absurd way of evading the question! The only other instance in the Bible where an animal spoke to a human is in Numbers 22:22-41 where Balaam’s donkey spoke prompted by the appearance of the angel of the Lord and the text plainly tells us that it was God who enabled the donkey to speak in order to warn Balaam of the unknown danger confronting him. (v.28)

There are two other passages that most scholars agree have to do with what happened in the Garden of Eden in Genesis 3: Ezekiel 28:1-19 and Isaiah 14:1-22. In those passages God rebukes and passes judgment on the kings of Tyre and Babylon. To prove to these kings that they deserve God’s judgment the prophets compare them to a supernatural being (a cherub in Ezekiel 28 and Lucifer in Isaiah 14) whose pride resulted in a failed coup against God.

Notice that these passages refer to a divine being, not a serpent. And since Scripture will never contradict itself, that’s what we will use to clear up this difficulty.  In both of these passages this ancient enemy of God, the being who causes the fall of humankind into sin, is not a snake that talks and walks upright like a man but a supernatural being. And I am absolutely certain that Ezekiel 28 is referring to Genesis 3 since Ezekiel 28:13 mentions Eden and the Garden.

Those who argue that Lucifer appeared as a snake must explain why there isn’t a single text that says Lucifer (or any other divine being) can change into an animal. This is simply another convenient “escape clause” the Church has used over the years to promote one of its fairy tale doctrines. And even if there was such biblical proof, it still doesn’t answer why Lucifer would need to speak to Eve as a snake or why Eve wasn’t surprised that a snake could talk. The Church’s view of Lucifer appearing or possessing a snake actually complicates the matter, since that would mean that prior to this appearance or possession snakes did not talk or walk upright. Eve would probably have run away screaming for help. So who or what spoke to Eve? It must have been someone or something that Eve regarded as rather normal at the time.

The answer for all of this is very simple. The reason that Eve was not shocked or frightened that a snake was talking to her is because she wasn’t talking to a snake! She was talking to a luminous divine being with a serpentine appearance and not an animal of any kind.

Look at Genesis 3, Ezekiel 28, and Isaiah 14 more closely. And consider the ancient backdrop of these passages: The Bible as well as other Eastern texts describes where the divine council met for business. Council meetings took place on a cosmic mountain, the place where divine decrees were given and decisions were made. (See Job 1:1-12, Gen. 1:26, Gen. 3:22, Gen. 11:7) This cosmic mountain is mentioned many times in Scripture as “the mountain of God”. Ezekiel 28:2 also mentions the “seat of the gods”. The word “seat” refers to the place of administration. Even in our own language, such as the county seat. This imagery is consistent throughout Scripture.

But isn’t it clear that by the wording in Genesis 3 that Eve was talking to a snake? The vocabulary is clear but the meaning that traditional interpretation has given is not, and is in fact been the cause of the confusion. The Hebrew word that was translated serpent or snake in Genesis 3 is ha-nachash. (Pronounced – ha-nakash) The word nachash can function as a noun, a verb, or an adjective. As a noun nachash means snake, so the traditional translation would be possible, but then it contradicts Ezekiel 28 and Isaiah 14. When nachash is used as a verb it means to practice divination and could also be used in Genesis 3 if Lucifer was using divination to appear as a snake. But the solution comes when we use the word nachash as an adjective because it then means shining bronze or polished. The Hebrew word “ha” always means “the” so ha-nachash as an adjective would translate to “the shining one”. Consider that angelic or divine beings are often described in the Bible as shining or luminous and at times use this same word, nachash. In the New Testament Writings the word “serpent” is translated from the Greek word, ὄφις (ophis) but the root word is ὀπτάνομαι (optanomai) and means to look at, or behold, to allow one’s self to be seen, to appear.

What’s so significant about translating ha-nachash as “the shining one” is that the name Lucifer comes from the Latin Vulgate translation of the Hebrew in Isaiah 14:12, “Helel ben-Shachar”  and  literally means, “Shining One, son of the Dawn”. Translating ha-nachash as “The Shining One” removes the contradiction of snake vs. supernatural being in the Garden of Eden. We have the same type of words that interplay between noun, verb, and adjective in our English vocabulary. The word “word” is a noun, adjective, and verb. It is most common as a noun as in “the words on the page blurred as she moved the magnifying glass”. It can also be used as a verb as in “I will try to word my sentences carefully, so as not to confuse you.” Finally, it can be used as an adjective as in “I completed a word find.”

Eve was confronted by a member of God’s divine council, so to speak. She wasn’t surprised because she and Adam probably saw these beings come and go on a regular basis. Notice in Genesis 3:22 God laments that the two “have become like one of us…” The same plural language is used in Gen. 1:26. It seems that Eden was near the place where God’s council met and this is the day that Lucifer decided to settle the score he had with God.  To say that Eve was speaking to a divine being of serpentine or shining appearance seems much more logical than she had a conversation with a talking snake. And Ezekiel 28 supports this. Even though the word nachash is not used notice the description that is used:

“You were in Eden, the garden of God; Every precious stone was your covering: The sardius, topaz, and diamond, Beryl, onyx, and jasper, Sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold. The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes was prepared for you on the day you were created.” (Ezek.28:13)

The same description of a supernatural being with a brilliant appearance is used in Isaiah 14 and Genesis 3. Not only that, but many passages describe angelic or divine beings as having a serpentine or shining appearance. (See Ezek. 1:13-14, 26-27, Dan 10:6, and also Mar 9:3 and Luke 24:4)

Some may say, “But what about the curses in Genesis 3? Doesn’t that rule out the translation of a “shining one” and keep with the traditional interpretation of a snake?”  That would be a misguided approach since it would make more sense if the curse were directed at a fallen divine being than a snake. First consider the curse with respect to Eve. God tell the nachash that there will be enmity between the offspring of Eve (humankind) and the offspring of the nachash. If the nachash were a snake then all humans would hate or fear snakes and snakes by nature would exist to attack and harass humans. That is not the case.

In Genesis 3:14 God tells the nachash that he will eat dust all the days of his life. Snakes do not eat dirt as a means of sustenance so the curse is not meant to be taken literally. If that were the true it would make a great case for evolutionists. I believe that snakes were created by God the way we see them today and that their method of propulsion has nothing to do with the curse. Eating the dust of the earth was a term used for someone of lowly social status of defeat. (Micah 7:16-17, Isa 49:23) If all Scripture is to agree with itself then a divine super natural being is the only explanation of what tempted Eve and not a snake.

It amazes me how gullible some adult Christians have been to believe such fairy tales taught by the Church. That might sound unkind, but if you take this view of Genesis 3 then how you can your children differentiate between the stories you tell them about Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy and the contradictions in Scripture this creates?

Years ago I explained the truth about Eve and “the serpent” to my 10 year old niece using these same passages. She responded by exclaiming, “I always thought that story about a talking snake was dumb.” You see, even a child is able to discern the truth from Scripture!

What all this means is that there is no contradiction between passages in Scripture. They all speak of a supernatural shining one who rebelled against God in an attempt to usurp His headship of the Divine Council and was cast from His presence. More importantly the nachash knew that it was God’s intention to make humankind members of His Divine Council and give them authority over the earth, the place where He will one day rule. Humans were therefore a threat and had to be eliminated. But he wanted to plan it so that God would destroy them. And God would have to make that decision if the humans sinned. And with the help of the nachash, Adam and Eve did sin. But God reacted in a way that the nachash did not anticipate; He gave them another chance.

And while the humans were driven from the Garden of Eden, at least they weren’t destroyed. But even more important; God mad a way so that their transgression could be atoned for. And He knew that one day a human child of Eve would undo the effects of the fall in the Garden.

The New Testament Writings confirm that God’s own son was born of human flesh, paid the penalty of our sin through his death, and rose again so that we could regain our status as children of God and will one day rule with Him over all that is His. But we must also remember that those same New Testament Writings also encourage us not to give in to fables (1Tim 1:4, 1Tim 4:7, 2Tim 4:4, Titus 1:14, 2Pet 1:16)

In closing, I encourage you to, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane [and] vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.” (2 Tim 2:15-16)

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Comments
  1. Great food for thought! I never thought about the serpent spoken of in Genesis as anything other than an animal, but I have to agree, the serpent could have been a divine being. Thanks for sharing your insight, Jonah!

  2. doris glenn says:

    I do believe that lucifer is a spirit the reason Eve didn’t run when she heard the serpent speak, before they sinned there was no FEAR every thing GOD created was at perfect PEACE.

  3. Wayne says:

    “The Hebrew word that was translated serpent or snake in Genesis 3 is ha-nachash”

    I keep seeing references to shining as concerning the serpent in the garden. But my Strong’s Concordance indicates it’s simply nachash without the article ha. I was wondering from which text you get this word? Is it the Masoretic text?

    • Dr. E.W. Bullinger explains Gen. 3:1 in the Appendixes of The Companion Bible. You can read more at: http://levendwater.org/companion/append19.html
      All the confusion of thought and conflicting exegesis have arisen from taking literally what is expressed by Figures, or from taking figuratively what is literal. A Figure of speech is never used except for the purpose of calling attention to, emphasizing, and intensifying, the reality of the literal sense, and the truth of the historical facts; so that, while the words employed may not be so strictly true to the letter, they are all the more true to the truth conveyed by them, and to the historical events connected with them.
      The Hebrew word rendered “serpent” in Gen. 3:1 is Nachash (from the root Nachash, to shine), and means a shining one. Hence, in Chaldee it means brass or copper, because of its shining. Hence also, the word Nehushtan, a piece of brass, in 2Kings 18:4. In the same way Saraph, in Isa. 6:2, 6, means a burning one, and, because the serpents mentioned in Num. 21 were burning, in the poison of their bite, they were called Saraphim, or Saraphs.
      But with the LORD said unto Moses, “Make thee a fiery serpent” (Num. 21:8), He said, “Make thee a Saraph”, and , in obeying this command, we read in v. 9, “Moses made a Nachash of brass”. Nachash is thus used as being interchangeable with Saraph. Now, if Saraph is used of a serpent because its bite was burning, and is also used of a celestial or spirit-being (a burning one), why should not Nachash be used of a serpent because its appearance was shining, and be also used of a celestial or spirit-being (a shining one)?
      Indeed, a reference to the structure of Gen. 3 (on p. 7) will show that the Cherubim (which are similar celestial or spirit-beings) of the last verse (Gen. 3:24) require a similar spirit-being to correspond with them in the first verse (for the structure of the whole chapter is a great Introversion). The Nachash, or serpent, who beguiled Eve (2Cor. 11:3) is not spoken of as “an angel of light” in v. 14. Have we not, in this, a clear intimation that it was not a snake, but a glorious shining being, apparently as angel, to whom Eve paid such great deference, acknowledging him as one who seemed to possess superior knowledge, and who was evidently a being of a superior (not of an inferior) order? Moreover, in the description of Satan as “the king of Tyre” (*1) it is distinctly implied that the latter being was of a supernatural order when he is called “a cherub” (Ezek. 28:14, 16, read from vv. 11-19). His presence “in Eden, the garden of ‘Elohim” (v. 13), is also clearly stated, as well as his being “perfect in beauty” (v. 12), his being “perfect in his ways from the day he was created till iniquity was found in him” (v. 15), and as being “lifted up because of his beauty” (v. 17).
      When Satan is spoken of as a “serpent”, it is the figure Hypocatastasis (see Ap. 6) or Implication; it no more means snake than it does when Dan is so called in Gen. 49:17; or an animal when Nero is called a “lion” (2Tim. 4:17), or when Herod is called a “fox” (Luke 13:32); or when Judah is called “a lion’s whelp”. It is the same figure when “doctrine” is called “leaven” (Matt. 16:6). It shows that something much more real and truer to truth is impressively; and is intended to be a figure of something much more real than the letter of the word.
      The bruising of Christ’s heel is the most eloquent and impressive way of foretelling the most solemn events; and to point out that the effort made by Satan to evade his doom, then threatened, would become the very means of insuring its accomplishment; for it was through the death of Christ that he who had the power of death would be destroyed; and all Satan’s power and policy brought to an end, and all his works destroyed (Heb. 2:14. 1John 3:8. Rev. 20:1-3, 10). What literal words could portray these literal facts so wonderfully as these expressive Figures of speech?
      It is the same with the other Figures used in v. 14, “On thy belly shalt thou go”. This Figure means infinitely more than the literal belly of flesh and blood; just as the words “heel” and “head” do in v. 15. It paints for the eyes of our mind the picture of Satan’s ultimate humiliation; for prostration was ever the most eloquent sign of subjection. When it is said “our belly cleaveth unto the ground” (Ps. 44:25), it denotes such a prolonged prostration and such a depth of submission as could never be conveyed or expressed in literal words.
      So with the other prophecy, “Dust shalt thou eat”. This is not true to the letter, or to fact, but it is all the more true to truth. It tells of constant, continuous disappointment, failure, and mortification; as when deceitful ways are spoken of as feeding on deceitful food, which is “sweet to a man, but afterward his mouth shall be filled with gravel” (Prov. 20:17). This does not mean literal “gravel”, but something far more disagreeable. It means disappointment so great that it would gladly be exchanged for the literal “gravel”. So when Christians are rebuked for “biting and devouring one another” (Gal. 3:14, 15), something more heart-breaking is meant than the literal words used in the Figure.
      When “His enemies shall lick the dust” (Ps. 72:9) they will not do it on their knees with their literal tongues; but they will be so prostrated and so utterly defeated, that no words could literally depict their overthrow and subjugation. If a serpent was afterward called a nachash, it was because it was more shining than any other creature; and if it became known as “wise”, it was not because of its own innate positive knowledge, but of its wisdom in hiding away from all observation; and because of its association with one of the names of Satan (that old serpent) who “beguiled Eve” (2Cor. 11:3, 14).
      It is wonderful how a snake could ever be supposed to speak without the organs of speech, or that Satan should be supposed able to accomplish so great a miracle (*3). It only shows the power of tradition, which has, from the infancy of each one of us, put before our eyes and written on our minds the picture of a “snake” and an “apple” : the former being based on a wrong interpretation, and the latter being a pure invention, about which there is not one word said in Holy Scripture.

      • Wayne says:

        Thanks for the reply!

        But see, the roadblock I’m running into is when you say this:

        “The Hebrew word rendered “serpent” in Gen. 3:1 is Nachash (from the root Nachash, to shine)”

        May I ask which dictionary or reference source this comes from? The root I get from the Strong’s is H5172 which means Hiss, whisper a magic spell, generally to prognosticate.

        H5175 nâchâsh naw-khawsh’ From H5172;
        a snake (from its hiss): – serpent.

        H5172 nâchash naw-khash’
        A primitive root; properly to hiss, that is, whisper a (magic) spell;
        generally to prognosticate: – X certainly, divine, enchanter,
        (use) X enchantment, learn by experience, X indeed,
        diligently observe.

        Right now, the problem I’m having is that it seems that it isn’t nachash alone that’s being used interchangeably with seraph, it is the clause “Nachash of brass” that is used interchangeably where brass is what gives the Nachash its quality of shining.

        As you can see, the quality of “to shine” doesn’t seem to be there in the word Nachash alone. How does one go from the noun “serpent” to the verb “to hiss or whisper a magic spell” to get an adjective that means “to shine”? It seems like there’s a reference source missing from the equation.

        Is there some other root word that’s not coming through? Obviously if Dr. Bullinger as well as others draw that conclusion, I’m not going to argue with that but I do feel there’s some sort of reference missing.

        I have no problem accepting “serpent” as a figure of speech. I think we’ve all known people we’d describe as snakes. We can even see that the adjective “to shine” carries forth even into our English where we would describe an intelligent person as being “bright” which would of course tie in with the bright morning star.

        I’m just wondering if the Masoretic texts clarify this?

        Sorry to be a bother wordonthestreet. : ) I’m just trying to wrap my English speaking mind around this.

  4. Wayne says:

    I don’t speak Hebrew and have to rely on a Strong’s Concordance. It only lists the word “nachash” as being used for the word “serpent” in Genesis 3:1. Does the Masoretic text support its use as an adjective? I agree with the interpretation, but I like to connect the dots Scripturally. We know from Revelation that the serpent in the garden was in fact satan.

  5. Wayne: I appreciate that you continue to study God’s Word for the truth. The Masoretic text is pretty much the same as the KJV. I merely wanted to show how the power of tradition which has been put before our eyes and written on our minds, the picture of Satan in the form of a “snake” that tempted Eve rather than the more logical explanation: that Satan appeared to Eve as an angel of light. (2 Corinthians 11:14) Keep studying brother.

    • Wayne says:

      Not a problem, I understand. Just a fellow traveler on the same road hopefully. : )

      I did find a page that gives an etymological clue to the “shine” connection through the Strongs #5178:

      http://www.heraldmag.org/literature/doc_27.htm

      I agree with you on the power of tradition. We are told how traditions of man make void the Word of God. Think of how many people have the idea that Eve ate an apple though the word “apple” is not used in Genesis 3.

      Just a fellow traveler on the same road hopefully. : )

  6. Jimmy says:

    Lucifer is the King of Babylon Nebuchadnezzar.
    He was not a fallen angel,yet he was a fallen king.
    He wanted to put his throne in Heaven above the Stars of God.
    If you doubt me on this you should read Isaiah and you will be surprised.
    The same way Nachash probably was a man who did divination.

    Lucifer is only mentioned in one verse
    and that one verse is in a series of verses dealing with the King of Babylon.

    Just like in another verse in the Bible
    it was dealing with the King of Tyre who thought that he was a god.

    Bible verses are easy to understand when we read them all they way through
    and not just choose certain ones that we like and go by them.

    Dragon means the seeing one,not a reptile.
    Look it up in the Dictionary.
    Devil means slanderer and satan means adversary.
    Lucifer means light bearer not the shining one.
    Nachash means the shining one.

  7. Jimmy says:

    Another thing is this angels do not die.
    Read the Bible verse about the children of the Resurrection and you will see my point.

  8. joseph says:

    This is how Michael Heiser would explain it. This is so fundamental that every believer needs to understand this.

  9. GT says:

    Not that I don’t agree but I just need to find more conclusive evidence to see where I can pull “Shinning One” from Nachash

    • All the confusion of thought on this has arisen from taking literally what is expressed figuratively, or from taking figuratively what is literal. Except for the figurative language of Gen. 3:14 – 15, no one would have thought of referring the third chapter of Genesis to a snake.
      The Hebrew word that has been rendered “serpent” in Gen. 3.1 is Nachash (from the root word to shine), and means a shining one. In Chaldee it means brass or copper, because of its shining. In the same way Saraph, in Isaiah 6.2,6, means a burning one, and, because the serpents mentioned in Numbers 21 were burning in the poison of their bite, they were called Saraphim, or Seraphs. But when the LORD said unto Moses, “Make thee a fiery serpent” (Numbers 21.8) He said, “Make thee a Saraph”, and in obeying this command, we read in verse 9, “Moses made a Nachash of brass”. Nachash is thus used as being interchangeable with Saraph.
      Satan is spoken of as being “more wise than any other living creature (animal or beast) which God had made”. It does not mention that the “serpent” or Satan was a “beast”, but only that he was “more wise” than any other living creature.
      I cannot conceive of Eve holding natural conversation with a snake, but I can understand her being fascinated by “an angel of light” possessing superior and supernatural knowledge.
      Does it make more sense that God would give an animal special powers of thought and speech just to tempt Adam and Eve to sin? And then punish the snake by taking away his special powers and his ability to walk upright? Or would it make more sense that Satan appeared to Adam and Eve as a glorious angel of light?
      I hope this helps. You can also Google “Nachash – angel of light”. May God bless you in your search for His truth.

  10. melanie says:

    Hey there are other legless animals beside the snake.

    • This is true, but there have never been any animals, legless or not, that could speak under their own power. (Balaam’s donkey – Numbers 22:21-39 – was given the power to speak by God) Balaam was a pagan prophet who practiced divination and other magic arts, led Israel into apostasy, and was identified as a false prophet by Peter and Jude. (2 Peter 2:15-16; Jude 1:11) After the donkey “spoke” to Balaam, and Balaam’s eyes were opened, the angel proceeded to ask the identical questions that came from the mouth of the donkey, further evidence that God, not the donkey, was actually speaking both times. This is reiterated by Peter, who identifies the donkey as “a beast without speech” and who “spoke with a man’s voice.” (2 Peter 2:16)

  11. Jay says:

    I am in the same boat as several other commenters:

    It seems plausible that Nachash could mean “bright shining one”; certainly the remainder of the scripture seems to use “serpent” figuratively for Satan, thus I see no need for a literal serpent in Genesis 3.

    BUT … I cannot find any substantiation for this “definition” of Nachash. I already had Bullinger’s writings, but he simply asserts, and I can find no lexical source that would coincide with his assertion. In other words, it looks like he made it up. It doesn’t help my level of confidence when I did a bit of research on him and found he was a member of the flat-earth society of his day (details are in wikipedia).

    Since this passage is what I am preaching from out of this coming Sunday’s lectionary readings, I would like to have something substantive on that definition. However, it looks like I am relegated to drawing conclusions based on other passages which describe Satan as an angel of light, rather than finding further confirmation in the very word used in Genesis 3.

    • Here are some links that may be helpful:

      http://www.ovrlnd.com/Teaching/serpentofgen.html

      http://assemblyoftrueisrael.com/Questions/Thewordsatan.htm

      As far as Bullinger being a flat earther, I don’t know if that’s completely accurate. Juanita Carey, author of “E.W. Bullinger, A Biography” (Kregel, 2000) spent two years in Europe meeting with the Bullinger relatives to make this book. Why is there nothing about his membership in the Universal Zetetic Society (flat earthers) in her book? I do know that many of Bullinger’s contemporaries referred to him as a devil because his teachings went against traditional Christian views. (The same thing Jesus was accused of) The devil is the great deceiver and many in the Church have been spoon fed his lies for centuries. For ages people have criticized people who think outside the box, but we serve a God who works outside the box. I pray that you will continue to search for the truth in Scripture with the help of God’s Holy Spirit. Not my truth or man’s truth, but God’s truth. God bless.

      • Hosh says:

        If some text is figurative, and other text is literal within the same given passage, who are you distinguish between the two these thousands of years later?

        No other passages (Ezek. 1:13-14, 26-27, Dan 10:6, and also Mar 9:3 and Luke 24:4) seem to mention serpentine appearance, so when you say “serpentine or shining”, it’s not very accurate to liken the two.

        Your condemnation of the church and those who believe whatever they choose to believe seems odd to me, given that your entire reference is to the distinction between the serpent and Satan talking to the first woman on Earth. You realize that to millions of people, that entire premise is just as much a fairy tale as Santa and E.B.

        You missed the entire opportunity to really speak about the message in Gen 3:14-21, and its such a glorious one that reaches to all people, regardless of what they believe about fairy tales.

        What’s more important, better yet, what’s more applicable & actionable to you: God’s message to the snake or shining one, or God’s message to mankind?

        Did you miss the message to woman? How it describes a painful emotional journey through relationships in her life? One in which knowledge and understanding can guide you through now that you have this innate information from the Divine.

        What about the message to Adam? I think he tells us what it means to be a man. “Breadwinner” comes to mind; given the fact that it takes hard work or “sweat” to be able to “eat bread”. With the exception of the disabled, every man should be willing to put in work in order to feed himself and his family, and plan for their future.

        It’s a great message that is clearly glossed over quite easily. Let’s not get too caught up in the semantics of an ancient text that we’re probably translating from a translation of a translation. No real biblical scholar believes that Moses actually wrote this version that we have.

        It’s better to use this book for unification; it’s been used for division since its inception/canonization.

      • The story of the “devil snake” in the garden is the main reason that many unchurched people disregard the message the Church teaches. I have had discussions with unbelievers on this subject who used the story of the “devil snake” to reject the message of the Bible. Once the story of Adam and Eve was explained to them as I have stated they were much more open to the message of sin and redemption. I believe the great message of the Bible has been compromised by those who have been spoon-fed stories that are not necessarily the whole truth. But this is just my opinion and we can agree to disagree. God bless.

  12. Virginia says:

    The Elohim creation is designated “good” seven times”; humanity (male and female) are created simultaneously; only in this story are they given “dominion”; there is no garden, snake, or transgression. The Elohim creation makes sense even from a scientific viewpoint.

    The YHWH story has nothing in common with the other story, and it is riddled with problems. A male human is created before any other life — which means there is no oxygen at a minimum. YHWH is portrayed as a second- or third-rate god throughout the story. The male is actually created to be a slave, by the way, and this god has zero omnipotence, omnipresence, or omniscience.

    Without going into further criticism on those lines, people are fundamentally injecting improper ideas which lead to improper conclusions.

    1) The man and woman could obviously communicated with ALL the creatures in the garden, not just the snake — so there was no surprise when the snake did so.

    2) Every creature in the garden was harmless, so the humans would not know FEAR. All the creatures were in harmony — which included snakes.

    3) Ergo there is no reason to project fear or surprise onto the woman when the snake spoke to her. Remember: this is supposed to be a garden of “innocence” so they would not know what death is in the first place. Every inhabitant (including snakes, crocodiles, lions, bears, etc.) was benign.

    4) It was a tree snake first, then condemned to being a ground snake.

    5) The snake was also FEMALE, not male.

    6) The scene had no symbolism of a “Satan” or a future cosmic conflict: it was just splitting of the ways from the peaceable garden.

    The Elohim story (Genesis 1-2:4) is far superior to and 100% totally incompatible with the YHWH/garden story which immediately follows. Just examine them side by side and it’s obvious.

    • Thank you for your comment Virginia. Although I agree that many people have injected improper ideas into the story of creation, which lead to improper conclusions, I do not believe that the first human was created to be a slave, but more as a child of God. I also do not see where the humans had the ability to communicate with the lower level animals; although with their perfectly created minds, they possibly could have been able to know the thoughts of the animals. The fact that all the animals were in harmony with the humans (which included snakes) proves that the snake would not have tempted the humans to disobey God. That is why I am convinced that the “serpent” was actually an “angel of light” who’s purpose was to disrupt God’s plan for humankind. I do not have all the answers, but I look forward to the day when God will reveal all of the mysteries of His kingdom to us. God bless.

      • Virginia says:

        Like far too many others, regardless of religious affiliation, you assume that the jewish creation stories were written by people who did not believe that real snakes could talk or that humans could communicate with them. That is false. They did really believe that real snakes talked and that they could talk to the snakes. See further below.

        There are dozens of known creation myths – probably hundreds or thousands, many of which have been lost over time. The two in the bible are no more “real” than many others. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_creation_myths

        The explanation I gave is quite the most obvious for the original meaning in the second story. It wasn’t until the Persian exile and much later that an interpretation like yours could have even been conceived, other than the cultic objects such as the brass serpent that Moses carried, which apparently had an active cult until it was destroyed, according to the jewish texts.

        The two creation fables in the bible are mutually contradictory and cannot be synthesized. You simply can’t have both of them. The Elohim creation makes sense and fits the traditions of the rest of the jewish texts in the bible. The YHWH story does not make sense at all, with or without a talking snake.

        Using a Talmudic (late jewish) or Christian theological retrojection, then you begin a process of interpretation which projects belief back onto it which simply isn’t there. This has led directly to retrojective interpretations about “serpent bloodlines” which cast various “races” as the offspring of Satan, who supposedly had sexual intercourse with “Eve”.

        In that case, why not just call it a “den of iniquity” instead of mythical garden of innocence and purity? Either the tree or the “shining one” should not have been there in the first place.

        Actually, the snake was associated with both wisdom and immortality. In the Canaanite (Israelite) mythology the goddess Ashera was specifically associated with trees.

        The god and the creation in the YHWH fable is demonstrably inept and certainly not a loving omniscient, omnipotent god. This god physically walks and talks, is present and absent, and doesn’t know where the man and woman went after eating the fruit. That’s plain text, whereas you are injecting a belief which is not in the text at all. In fact, why isn’t YHWH described as “shining” using that logic? A whole different can of worms there.

        The snake wasn’t venomous. The man and woman were not afraid of anything. Using your retrojective logic, they must have talked with the creatures, including the snake, frequently. This occurs in many myths and fables.

        And the snake actually did not lie or deceive. It’s just a story about how people went from being naïve to having knowledge. In the garden, they were ignorant. Frankly, they were less than human, made to do work (slaves).

        It’s too complicated and time-consuming to include all the relationships of the YHWH story with others that have overlapping motifs. Chronologically, the meaning of nachash as “shining” was apparently adopted from the Chaldeans – which is a very late time period. It was directly related to “brass” and “copper” which are metals. It never had anything to do with identifying some class of shining “beings”.

        Ancient Canaanites believed they could talk to snakes and vice versa, which could be interpreted by divination. Canaanite snake spells have been found by archaeologists going back to the 3rd millennium BC. More information at many sites, including these.

        TheBibleNet: Nachash, Nechushtan
        http://thebiblenet.blogspot.com/2016/07/nachash-nechushtan.html
        The root meaning of Nachash (נחש), “to whisper” or “hiss”, was used for the ..

        Snake Spells – A Bequest Unearthed, Phoenicia;
        http://phoenicia.org/byblos_priests_spells.html
        Steiner recognized the transliterated inscription as Canaanite based on the evident reference of “mother snake,” typical of Canaanite spells

      • Intersting take Virginia. I know that there have been many theories throughout the ages about creation and the garden. All I know for sure is that God created the world and everything in it, God’s son Yeshua lived, was crucified, and God raised him from the dead and one day God will return His creation to its formal glory. At that time everything will be revealed to us. Thank you for your comments. May God bless you on your spiritual journey.

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