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Featured Was the Serpent in Genesis 3 a Literal Snake?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Scripture More Accurately, Sep 25, 2020.

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  1. Yes

    9 vote(s)
    60.0%
  2. No

    4 vote(s)
    26.7%
  3. Unsure

    2 vote(s)
    13.3%
  1. Scripture More Accurately

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    Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

    Some believers hold that the serpent in Genesis 3 was not a literal snake. They believe that Satan appeared to Eve in a snake-like form.

    Other believers hold that the serpent in Genesis 3 was a literal snake whom Satan somehow directed to deceive Eve.

    Do you believe that this serpent was a literal snake?
     
  2. 37818

    37818 Well-Known Member

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    Snake seems to be the literal meaning. In Genesis 3:14, God says to that "serpent", ". . . upon thy belly shalt thou go, . . . ." if it had not already crawled on its belly as a snake. In the Revelation 12:9, God refers to him as, "that old serpent." So in some way was a snake.
     
  3. church mouse guy

    church mouse guy Well-Known Member
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    Demons went into pigs, also.
     
  4. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    It was literally a manifestation of Satan. That is the literal message.
    But what about Genesis 3:14? The snake or serpent of today does exhibit God's curse, but we do not know if that reflects his characteristics in the Garden. We know he could talk and deceive, which are not characteristics of animals.
     
    #4 Van, Sep 25, 2020
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2020
  5. Scripture More Accurately

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    I do not think that it was a manifestation of Satan, if by that you mean that Satan merely appeared in the form of a serpent. Genesis 3:14 establishes that it was a literal serpent. Genesis 3:14 does not make any sense if it was what God said solely to a supernatural being.

    The best explanation is that Satan somehow worked through a literal serpent to deceive Eve.
     
  6. Deacon

    Deacon Well-Known Member
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    There are many levels of understanding in this story that we can only guess.
    If it was a “ literal serpent” it was unlike anything we know of today or at anytime in the past.
    So my answer is, “NO”, it can not be compared to what we know as a serpent.

    This serpent could walk, talk, think and reason with a person.
    This serpent was going to have offspring that would be at enmity with Eve’s offspring.
    And if you want to be “literal”, this serpent would “eat dust” all the rest of it’s life.

    The NT book of Revelation borrows heavily from Genesis (and many other OT texts).
    There may be an illusion to the story (of Genesis 3) in Rev. 12.17,

    So the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her children, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.​

    John appears to be allegorizing the story.

    Rob
     
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  7. Scripture More Accurately

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    I have not said that it can be compared to "what we know as a serpent." My position is that it was a physical animal and not just Satan appearing in a snake-like form. What relation it had/has to present-day snakes is a separate point that would require the discussion of other passages.

    Also, Genesis 3:14 does not say that the serpent would only or exclusively eat dust all the days of its life.
     
  8. Deacon

    Deacon Well-Known Member
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    Perhaps I don’t understand what you mean by it being a “literal” snake.
    It was a snake... that’s what the text says...

    But the snake in Genesis 3 was certainly much more than just a “literal” snake.
    If you only believe that you’re missing much of the story.

    My position is that this was not just a simple, “literal” snake but was the embodiment of something so much bigger.
    This “physical animal” was the representation of an evil that ultimately could only be defeated by something so much bigger than a simple, ordinary, “literal” man...

    ...Christ, the God-man.

    Rob
     
  9. Scripture More Accurately

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    Hmm. I am not sure why what I am saying is hard to understand.

    Either you believe that this serpent was a distinct being from Satan or you do not. I believe that it was a distinct physical animal that was somehow used by Satan and was not at all just a manifestation or appearance of Satan in a physical form.

    Does that help?
     
  10. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    Again, the snakes of today are the "literal snakes" you have in view, and scripture clearly indicates the "snake" in the Garden could talk, and did not at that time go on its belly. OTOH, the creature of the Garden was turned into our present day literal snake.
     
  11. Scripture More Accurately

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    Says who? No, I do not have the snakes of today in view when I say "literal snake." The Bible is the standard, not our experience.

    I have never made the claim that the serpent in Genesis 3 was exactly the same as the snakes that we have today. My position is that it was a physical animal that was distinct from Satan and was not merely a manifestation of Satan.
     
  12. Scripture More Accurately

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    As far as the serpent in the Garden having the ability to talk, Balaam's donkey also spoke when God, a supernatural being, opened its mouth. In the same way, there is no need to have to believe that the serpent of Genesis 3 had to have had the ability to talk. It may be that Satan merely spoke through it.
     
  13. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    Fine, the snake was not a literal snake of today. We agree!!

    And when scripture refers to that Serpent of old, Satan and not an animal is in view.
     
  14. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    Balaam was surprised, but was Eve?
     
  15. Scripture More Accurately

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    Yes, I am aware of that argument, and it may carry some weight. As I said, "It may be . . ."

    For me, whether the serpent in Genesis 3 had the ability to talk or not is immaterial for establishing its identity because I have never made the claim that it was exactly the same as our snakes of today.

    More importantly, the main point, as I see it, is that the serpent in Genesis 3 was not merely a manifestation or appearance of Satan; it was a distinct, physical serpent.
     
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  16. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    Why would a manifestation of a distinct physical creation not fit the bill?
     
  17. Scripture More Accurately

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    Let's try something different. Was the serpent a real, physical being distinct from Satan or was the serpent just Satan manifesting himself in a serpent-like physical form?
     
  18. church mouse guy

    church mouse guy Well-Known Member
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    Henry Morris in his study Bible says that snakes seem to have stood upright originally so they some of them would have been as tall as a man. Satan entered the animal and the animal paid a price for this.
     
  19. Scripture More Accurately

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    Genesis 3:14 is unintelligible unless the serpent was a real, physical being who was distinct from Satan but used by him. It does not make any sense for God to say to Satan that he as a supernatural being would go on his belly . . .
     
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  20. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    I take it you are agreeing, a manifestation of a creature fits the bill.

    Here is the question that should be asked, why did God curse the snake, when it was Satan who did wrong? I think to create an icon for Satan, so that down through time, people would be reminded of the wickedness of Satan.

    Consider, "snake in the grass" or "brood of vipers" or even poison on their lips.
     
    #20 Van, Sep 26, 2020
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2020
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