The snake was the cleverest of all the animals God had created. And I believe the definition of clever fits his personality perfectly:
clever: quick to understand, learn, and devise or apply ideas; intelligent
And this is exactly the description of what we see in the famous serpent of Genesis. He is sneaky. He is smart. He is cunning. He is a master of deception. He uses trickery to reason with the newly formed woman, Eve.
“Do I understand that God told you not to eat from any tree in the garden?” he asks. Notice that the snake asks a question that he already knows the answer to. He’s aware that God has placed two magical trees in the garden. He knows that one of the trees holds the gift of eternal life and that the other holds the knowledge of good and evil. He also knows that God has instructed Adam and Eve not to eat from the the tree of knowledge. But it seems that in order to get Eve’s mind in a condition to even question God’s authority, the snake must first start with what is truth. He must look innocent.
“Not at all,” Eve answers. “We can eat from the trees in the garden. It’s only about the tree in the middle of the garden that God said, ‘Don’t eat from it; don’t even touch it or you’ll die.’” She seems oblivious to the fact that the deception is already in play.
“You won’t die,” says the serpent. “God knows that the moment you eat from that tree, you’ll see what’s really going on. You’ll be just like God, knowing everything, ranging all the way from good to evil.”
Alright! A conscience!
conscience: an inner feeling or voice viewed as acting as a guide to the rightness or wrongness of one’s behavior
Now this is quite interesting. The snake started his conversation with truth and now he is ending it with truth. But he’s held bits and pieces of the truth back. He has altered the truth in its entirety so that it looks pleasing. Oh, and get this- he’s even made disobeying God look somewhat Godly.
No- Adam and Eve won’t die if they eat the fruit. That is, they won’t die right when they eat the fruit. But yes, they will die in the future if they eat it.
And yes- they will be like God in the sense that they will know everything ranging from good to evil. Couldn’t that be a good thing? I can only imagine all the thoughts going through Eve’s head in this moment.
The serpent has created lies from truth.
The serpent has misconstrued everything.
Eve looks at the tree and realizes what she’ll get out of it. So much knowledge. She would know everything!
And then came the bite.
Curiosity kills the human race.
The gift of the Tree of Life has been neglected for knowledge.
The gift of free will has been used for unholy purposes.
Next, she gives the fruit to Adam.
Immediately the knowledge sets in-
“HOLY COW! YOU’RE NAKED!”
“IT WAS AN EXPRESSION COW!”
“AHHHHHHHHHHH! YOU’RE NAKED TOO!”
Okay, so that may not be how the conversation went. And no, there was no cow. But none the less, the two have become aware of their nakedness and so they go to create some makeshift clothes out of fig leaves. Then they hear a sound.
It’s the sound of God, strolling in the garden in the cool of the day (Genesis 3:8). This is really cool because I believe that the “cool” of the day refers to wind which some Bibles translate this passage as. I think this is cool because wind is much like the sound of breath. They are essentially the same thing. It’s the sound of air. And here in this verse we recognize God and the wind together.
Now our two naked/fig leave covered friends freak out and hide in some trees.
“Where are you?” God asks.
“I heard you in the garden and I was afraid because I was naked. And I hid,” Adam answers.
Now I imagine that you would probably be a little freaked out too if you were standing naked in front of God. I know I would.
“Who told you you were naked? Did you eat from that tree I told you not to eat from?”
I can imagine God’s heart breaking right here. The thought of his most valued work defying him- and so early on! Did He not only ask one thing of Adam and Eve? Could they seriously not obey that one little rule?
And so begins the blame game. Adam points the finger at his wife, trying to put his guilt on her shoulders. He even tries to make it sound like he has nothing to do with Eve.
“The Woman you gave me as a companion, she gave me fruit from the tree, and, yes, I ate it.”
It even almost sounds like Adam is blaming God for giving him this woman. (Just to clarify, Adam does not call Eve, “Woman”, in an insulting kind of way. Eve actually hasn’t received her name yet.)
God turns to the woman who turns to the serpent. “The serpent seduced me. And I ate.”
Now there have to be consequences. God’s heart is broken and He’s upset with man. Humanity has become knowledgeable. They are now capable of sinning. Before the only sin they could commit was to eat from the tree of knowledge. But now that they are educated on what good and evil is, any time they do something evil, they will have sinned.
God starts at the root of the problem and turns to the serpent.
The Snake’s Consequences:
“You’re cursed, cursed beyond all cattle and wild animals- Cursed to slink on your belly and eat dirt all your life. I’m declaring war between you and the Woman, between your offspring and hers. He’ll wound your head, you’ll wound his heel.”
So now the snake is cursed, at war, and legless.** It’s interesting that in this story Eve has no problem at all talking to a snake. She doesn’t freak out and jump in a tree or call to Adam to come and crush it. No, she just carries on a normal conversation with it. But now it is totally obvious that we are at war with snakes isn’t it? Now-a-days when most people see a snake they run for the hills! It doesn’t even matter if it’s a harmless little gardner snake! We flip out! We’re scared of them! We want to kill them! We hurt their heads and they hurt our heels. I think that one of the reasons so many people are afraid of snakes is actually due to this story. Perhaps we are still carrying on the aftermath of this event today.
Next God turns to the next part of the problem- the woman.
The Woman’s Consequences:
“I’ll multiply your pains in childbirth; you’ll give birth to your babies in pain. You’ll want to please your husband, but he’ll lord it over you.”
You mean if this event had never happened in the Bible then babies might just pop out of a woman in a slightly painful manner? And perhaps there would be no such thing as morning sickness, fatigue, and dare I say…
Ladies I know what you’re thinking…
And then God turns to Adam who started the blame game and gives him the longest speech of the three.
The Man’s Consequences:
“Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from, the very ground is cursed because of you. Getting food from the ground will be as painful as having babies is for your wife. You’ll be working in pain all your life long. The ground will sprout thorns and weeds, you’ll get your food the hard way- planting and tilling and harvesting. Sweating in the fields from dawn to dusk until you return to that ground yourself, dead and buried. You started out as dirt, you’ll end up as dirt.”
Welcome to the farm life Adam. You want to eat, you better work your butt off on a daily basis. Oh, and thorns and weeds have been created to make farming even more difficult. Oh yeah, and also, death will come to you and all other humans.
It’s really quite amazing, all three of these consequences have continued thousands of years later to our day. Our mistake had everlasting results.
After this Adam gives his wife the name of Eve because she is the mother of all the living. Then God makes them some leather clothing.
Now we have another problem…
Adam and Eve have still become like God in the sense that they know everything in the realm of good and evil. They have sinned. What if they try to take the fruit from the Tree of Life and live forever? That can’t happen.
So God sends Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden where they will have to work the ground and farm. Now God must protect the path to the Tree of Life, so He stations cherubim and a revolving sword to block the passage. This is sweet, check out what cherubim is:
cherub: (cherubim is plural) a winged angelic being described in Biblical tradition as attending on God. It is regarded in Christian angelology as an angel of the second highest order in the ninefold celestial hierarchy.
Here’s a bunch of descriptions from Ezekiel and a depiction of what one would look like:
And that’s where we’ll leave off today- where we are currently in todays world. With the consequences of our past mistakes.
Today’s note has been based off:
**In my 10th grade science class I was looking through my science book when I was bored when I came across a picture of a snake. It was trying to prove evolution but it actually prove what you’ve read here. It said “You can see in a snake’s skeletal structure that it once had legs.” Thanks science!