As many of you are no doubt aware, naturalism has become the dominant religion of the modern western world. For those that may not be familiar with the term, naturalism is the belief that only natural laws and forces operate in the world, as oppose to God. Over a century and a half ago Charles Darwin popularized the theory of evolution, and it has become the major dogma of this new secular religion (Naturalism). Sadly this view has replaced Christianity in the western world as the major religion. Now my endeavor for this post is not to argue Science vs Religion or Evolution vs Creation. Although, for those interested in such topics, I would recommend “The Case for A Creator” by Journalist Lee Strobel. In this book he researches the arguments for Darwinism and Evolution and poses them to scholars in the field of science, many whom have left Darwinism for Creationism.
Instead this blog post is for Christians, specifically the orthodox. Many Christians today who profess to believe the biblical accounts as God’s Word, are nonetheless real quick to abandon the Genesis account of creation in favor of modern scientific theories. It just goes to show that one can never underestimate the power conformity has over society and its ability to influence our collective thinking. But is this really wise? James MacArthur, a Christian Minister and President of The Master’s College and Seminary has written a book titled “The Battle for the Beginning” and writes the following:
“Everything in Scripture that teaches about sin and redemption assumes the literal truth of the first three chapters of Genesis. If we wobble to any degree on the truth of this passage, we undermine the very foundations of our faith.”
Now back to the question posed as the title for this post: Who was the Serpent at Eden? Not surprisingly secular people dismiss the story as a myth, and many liberal Christians see the story as allegory, but nevertheless it has been near universally held throughout the Judeo-Christian tradition that the Serpent was Satan. But many modern secularist claim it is not. Instead they say it is simply a talking serpent. WOW! And they claim fundamentalist take things too literal. Now we in the traditional camp could dismiss this argument as simply more secular misrepresentation of our traditions, or the latest radical liberal interpretation of scripture; but sadly this view has even permeated its way into conservative Christian thinking. A few years back, my sister-in-law had taken a course in biblical studies sponsored by a Baptist Institution, and the instructor was teaching that the Serpent was in fact NOT Satan. A few months ago I was glancing at some books at a fairly conservative Christian Book Store, and there was a book by a Christian author claiming yet again that the Serpent in Eden was NOT Satan.
So where is this coming from? It comes from the fact that the book of Genesis does not specifically identify the name or title of the Serpent as being Satan. Many modern secularists will claim it was Christians in the middle-ages who began to make this connection and identified the Serpent at Eden with the Devil. But does this hold merit? If one is familiar with ALL the books of the bible, the answer is an unequivocal NO.
Ezekiel 28:13 is addressing a prophecy against the King of Tyre, but the context makes clear that its message goes far beyond the earthly king to the source of evil: Satan. The creature addressed in these passages is recounted to have been in Eden, the Garden of God. If this passage is speaking of Satan, as most theologians will attest, then there is a clear reference to Satan being in the Garden of Eden. Need more, Satan is specifically called the serpent not once but three times in the book of Revelation (12:9, 12:15, 20:2). Even Jesus as recorded in The Gospel of John (8:44) when describing Satan as the father of lies from the beginning echoes the Serpent in Eden i.e. “the beginning”. Once more, this understanding of the Serpent’s identity is not only found in the bible, but from the writings of early Church Father’s such as Justin Martyr and Tertullian.
But enough bloviating on this topic; I believe to any open minded person it has been demonstrated that the view that identifies the Serpent in Eden as that of Satan is well attested to. It is not a medieval invention, but has its origins in scripture itself. Now I cannot say this interpretation was held by every Jewish Sect from antiquity, but it was certainly held by some of them, including the one that became Christianity.
Thank you for reading,