Genesis 3:1-24 Part 3: Who invited the Snake?

‘I am deeply grateful,’ said Frodo; ‘but I wish you would tell me plainly what the Black Riders are…’
‘Is it not enough to know that they are servants of the Enemy?’ Answered Gildor. ‘Flee them! Speak no words to them! They are deadly.’
The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring – Tolkein

One of the questions that kept coming up in the various commentaries I was using was ‘where did the snake come from?’. In the first chapter of Genesis, we are told that everything was good, so who invited the evil serpent?

However, this question was not answered. Not by the commentators and not by Genesis 3. We know, when looking at this passage with New Testament eyes, that the serpent does represent the devil (Revelation 20:9, 12:9). But knowing where evil came from, is not the point of the story here. It is one of the mysteries of the Bible. That is why I have included the quote from Lord of the Rings above. Is it not enough to know, that the snake was a servant of the enemy, and the proper response was to flee, fight, resist and subdue it.

However, there are a few things we can learn about the snake from Genesis – it is not a complete mystery. And that is the subject of this post:

The Snake is not Eternal

We know that the snake/evil is not eternal, because it was not there in the beginning. In fact, in the beginning God declared all His work as very good (Gen 1:31).

The Snake is not (entirely) to blame

Interestingly, despite Adam and Eve’s attempt to blame the snake, the failure was on them. “The snake does not feature in this story as the cause of human failure, but as that which faces human beings with the reality of their trust in God.” (Atkinson) In other words, the snake provides an opportunity for mankind’s faith in the goodness of God to be tested.

See a previous post of mine to review the anatomy of temptation (as found in Genesis 3).

Nevertheless, the fact that the snake is cursed, does imply that it was guilty, hence: ‘because you have done this…’ (v14)

The Snake is not our friend

In the beginning of this chapter, Eve and the snake are talking like friends. Back and forth. Forming an alliance, a conspiracy.

But no matter how fine an allegiance against God (and His ways) may seem, the message of Genesis 3 is that: those who unite in wickedness will not be united for long. We see this as Eve quickly seeks to blame the snake for her “mistake”. We see this as God places enmity between the snake and Eve’s offspring.

We also see parallels in the Psalms, why do ‘the rulers band together against the LORD?…The One enthroned in heave laughs; the Lord scoffs at them’ (2:2&4).

Therefore we should be wary about sinning with others, thinking it will join us closer. I find that gossip is very sneaky like this. We engage in gossip, because deep-down we think it will “unite” us with someone we admire (or who’s approval we seek). However, gossip quickly turns against us and causes division. A wise saying is: ‘there is no honour among thieves’.

The Snake was supposed to be ‘ruled over’

In Genesis 1, God decides to make mankind ‘so that they may rule over…all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground’ (1:26). Notice how Genesis 3 begins, ‘now the snake was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made’ (3:1).

There is no moral judgement in the word ‘crafty’, it is neither good nor bad, it is simply what the snake is like. However, by calling the snake a ‘wild animal’, the author of Genesis is hinting that this was one of the creatures that Mankind was supposed to rule over.

But this is not what happens. Instead of taking charge of the animal, and handling it with authority, Adam and Eve kowtow to the wishes of this crafty animal. They give it permission and space to question God’s goodness.

May we, as Christians, as co-heirs with Christ (Rom 8) as people invited to sit on God’s throne (Rev 3:21), not abdicate our authority anymore! If the snake, if the tempter must sit at the party or crouch at the door, may it be as our enemy – not our friend.

May we declare to God, like the Psalmist – ‘You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies’ (Psalm 23). But let us not invite the snake to take charge.

8 thoughts on “Genesis 3:1-24 Part 3: Who invited the Snake?

  1. AWED

    The honest truth is that trying to dig evil, for the purpose of understanding it, is how good people becomes sucked into it. The wise response is to stay away! It is enough to know that they are messenger of the enemy, not a friend, not even a probability.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for this! Yes I agree. I think it was CS Lewis who said that we should be wary of the danger of being too interested in the demonic. Because that is exactly what he wants, to take our eyes of Jesus and what is good. At the same time there is a danger in trying to deny its existence or involvement. We need to know we are in a spiritual battle, that we need to wear the armour of God and band together as God’s people for support!
      Thanks again for your comment and encouragement.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Interesting point about how God gave Adam and Eve charge over all creatures, yet the snake got the best of them. I never thought about that, and I really like the idea of not allowing that serpent to have that control over us any longer. I do have one scripture I want to share. I hope you do not mind: Isaiah 45:7 states, “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for your comment, its very true, God has created everything! So much mystery surrounding our God. It’s like in Job where it says He wounds and He heals. I guess this is one of the ways we need faith that God is good. Thanks for sharing an important verse!

      Liked by 2 people

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