Why did Satan use a Serpent? (2 of 2)

serpent-2

(Continued from yesterday)

Now the harder “why?”. The words “serpent” or “serpents” appear 46 times in the NASB. I won’t cite all of them here, as some are simply narrative e.g. Aaron’s staff which became a serpent, fiery serpents, bronze serpent etc. However, some are descriptive of the characteristics of a serpent, as follows:

Gen 49:17 Dan shall be a serpent in the way, A horned snake in the path, That bites the horse’s heels, So that his rider falls backward.
• Jdg 18:27 But the people of Dan took what Micah had made, and the priest who belonged to him, and they came to Laish, to a people quiet and unsuspecting, and struck them with the edge of the sword and burned the city with fire.

The Danites were a treacherous group who attacked peaceful people unprovoked, much like a deceitful serpent.

Deut 32:33 Their wine is the venom of serpents, And the deadly poison of cobras.
• Ps 58:4 They have venom like the venom of a serpent; Like a deaf cobra that stops up its ear,
• Ps 140:3 They sharpen their tongues as a serpent; Poison of a viper is under their lips.
• Prov 23:32 At the last it bites like a serpent And stings like a viper.

The composite picture is that serpents are poisonous & deadly. The context also tell us that serpents:
• Are perverse like Sodom & Gomorrah (Deut 32:32),
• Speak lies (Ps 58:3),
• Devise evil things in their hearts (Ps 140:2),
• Have deceptive appearance (Prov 23:31).
Altogether an ugly picture & an apt description of Satan. We know this is not the cause as everything was created good (Gen 1:31). What is not clear is whether these character traits are the direct results of the curse in Gen 3:14:
The LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, Cursed are you more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you will go, And dust you will eat All the days of your life;
or were inherent in the serpent’s design but activated by the curse. In any event, the Bible is silent as to why Satan chose a serpent, just his choice was appropriate.

Lastly, how? Some commentators believe that because Satan is called “the serpent of old” in Rev 12:9 & 20:2, there was no actual serpent, just Satan himself talking to Eve. However, Satan is a fallen cherub & has no physical body, so the curse about going on his belly & eating dust would not make sense. Likely it is Satan entering into the serpent, similar to:
Lk 22:3 And Satan entered into Judas who was called Iscariot, belonging to the number of the twelve. (Also Jn 13:27)
• Lk 8:33 And the demons came out of the man and entered the swine; and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned.

Sometimes we wish the Bible would shed more light on certain subjects, but we just have to live with what was revealed. The more important thing is to obey what God revealed, not understanding what He had hidden from us.

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Knowledge of Good and Evil (1 of 2)

knowledge good evil 3

Q. What is the knowledge of good and evil in Genesis 2:17? What did the serpent (Satan) say it is in Genesis 3:5? In Genesis 3:7, after Adam and Eve ate the fruit, they realized they were naked and felt ashamed, this is not knowing good and evil. What did God mean in Genesis 3:22 ?

A. This is a good question, missed by many Christians. There are two levels of meaning. First, the literal. The knowledge of good and evil is moral knowledge to discern, to refuse evil and choose good, based on the following:

Discern good and evil:
2 Sam 14:17 Then your maidservant said, ‘Please let the word of my lord the king be comforting, for as the angel of God, so is my lord the king to discern good and evil. And may the LORD your God be with you.’
• 1 Kgs 3:9 So give Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people to discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?”
• Heb 5:14 But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.

Knowledge of good or evil:
Deut 1:39 Moreover, your little ones who you said would become a prey, and your sons, who this day have no knowledge of good or evil, shall enter there, and I will give it to them and they shall possess it.
• Isa 7:15-16 He will eat curds and honey at the time He knows enough to refuse evil and choose good. For before the boy will know enough to refuse evil and choose good, the land whose two kings you dread will be forsaken.

Second, the figurative. Good and evil is a figure of speech, an antithesis, a contrast of two things which are direct opposites. Biblical writers use two extremes to represent everything in between. A well-known example is Rom 8:38-39 For I am convinced that:
• neither death, nor life, i.e. all physical beings;
• nor angels, nor principalities, i.e. all spiritual beings;
• nor things present, nor things to come, i.e. all time;
• nor powers, i.e. all forms of power;
• nor height, nor depth, i.e. all space;
• nor any other created thing, a catch-all phrase;
will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Here Paul used 10 things, including 4 pairs of antithesis, to indicate that nothing will be able to separate us from God’s love. Everything is included, with no exceptions. In Gen 3, good and evil is used as antithesis to represent all things in between; knowledge of good and evil therefore means all knowledge i.e. omniscience.

(To be continued)