The Fall and the Problem of Evil

There has bfond-ecran-qaund-le-serpent-voit-rouge1een speculation on the serpent in the Garden of Eden. Who was the serpent? What was he? Was he Satan or just a clever, talking snake? The possibilities are endless. It could be that the serpent was a form of Satan. It could also be that the serpent had absolutely nothing to do with Satan at all. It could be that it wasn’t Satan but it was a demon. Theologians have struggled to answer these questions. Many have come up with their own theories and answers, some crazy and some plausible. Although each of the plausible answers has facts and verses to back it up, some seem more likely than others. A few main theories seem to be more hotly debated. Whether the serpent is just that, a serpent; whether the serpent is the devil or whether the serpent is simply possessed. Although many made excellent arguments, the majority came to one agreement. The general consensus seems to be that the serpent was a snake possessed by the Devil.  This doesn’t mean that the serpent was the Devil, but that the Devil controlled the serpent.

I think there’s a possibility that the serpent was Satan in a different form. Revelation 12:9, 12:15, 20:2 all reference Satan as a serpent. 2 Corinthians 11:14 says, “…[Satan] masquerades as an angel of light”. Focusing on the word “masquerades” it seems that it is plausible that he can take the form of a serpent, if he can take the form of an “angel of light.” It’s unknown the extent of his ability to lie and disguise himself. It could be very possible that he is able to change to any form, based on the masquerade, however the masquerade may just be him putting on a guise of righteousness.

It could also be metaphorical. Satan could have been referred to as a serpent because of his sly trickery and other snakelike attributes. This could be the reason for the references in Revelation. The curse on the serpent could also indicate that the serpent was not an animal. The curse was this, “on your belly you shall go, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” The only dispute is that the part talking about knocking the serpent on its belly seems to speak of an actual serpent. Spiritual connections could be made to this part by saying that it means Satan will be humbled.  Jesus defeated Satan by coming back to life when Satan thought Jesus had died. Because the curse was fulfilled through spiritual means it could very well mean that the serpent was also a spiritual creature, most likely Satan.

Based on the fact that no other animals in the garden were said to have had the ability to talk and because of the trickiness of the serpent, a logical conclusion would be that Satan used the serpent. Demons have possessed people as seen by Legion. They have possessed herds of pigs and many other things, all referenced in The Bible. This being the case, possession of the serpent is the very likely. With the combination of the spiritual elements laid out in the fulfillment of the curse and the description of the serpent in The Bible seeming so much like it’s talking about an actual serpent, the best conclusion is possession.  I’m not the only one who thinks so, Theologian Henry C. Thiessen said, “… The serpent is neither a figurative description of Satan, nor is it Satan in the form of a serpent. The real serpent was the agent in Satan’s hand. This is evident from the description of the reptile in Genesis 3:1 and the curse pronounced upon it in 3:14 [… upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life].”  Theissen simply lays out his evidence and opinion towards possession, calling the serpent the “agent” of Satan. The only thing that is not known based on these conclusions is whether or not the serpent was possessed by Satan or by just any demon. It is said that Satan is the father of all lies, so it would seem reasonable that the fall of man was caused by him. Although there is not a definite answer for the question, we can estimate based on biblical knowledge and logic, as demonstrated by Thiessen. However, we can’t know for sure.