Summary: The answer to these questions is clear. Righteousness cannot mix with lawlessness; light can have no communion with darkness; Christ and Belial cannnot be of one accord; a believer cannot have part with an infidel; and there can be no agreement of the te
When The World Seems Enticing
Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
The Serpent of Eden
"Serpent" comes from the Hebrew: nachash (HSN-5175), snake. A literal serpent is
involved as a tool of Satan; otherwise, it would be unjust of God to curse it. This same
Hebrew word (nachash) is used of literal snakes throughout Scripture (Genesis 3:1-14;
10:8,11; Amos 5:19; Amos 9:3). It wouldn’t make sense to substitute Satan for serpent in these and other scriptures. Satan has no power to transform himself into a snake. He is an angel and always will be, though now fallen (Ezekiel 28:11-17).
"Subtil" comes from the Hebrew €aruwm (HSN-6175), cunning (usually in a bad
Satan and the serpent agreed on the best method to cause the fall of man. Nothing was
said at first to awaken suspicion or shock the moral sense; merely a sly insinuation
calculated to excite natural curiosity. Then there was a direct lie combined with just
enough truth to give it plausibility (Genesis 3:4-5). Note the three steps leading to
The facts of this account are neither allegory, myth, legend, nor fable, but literal and
historical. They are rarely even expressed in figurative language. In fact, there are only
three figurative statements in the third chapter of Genesis:
1."Dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life"—expressing utter humiliation of the
serpent as the lowest of all the beasts of the field (note, §Genesis 3:14)
2."It shall bruise thy head"—expressing complete and crushing defeat of the devil and
all his forces, as a serpent is killed by crushing its head (note, §Genesis 3:14)
3."Thou shalt bruise his heel"—expressing temporary sufferings of the Messiah (note,
The "seed of the serpent" refers to natural serpents being natural enemies of man. The
"seed of the woman" refers to the incarnation of God as a man (Genesis 3:15; Isaiah
Tim. 3:16; Hebrews 2:14-18).
There is no reason to make the historical record of man’s fall figurative in any way. To
make the serpent figurative of Satan rather than a tool of Satan is out of harmony with all facts in Scripture. The serpent is classed with the beasts of the field and cursed above them (Genesis 3:1,14). It is spoken of as being formed by God’s hand (Job 26:13), as being cursed in the Millennium when Satan is bound (Isaiah 65:25), and in the same literal sense as other creatures formed in Adam’s day. True, Satan is symbolized by a great red dragon and is called "that old serpent" (Isaiah 27:1; Job 41:34; Rev. 12:3-17; Rev. 20:2), and he is like the serpent of Eden who deceived Eve (2 Cor. 11:3; 1 Tim. 2:14); but this doesn’t make the serpent of Genesis 3 the personal devil any more than it does Peter in Matthew 16:22-23, or the kings of Babylon and Tyre in Isaiah 14:12-14 and Ezekiel 28:11-17. All were merely tools of Satan (see The Law of Double Reference). The most fundamental principle of interpretation is to take the Bible literally wherever possible. If the language can’t be taken literally, then determine what is the literal truth conveyed by the figurative expressions.