Take the 2-minute tour ×
Christianity Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for committed Christians, experts in Christianity and those interested in learning more. It's 100% free, no registration required.

And does that particular event in Eden mean He isn't favorable towards snakes (surely not having designed them Himself!)? Is Steve Urwin (and, in faith, I) going to have a nasty shock when it turns out, in the style of the 'Great Divorce', that lovely scaley things like lizards are turned into boring old stallions'?! Haha! (Actually, I like horses...)

share|improve this question

2 Answers 2

There are some passages where certain animals are praised in a way which emphasizes their dangerous nature.

Three things are stately in their stride; four are stately in their gait: the lion, which is mightiest among wild animals and does not turn back before any [...] (Proverbs 30:29-30, NRSV)

The English "stately" is translating Hebrew "מֵיטִיבֵי", "they are doing good / they are pleasing". The ferocity of the lion is identified as worthy of admiration. Although they are dangerous, they are also royal beasts, and Jesus is identified using the metaphor of the lion (Revelation 5:5) as well as the lamb.

Some extended poetry of this kind occurs in the end of Job, in particular the account of Leviathan (Job 41). The strength of Leviathan is certainly ascribed to God's design, and the general tone of the passage seems to present the creature as a wonder (cf. Job 42:3). It is awe-inspiring, beyond human capacity to understand - though we can begin to consider God's greatness by contemplating the fact that he is the creator and master of Leviathan.

Snakes/serpents get a generally bad reputation, but that is not the whole story. Isaiah 11:8 points to God's sovereignty over a peaceful order of creation:

The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den.

Human beings, and the devil, may be called by "bad" animal names - dragons, wolves, serpents, etc. This does not mean that wolves themselves are inherently bad, but only that their rapacious nature is being used as a metaphor. A nice contrast takes place with Jesus's words in Matthew 10:16,

"See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves."

As usual, the wolves are bad and the sheep are good; but here, the serpents and doves are both presented in a "good" context. (Unlike, say, "generation of vipers", Matthew 3:7 and 12:34, also from the mouth of Jesus.) So snakes are not always bad, even if they have some characteristics that we should not imitate. Moreover, as the Wisdom literature shows, even dangerous and terrifying creatures are part of God's design.

share|improve this answer

God Created all creatures a thing of beauty and in perfection.

As far as answering your question, Let's take a look at the passage in the Bible and see if it answers your question.

Genesis 3:1 through 5 KJV

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?

2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:

3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.

4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:

5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

What does the serpent was more suptil mean?

The original Hebrew word here is:


`aruwm (aw-room') adj.

  1. cunning (usually in a bad sense)

KJV: crafty, prudent, subtil.

So in todays vernacular we would say that the serpent was more conniving, or that he was much less inclined to obey God.

In that vein of thought he enticed Eve to disobey God also:

you will not die.

God lied to you because he wants to keep you subject to him.

If you do eat it then you will be up there where God is and know everything just like he does.

And Eve fell for it!

Genesis 3:6 KJV

And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

Now in the sense of fairness we must say that the serpent did not tell a bald faced lie. what he did was to change God's words around so that they implied something different.

So let's take a look at what God said in comparison to what the serpent said.

What God said:

Genesis 2:16 KJV

And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:

What the serpent said.

Genesis 3:1 B

Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

It is only a slight change but it completely changes the intent of the question. and what the serpent says next is in no way a lie.

Genesis 3:5 KJV

For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

notice that the serpent does not say you will be as God, but that you will be as gods. This simple distinction is between God and gods.

What God said:

Genesis 2:17 KJV

But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

So even though the serpent only twisted God's word to change the overall meaning, the intent was still to incite insurrection against God. And for doing so what punishment did God give the Serpent?

Genesis 3:14 and 15 KJV

14 And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:

15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

So what does verse 15 actually indicate?



'eybah (ay-baw') n-f.

  1. hostility

KJV: emnity, hatred.

We also need to note that the Serpent does not apply to all reptiles, so your lizards and frogs don't count.

share|improve this answer
Wonderful answer and I learnt a lot but did you answer the actual question? Maybe see 'Life of Pi' for clarity on what is being asked. –  gideon marx Jan 14 '14 at 18:18

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.