Christianity Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for committed Christians, experts in Christianity and those interested in learning more. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

The account of creation mentions the serpent being wise among all beasts. After the temptation God curses the serpent.

"And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this,...upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:" (Genesis 3:14).

Does this denote that the snake had a different form, limbs perhaps, unlike we see it today? And is it rational to depict the time of temptation in a picture of snake (already crawling on its belly) talking to Eve?

share|improve this question

closed as primarily opinion-based by Flimzy, curiousdannii, Nathaniel, Lee Woofenden, Mr. Bultitude May 31 at 17:25

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Check out by Dr Michael Heiser! – user1539 May 13 '12 at 10:43
I think it's a good question for the site, but needs some clarification on what types of answers you're seeking. Are you seeking answers from those who take a literal interpretation of Genesis, or those who take a more metaphorical view? The latter would probably say there was no literal serpent, per se, and that it was just a mythical story created to explain (among other things) why snakes have no limbs. – Flimzy May 13 '12 at 18:20
A dragon. I have no evidence for this, except that a dragon is used to describe Satan in Revelation 12. And a dragon kind of looks like a snake with legs! – Matt White May 14 '12 at 1:39
Satan (within common interpretations) is also said to be the most beautiful angel in all creation. Maybe he was a beautiful dragon? – Flimzy May 14 '12 at 3:02
Well, if you take the Bible metaphorically, then it's meaningless to ask any questions of the "what really happenned?" sort. The only answer will be, "Nothing happenned at all. At most we can look for the symbols in the metaphor." – Jay May 14 '12 at 6:29

I think the only answer anyone can really give is, "No one knows."

The most obvious reading is that before this, serpents walked upright, and that got changed them that day as a sign of the degradation of Satan.

It's also possible that the intended meaning is that serpents always looked pretty much like they do now, but with this incident God used the fact that serpents have no legs as a symbol.

It's also not spelled out in the text whether Satan was appearing in the form of a serpent, or whether Satan is simply called a serpent. Perhaps in his true form -- whatever that is and if he has one -- he resembles a serpent or other reptile, or perhaps it's a description of his personality.

The story is so briefly told that there are just a lot of uncertainties.

share|improve this answer

In her account of the Fall in THE LIFE OF JESUS CHRIST AND BIBLICAL REVELATIONS, Bl. Anne Catherine Emmerich (1774-1824) describes the serpent as follows:

Among the animals was one that followed Eve more closely than the others. It was a singularly gentle and win- ning, though artful creature. I know of none other to which I might compare it. It was slender and glossy, and it looked as if it had no bones. It walked upright on its short hind feet, its pointed tail trailing on the ground. Near the head, which was round with a face exceedingly shrewd, it had little short paws, and its wily tongue was ever in mo- tion. The color of the neck, breast, and underpart of the body was pale yellow, and down the back it was a mottled brown very much the same as an eel. It was about as tall as a child of ten years. It was constantly around Eve, and so coaxing and intelligent, so nimble and supple that she took great delight in it. But to me there was something horrible about it. I can see it distinctly even now. I never saw it touch either Adam or Eve.

Please see What is the Catholic Church's view of Anne Catherine Emmerich - can her visions and prophecies be trusted? in conjunction with this question.

share|improve this answer

The serpent looked like a HUMAN BEING. It was the only animal that could speak. Its seed could mingle with that of human beings.

Of all species created and formed, one specie could mate with the next specie, eg Alligator - Crocodile rat - mouse donkey - horse (child = mule) serpent - human being (child = Cain)

The serpent is now the missing link between man and animals.

The old testament begins with a woman being pregnated, the new testament also begins with a woman being pregnated.

Before Adam knew Eve, the serpent had already done beguiled her. Before Joseph knew Marry, God had already created Jesus in Marry's womb.

Cain is the serpent seed, and his seed after him.

You see, the 2 trees in the garden were given for birth. one for animals and the other for mankind. One was good for animals, but evil for mankind. Adam had to make more sons of God the way God made him, by speaking children in their seasons,just like Gabriel spoke the Word to Marry to produce Jesus (hence the beginning of the new creation of God), because the Spoken Word is the original Seed Jesus was born right, and could tell us to be born again, to change our birth inorder to understand the kingdom of God.

Sex amongst humans outside of a marriage covenant is an abomination in the sight of God, Hence the bible says Marriage is honourable in all things and the bed undefiled

the opening of the Seven Seals in these days brought the opening of the serpent seed mystery. which begins the step in one knowing were they fell from and were they are being raised up to.

share|improve this answer
Answers here should not provide personal opinions, but official doctrinal answers. Can you provide links that show this is the official view held by some Christian denomination? – Flimzy May 31 at 6:44

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