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...)

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    This may have been on-topic when it was asked (although I think it is pretty unclear what it wants anyway), but it is certainly off-topic now. It is pretty clearly a "truth question" and would require a lot of speculation even if we allowed such questions. – ThaddeusB Oct 30 '15 at 15:00

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.

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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.

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  • 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
  • @gideonmarx If you will notice my answer was posted while I was in the process of researching and writing my answer, and at any rate God's disdain for the reptile comes from his deceiving a gullible Eve. Jesus wants us to be as trusting as little children, and so that act was directly in your face toward God. – BYE Oct 29 '15 at 23:49

Ezekiel 28:15–18 describes the angel that became Satan:

15 You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created, till unrighteousness was found in you. 16 In the abundance of your trade you were filled with violence in your midst, and you sinned; so I cast you as a profane thing from the mountain of God, and I destroyed you, guardian cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. 17 Your heart was proud because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor. I cast you to the ground; I exposed you before kings, to feast their eyes on you. 18 By the multitude of your iniquities, in the unrighteousness of your trade you profaned your sanctuaries; so I brought fire out from your midst; it consumed you, and I turned you to ashes on the earth in the sight of all who saw you.

It seems logical that this beautiful proud spirit would have materialized as a resplendently beautiful creature. And it seems logical that eve would have been enthralled by the beauty of this creature. Had the serpent been a gross scary dangerous viper eve would not likely have hung around and conversed with it

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