We know there is only suppositions that Satan was probably the "snake", but nothing solid proves this. However many times, even today, we say "that bitch slapped me", or that "dirty rat" hit me on the head... and so forth, neither of which assume we are speaking of a dog or a rat respectively.

There is no reason ignore this of the "snake" in Eden, as no scripture says otherwise. Keep in mind there are many things "cultural that are left out when books of the Bible were written. We may say "I drove to the grocery store", yet what is the word "drove?" How fast? etc.. But we leave that out in the paper, because it is obvious. This may be true of the Serpent.

Further more you can see there is a hint in Gen 3:14, that whoever/whatever Eve was conversing with, was already UPRIGHT - standing, or flying if we are dealing with Nephilim. God cursed "it" to the ground on "its" belly. To eat dirt for the rest of "its" life.

so it is quite possible that the dirty rat conned Eve. I have not found any scripture that says This is Satan, Are the churches teaching it literal? If so why?

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    You do present good points. However, it would be prudent if you provide sources to those claims. Like you I understand that the story of Creation isn't supposed to be taken literally because it uses cultural imagery and language to get to a literal point. However, citation of sources would improve your explanation and help people answer the question better.
    – Philip
    Dec 28, 2018 at 4:45
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    Yes, much could be pruned from this question. Let's get closer to the heart of what you want to know then express that as concisely as possible.
    – user3961
    Dec 28, 2018 at 4:59
  • Hi thank you for your comments. 3:14 is all you need to validate the "claim" for sake of argument, we will assume some type of humanoid. 3:14 curses the "person" You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust. A serpent/snake is already on its belly. Yet children of today, and past generations, insist it is a serpent(snake) that is speaking to eve. artwork, and children's books show the same. I am asking what scripture claims this. What I found is that it is an individual she is speaking to. Hows that
    – Jake Stone
    Dec 28, 2018 at 18:41
  • I think Adam was made from the dust and Eve was made from Adam's human rib based on Genesis. These two were not made from usual human reproductive process in the book of Genesis. Were Adam and Eve also not literally made from those things?
    – R. Brown
    Sep 18, 2020 at 17:27

5 Answers 5


The Bible employs animals as descriptions of character, as we do also.

In the verse that you allude to, it expressly says "the" Serpent and draws a distinction from the beasts of the field.

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? 

Elsewhere we are informed : 2Co 11:3  But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 

(You notice, through his subtilty? more subtle than any beast of the field, the physical animals)

Rev 12:9  And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. 

(You notice, that old Serpent?)

Rev 20:2  And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, 

2Co 11:14  And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 

So we can see that The Devil, Satan appeared to Eve as an angel of light. Consider too, apart from the fact that animals do not talk, would Eve really listen to or take any notice of an animal subject to her, over which she had dominion?

When the Serpent is cursed, he is cursed below the creatures of the field, that is relegated to a lower position, and limited to the belly, the seat of carnal affections,(Php 3:19  Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.) and restricted to the despicable and execrable state of perdition in feeding off man, created from dust. (Psa 14:4  Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge? who eat up my people as they eat bread, and call not upon the LORD. )

And the Serpent was set to bruise Christ's heel, which he did through the crucifixion which also bruised his head. Christ's crucifixion accomplished salvation and victory over the Serpent, as it were, mortally wounding the Serpent.

  • Yes, here is the most clear answer to the question 2Cor.11:3. I believe that verse alone just about clears this question up....excellent Dec 30, 2018 at 18:30

I think that the reason so many see the serpent to be a literal entity is because that is the way the bible treats of the entity throughout the old and new testament scriptures.

Particularly, John the Apostle records in the Apocalypse (Revelation 20:2) :

And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years.

It is evident from this text alone that there is an Entity who is given no personal name anywhere in scripture but he can be recognised when he acts, because he does so in certain characteristic ways, intrinsic to his own personal character . . .

. . . namely - Draconian, Serpentine and Adversarial (Satanic).

He is also described by other words - Lucifer, Baal-zebul, Antidikos, Poneros and The Wicked.

Of this Entity, Jesus says (in words which cannot be taken as other than literal) :

He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

This Entity is attributed (in scripture) with :

  • approaching Eve to deceive her (Genesis 3:1) in order to mislead and damage the entire human race (with regard to knowledge and life) - in their natural order.

  • with being an adversary to the perfect man, who - individually - worships God, Job 1:6,

  • and with resisting those who would - corporately - in a priestly way, restore the order of the house of God when it has been damaged and diminished, Zechariah 3:1.

Jesus was approached by this Entity in both his Diabolic (a matter of entanglement dia/bolos) manner and his Adversarial, or Satanic, manner during the temptation in the wilderness.

It was this same Entity which filled Judas (though Judas may only have been aware of his own greed for money and his own resentment at losing opportunity when a woman 'wasted' a fortune on Jesus) to betray Jesus and to facilitate his arrest, leading to his crucifixion.

Satan hindered the apostles, I Timothy 2:18, and some turned aside to Satan, I Timothy 5:15. Satan had a synagogue, Revelation 2:9, and a seat, Revelation 2:13, within the perimeter of the seven churches of Asia.

This is a real Entity who really works and who really fights against the ascended Christ in heaven and against the faithful followers of Jesus Christ on earth.

Which is why, I believe, that many accept the literal biblical account which, so vividly and so solemnly, displays a warning before us to beware that such an Entity is the enemy of faith and the enemy of truth.

  • good info. The only issue I have with that, is Moses(?) wrote genesis, he was not there, so his information is subject. It should be agreed that Moses understands what a serpent/snake etc.. looks like. So I found it odd that it was written as a serpent instead of something else, and then to curse the creature to its belly (when a serpent is already on its belly). When children read this, it becomes fact to them. the only reason thus far I can see why it is literally is a combination of growing up hearing it, and because - it is "told" that way. It seems there may not be an aswer for this ques.
    – Jake Stone
    Dec 30, 2018 at 0:19

This truly is a interesting question and one that we as humans can let our imaginations run wild. As we read Gods word, our own mind can see many strange images and lead us to believe some things that are only a figment of our imagination. Also, our minds are of the impression of what we have been told and learned at early ages in our lives. As we age and stay in Gods word we tend to see things a little different from our childhood stage.

I for one take the Bible literally so it is not hard for me to see some sort of creature in the garden speaking with Eve. Whatever his physical body at the time is unimportant. What is important is that satan was only using the form of this serpent/creature. Satan never exposes himself as what or who he really is.

Man was to have dominion over all the animals but yet satan would use a animal that would lead man astray. It is clear that a physical change took place in this creature as a result of satan's actions (crawl on his belly) but remember there was a real physical change that took place with Eve (all women there after) that she would now experience pain in childbirth (Gen.3:16). Physical change took place in the land that man would toil to cultivate (3:17-18) even the plants were cursed so they would produce thorns (3:18) the thorns that would someday be used as a crown for our precious Lord Jesus. All tho our finite minds can not imagine we must try to consider what this world was like before the fall..

No it's not hard for me to imagine that the serpent was a upright creature with legs. When God cursed him to crawl on his belly was a mark of degradation. (Lev.11:42) Eating dust is a mark or sign of despair (Micah 7:17) which reminds us of what awaits satan. The snake will always remind us and help us to remember the fall. The serpent is a symbol and reminder of satan, his evil power and the chaos he has brought to Gods children and creation.

We also must remember in the book of Revelation (12:9,20:2) satan is called "the ancient serpent of old" which I believe is referring to to the snake in the garden.

Whatever this creature was or whatever form (legs, wings, ugly or beautiful) satan used it to bring about the fall of mankind and further his hate and revenge for our holy God. His days are numbered for the victory has already been won. Our Victor hung on that ole rugged cross. His head will be crushed. Time is now on our side.....praise and glory to His holy name.

  • I to take the bible literally. within reason and common sense. If I wrote down "I surfed the web for shoes" - and you had no knowledge of the lingo, what am i talking about. You can only use the terminology of that era. This is because when we write(record or w/e), we do it with the understanding that people of that era understand those terminology, and thus we need not write them in detail. The bible is written the same way. It is not a snake or satan. Imagining something, doesnt make it fact.The "snake" did not lie. or deceive. What he said was truthful. No scripture to say it was satan TY!
    – Jake Stone
    Dec 28, 2018 at 19:03
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    Although the serpent is not identified as satan in the book of Genesis, he is identified in the book of Revelation 12:9, 20:2. One can always depend on scripture to bring about understanding from other scripture. So yes Revelation does identify the serpent in the garden. Dec 28, 2018 at 19:18
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    See also Genesis 3:15. "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." This is the 1st gospel promise of redemption but the change of everything as fallen. Who does our Lord Jesus defeat...Satan! Dec 28, 2018 at 19:53
  • Revelation 12:9, 20:2 says nothing of the serpent of eden. only an ancient serpent. While I fall in the group of Revelations is written PAST tense, that passage is suspect. Look up my "Rat" theory. - that dirty rat stole my purse. Did a Rat really steal her purse? As mentioned, I do not think there is an answer for this, as it falls on how you are brought up and who you listen too. I feel bad for the children that do not read the bible and learn from word of mouth
    – Jake Stone
    Dec 30, 2018 at 0:27
  • I skimmed thru your "Rat" theory, interesting! But with the answers that have been provided here, I highly doubt that any of us have been "conditioned" and held on to our childhood beliefs. Once we begin to study Gods word and pray for knowledge and wisdom of His truths, he gives us a discerning heart. His Holy Spirit opens our eyes and our ears and we gladly and joyfully accept His word as truth. I think every one here has clearly expressed that Satan is or was the deceiver of Eve. Whether a snake, rat or warthog is of no value. Satan was and is the culprit of the fall of mankind. Dec 30, 2018 at 2:26

We know that before the serpent was introduced, the Bible describes the beasts of the field being created, which are literal animals. Therefore when the Bible introduces the serpent as a beast of the field, it too is a literal animal.

Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made.

Satan chose to employ the serpent as his medium in the temptation of Eve, a disguise to help lower her guard. Revelation refers to Satan as that ancient serpent.

Revelation 12:9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

When God cursed the serpent, the curse was literal. Since it was employed as Satan's medium, it was cursed above all cattle, all beast of the field.

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.”

Finally, we don't see the word serpent being used in any other context in the Bible, suggesting that there is no other common usage for the word serpent. Even places where it is being metaphorical, the Bible is specific that it is a metaphor.

Micah 7:17 They shall lick the dust like a serpent, they shall move out of their holes like worms of the earth: they shall be afraid of the Lord our God, and shall fear because of thee.

  • 'The serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field'. Ergo, the serpent was not a beast of the field. If supreme bestial subtlety were being conveyed, it would be expressed as '... was the most subtle beast of the field,'.
    – Nigel J
    Dec 29, 2018 at 13:12
  • Really? It's just a style in translation. "(Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.) Num 12:3.
    – Beestocks
    Dec 29, 2018 at 13:39
  • Youngs Literal indicates that Numbers 12:3 is saying something about Moses and humanity : And the man Moses (is) very humble, more than any of the men who (are) on the face of the ground..
    – Nigel J
    Dec 29, 2018 at 21:36
  • I agree with @NigelJ, again we are running into how scripture is told (for the people of that era) Beestocks yes, but it is VERY VERY important that "style" is correct, they were not translating "gone with the wind" - Also, I am still looking, but "serpent" has another translation that is human in nature - not an actaul serpent.
    – Jake Stone
    Dec 30, 2018 at 0:22
  • The Hebrew word שְׂרָפִים śərāfîm / Latin seraphim means "burning ones", it is used to sometimes imply fiery serpents (likely because of the burning sensation their bite cause) (Num.21:4-9; Deut.8:15) and also to describe the angelic creations around God's throne (Isaiah 6:1-8). However, the Hebrew word נחש‎, nakhásh is used in Genesis 3 for serpent, so it is more literal in meaning.
    – Beestocks
    Dec 30, 2018 at 5:06

Well others have beat me to the punch in regards to mentioning the interpretation coming from the book of Revelation etc. So I will try to provide you with some extra supplementary information.

1) My Jewish Study Bible mentions the Satan/snake interpretation as a uniquely Christian interpretation, coming from the 1st Century. (will add citation later).

2) Biblical Scholar, Michael S. Heiser gives a very complex nuanced answer to this question. I Highly recommend you go to You-tube video " Why the Villain of Eden was a Serpent" posted by Ben S (I would add a link but I don't think the editors approve of that). But for those that don't want to watch it, in a nutshell Heiser says there is a triple play on words being made by the text. Essentially the word for snake in Hebrew also means "shining" or burning, and also refers to one "who practices divination, prophesy or dispenses the wisdom of the gods". Heiser notes the use of guardian serpents by the ancient Egyptians (pictures of them guarding the thrones of pharaohs) He also notes Egyptian iconography where the serpent (cobra) was pictured with wings (the hood of the cobra was called wings and this feature was exaggerated in Egyptian iconography). Heiser believes that the "serpent in Eden" actually is referring to a Seraphim angel because in some of the ancient artifacts of Israel, Seraphim are indeed pictured as winged serpents on various rings, seals etc.


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