Since there isn't any text that clearly points to the spirit of Satan possessing the serpent so that he would lie to Adam and Eve and cause them to eat from the forbidden fruit, is it a possibility that the serpent could have acted on his own to deceive them? This is because the second account of the Genesis stories of creation give the serpent a unique attribute.

Genesis 3:1

Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made.

It is already clear from the verse above that the snake was created stubborn by God for this very moment. Mainstream Christians assume that it was the spirit of fallen cherub Lucifer that possessed the serpent and caused the deception, but since there isn't any text in the Bible that clearly points this out, how do we know that the serpent did not act on his own to deceive them? Unless Lucifer was an appointed Cherub in the garden of Eden prior to his fall and then he would launch his attack on the creation by possessing the serpent, but it's a fact that spirits cannot possess animals. The Balaam story is that God made the donkey speak and not possess it to cause it to speak. Unless the devil had the ability to cause the serpent to speak, but where does he get the power to do that when no one had sinned in God's creation to give him that authority?

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    "it's a fact that spirits cannot possess animals" — How do we know this fact? Commented Sep 3, 2023 at 22:56
  • "It's a fact that spirits cannot possess animals" What is your source for that claim? You seem to be forgetting Mark 5:13.
    – Herohtar
    Commented Sep 3, 2023 at 23:19
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    @RayButterworth, there was no sin in the earthly creation to give the demons and the devil that power. The devil needed Adam and Eve to sin so the authority over all creation would pass from Adam to the devil(still happened after Adam ate of the fruit). It is more than clear that the snake was clever and had wisdom. My logic is in this state where no has sinned to give the spirits or the demons power to possess good and sinless creatures. Commented Sep 4, 2023 at 9:20
  • There was no sin in any animal before the Fall. Revelation 12:9 tells us who the serpent was. The serpent was filled with Satan: "The great dragon was hurled down— that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him." Commented Sep 5, 2023 at 12:57
  • @Herohtar, you seem to forget that the demons entered the pigs with permission from Jesus or with authority from Jesus. Where did the devil get the authority to go into a sinless serpent? Commented Sep 18, 2023 at 8:43

2 Answers 2


You are assuming that a physical snake existed. To use your own words, 'there is no text' that states such. There is 'the serpent'. And the serpent is more subtle than any beast of the field. Ergo, it is not a beast of the field.

Therefore, if there is no physical snake, your opinion cannot be correct that it acted on its own to deceive. (How a physical snake deceives a human is utterly beyond me and I cannot comment further upon that aspect.)

But if we follow the actual wording of scripture, then a serpentine Spirit approached the woman (a serpentine thing to do, not approaching the witness to God's word but the one to whom the witness had, afterwards, witnessed) and then misled her (a serpentine thing to do) and then deceived her (a serpentine thing to do).

It is clear from the text that this is a spiritual matter and we are given symbolism to help us to understand it.

  • But the verse categorizes the serpent as one of the beasts of the fields that the Lord God had made. Commented Sep 3, 2023 at 8:15
  • Also why the Bible uses "he" to refer to the serpent instead of "it" amuses me. Commented Sep 3, 2023 at 8:16
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    So, a snake which talks, which can deceive humans all by itself . . . . and it has legs. Interesting.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Sep 3, 2023 at 11:55
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    The OP wrote, "But the verse categorizes the serpent". No, the grammatical structure states the serpent is separate to the "beasts of the field". If X (serpent) is "more than any" of Y (beasts), X is separate from "any of Y". If X is a subset of Y, i.e. the serpent is a "beast of the field", the grammatical term is "the other beasts of the field" to state inclusivity rather than a single "any". I agree English is tough because ad hoc rules and word order, but the OP has misread the sentence. This sentence likely reflects the Hebrew because all translations I've seen are written like this
    – M__
    Commented Sep 3, 2023 at 13:58
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    The statement you made was a grammatically incorrect comprehension of the sentence as it occurs in English. I have corrected that. I am not making an exegesis of the passage.
    – M__
    Commented Sep 3, 2023 at 15:38
  1. There is a snake in the garden that is deceitful, manipulative, and very intelligent. This same snake, Paul ties to people being deceived and led away from Christ, at the very least as an analogy: "But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ." 2 Corinthians 11:3

  2. Satan is referred to as a snake in various places. He's even referred to as "the" snake "of old", who "deceives the whole world" "And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world" Revelation 12:9 "And he took hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan..." - Revelation 20:1-3

  3. Satan walked in the garden of eden, and was very intelligent, in the "King of Tyre" portion of Ezekiel's prophecies, where Ezekiel switches from referring to the literal king of Tyre, to using the King of Tyre symbolically to refer to satan. Ezekiel 28:11-19 (Unless you think the literal king of tyre was in the garden of eden as a annointed cherub/angel)

Saying the serpent was more intelligent than the beasts of the field doesn't automatically mean that all serpents were, nor that the serpent was a regular creature.

The prophet Micah draws comparison to the snake's curse by symbolically/figuratively saying the enemies of God will do likewise in the end-times: "The nations shall see and be ashamed of all their might; They shall put their hand over their mouth; Their ears shall be deaf. They shall lick the dust like a serpent; They shall crawl from their holes like snakes of the earth. They shall be afraid of the Lord our God, And shall fear because of You." - Micah 7:16-17

As a side note, someone commented that the snake must have had legs, prior to being cursed. Some snakes can "stand upright" on the back half of their body, and some species can even move a very short distance "standing" like that. Prior to their curse, I would speculate they could just move around long distances on the back portion of their body, no legs necessary. We don't have enough info to know either way, but it's interesting to think about!

  • Well researched, but the revolt by the devil happens after the creation of man. He is cast down to the good creation with no sin, where does he get the authority to possess the serpent? Commented Sep 4, 2023 at 9:26
  • @DongLi The revolt by the devil happens after the creation of man . . . . but - there was darkness on the face of the deep, and the earth was bohu and tohu (inglorious and markedly so). The creation was - already - marred, before the woman was deceived (by an - already fallen - serpent).
    – Nigel J
    Commented Sep 4, 2023 at 11:17
  • @NigelJ, yes and am going to Revelation 12:7 which states that war broke out in heaven, Michael and his angels fought against the dragon and the dragons and his angels fought back then he is cast down to the earth and the angels woe the inhabitants of the earth as the devil has come down to the earth in great wrath. Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short! This is the war that broke out in heaven in the beginning and God cast him out to the earth Commented Sep 4, 2023 at 11:47
  • @NigelJ, that verse explains that the devil lost this struggle and then he is cast down to the earth where all is good, Adam and Eve getting along fine. And then he chooses his moment because also why didn't the serpent tell them of the fruit the days before? There must have been some conspiracy between the serpent and the devil but the scripture is not clear. Commented Sep 4, 2023 at 11:50
  • @DongLi You are assuming that Satan/Diabolos/Serpent was cast to earth at the beginning. The book of Job tells us that that was not so. He still had access among the sons of God. Revelation (rightly understood) indicates the casting to earth is a matter of the Cross of Jesus Christ. Your assumed timeline is not in accord with the text of scripture. And, thus, you are making other assumptions which are also not in keeping with the documented record.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Sep 4, 2023 at 13:21

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