The Serpent, our Third Character, Makes his Grand Entry
The Serpent, also known as the Devil or Satan, is one of the biggest myths of all times: Does he exist? Were Adam and Eve so boring that God had to create the Devil to compensate?
Scene 4: The Serpent makes his grand entry (3rd character)
I’m still presenting the main characters of the Bible story. After God and humans which we discussed in the last couple of blog posts comes the Serpent, also known as the Devil or Satan
(Origin of the Universe, chapter 4.5)
For now, see how, in the script, the serpent appears on the scene in discussion with Eve. A plot wouldn’t be a plot without the bad guy making his entrance and stirring up problems. The Serpent must have some attraction and appeal and can hold our attention. After all, this slithering creature has central roles in literature from the 17th century Paradise Lost to the 21st century Harry Potter.
Eve has made her entrance, and the Serpent has crashed the couple’s private time. They are fascinated with each other, but this new being has appeared, and they greet him in all naivety. They are full of curiosity as to what he is.
Now the Serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, has God said, you shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said to the Serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, you shall not eat of it, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.
And the Serpent said to the woman; you shall not surely die: For God knows that in the day you eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. 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… (Genesis 3:1–6)
Who is this Serpent, and what does his appearance mean? How does he go about achieving his goal, and what is his game anyway? We’re still introducing the characters of our play. So we’re not going to discuss some pointed questions here, such as: If God is good, where did this evil character originate? Why does good God allow the devious Serpent such freedom of movement and action? How can honorable God seemingly ‘overlook’ the havoc wrought on frail man by this imposing appalling powerhouse? We will broach all these points after Scene 5, according to the script.
The Serpent’s Character
- The nature of the Serpent is one of subtlety; this is a crucial point that we will delve into in-depth. I’ve created a video course to help understand what the Biblical Hebrew word (aram) for subtlety means.
- The Serpent can communicate with humans and makes itself understood. In this context, it is through face to face discussion; at other times, it can be by other means. Again, this sounds preposterous, but so does Mickey Mouse and Tinkerbell, when you think about it.
- He immediately quotes part of a true statement made by God “…not eat of every tree of the garden.” So, quoting the truth doesn’t mean the individual who quotes is right.
- When Eve gives the correct answer, the Serpent responds with a half-truth — which, in essence, is a lie, ‘You shall not surely die.’ True, death was not immediate or even imminent, so he isn’t entirely wrong — but he is intentionally leading them astray, because sooner or later, ultimately Adam and Eve will die-as God said — and the Serpent knows it.
- The Serpent adds a strong enticement that is intended to make them feel more important than what they are, i.e., “you shall be as gods” or, we can alternatively read the Hebrew, “you shall be as God.” Yet, keep in mind that God had already given them dominion over the entire earth! God had given them particular importance. The Serpent raises them even higher, putting them on an equal pedestal with God. The Serpent insists on instilling self-importance.
- The Serpent adds two qualities human beings crave:
> Understanding how, why: gaining wisdom. He tells them, your eyes shall be opened. In other words, you’ll have a CLEARER vision of yourself and your relationship to the world around you and the other characters in the play than before. If there’s one point to garner, it’s the meaning of the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil (Gen 3.6): a tree to be desired to make one wise We shall often return to this wisdom because it is the source of a lot of our difficulties.
> He also adds, knowing good and evil. You’ll learn and decide by and for yourselves what is right and wrong. The Serpent contends that humanity can define what is good and evil. Humankind can establish its own regulations of what to do, and what not to do, without having rules dictated to them.
The Serpent tells them that humanity, by itself, can decide the way it should follow. That humankind, with education, experience, intelligence, reasoning, imagination, and drive can have dominion, govern itself, its relationships and its surroundings in a suitable manner that will bring Peace and Prosperity.
In this unbeatable promotional sales proposal by the Serpent, we’ve covered an awful lot of ground. We’ve gone from 0 to 100 km/hour in less than a wink. We shall take time to expand and corroborate these points. But again, for now, we are exploring the individual character traits of our performers.
Before we move on to the next scene, there’s an essential point to make.
God allowed the Serpent to entice humans
Remember, God is the Prominent Character, the strongest, wisest One, the play’s author and director. Could He have prevented the Serpent from having this conversation? Absolutely. Could God have struck the Serpent dumb? Absolutely. Could God have prevented the Serpent from entering the Garden of Eden? Absolutely. The Serpent can only be in the Garden of Eden with God’s permission.
Was God away on vacation, or sleeping or involved with some other activity — so much so that the Serpent penetrated all the defenses and alarms God had set up to protect Adam and Eve from this monstrous inducement? No, no, no.
Had an all-powerful God wanted the Serpent drawn and quartered, banned from the scene, it was totally in His power to do so just as a King can dispose of any of his advisers, subjects or enemies anyway he wishes to.
From this scene, we must draw a couple of conclusions about whether our story is fictional or not:
- Not only does the Serpent exist, but
- God has allowed him to do his thing.
The Serpent can go and entice humans into thinking they’re more important than they are — otherwise known as wrapped up in their own wisdom or vanity. He can allure humans into developing a very fertile imagination and vision as to how to gain their own wisdom through philosophy, science, religion, and government. Then govern themselves and this world, trying to engineer peace and harmony — how to run their own affairs their own way according to their own principles — establishing their own laws based on their own reasoning.
These ideas sound noble, and if God has given humans free will to choose, doesn’t that suggest that the Serpent’s will, as opposed to God’s organization, is equally valid? You may be surprised at the answer — we’re keeping you in suspense.
Understanding this one scene in the story and the way the Bible portrays it lets you grasp the frame of mind the Serpent has foisted on this world, coupled with the realization that God is allowing this to happen.
Galacti fields a question from the home audience: Why has God allowed the Serpent to do this?
I will answer that all-important question too, suffice to say — that if there’s any validity to this story — we now understand a little better why there’s a lot of turmoil on the face of our earth. We see why the incredible Inventory of the Universe is in such a mixed-up state as described in the book Audit of the Universe. The goal of Origin of the Universe (which you’re reading now) and Origin of Humankind is to explain the why. And especially where God is taking us now and how He’s going to get us there.
But, for now, patience, please, and on to next week with more action.
This blog post is an excerpt from chapter 4.5 of Origin of the Universe.
You can read all of the book Origin of the Universe online. Sam blogs weekly at TheExplanation.com The Explanation masters Biblical Hebrew to help you unlock more in-depth Bible meaning. Free tools to read and study the Bible online.