Excerpt from Things I Never Learned in Sunday School
Chapter 4 – “The Big Bad Guy: Is He For Real?”
The Crafty Serpent
Of all the stories in the Bible that relate to “Satan,” I find the one about the serpent in the Garden of Eden the most creative. Throughout my research, I came across numerous dissertations by the faithful about what “really” happened during the meeting between the serpent and Eve … and why. Again and again I read, practically word-for-word, what I had been taught during my Christian experience. The fact that there is little to no basis for this oft-repeated tale seems to matter little to the various expositors.
According to tradition, the downfall of humankind started because Eve, after a talking serpent told her that God was lying about eating a certain fruit in the Garden, went ahead and ate it and also gave some to Adam, her husband (Genesis 3:1-6). (On the surface, can anyone deny there isn’t at least a minimal amount of incredulity in this story?) After the first couple confessed they had shared the fruit, the Bible tells us God cursed the serpent and proclaimed it must forever crawl on its belly and eat dust. Nowhere does it say that God turned the serpent into an evil spirit.
In the original Hebrew language, the word for serpent is nahash and this is the word used in Genesis, not ha-satan. So where did the belief that the serpent was a representation of “Satan” get started?
You can read the answer to this question (and more) when you order a copy of Things I Never Learned in Sunday School at Amazon.com.