Questioner (1) the earth was made or before or after God created Adam and Eve, and if the garden of Eden was made perfect, why then was a lying snake allowed in it?
Questioner (2) I would like to see a post on this as well. Because it is often something I have thought about. Also the connection people make to the scriptures in Isaiah that seem to refer to Lucifer being cast down from the heights.
Recently I have had a conversation with someone who does not even believe that the serpent was the devil at all as it says in Gen 3:1 that the serpent was more crafty than any of the beasts of the field. Their view (which I didn’t entirely agree with) was that evangelical Christians have tied this to the devil but the text itself does not in necessarily refer to anything other than a creature that was able to talk and was very crafty.
The metaphor that C.S. Lewis builds in the second book of his space trilogy “Peralandra” seems a fairly decent sort of idea involving the possession of the creature by a spiritual force- a fallen angel- that desired to bend the will of Eve against the will of God. What are your thoughts about the relationship between this serpent and fallen angels?
Part of what I find interesting is that the decree not to eat was given in the text to Adam before Eve is created. I am wondering and I think have heard that the order of this part of the text is not necessarily linear is this the case.
Additionally this whole knowledge of good and evil is a very interesting name and idea for the fruit of the tree to produce. Is it really true that the pre-fall Adam and Eve were not to have knowledge of wrong and right? This doesn’t seem the case as they were to become the stewards of Eden or is the issue who was to be the judge and sustainer of their souls.
This is very complex and I would like to hear some of your thoughts about this and how it relates to death entering the world. I presume the prohibition of eating the tree of life after the Fall was a good thing as they did not live indefinitely in this new state. Also, when they are kicked out there is an angel set to guard this tree of life so that they can not get “back in” to eat.Lots of questions again! WELL DONE!
1. When did satan fall?
There are two ways in which we can understand the word “fall”. There was a moral fall, when satan fell from being obedient to God. Then there is a “geographical fall” when satan is cast out of the spiritual world and eventually confined to the Abyss for the thousand years of the Millennium.
In this question, I think you mean, “when did satan’s first sin come?” In other words, when did he stop obeying God and become the tempter.
We can bracket the timing fairly well.
It could not have occurred before the end of the seven days of creation. God said it was all good at that time. For me that means anything up to the end of Genesis Ch 2 is before satan’s moral fall.
It could not have occurred after the approach to Eve in the Garden. This happens right at the beginning of Ch 3.
So if you open your Bible and look at the space on the page between the end of Gen 2 and the beginning of Gen 3, that was when satan rebelled against God.
1 John 3 8 confirms this by saying “the devil has been sinning since the beginning”.
2. Now are the serpent, the devil and satan one and the same?
On the basis of Rev 12 9, the devil, satan, is identified clearly with the “ancient serpent”. This is repeated in Rev 20 2. I am quite comfortable with the traditional understanding of the serpent, and can see no useful reason to question it.
3. So, what was the nature of the serpent?
And although Gen 3 1 says “the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made”, it doesn’t actually SAY satan WAS a wild animal, it only compares his nature with them.
So we don’t have to assume that the serpent was actually a member of the animal kingdom. It doesn’t mean that snakes are somehow satanic.
“Serpent” here is a TITLE, not a description of his biology. It refers to his creeping nature, hiding in innocent-looking places until he gets chance to bite.
It is not impossible that satan took on the appearance of an actual snake for his approach to Eve, or even, as CS Lewis suggests, that he possessed an animal body a la Gadarene swine (Matt 8 28). I don’t think we know for sure, and I don’t see what difference it makes.
4. What about the fallen angels?
I’ve said elsewhere that I think there is biblical support for the idea that satan was the leader of heavenly musical worship to God, under the name of Lucifer, and he had authority over one third of the angels. When he disobeyed, he took with him all those under his authority. Check out the answers to the question “Worship in Heaven” for more on this.
5. Now onto the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (TKGE for short!).
I’ve written a bit about the access to the Tree of Life in the answer to “Angels/Christians”, so have a look there after you have read this next bit.
It is true that the account of the command not to eat of the TKGE predates the creation of Eve (Gen 2 17 and GEN 2 22).
I don’t think that this gives us any problems though, God tells Adam about what he can eat right at the time of putting him in the Garden. This isn’t surprising, Adam hadn’t even had breakfast by then, I’m sure I’d want to know if I were him!
Do some people make an issue of the idea that Eve may not have known of this? I think that’s silly if they do. God fulfilled meticulously and promptly his responsibility to inform Adam of the “cafeteria rules”. It’s unthinkable that he would neglect informing any other resident of the Garden of such an important topic.
On the nature of the TKGE, Let’s set some background:
In Gen 2 16, God gives his first command to Adam. Note that God gave the orders, Adam only had to obey.
Whose job was it to decide what was good for Adam to do and what was not good?
The name of the TKGE could be translated the “Tree of the UNDERSTANDING of Good and Evil”. This helps us to “understand” what it represented.
This tree represented the freewill right of Man to reject God’s rule —
— and to take on himself the job of deciding what was good for him to do and what was not.
(You need to read that last sentence slowly.)
So this tree is the pictorial representation of the “freewill” which God has built into the nature of his relationship with Man.
We have “Freewill” to turn TOWARDS Him, (or not). Adam was given the “Freewill” to turn AWAY from God’s rule (or not).
[There is more on this in the discussion on Original Sin (post no 7) in the Question “Jesus as a Man”]
The big deal is that God told Adam in no uncertain terms that the choice to “go it alone” and choose for himself what was good and what was bad would be a disaster. God says he would “die”. Life – as Adam knew it at the time – would cease.
When we die, it’s not just a cosmetic change in a few of life’s details. EVERYTHING is different. And so it was for Adam and Eve. Complete change. God labelled it “death”, because he became cut off from us just as surely as we are cut off from those we love when they die.
So when God wanted to change things for us, who better to send than “The Life”?