by Kristen C. Strocchia
“Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, ‘Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden?” Genesis 3:1
The Hebrew word here is most often translated with the broad kind name for serpent, though in two modern translations it is translated into snake and Shining One. Other biblical occurrences modify serpent with fiery, poison, adder, viper and Leviathan. Considering that God made animals according to their kinds on Day 6 [Genesis 1:25], it’s possible that serpent could refer to any number of pre-sin reptilians.
We know for sure that the serpent had legs [Genesis 3:14] and that Eve was not surprised when it spoke to her. Not only that, but this particular serpent was more crafty than–more subtle, more clever, more astute, the most cunning, and the shrewdest of–all the other animals that God created.
Grammatically, for the serpent to be more than [comparative] or the most [superlative], then the other animals also had to be somewhat clever. So it would not surprise me at all if we got to heaven and found out that C.S. Lewis was right to portray his Narnian animals as talking beasts, especially since he paralleled the Bible accounts so closely.
But with what wiles this creature possessed, he chose to raise doubt about God’s spoken Word. “Did God really say?” And with it, he misquotes God, “You must not eat from any tree in the garden?” Not only that, but he asks someone who didn’t hear it from God directly. God told Adam not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Adam told Eve. She knew full well not to eat from it, but the wording of the command–well…Satan knew he could cast doubt here.
And Satan’s tactics haven’t changed. He still prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour [1 Peter 5:8]. One of his most tried and true, age-old tactics is to ask a question that raises doubts.
Perhaps you’ve heard that persistent nagging in your mind, Did God really say? Without doubt God’s words were cleverly rehashed after that. But besides the introspective doubt raising business, Satan is also at work in the world at large. Everything from textbooks to Hollywood is asking us as Christians, “Did God really say?” Because if He did, then…
Don’t be deceived by this tactic in any form. This same ancient serpent–aka the great dragon called Satan–is just biding his time until his demise [Revelation 12:9 & 20:2]. He desires to drag as many people with him into the pit of hell as possible.
Do you know God’s Word? Are you standing firm in the knowledge of your faith?