Who was the Serpent in the Garden?

Author: Castin ,

Topic's posts

Posts in total: 79
  • Castin
    Castin avatar
    Debates: 0
    Forum posts: 2,017
    3
    2
    6
    Castin avatar
    Castin
    Of Eden, of course. Christians and the western world say the Serpent is Satan, duh. But it's worth noting that Genesis was not written by Christians. It was written by ancient Hebrews who did not have the concept of the devil that we do now.

    In the story, this one creature is responsible for the existence of all suffering. It literally ruins everything. And it knowingly and sneakily causes this to happen. Why? What did the authors intend this creature to be? Where did such malicious intent come from?

    And was this supposed to be a real snake, or a representation of something else? Voltaire once wrote:

    It was so decidedly a real serpent, that all its species, which had before walked on their feet, were condemned to crawl on their bellies. No serpent, no animal of any kind, is called Satan, or Belzebub, or Devil, in the Pentateuch.




  • BrutalTruth
    BrutalTruth avatar
    Debates: 2
    Forum posts: 218
    0
    2
    6
    BrutalTruth avatar
    BrutalTruth
    --> @Castin
    A bunch of primitive, incredibly inept, superstitious morons with no concept of logic nor reason wrote the book of Genesis. The end.
  • keithprosser
    keithprosser avatar
    Debates: 0
    Forum posts: 3,289
    2
    3
    3
    keithprosser avatar
    keithprosser
    --> @Castin
    Voltaire once wrote:
    How many times should he have written it?

    The bible isn't big on 'aetiological' myths (ie 'just-so' stories, except maybe for tribes and peoples about which it is almost obsessed).  There is one myth snuck in about rainbows and this looks like a just-so story for why snakes have no legs got in there.

    I don't think Milton invented the idea Satan was the tempter of Eve, but he did a lot to make it popular.

    Th' infernal Serpent; he it was, whose guile
    Stird up with Envy and Revenge, deceiv'd
    The Mother of Mankind, what time his Pride
    Had cast him out from Heav'n, with all his Host
    Of Rebel Angels,

  • Deb-8-a-bull
    Deb-8-a-bull avatar
    Debates: 0
    Forum posts: 1,084
    2
    2
    3
    Deb-8-a-bull avatar
    Deb-8-a-bull
    Well it's safe to say Snakes don't talk. So this never occurred. 
    But if the snake is supposed to be someone , it's the devil.. 
    It's a great story but. 
    I myself like the bloke that built the boat for the animals to cruise around in story.
    You could make a movie about the Bible.

     

     
  • EtrnlVw
    EtrnlVw avatar
    Debates: 0
    Forum posts: 2,484
    3
    3
    4
    EtrnlVw avatar
    EtrnlVw
    --> @Castin
    In the story, this one creature is responsible for the existence of all suffering. It literally ruins everything. And it knowingly and sneakily causes this to happen. Why? What did the authors intend this creature to be?

    Temptation, the snake represents our flesh nature.

    Where did such malicious intent come from?

    It's what man contends with in these physical bodies.

    And was this supposed to be a real snake, or a representation of something else? 

    Adam and Eve are representative of mankind, and the "serpent" represents the pull of carnality or the opposing forces in this world. (Flesh vs spirit).

  • rosends
    rosends avatar
    Debates: 0
    Forum posts: 323
    1
    2
    6
    rosends avatar
    rosends
    Here's a thought -- the snake is the externalized concept of temptation and the story introduces the idea that man, in his rawest form truly was a tabula rasa and had no particular inclination to break rules -- that this urge had to be introduced from the outside. This absolves man on some level because it lays the blame on some outside agent, at least initially. Then, the urge becomes internalized through the eating so subsequent people have this same desire built in. The moral of the story is "recognize that you now have this wish to break rules, but look at the consequences last time..."

    Or, maybe the story is saying that man cannot exist in his pristine state and will, inevitably, fall victim to any environmental temptation. The snake then represents a very natural source for desire, earthly, not divine.
  • EtrnlVw
    EtrnlVw avatar
    Debates: 0
    Forum posts: 2,484
    3
    3
    4
    EtrnlVw avatar
    EtrnlVw
    A bunch of primitive, incredibly inept, superstitious morons with no concept of logic nor reason wrote the book of Genesis. The end.

    OR.....it could have spiritual overtones touching on the two natures man contends with in this world using imagery and figurative language that has more than one layer of meaning. Then, the story becomes genius rather than just being written by "a bunch of primitive, incredibly inept, superstitious morons". Of course, the former takes a little more intelligence and intuition to unwrap. 
  • keithprosser
    keithprosser avatar
    Debates: 0
    Forum posts: 3,289
    2
    3
    3
    keithprosser avatar
    keithprosser
    --> @rosends
    It is no more than a myth to explain that it's not God's fault that life sucks, it's ours - and perhaps mostly women's.

    It also etablishes at the outset that the big thing god requires is obedience.  
  • rosends
    rosends avatar
    Debates: 0
    Forum posts: 323
    1
    2
    6
    rosends avatar
    rosends
    --> @keithprosser
    I wonder if its intent wasn't about placing "blame" on woman, but about establishing relationships and archetypal behavior patterns.
  • ludofl3x
    ludofl3x avatar
    Debates: 0
    Forum posts: 1,315
    2
    2
    2
    ludofl3x avatar
    ludofl3x
    --> @Castin
    Where did such malicious intent come from? 
    This is an interesting question, are you talking about the malicious intent of the author, or of the character of the snake? I never could find malice in what the snake was saying, which was basically wouldn't it be nice to know what your boss is thinking, what he thinks is good versus bad? Again not sure why god put this snake in the garden in the first place, or the trees for that matter. If Adam was basically like god's employee, and the garden was basically where he worked, then god did a real bad job of eliminating occupational hazards and interviewing prospective garden residents. 

  • keithprosser
    keithprosser avatar
    Debates: 0
    Forum posts: 3,289
    2
    3
    3
    keithprosser avatar
    keithprosser
    --> @rosends
    I wonder if its intent wasn't about placing "blame" on woman, but about establishing relationships and archetypal behavior patterns.
    Or a warning to Hebrew men not to trust their women, perhaps?  It's likely patriarchy was so entrenched no-one even noticed it so it needed no explanation!

  • rosends
    rosends avatar
    Debates: 0
    Forum posts: 323
    1
    2
    6
    rosends avatar
    rosends
    --> @keithprosser
    But a patriarchy sourced at the very beginning of time has that much more weight.
  • keithprosser
    keithprosser avatar
    Debates: 0
    Forum posts: 3,289
    2
    3
    3
    keithprosser avatar
    keithprosser
    --> @rosends
    I imgine that claiming something is from god gives it more authority than saying 'because I say so!'.

    I'm not sure it's easy - or possible - to put yourself into the position of an iliterate iron ager.   Not much was known, but what was known was known by the priests.   Books and writing were magical and mysterious - things would be very diferent from today.

  • Discipulus_Didicit
    Discipulus_Didicit avatar
    Debates: 9
    Forum posts: 4,068
    3
    4
    10
    Discipulus_Didicit avatar
    Discipulus_Didicit
    --> @Castin
    You are correct in noting that the Hebrews that originally recorded the stories had a different concept of Satan than Christians, one that was a servant of God rather than an enemy, but there is no real reason to think that even this older concept of Satan is what the Genesis account was meant to portray. Voltaire was right. It was just a snake.
  • Stephen
    Stephen avatar
    Debates: 0
    Forum posts: 4,093
    3
    2
    2
    Stephen avatar
    Stephen
    --> @Castin
    But it's worth noting that Genesis was not written by Christians. It was written by ancient Hebrews 

    It was written by Mesopotamians thousands of years before the bible was even thought of. They also tell us quite clearly the the "serpent" is in fact the creator of the Adama  the serpent Lord, Lord Enki.

    Genesis 5:1-2

    "This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him; Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created".

    "Their name Adam", so this explains perfectly that Adam wasn't the name of a single person, it was the name of a species/ a type of being.

    You need to go back to where this story actually originated, Mesopotamia,and you will read this creation epic in its original form. The two brothers involved are named Enlil and  his half brother Enki the serpent lord<<<<   see that serpent Lord. 
     
    The struggle was between two FLESH AND BLOOD lords , half brothers to be precise.It is a much detailed than the half story  given in the bible that was written thousands of years after the alleged event , and incidentally this half brother story is a continuous theme throughout the whole of the bible Old and New Testaments.



  • keithprosser
    keithprosser avatar
    Debates: 0
    Forum posts: 3,289
    2
    3
    3
    keithprosser avatar
    keithprosser

    You need to go back to where this story actually originated, Mesopotamia,and you will read this creation epic in its original form. The two brothers involved are named Enlil and  his half brother Enki the serpent lord<<<<   see that serpent Lord. 
     I think that there was a generic mesopotamian creation myth that didn't have a 'canonical' form;  the idea of a fixed, definitive scripture didn't exist and many different versions circulated with bits being added, taken away and changed by poets and story tellers.
    etc.

    Genesis give us the Hebrew version, adapted to suit the requirement of the yhwhist exiled priests who wrote it down to preserve their preferred form of Jewish culture.
     

  • keithprosser
    keithprosser avatar
    Debates: 0
    Forum posts: 3,289
    2
    3
    3
    keithprosser avatar
    keithprosser
    --> @Castin
    Ofcourse they hadn't invented Satan yet - there was no need for a devil.  In ancient YhWHism, if you obeyed the rules you were rewarded on earth and if you broke the rules you were punished on earth - (and when you were dead you were just dead).  There was nothing for a devil to do.

  • Castin
    Castin avatar
    Debates: 0
    Forum posts: 2,017
    3
    2
    6
    Castin avatar
    Castin
    --> @Deb-8-a-bull
    Well it's safe to say Snakes don't talk. So this never occurred. 
    This thread is not examining the literal historicity of the Eden story on the grounds that the thread author would find that ridiculous.

  • Castin
    Castin avatar
    Debates: 0
    Forum posts: 2,017
    3
    2
    6
    Castin avatar
    Castin
    --> @keithprosser
    Voltaire once wrote:
    How many times should he have written it?
    Has anyone ever told you you can be an annoying pedant. 😑

    The bible isn't big on 'aetiological' myths (ie 'just-so' stories, except maybe for tribes and peoples about which it is almost obsessed).  There is one myth snuck in about rainbows and this looks like a just-so story for why snakes have no legs got in there.

    I don't think Milton invented the idea Satan was the tempter of Eve, but he did a lot to make it popular.

    Th' infernal Serpent; he it was, whose guile
    Stird up with Envy and Revenge, deceiv'd
    The Mother of Mankind, what time his Pride
    Had cast him out from Heav'n, with all his Host
    Of Rebel Angels,
    I don't think most people appreciate just how much influence Milton had over western Christian culture.

    So you think "how it got to be just so" stories are rare in the Bible, but this is nevertheless one of those rare instances? It just seems kind of random.
  • keithprosser
    keithprosser avatar
    Debates: 0
    Forum posts: 3,289
    2
    3
    3
    keithprosser avatar
    keithprosser
    --> @Castin
    No more than the rainbow myth.

    Gen 9:13 "I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth."

    There the one about the origin of languages in Gen 11

    9: That is why it was called Babel - because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world.

    But generally the writers of the bible don't seem all that interested in nature - they were priests so more concerned with politics and laws than outdoor stuff.



  • Castin
    Castin avatar
    Debates: 0
    Forum posts: 2,017
    3
    2
    6
    Castin avatar
    Castin
    --> @rosends
    I wonder if its intent wasn't about placing "blame" on woman, but about establishing relationships and archetypal behavior patterns.
    Yeah I'm gonna be cynical and say it was at least 50% about placing blame on women. Y'know I used to have an Eve Was Framed shirt, I wonder what happened to that...

    I'll have to agree with keith that patriarchy was so entrenched this aspect of the story probably wasn't even remarked upon.

  • Castin
    Castin avatar
    Debates: 0
    Forum posts: 2,017
    3
    2
    6
    Castin avatar
    Castin
    --> @EtrnlVw
    In the story, this one creature is responsible for the existence of all suffering. It literally ruins everything. And it knowingly and sneakily causes this to happen. Why? What did the authors intend this creature to be?

    Temptation, the snake represents our flesh nature.

    Where did such malicious intent come from?

    It's what man contends with in these physical bodies.

    And was this supposed to be a real snake, or a representation of something else? 

    Adam and Eve are representative of mankind, and the "serpent" represents the pull of carnality or the opposing forces in this world. (Flesh vs spirit).
    Thanks for answering. That's not a bad takeaway. Do you mean the snake was supposed to represent sexual temptation only?

    So you don't think the Serpent was the devil at all? Actually, do you even believe in the devil? I can't remember you ever saying.

  • Castin
    Castin avatar
    Debates: 0
    Forum posts: 2,017
    3
    2
    6
    Castin avatar
    Castin
    --> @BrutalTruth
    A bunch of primitive, incredibly inept, superstitious morons with no concept of logic nor reason wrote the book of Genesis. The end.
    This story is part of the heritage of humanity, and so it is part of my heritage as a human being. The influence this one narrative has had on our world has been pretty profound, and I thought worthy of reflection. I examine many ancient religions in such a way. Our stories are mirrors.

  • Castin
    Castin avatar
    Debates: 0
    Forum posts: 2,017
    3
    2
    6
    Castin avatar
    Castin
    --> @ludofl3x
    Where did such malicious intent come from? 
    This is an interesting question, are you talking about the malicious intent of the author, or of the character of the snake? I never could find malice in what the snake was saying, which was basically wouldn't it be nice to know what your boss is thinking, what he thinks is good versus bad? Again not sure why god put this snake in the garden in the first place, or the trees for that matter. If Adam was basically like god's employee, and the garden was basically where he worked, then god did a real bad job of eliminating occupational hazards and interviewing prospective garden residents. 
    The character of the snake.

    Well, the Serpent lied. It said Adam and Eve would not die if they ate of the tree, but after they ate the fruit they became mortal. The snake also tells Adam and Eve that God lied to them. All this just struck me as an attempt to sow dissension through trickery. He was a nasty sneaky chap. Why the character of the Serpent wanted dissension between God and man is a mystery.

    Any literal or practical interpretation of this story creates an explosive supernova of plot holes and absurdities, of course. Why create a corrupt snake at all? Being omniscient, why wasn't God aware of what the Serpent was whispering to his (very innocent) children, and why didn't he show up to stop it? You can go on and on like that.
  • keithprosser
    keithprosser avatar
    Debates: 0
    Forum posts: 3,289
    2
    3
    3
    keithprosser avatar
    keithprosser
    --> @Castin
    That said, there are some strong female charcters in the OT.  Deborah, Jael, Judith, Rahab, Esther and Ruth to name few, and the Song of Solomon is even-handed between the lovers.