Was the Serpent in the Garden of Eden Satan?

Most people believe that Satan appeared in the Garden of Eden as a serpent and tempted Eve to commit sin.  Some point out, however, that the Genesis account does not directly identify the serpent as Satan, and others will actually argue against the serpent being Satan.  So am I knowing and willfully opening this potential Pandora’s box?  Oh yeah.

I suggest beginning with a read of Genesis 3.  In verse 15, God speaks of enmity between the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman.  This makes little sense if God is speaking to a mere serpent.  But if the seed of woman is a veiled reference to the Son of Man, i.e. Jesus who is the Christ, then this is the first prophesy of the Messiah.  My readers already know I believe this to be true.  If Genesis 3 is the first mention of a future salvation, then the serpent must be Satan, the Devil, whom Jesus will ultimately defeat and cast into the lake of fire.

The next thing I wish to do is acknowledge Troy Lacey and the website AnswersinGenesis.org.  This article is the most concise listing of the scriptures making this case that I’m aware of.  Lacey begins with Genesis 3 as I have above.  He then goes to Ezekiel 28, and includes linkage to some back story on how this passage may be interpreted.  If you conclude that Ezekiel 28 address the fall of Satan from glory and his future demise, then notice verse 13 that says “you were in Eden.”  No kings alive during Ezekiel’s time (nor any human being besides Adam and Eve) could have been in the Garden of Eden.  Like many Bible prophesies, Ez. 28 refers to events that are both near and far in fulfillment.  The prophesies listed are only somewhat fulfilled in the destruction of the actual prince and king but describe the already and future demise of Satan.  Similarly with Isaiah 14.

Finally, the Revelation refers to Satan three times as a serpent.  (Lacey links each occurrence, be sure to read his article.)  Rev. 12:9 offers the best support that Satan and the Garden serpent are one in the same:

And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.

The Bible never says the devil was the Genesis 3 serpent; but Satan is called the ancient serpent in Revelation.  Notice the ancient serpent/devil/Satan, whatever name he is known by, is the deceiver of the whole world.  At the time of outcast from Eden, Adam and Eve were the whole world.  And after being cast from Heaven the earth, this plane of existence, has been home to Satan.  When God placed Adam and Eve in the Garden he knew that it was already the dwelling place of Satan and his angels.

Was the serpent in the Garden of Eden Satan?  I believe it was.  Does the Bible say so?  I believe it does; what do you think?

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7 thoughts on “Was the Serpent in the Garden of Eden Satan?

  1. Agree in full, Clark. However… it does open the door to question “Why were Adam and Eve open for discussion with the serpent?” Were they very aware of the authority given to Satan over this earth? It seems Jesus was. His argument against the tempting by Satan to give Him rule of the kingdoms of this earth was not, “You don’t have that authority to give.” Were principalities given dominion as sort of overseers… turned bad (angels gone bad… hmmm)? Is this what Paul refers to at Galatians 4:8,9 and Colossians 2:8? Are we prone to false-god-making as the Galatians were accused by returning to worship the elements of this world? Does this add fuel to the text, “Our battle is not against flesh and blood…” Sorry for getting strung out brother, just happened to be looking at this as you posted.

  2. Adam and Eve were not aware of the power given to Satan. I can’t image they even knew of Satan. The Gen 3 reference to the Messiah is a veiled reference, and no explanation to Adam and Eve is even offered. This event is part of a much larger story involving all humanity, but they are clueless to the larger implications. Many Old Testament characters lack the perspective of even New Testament authors; Abraham, Moses, David, etc. could not possibly have known. Hebrews 11 wraps up the Old Testament faithful with a neat little bow, but those New Testament writers did not realize they were authors of what we would call the Bible.

    Likewise, we have no idea what God is doing in other people’s lives based on decisions we will make today. We walk in the light we have, led by the Spirit, and all play a part in building the kingdom of God which we cannot see or understand from this point of view.

  3. Pingback: Were Adam and Eve Tempted By a Snake, or Tempted By Satan? « Christianity 201

  4. Sin was not yet in the earth when God created it, so then if lucifer was perfect until iniquity was found in him then why would God put him and his fallen angels in a perfect garden that He not only said was good, but was very good…that would not make sence..

  5. Consider: we know from scriptures that Satan and the fallen angels inhabit this realm. He tempted Jesus in the wilderness, Jesus and the Apostles cast out many, and we are warned by Paul about “cosmic powers over this present darkness.” The devil has been cast from heaven and is not yet in hell; we share this current world.

    God looked at his creation and said that it was very good. Satan may not have come to the garden until Adam and Eve where there to tempt.

    And again, the Bible does say the serpent was Satan. But it does call him the great deceiver and the father of lies. If all of God’s creation was good, who or what was the serpent that spoke to Eve?

  6. If the snake isn’t an animal why all the comparisons to animals?

    This has always confused me and I’ve bounced back and forth on it. And while I do agree that your argument has merit this passage has always bugged me.

    “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?”

    In genesis 3 it is referring to the trickster snake as a wild animal. This passage seem very clear and straight forward that the snake is just a very clever animal. While later passages in the bible do make it sound like the snake is Satan this passage just makes it sound like a snake.

    Also when God curses the serpent and address him directly he says “Cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals”

    From this we know that there is a difference between livestock and wild animals and that both types exist in the garden so that there are two types of animals in the garden and God states that the snake is cursed more then all other animals this in addition to the earlier statement of calling the snake more crafty the any other wild animal makes it seem that the snake is just a wild crafty snake. If the snake isn’t an animal why all the comparisons to animals?

    Also the part when God talks about putting enmity between the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman makes sense to me. Seed as I understand it means offspring and as far as I know Satan can’t have offspring. And going the route of striking the heel means killing Christ and crushing the head means the resurrection or Satan seems to be reaching to me. And calling Satan’s plan for Jesus or humanity his seed also seems like a stretch to me when it would be much more simple to mean physical offspring that are given birth to be Eve and the snake.

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