Theological Trivia: Did Animals Talk in the Garden of Eden?

I used to post occasionally on some of the wacky search terms that led people to my blog, and also what I call trivia question theology.  Questions like “Did Adam and Eve have belly buttons?” or “Can God make a rock so big he can’t move it?”  Okay, maybe those aren’t real questions, but here is a question that a reader entered into a search engine that was sent to my blog looking for answers.

Could animals talk before the fall?

That’s a legitimate question.  Because Genesis describes the serpent as the most subtle of all the animals in the garden.  That’s why Satan came to Eve in that form.  Eve doesn’t seem surprised when the serpent begins speaking to her.  There is a joke that goes like this: Two muffins where sitting next to each other in an oven.  When one said “Whew, it sure is getting hot in here” the other said “Whoa!  A talking muffin!”  If animals did not talk to humans before the fall, it stands to reason that Eve would have reacted differently at the sight of a talking snake rather than carry on a casual conversation with it.  When Moses witnessed the burning bush in the wilderness he turned aside to see why the bush was not consumed.  It was a curious thing that got his attention.

I try to be real careful about not making the Bible say something it doesn’t say.  The Bible does not say the animals could talk.  But we do have Eve carrying on a conversation with it instead of either finding Adam and telling him he has to see this, or simply freaking out.  We also know that the resulting curse changed things.  The relationships between men and women changed, man’s relationship with God changed.  Perhaps the animals did talk casually to people before the fall; God did.

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