The story of creation and what transpired in the Garden of Eden are some of the most questioned accounts captured in the book of Genesis. According to Genesis, God created Adam and Eve and placed them in the Garden of Eden mainly because God wanted them to fellowship with Him as well as with each other. But this was cut short after the serpent appeared and tempted Adam and Eve, causing them to sin. It is then that God cursed Adam and Eve and introduced death upon the earth. This moment in the book of Genesis has led many Christians to wonder what the identity of the serpent really was. Was the serpent just a snake, or was the serpent, Satan? Who was the serpent in the Garden of Eden?
Scholars and theologians agree that the serpent who tempted the first couple in the Garden of Eden was the devil himself, Satan. This is because the serpent had characteristics that we later on, see in the scripture resemble those of Satan. Some of the highlighting characteristics of the serpent include; lying, cunning, and deceiving. However, the name “Satan” does not appear anywhere in the book of Genesis. The conclusion that the serpent was Satan is because the name “Satan” is synonymous with the serpent mentioned in other parts of the scripture.
So, why do Christians believe the serpent in the Garden of Eden is Satan? How did the serpent get into the Garden of Eden? Why do some religious scholars argue that the serpent in the Garden of Eden was not a snake? What did the serpent do in the Garden of Eden? How does Revelation describe the serpent? Stick around for more information and answers to these questions and more.
Why do Christians believe the serpent in the Garden of Eden is Satan?
Christians believe that the serpent who appeared in the Garden of Eden was Satan because the Bible identifies the serpent with Satan in several verses in the Bible. Apostle Paul writes in the book of 1st Corinthians 11:33 and says, “But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.”
When the serpent entered the Garden of Eden in the book of Genesis 3:1, he was described as crafty and cunning and a deceiver of the whole world. When Satan fell into sin, he was cast down to the earth with his angels. The characteristics that are linked to the serpent are seen in Satan all throughout the scripture. His cunning nature is seen in the book of Job when the author recounts how God allowed Satan in his presence and even gave him the go-ahead to tempt Job.
Additionally, the book of Revelation confirms that the serpent is Satan. Revelation 20:2 says, “And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years.” The book of Revelation 12:9 mentions the different names of Satan, which include the ancient serpent and accounts of how he was thrown down on the earth from heaven together with his angels. According to this book, the different names of Satan include the ancient serpent, the devil, and the deceiver of the whole world.
Therefore, Christians have enough biblical evidence to believe that the serpent is indeed Satan, who was thrown out of heaven for going against God’s will. The serpent is indeed Satan and is who John refers to as the dragon in the book of Revelation. Additionally, when John records the fight between the angel Michael and the dragon in Revelation 12:7-10, he later terms the dragon as Satan, who is the ancient serpent. The Bible provides solid biblical proof that the ancient serpent who tempted Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden is indeed Satan.
How did the serpent get into the Garden of Eden?
Scholars believe that God permitted the serpent to enter the Garden of Eden. This answer raised several questions, if the Garden of Eden was God’s paradise, then why did he allow the serpent to enter? Scholars agree that just like God allowed Satan to tempt his servant Job, he allowed the serpent to enter the Garden of Eden for the purposes of tempting Adam and Eve. Job 1:12 says, “So the Lord said to Satan, behold, all that he has is in your power, only do not lay a hand on his person. Then Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.”
Therefore, if the above verse is anything to go by, God was aware of the entrance of the serpent in the Garden of Eden. However, that does not translate to God leading or wishing for Adam and Even sinning against him. The serpent only paused a temptation before the first couple, and they chose to disobey God.
Though God allowed the serpent to enter the Garden of Eden and possibly tempt Adam and Eve, the first couple had the power to overcome the temptation. God tells us in the book of 1st Corinthians 10:13 that no temptation is above the common man because our God is faithful and cannot tempt us beyond our ability.
Why do some religious scholars argue that the serpent in the Garden of Eden was not a snake?
Some religious scholars argue that the serpent in the Garden of Eden was not a snake because of the curse that God pronounced over the serpent. In Genesis 3:14, God cursed the serpent, “So the Lord God said to the serpent, because you have done this, cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals! You will crawl on your belly, and you will eat dust all the days of your life.” Therefore, this brings questions as to whether the serpent walked into the Garden of Eden as a snake or walking.
Additionally, the curse that was proclaimed over the serpent by God meant that the serpent would be despised forever. However, if the serpent was not a snake, why did God curse the serpent when he knew it was actually Satan?
Also, if the serpent in the Garden of Eden was a snake, then why would God curse him so that he would crawl on his belly all his life? Therefore, though some scholars portray the ancient serpent as a snake, we cannot say for sure it was a snake considering all the evidence that points out it might not have been one.
What did the serpent do in the Garden of Eden?
The story of the serpent in the Garden of Eden is accounted for in the book of Genesis chapter 3: Genesis 3:1, “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?” It is clear that the serpent came to tempt the first couple in the Garden of Eden. This is clear as the first words that came out of his mouth in the Garden of Eden planted doubts about God’s instructions to Adam and Eve.
In the book of Genesis 3:2-3, the Bible reads, “The woman said to the serpent, we may eat from the trees in the garden, but God did say, “You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.”
The serpent goes ahead and challenges the instructions God gave and tells Eve that he will not die, and God only wants them to stay away from the fruit so that they will never know what is wrong and what is right (Genesis 3:4).
Eve fell for the temptation and sinned against God by eating the forbidden fruit and even gave his husband Adam some of the fruit (Genesis 3:6-7). Therefore, the serpent mainly walked in the Garden of Eden to tempt Adam and Eve, which certainly led to their sinning.
How does Revelation describe the serpent?
The book of Revelation 12:9 describes the Serpent as Satan, a dragon, and a deceiver. “And the great dragon was thrown down, the 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 book of revelations affirms for sure that the ancient serpent is Satan and attempts to describe it in Revelation 9:19.
As a devout Christian, I have always been passionate about the Christian faith. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology in college. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Since I am dedicated to spreading the word of God, I am actively involved in the Church. Additionally, I share his word online and cover diverse topics on the Christian faith through my platform. You can read more about me on the about us page.