The Serpent Of Eden, From The Point Of View Of Advanced Science -- By: John Dens

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 021:81 (Jan 1864)
Article: The Serpent Of Eden, From The Point Of View Of Advanced Science
Author: John Dens


The Serpent Of Eden, From The Point Of View Of Advanced Science

Rev. John Dens

“And the Serpent has been more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God hath made, and he saith unto the woman, ‘Is it true that God hath said, “Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? “‘ And the woman saith to the serpent, ‘Of the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat, but of the fruit of the tree which in midst of the garden God hath said, “Ye shall not eat of it, nor touch it, lest ye die? “‘And the serpent saith unto the woman, ‘Ye do not surely die, for God doth know that, in the day of your eating thereof, your eyes have been opened, and ye have been as god, knowing good and evil...... And the Lord God saith to the woman, ‘What this thou hast done?’ And the woman saith, ‘The serpent hath caused me to forget, and I do eat. And the Lord God saith unto the serpent,’ Because thou hast done this, cursed thou above all the cattle, and above every beast of the field; on thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat, all the days of thy life. And I put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed: He shall bruise thee the head, and thou shalt bruise him the heel.”— Gen. 3:1–4, 13, 14 (Literal Translation).

Recent interpreters have approached this passage with considerable hesitancy. They are not sure of their ground. Their remarks indicate a strong latent suspicion that, though it would not do to disturb popular impressions, the view of the serpent given here will not stand the test of modern science. We hope to show that they are mistaken. The subject is one of much importance. It has not, however, so far as we are aware, been hitherto set in lights which harmonize with other passages of scripture, or even with the demands of the popular Christianized intelligence. Critics and commentators satisfy themselves by repeating what those who have gone before them have said, and adding a few common-place remarks about alleged changes of structure in this “wisest of the beasts of the field.” The truth

seems to be, that the explanation of this transaction given by Josephus, and the pictures of the poets, have influenced many most learned students of the Bible, when they were little aware of it. “God,” says the Jewish historian (Antiq. I. i. 4), “commanded that Adam and his wife should eat of all the rest of the plants, but to abstain from the tree of knowledge; and foretold to them that, if they touched it, it would prove their destruction. But while all the living creatures had one language, at that time the serpent, which then lived together with Adam and his ...

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