Discussion All Areas Of Systematic Theology
What is your take on "serpent" in Gen. 3? A snake/one of the animals? One of non-Adamites/humans? Was it represents sinful flesh? I've seen some theories and I am trying to figure this out.
Dale Stanford wrote in FB "Preterist and Fulfilled Theology:
"A person...either a non-covenantal one or I also think it could be the flesh of Adam. I think it could have in fact been Adam who convinced Eve to eat."
John Marra wrote in FB "Preterist and Fulfilled Theology:
"Don, I haven't seen any compelling exegetical reason that would convince me to believe that the serpent in Genesis 3 was anything but an actual snake. However, I do find the idea that Adam would be looking for a helper or counterpart (wife) from among the animals a little bizarre (Gen. 2:20). For this reason alone I am at least open to the fact that the animals in the first 3 chapters of Genesis, including the serpent, may in fact be other humans or Adamites."
I wrote in FB "Preterist and Fulfilled Theology:
"John, if you are saying that the animals in Gen. 1-3 may be other humans, then why can't Adam get a woman from them?"
John Marra wrote in FB "Preterist and Fulfilled Theology:
"Don, at this point I'm certainly NOT convinced that they are humans. I still believe that the living creatures that the waters teemed with and the birds that flew in the heavens, as well as the cattle and creeping things that the land broug...ht forth on day five (Gen. 1:20-25) were actual sea creatures and animals. I'm certainly no Hebrew scholar (not even close) but based on the ones I have consulted on this matter this understanding seems to be the most straightforward rendering of the Hebrew language in this context and it fits well with the rest of my pan-canonical Full Preterist and Israel Only exegetical and theological conclusions.
If I'm wrong however and these are humans, perhaps the reason Adam could not get a suitable woman from them is because they were corrupt like "unreasoning animals" (2 Pet. 2:12; Jude 10) and the language is being used of them in that way. As I said however, I'm not convinced of this and I'm still studying and learning."
John, yeah agree with you. John the Baptist and Jesus called the Jewish leaders the serpents/brood of vipers (Matt. 3:7; 23:31-36). Also in Rev. 12:9 mentioned the serpent of old that is called the devil (“accuser”) and Satan (“adversary”) who deceived the whole world (kosmos). The “serpent” in the NT can be a person or a group of people but I cannot be certain about in Gen. 3 at this point.
Hi Donald and John,
I think that, based upon the simple language that is used to describe the "serpent" and his punishment that we need to accept the probability that it was referring to a literal snake of some sort:
1. The word "serpent" (Genesis 3:10 is the common Hebrew word for an ordinary reptile snake (Micah 7:17)
2. The "serpent" is called a "beast of the field" (Genesis 3:1; Genesis 3:14) which is the common Hebrew expression for a breathing creature that was not a human being (Genesis 2:19-20; Exodus 9:25).
3. The text says that God "made" the serpent along with the other "beasts" (Genesis 3:1). God made the beasts (Genesis 1:25) before He made man (Genesis 1:26) and the making of "men" and "beasts" is distinguished in scripture (Jeremiah 27:5).
4. When the serpent was cursed for deceiving the woman, it is again included among the animals (Genesis 3:14).
5. The serpent was said to move on its belly (Genesis 3:14) just like an ordinary reptile snake that is contrasted in scripture with other animals that "walk upright" and "have feet" (Leviticus 11:42).
6. The serpent was said to "bruise the heel" (Genesis 3:14) which is what ordinary reptile snakes due to people (Genesis 49:17) when they bite them (Ecclesiastes 10:8).
Although the term "serpent" is later used in scripture as a figure of speech for a human person (or group of people) who represent a threat to God's will, there isn't any basis for in Genesis 1-3 for construing the serpent to be anything other than a common reptile. Although it speaks to the woman (Genesis 3:4), the rest of the language plainly identifies it as an animal. We also know that God could "open the mouth" of an animal to speak to a person (Numbers 22:28).
You mentioned about the beasts in Jer. 27:5 but what about in next verse with the “wild animals of the field to serve him (Nebuchadnezzar)? Are they still the same beasts and animals, not the people?
Also in Hosea 2:18 in regard with God made a covenant with the animals, were they speaking of the house of Israel (vv. 19, 23 and Acts 10:11-16; 11:4-10)?
Another one in Ezek. 34:35, “And I will make a covenant of peace (new covenant) with them (Israel) and eliminate harmful beasts (apostate Israel) from the land, so that they may live securely in the wilderness (40 years?) and sleep in the woods.”
So, seems to me you’re saying that the beasts in Gen. 1-3 were literal animals but later on in the writings of the OT and the NT were speaking of the people, depending on the contexts?
1. Why would the interpretation of "beasts" change in Jeremiah 27:6? In Jeremiah 28:14 they are distinguished from the "nations" (i.e. the people) who serve Nebuchadnezzar.
2. Hosea 2:18 says that God "makes a covenant FOR the house of Israel with the animals". This is reference to safety and comfort in the Land. The animals are distinguished from the house of Israel in this context.
3. In Acts 10, Peter sees a vision of animals that are used as an analogy in Acts 11. However, what he actually sees in the vision are animals (not the Gentiles themselves).
4. Ezekiel 34:35 makes my point about Hosea 2:18.
Thanks I think you gave me some good answers. About a vision of animals that used as an analogy, what does it mean? Does it mean that the unclean animals referring to the "uncircumcised" Israelites?
Rivers and John,
Look like a good read in http://www.missiontoisrael.org/didshe-pt1.php
I'm going to re-read in next few days and maybe we can discuss about it. Let me know what do you think.
Yes, the actual animals that were seen by Peter in the "sheet" were understood to be analagous to "gentiles" who were considered unclean by the Jews (even though they were all fellow Israelites).
However, from a linguistic perspective, there are a couple things we have to keep in mind:
1. Just because the animals in Peter's vision were intended to be analogous to "gentiles", it doesn't logically follow that any other reference to animals in scripture is intended to have the same analogous interpretation. The analogy is strictly limited to the context of Peter's vision ... it is not contained in the meaning of the actual words (or what he actuall saw in the vision).
For example, "Sarah" and "Hagar" were used as analogies of "believers" and "unbelievers" by Paul (Galatians 4). However, it doesn't logically follow that every other reference to Sarah and Hagar in scripture is supposed to be analogous to those groups of people. Like wise, the "animals" in scripture are only analogous to "gentiles" when it is required by the context of a particular text.
2. A grave linguistic fallacy of what the "animals = gentiles" people are teaching is overlooking that the "animals" in Peter's vision were actual "animals." Peter did not see "gentiles" in the vision. The interpretation of his vision does not change the meaning of the words that were used to describe the normal "animals" that he actual saw on the sheet coming down from heaven. These people do not understand the difference between "literal" meaning and "analogy." Thus, they get them backwards and come up with goofy ideas.
Likewise, all the words for "beasts", "birds", "serpent", etc that are used in the creation story are always used in scripture to speak of non-human creatures. Those words never mean "gentiles" or "nations" except in rare occasions (like Daniel's or Peter's visions) where somebody explictly explains that there is an analogy in the same context of the vision or prophecy. No such analogies are explained in Genesis, Hosea, Jeremiah, or Ezekiel.
The critical flaw of the whole "Covenant Creation" theory is that they find one passage where there is a figure of speech (e.g. analogy) and then they look up every other occurrence of the words in that passage and assume that they should be understood as a figure of speech in every other occurence. Martin's book is repleat with this exegetical fallacy in every chapter of the book and it undermines the valaditiy of the entire work.