Eve’s Experiences in the Garden of Eden
Letter from a Reader
“And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die.”—Genesis 3:4
Some truths we hold as basic foundations. Sometimes we ponder on scripture, and offer thoughts for consideration. The following meditations are suggested for your critical study:
Deceived by a Serpent?
Had Eve ever seen a serpent prior to the day of her deception? Why would she esteem a creation so much lower than herself, her husband, and certainly lower than the Creator?
How could a serpent, even one inhabited by the Evil One, tempt a perfect woman? She was surrounded by everything good. There was no discontent, no shame, in her world. What was intriguing in the words “Thou will not surely die” and “Ye shall be as gods?” Would she even consider the possibility of death? If she was happy as she was, why would she want to be as a god?
What is a Serpent?
Strong’s #5175 (from #5172) carries the meaning “to hiss, whisper, sometimes used in connection with the practice of enchantment or sorcery.” Examples are the “enchantments” of Balaam in Numbers 24, the “divining” of Joseph in Genesis 44, and the “sorcery” by Israel of II Kings 17:17 and 21:6. This Hebrew word nachash is rendered “serpent.”
Strong’s #5178 (from #5153, from #5154) is nechushah, which is a word stemming from #5172 meaning “brightly shining, from which the word copper is derived. This traces “enchantment” and “bright shining” to the same original word.
The Serpent of the Sumerians, the Semites, and the Babylonians
The writer of Genesis describes a being that was familiar to the people of 2500 B.C. That serpent was denoted by the Sumerians and Semites as a winged being, dragon-like, supposedly a life-giver worthy of worship. Eight such dragons made of bright shining copper guarded the gates of Babylon. The writer of Genesis was describing one who was appearing as an angel of light, a winged being a little higher in order than the human but man-like and claiming to know as God knows.
The Babylonian god Marduk was viewed as the son of god, symbolized by the sun, who came out of the sea—the savior, responsible for creation, man’s source of life. Its sculptured form resembled the seraphim of Isaiah 6. The word “seraph” alludes to fiery or burning ones, and it is equivalent to the Semite word for serpent.
Isaiah described ones reverent before God’s throne. The other description is of distorted images of the one who once appeared to Mother Eve, worshiped by the Babylonians. The visible form of the serpent in Eden is the origin of Babylon’s serpent-god. In Ezekiel 28:12-19, according to Leeser, “Thou was a cherub with outspread wings, and I had set thee upon the holy mount of God as thou wast. Thou has walked up and down in the midst of the bright shining ones. . . . Thou was perfect in thy ways from the day thou was created, till unrighteousness was found in thee.”
Pictographic script has been found picturing the Sumerian and Semite god as a human prince with wings reaching up above his head.
The subtlety of the serpent is arum in Hebrew and panourgia in Greek, and does not depict wisdom but deceitfulness in an immoral sense. The serpent in Genesis 3 was a “beast of the field.” The serpent to which the writer of Genesis referred was the serpent of his own day, whom the Sumerians worshiped. In Hebrew we see ha-nachash, the serpent, and ha-adam. the man.
A Bright, Shining Cherub
Eve conversed with Adam. She may have listened to the communication between Adam and God. It is doubtful that she would converse with a snake. But, finding herself confronted by a cherub, a radiant heavenly being, brightly shining, one who could be supposed to be coming from God’s realm, she might be deceived.
This being communicated in a way similar to, but a counterfeit of, what she had heard between Adam and the high and lofty One. His logic subtlety seemed as knowledge to one who had no experience with deceit. Never suspecting otherwise, Eve may have surmised that this dignified, commanding figure came from the spirit world where God lived.
The Savior and the Serpent
Our dear Savior encountered this same ill-willed one following his immersion. Unlike Eve, Jesus could not be deceived; he held fast to his Father’s word, defeating “the serpent,” the Devil, who was thus forced to depart for a season (Luke 4:13).
Jesus had known this one before iniquity was found in him, when the morning stars sang together, and ALL the sons of God shouted for joy. (Job 38:7) Indeed, Jesus, through his Father’s power, had created him—perfect, before his fall. He beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. (Luke 10:18) He recalled how the “serpent” had appeared to Eve for he declared that the devil was a liar, and the father of it and a murderer from the beginning. (John 8:44)
Jesus will soon see this “serpent” completely bound, as he and his Bride guide the deceived race back to at-one-ment with God. He will prepare mankind for “a little season” as he was prepared for the tempter following his Jordan experience. Deception will be no more, and the creation will be ready to enter into the ages to come, heralding praises to God for his everlasting mercy and love. The former things will have passed away.