"The Serpent of Eden" or "Paradi...

by Atreyu 11 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • Atreyu

    "The Serpent of Eden" or "Paradise Lost"

    Some have discussed the meaning of the account in Genesis 3, about the serpent. A pivot question has been: Who lied, the serpent or Jehovah?

    Please bear in mind that the account in Genesis 3 is not an eyewitness account. According to JW, Moses wrote Genesis. According to most scholars, Genesis was compiled by king Solomons priestly scribes. Anyway, this is a narrative that got the present form many centuries after any actual incident in the Garden of Eden. The narrator, whoever it was, may of course have had access to older written sources that are lost today.

    Please also bear in mind that the names Satan or Devil are not mentioned at all in Genesis, not even in the Pentateuch. In fact, we can only find these names in the latest of the Hebrew texts.

    The rise of Satan

    We can find the word satan a few places in the Hebrew Scriptures, but mostly, the word does not refer to a certain being, as a name, but as a common noun, meaning resister, accuser or adversary. The context shows, in most places, that a human being is referred to. Even JW admit this. See for instance 2 Sam 19:22; 1 King 5:4; 11:14,23,25 (All scriptural references are to New World Translation. See also footnotes in the Reference Edition.)

    One of the few clear references to Satan, as a being or angel, in the Hebrew Scriptures are found in Job 1. But the book of Job is a quite late book, definitely post-exile. (JW claim that Moses is the author, but they are the only one to claim this.)

    Another reference to Satan is found in Zech 3:1,2, also a post-exile book. Here, Satan occurs with a definite article, but it is still not a proper name. The meaning is most likely the accuser and the setting is also a kind of a court, where this accuser plays his role.

    A curiosity: Look up 1 Chron 21:1. This seems like a reference to a personal Satan, doesnt it? Then, look up the parallel account in 2 Sam 24:1. Here, Jehovah himself is the accuser. This might be shocking to anyone who believes in the absolute integrity of the Bible. My point is this: The Chronicles are written post exile, much later than 2 Samuel, at a time when the Jews had an idea of Satan as an evil angel, an idea that didnt exist before the Babylonian exile.

    (For those of you that dont know this: It is common historical knowledge that the Jews accepted the ideas of angels and of Satan as Jehovahs adversary after the exile, influenced by Persian religion. In the 2 nd century before Christ, this belief was manifest among some of the Jewish fractions. Remember that at the time of Jesus, the Pharisees did believe in the existence of angels, but the Sadducees rejected this teaching.)

    Another interesting point is that an apocryphical Hebrew book, The Book of Wisdom, says in 2:23,24: For God created human beings to be immortal, he made them as an image of his own nature; Death came into the world only through the Devils envy, as those who belong to him find to their cost. This is in fact very close to the Christian belief about Satan, sin and salvation, and this book was also accepted and used by the early church fathers. But, since JW rarely refer to apocryphical books in support for their views, they have a hard time finding support for the belief in Satan as an angel and Jehovahs adversary in the Hebrew canon.

    Back to Eden

    With the above in mind, please understand that the narrator of Genesis 3 did not speak a single word about Satan or the Devil.

    Now, please read through the account from Genesis 2:16 and all of Genesis 3, and think about what it really says. Think about what that ancient narrator wanted to tell us.

    So, did you do it? And . did you maybe think Who lied, the serpent or Jehovah?


    To me, it is not a matter of who lied and who did not. Maybe both lied? Maybe both said the truth? Maybe the serpent was partly right and Jehovah partly wrong?

    Consider this:

    The serpent said: For God knows that in the very day of your eating from it your eyes are bound to be opened and you are bound to be like God, knowing good and bad. Was this a lie? Apparently not. In v22 we read: And Jehovah God went on to say: Here the man has become like us in knowing good and bad

    Jehovah said: for in the day you eat from it you will positively die. Was this a lie? Maybe, maybe not. At least, Adam and Eve eventually died, But Jehovah did not mention that 1000 years = 1 day. And he did not mention that he meant some sort of a spiritual death. On the other hand, the serpent promised that the result of eating the fruit would show up the very same day, that they would be like God. And, as seen above, this really happened.

    Remember that Adam and Eve never were promised eternal life by neither Jehovah nor Satan. It was only a question of die or not die after eating the fruit. The question of eternal life arose later, when Jehovah prevented Adam and Eve from eating from The Tree of Life by expelling them from the garden of Eve.

    A puppeteer?

    Some have argued that the serpent couldnt have been only a serpent, that Satan must have been the one who pulled the strings.

    Consider this:

    Gen 3:1 says that the serpent proved to be the most cautious of all the wild beasts. If this was just a stupid snake acting as a puppet for Satan, how could it be described as cautious?

    Gen 3:14 says: And Jehovah God proceeded to say to the serpent: Because you have done this thing, you are the cursed one Why should Jehovah punish a snake, when Satan was the one to blame?

    Cherubs and sword

    Some might argue that angels actually are mentioned in Gen 3:24, when speaking of the cherubs guarding the way to The Tree of Life. To say that cherubs are a sort of angels is a gross misunderstanding. Actually, the whole idea of cherubs is borrowed from Babylonian mythology, where cherubs were called karibu. These were half-human, half-animal spirits guarding the gates of temples and palaces. In the Biblical account the cherubs are portrayed as winged creatures. The first occurrence of cherubs in connection with the worship of Jehovah is the Ark of the Covenant. (1 Sam 4:4)

    One evil question: Who invented the sword?

    Well, if you believe that the account of Gen 3 relates to historical facts, it must have been Jehovah, since he posted the cherubs and a sword to guard The Tree of Life.

    To, me it shows that this is a narrative put together by a man with good intentions, but not being aware of this gross anachronism.

    The meaning of the account

    The mainline is about how chaos came into a perfect world, how lust (they realized their nakedness), pain and labour started. It also describes mans tendency to act independent of God. The beings to blame were Adam, Eve and the serpent. Satan was never in question, since the narrator never had any idea about any angel that acted as an adversary to Jehovah.

  • SYN

    VERY interesting...thanks for a nice post, Atreyu. You should post more!

  • plmkrzy


  • Elsewhere

    Awwww, Atreyu, you're going to hell!! Not even your Luck Dragon can save you now!

    Seriously... that was an EXELENT piece of research!

  • pomegranate

    One evil question: Who invented the sword?

    Well, if you believe that the account of Gen 3 relates to historical facts, it must have been Jehovah, since he posted the cherubs and a sword to guard The Tree of Life.

    I always had a hard time believing God would be the first to introduce human WEAPONS of war (sword) and blacksmithing (swords are made from iron) in order to keep two UNARMED naked people away from a tree. That is really quite ridiculous, isn't it? Also, a flaming sword seems WAY OUT OF CONTEXT to me.

    I then considered that Adam and Eve would not have even known what a sword was and I do really find it extremely CHILDISH that God would use something warlike just to prevent A&E from re-entering Eden. Surely, the cherubs themselves were reason enough for A&E to stay away. I hear cherubs kick some pretty mean A$$.


    If the tree was a real piece of vegetation in symbol of God (Life), why not just destroy the tree and all the vegetation of Eden along with it? Afterall, that is the deal right? Keep them away from the perfect stuff.

    If God were to destroy a garden, what would be the easiest way to kill off the perfect vegetation called Eden?

    Eliminate the water. Drought.

    Gen 3:24
    24 So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.

    The above emboldened phrase ALWAYS bothered me. Then I studied Hebrew (and have been for quite awhile.)

    The above phrase is broken down into THREE Hebrew words:

    Flaming (lahat) - sword (chereb) - which turned everyway (hamithapeket)

    I am going to immediately take you to the definition of "chereb" which EVERY Bible I know of has rendered as "sword." Here is the definition AND I will also take you to the ROOT of what the word meant in the beginning:


    Word #2719
    chereb (kheh'-reb; from OT:2717; DROUGHT; also a cutting instrument (from its destructive effect), as a knife, sword, or other sharp implement: -axe, dagger, knife, mattock, sword, tool.

    Here is the ROOT of chereb ; kheh'-reb:

    Word #2717
    charab (khaw-rab'); or chareb (khaw-rabe'); a primitive root; to parch (through drought) i.e. (by analogy,) to desolate, destroy, kill:

    As you can see for yourself, SWORD is the secondary definition for chereb, the primary is drought. The ROOT of the word comes from the idea of drought, and destruction by way of drought.

    What is MOST IMPORTANT TO ME, is that DROUGHT SURELY fits the context of the surrounding story which would be ELIMINATING THE GARDEN VEGETATION so as to destroy a "path" to it. Context is VERY often needed in order to know what the Hebrew is really meaning. So...because of context and definition:

    In my Bible, I have changed the words to be:

    "a perpetually lasting ((hamithapeket) scorching (lahat) drought (chereb), to prevent the way to the tree of life."

    That's the way I see it, you can see it anyway you choose.

  • Atreyu

    pome: Most interesting. I don't know much Hebrew, so I cannot discuss this. But - why do all translations render it "sword" and not "drought"?

  • pomegranate

    That's what I'd like to know...

    But the contextual evidence and the definition evidence sure is strong ain't it?

    I have found ALL KINDS of interesting things in studying Biblical Hebrew. For instance, a DEFINITE typo that was FULLY retained. I have even found secular Jewish commentaries that concur with my findings. Of course, they put their Talmudic voodoo spin on it. But they do verify my findings.

  • plmkrzy

    (swords are made from iron) in order to keep two UNARMED naked people away from a tree.


    Now I have this mental picture of two naked people trying to get past these warrior swords to get a piece of fruit. Sounds like saturday morning cartoons..hahahahaha.

    Oh, ofcourse the two naked people would be anime(spell ck is in order)

    Why not talking snakes and throw in a couple grasshoppers and were talking Shaolin Priests/Monks.

    Edited by - plmkrzy on 29 August 2002 20:6:59

  • Atreyu


    a DEFINITE typo that was FULLY retained.

    A typo? Do you mean a typographical error? Can you please explain? Is this some sort of a hidden code in the text, like the equidistant letter codes?

  • pomegranate

    Hebrew words have correct spelling just like any other language. Though the Jews in tradition like to play mystical games
    with their laguage, this typo is quite extraordinary.

    I found a mispelled word. Weird huh?

    Of course since I believe the Bible to be all God's, the typo has come to reinforce some of my beliefs.
    I believe it is a symbol to help indentify what the nature of God is.

    Is God a ONE - monotheistic as the Jews profess. Father.

    Is God a THREE - trinitarian, like mainstream Christianity professes. Father, Son, Holy Spirit.

    Is God a TWO - duo-theistic, like I believe. Father and Son.

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