I have been thinking about the description of serpent in Genesis 3:1:
Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
According to the Strong's Concordance the Hebrew word translated as subtil means:
Cunning (usually in a bad sense)
God said that everything he made was good. There was nothing bad in the Garden until AFTER Adam and Eve sinned. So, in what way was the Serpent's cunning good?
Edit: This post has been edited in the following manner: The word "Satan" has been changed to the word "serpent" in the first sentence.
In answer to question of Douglas in the original post - God said that everything he made was good. There was nothing bad in the Garden until AFTER Adam and Eve sinned. So, in what way was the Serpent's cunning good?
May I suggest that ORIGINALLY the meaning of SUBTLE (KJV Subtil) had to be entirely good. In the original creation, EVERYTHING THAT GOD MADE was "very good" - so the "subtlety" of this good creature cannot be construed to be evil or "not good" in any way. It is only AFTER the association with the temptation and fall that the word has come to connote something negative or "not good" -
It simply means that this sort of creature was characterized by a delicate and gentle approach, rather than a bold and brash sort of approach.
Also, when Genesis 3 speaks of the serpent - is it refering to THAT particular variety of serpent? Or to the serpent as a particular animal group - serpents (snakes) in general. I think the latter is true. Also, THE BIBLE IDENTIFIES Satan as "That old serpent, the devil" - evidently a reference to this event in the Garden.
But before the Fall there was nothing evil about any creature, and the idea of subtlety and cunning was BEFORE the Fall, so at this time there can be no sense of evil.
A bone to pick with the hermeneutics and the narrative of Genesis as inferred by you Jim:
"God said that everything he made was good. (Your inference) There was nothing bad in the Garden until AFTER Adam and Eve sinned"
This teaching is a dogma of many YE creationists and a mis interpretation of the sciurpture and a further addition to the interpretation to fit Ye views of no death as well as no bad thing was created by God, including Mosquitos, Carnivores, Venomous animals and snakes, and so on. This interpretation has been rebuffed time and again by scholars...
First of all the context of sciurpture is the creation event, designed and implemented by almighty GOd. We both agree on this!! THe Genesis narrative is just that, there are many details left out but a great over view of GOd's mighty Works!
So what was good Jim? Was it not his creation, everything he made. But the good was the whole creation, like a carpenter finished with building a house and delighting in that Work. There is no additional add on to Gods enamor of HIs own work. Nothing here implies anything but a perfectly designed creation???!!!
Then you and other YECs imply that nothing was bad, well what does that mean? Anything as viewed by YECs that could imply badness is assumed and inferred to ahve not actually been created.
What does this YEC inferences in the light of the actual narrative imply? A litany of new additions to sciurpture that carries forth in the words of many YEC leaders such as Ken Ham and others that AIG and others YEC sites imply scirptures was clearly saying. ITs not there JIM!!! GODs over view of his work is clear. We agree that the creation was perfectly designed? Do we not agree that life as to continues in its modern form is perfectly fit for all eco-systems, Symbiotic relationships, and so on. God is perfect in his design and nothing here infers that God "left out certain species, becasue they were bad???
WHAT IS BAD? Isn't this your human perception?
The serpent indeed was one of the creatures God created for Good! NO matter the creature was indwealt by Satan who's evil soul beguiled Eve with clever words, this was evil(not the serpent). You espouse what no orthodox Christian accepts is unbelievable to me.
Interesting a lot of our creationist views grew out of Ellen Whites ministry and subsequent MacCready Price, but Even Ellen White taught that satan sinned before Adam and EVE. Why don't you or anyone on this site take a cursory overview of the subject on the internet and there is a plethora of Christian orthodox writings on the subject that are very clear!!! I appreciate Charles response to Murray. It was clear and correct.
But now back to the discussion... What now is created is inferences about nature that run counter to everything we know by observation, by evidences in nature, by the scirptures. and most clearly the design and intent if Gods work when he said it was all good.
Good referred to his work Jim! Not your view of nature and the garden? His work was about nature and his design, not your view of what YECs perceive as evil?
(it was)Good what is the "it"? Was it not His work and designed creation event?
So then we have articles on AIG, and inferences in published accounts by YEC leaders which don't at all square with the work of God in creation. You can't infer on the counter that God could not, or would not have created anything that is bad? HOw do you know Jim what is bad? Lets define some these YEC inferences about what bad is?
IF you follow Ken Ham for instance or AIG, or other YECists, you get this interpretation of "it was good...."
1. There were no dinosaurs that were bad, they for instance like the T-rex are melons, and did not have serrated teeth? There is no evidence of a T-Res with anything else but, bet Ken says "after the fall" these guys started eating meat and grew out serrated teeth fro meat eating.
2. We ahve several YEC articles about thorns, and that thorns never existed prior to the fall? What that also implies is did God make then bugs that copy thorns? Or did he crate these after the fall? God crated parasitic plants that feed on other plants, or Venus Fly trap, or other "bad" plants until after the fall? God did not create Poison oak until after the fall?
3. There were no venomous lizards or snakes until after the fall?
4. There was no disease or even stomach bugs man has in his stomach in order to live until after the fall?
5. There were no grasshoppers becasue they eat plants and this would be bad , so they existed after the fall? SO the YEC view of bad create's a host of issues with what we know and observe.
So anything perceived by YECS as Bad did not exist. This means possibly up to hundreds of thousand of species "had" to have been created or had some biologic explanation for new species to arrive after the fall. So not only do we have new specie after the flood, but we also have new species or a total change in the species after the fall? Where is the explanation for the DNA information for these new species?
But its interesting if the animals were only to eat plants, certainly God later after the fall gave Noah and humans the ability to eat meat? But interestingly this was never rescinded for animals. NO place in the bible does it say that animals could start eating meat? The fact of the matter is they were already eating meat? And this "was not bad",
Once more there is no known genetic explanation for new DNA and new fitness platforms in these supposed bad species after the fall. It plain and simply has no evidences what so ever that this is or was GODs Plan?
What we do observe is a perfectly designed biodiversity that lives in harmony as it was originally designed by God. And what did God say about his design and work. It was Good!!! It is in that context that sciurpture clearly defines what God said about his work. There is no other "add ons" as referred by YEC that no animal could be bad as perceived by YECS?
MY hope is others will be challenged to explore the scirptures. Tis in no way has any indifference on a YEC view of creation? period. Yet YECs who absolutely don't understand nature, imply impossible scenarios to the verses of geneisis which do not say this at all. It is an add on and spoken as dogma.
Jim you have no clue about symbiotic relationships required for all life to exist. Yet you implore the impossible to the animal kingdom.
I ask you what does it mean when GOD said it was good? What was the good that GOD was speaking of about his work? ISn't the scirptures absolutely clear here? Apologists, Christian experts, Christian biologists, and science alone, along with orthodox history supports the clear narrative...
Douglas, I believe the original content of your question has been derailed and is way off course but I would like make a statement for consideration...
It does seem that the word subtle carries with it negative or malicious connotations... Perhaps the serpent was created without these attributes, however (and this is purely conjecture with very little evidence, only my own reasoning) we know fallen angels attempt to embody themselves in this physical universe... is it possible the serpent in the garden was embodied by Satan which would take on attributes and 'nature' of Satan causing it to be described as 'subtle'?
My apologies, Douglas. I have tried to return the conversation to your stated topic, the meaning of Cunning/Subtle [Heb: ARuM > ARaM] in the description of the serpent in Genesis Three.
BUT SADLY there is a dear brother here who has a relentless agenda to attack and depreciate this Discussion Forum (Creation Conversations) - It seems that every post he ever makes is obsessively an on-going attack against our statement of faith. SO, I am gong to start another thread to address his digression. It is always the same, never changing. He always moves any discussion of ours AWAY from our topic and begins his endless rant that we are unscientific and that we hate science and that we are unscriptural and heterodox. If I had the power I would delete all of his posts that are derailing in nature. BUT THE BEST I CAN DO HERE is to simply point out that it is another attempt to advance his agenda.
So, again, God has clearly said that the THINGS that He had made were all very good. And this was the condition of all of the creatures at the beginning of Genesis 3 - that is to say that everything was "VERY GOOD" - so in every sense of that language then, the serpent, and serpents were all very good according to God's own evaluation.
Therefore there was nothing evil or corrupt or "not good" in the character of the creature called "the serpent" (NaChaSH).
The word for "Crafty" only obtained the sense of EVIL and Conniving in later usage. It actually also has the sense of simply smooth and bare - unadorned and plain. It can also refer to giving prudent and unadorned counsel.
SO, in the unfallen very good world, you are correct in your basis for the question - the word crafty used of the serpent can only have a good sense.
My apologies for not posting sooner. I have been on vacation. Gary Murray and Jim Brenneman, thank you for your posts. Lou Hamby, will you please stop responding to this thread, thank you.
Now as to whether it is appropriate to take ONE of the meanings of our word (ARuM) and expand it and then decide that this is the primary meaning, and that this means therefore that serpents were the "most intelligent. . ."
You had said:
From these definitions I get the impression that the serpent was the most intelligent "beast of the field". What do you think?
Hmmm. I THINK It is incorrect to take one of the possible meanings and usages to the exclusion of the other. THE PROPER USE OF BDB, or any lexicon is not to "take your pick" of the possible meaning. Rather we should look at the original root and then determine from the context of the particular usage in question how it is meant and intended.
The sense is that a "very good" creature was describe as simple and subtle and unadorned and purdent, with an "economy of ornament" and few bells and whistles - just an unassuming "plain jane" type creature that no one would notice.
I think that is the best way to look at this.
Thanks for your affirmation of Gary and Me, and thanks for your courage to stand against the invading opponent, the attacking bully.
Gary...Jim...You both have given me something to think about. Thank you for your comments. I will have to do more studying.
If your posting ion a public forum, you should expect different views. Douglas did anythingI say make any sense to you at all?
Thank you, Lou. I appreciate that.