Sorry About That Garden Thing. It Was Just a Joke.
ParrotLover called me on a statement I made recently that Satan was the snake in the Garden of Eden. He reminded me that Satan doesn’t actually make his first appearance until later in the book.
That reminded me that I’ve heard a lot of crazy interpretations of the Bible over the years, and they’re all getting confused in my mind. I wish the theists would make up their mind which interpretation they want to use. Making fun of the book would be so much easier if they’d settle on just one crazy version.
So let’s back up for a minute and take a brief look at Genesis and the snake.
But first, a stupid pun. I just remembered this from my misspent youth reading joke books (I read every joke book in the library). Nothing beats a good pun. Except possibly a bad pun.
Noah opens up the ark and lets all the animals out, telling them to “Go forth and multiply.” He’s closing the great doors of the ark when he notices that there are two snakes sitting in a dark corner.
So he says to them, “Didn’t you hear me? You can go now. Go forth and multiply.”
“We can’t,” said the snakes, “We’re adders.”
But wait! It gets better! I just found this addendum to that joke over at Yahoo Answers:
Noah thinks for a while, then grabs his saw and hammer and runs off into the forest, where he cuts down a tree. He saws and hammers and builds a small table. He carefully picks up the snakes and puts them on the table.
“Go forth and multiply!” he commands.
The snakes look at each other, and then at Noah. “We can’t, we’re adders”.
“Yes”, Noah replies, “but, even adders can multiply on a log table”.
Thank you. Thank you. Your praise is most humbling.
Now back to our regularly-scheduled blog. Wikipedia says this about the serpent in the Garden of Eden:
Though not initially identified with Satan (adversary) in the Book of Genesis, the serpent is later cursed as an adversary of Eve’s offspring. “Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made,” Genesis 3:1 reminded its readers. “Cunning” is a sound-alike pun on the word for “Naked.”
See? Even GOD is making puns! Obviously the pun is of the highest station in the joke world.
Nor is there any indication in Genesis that the Serpent was a deity in its own right, aside from the fact that there are only two cases of animals that talk in the Pentateuch. (Balaam’s ass being the other)
Whereas today, this is much more common. Fundies talk out of their ass all the time!
Although the identity of the Serpent as Satan is made explicit the Christian Book of Revelation…
That is the version that was told to me repeatedly over the years. Revelation is where the Christians made up the story about the snake being Satan.
…in Genesis the Serpent is merely portrayed as a deceptive creature or trickster, promoting as good what God had directly forbidden, and particularly cunning in its deception.
That is a fascinating fact, because most mythological systems have tricksters. So the Jewish version of Genesis is that the snake is a bit of a prankster (“Hey, Eve! Wanna play a joke on Adam? Get him to eat this apple! It’ll be a scream!”). However, in the Christian version, the snake is the darkest evil that ever walked the Earth. What a bleak view Christians have of everything.
If given a choice between hanging out with a bunch of Jews or a bunch of fundamentalist Christians, give me the Jews. They know how to pull some serious practical jokes!