The Bible

Origins of Evil: Adam, Eve and the Serpent

The doctrine of creation is not an ambiguous aspect of the Bible. The first four chapters of Genesis contain the primary biblical information on creation; therefore, they provide the basis of the biblical doctrine. This seemingly straightforward portion of the Bible, however, has for several millennia remained the object of considerable speculation by various writers who have placed interpretations upon the text that have little to do with what the writer(s) was originally trying to convey to his audience. The meaning of the serpent in Genesis 3, and the origin of evil and relationship between Adam and Eve from Genesis 2-4, each supplemented by three different authorial analyses, lends considerable support to a bold literary notion. Clearly, the meaning of Scripture has more to do with the perception and understanding of its original audience than with the perception and understanding of future generations.

Ever since the dawn of civilization, serpents have played a pivotal part in most of the world’s mythologies and cults (Sarna 26). As far back as the 4th millennium B.C.E., Ancient Near Eastern societies recognized the snake as both a symbol of fertility and even as a figure of deification. Hebrew Scripture, specifically...

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