Today’s Chocolate: Endangered Species Dark Chocolate with Forest Mint
Today’s Passage: Genesis 3
I think I was in fourth grade when I first heard Weezer’s “The Sweater Song.” I was at the pool at Queen City Racquet Club, and one of the teenage lifeguards must have been playing The Blue Album, because I also remember hearing “Surf Wax America” and “Buddy Holly” over the snack bar speakers. It would be years before I heard “Buddy Holly” again, recognized it, and finally put a name to the band and songs that I’d heard as a kid at the pool. But Genesis 3 reads like the chorus of “The Sweater Song,” with God’s perfect garden unraveling and leaving the man and woman, the only two beings made in his image, lying naked and ashamed on the floor. The world is coming apart.
Also, welcome to Narnia, because we’ve got a talking snake.
With the benefit of thousands of years of hindsight, many of us will readily identify the snake as Satan. John certainly seems to have done so in his vision at Patmos: “And [the angel] laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years” (Revelation 20:2). But the being we know as the Devil is conspicuously absent from the bulk of the Old Testament. He doesn’t show up explicitly until the book of Job, where he’s referred to with the title of “ha Satan,” meaning “the Adversary.” Until then, we’ve got this talking snake telling Adam and Eve to eat from the tree that God told them not to eat from.
If the whole thing sounds weird, it’s because it is. The agent of undoing, the perverter of Eden’s perfection and severer of God’s fellowship with man, is a talking snake. A lying snake, at that! Right off the bat, he’s described as “crafty,” a word derived from the Hebrew עָרֹם, arom. Strong’s Concordance has a note suggesting that the verb may have at one point literally meant “to be bare,” and perhaps acquired its meaning of cunning through the notion of smoothness. In other words, the snake is slick. You’ve probably heard more than one blow-by-blow of the serpent’s dialogue, how each line twists the truth into a skewed signpost pointing Adam and Eve toward disobedience and inappropriate peer-to-teen choice behaviors.
And as far as they know, it’s just this talking snake. I imagine Adam passing the story down to his offspring: “You know, Seth, we didn’t always have to toil and sweat just to get some food out of this thorn-choked soil. Let me tell you about the time your old man got snookered by a snake and kicked out of paradise.” Man, that tale would not win him any Dad points. Adam and Eve had one job, and they blew it.
Not that I’d do any better. As we noted, hindsight is 20/20.