Lessons from the serpent

“The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals” (Genesis 3:1)

Do not like them.  Never have.  Never will.  I am talking about serpents, snakes.  Those reptiles who slither their way through the dust on the ground.  The first one was introduced in Genesis chapter 3 when the slimy thing made its’ way into Eve’s presence.  Most bible scholars believe the serpent walked upright before his temptation of Eve, for in Genesis 3:14 part of the serpent’s curse was that it would “crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life.”   

So, who exactly embodied that serpent in the garden?  Genesis does not introduce the temptation creature as being Satan.  However, we do find the answer to that question in the book of Revelation.  There in verses 12:9 and 20:2, he is identified as the Devil, Satan.  This has given the serpent the symbol of evil throughout scripture.  Not because snakes are evil in themselves (though that does not make me endear them), but because they are a representation of evil.  They often move by twisting their way through this world, much like evil people who twist the truth, twist what is good, twist what is pure, even twist the word of God. 

Have you even wondered – why a serpent?  All the animals in the animal kingdom had been created and named before the time of the Temptation.  Why did God allow evil to embody a serpent?  I think perhaps because there was something God wanted us to learn about evil through snakes.  It is important to remember that snakes are cold-blooded.  Humans are warm-blooded.  The human body temperature is 97.7 to 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit.  Because of this, the maximum lifespan of a human being can be well over 100 years.  Snakes body temperatures average 62 to 71 degrees Fahrenheit.  Thus, the average lifespan of a snake is between 8 to 20 years.  Lesson: snakes have a limited ability to endure.

Evil is also cold-blooded.  We have all heard the term “cold-blooded killer.”  Like snakes, evil has a limited ability to endure.  No matter how powerful evil is it cannot last.  The Devil will not last.  He is already doomed to spend eternity in hell.  Hitler, Stalin, Saddam Hussein did not last.  Deception is cold-blooded therefore it cannot last.  Hatred is cold-blooded therefore it cannot last.  Slander is cold-blooded therefore it cannot last.  All evil is short-term and momentary.  It cannot last.  No matter how powerful evil becomes, its’ days are always numbered.

So, in the end remember this – good will always outlast cold-blooded evil.  Let us not forget that.  May that motivate us in persevering to do good, no matter how evil the times are.  Let us keep telling the truth.  Let us keep standing up for what is right.  Evil is fleeting, it will not last.  But righteousness – God’s righteousness – will endure into eternity.