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Discovery Magazine 11/1/2006

The Most Dangerous Snake of Them All


What’s the most dangerous snake in the world? Is it the 400-pound anaconda, or the 33-feet-long python? Is it the king cobra of Asia, or the rattlesnake of North America? It certainly would not be good for your health to get squeezed by an anaconda or bitten by a king cobra. These are very dangerous snakes. But, spiritually speaking, the most toxic, deadly “snake” of them all is the serpent of old—Satan.

When Adam and Eve were still living in the Garden of Eden (before they sinned), Satan appeared to them as a snake. Then, similar to how God allowed Balaam’s donkey to speak to him “with a man’s voice” (Numbers 22:28,30; 2 Peter 2:16), Satan spoke to Eve while in the form of a snake. His words may not have seemed all that dangerous, and may have been spoken in the gentlest manner, yet they were full of the most deadly poison.

Earlier God told Adam that he could freely eat “of every tree of the garden…, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:16-17). Later, however, when the snake spoke with Eve, he lied, saying, “You shall not surely die” (3:4). The sneaky snake convinced Eve that it would be okay to eat from the tree that God had forbidden. Adam and Eve sinned by listening to Satan and disobeying God, and they were separated from the tree of life (3:22). Satan was sly and crafty in the Garden in his temptation of Eve. He added one word to God’s command and changed the world forever (read Deuteronomy 4:2; Revelation 22:18-19).

This story shows us how skillful Satan is at lying. The “father” of lies, as Jesus called him (John 8:44), tries to get people to see a lie as truth, and evil as good (Isaiah 5:20). Consider how he has led so many to believe that abortion is not murder, but just a choice. Think about how many people lie everyday who think it is okay “just as long as no one gets hurt.” Instead of having this attitude, we must “resist the devil,” oppose his lies, and “draw near to God” by obeying His eternal truths (read James 4:7).

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